So, I sit here on yet another Sunday morning. Why am I up before I need to be? Well, I was awake, and I couldn’t stop thinking about going to church today. Not in a good way mind you. I kept wondering if there was a good reason not to. Then my ponderings lead me to begin asking, “Is there a good reason to go?” All the normal Christian answers were brought up one by one, and I discarded them just as quickly. It’s not that I hate church. I just don’t know why I go. I don’t know what the benefit is supposed to be. To me or God, or anyone else.
I’m not saying I want to be entertained. That’s not the purpose of the church. I wouldn’t mind learning something…which happens in small amounts, but to be honest, I don’t normally learn something I couldn’t pick up from a commentary, or reading a few articles or some such. I’m not saying that John Hawko (we go to Union Center) is a bad speaker. Actually, normally he’s quite good. Perhaps I’m supposed to go to church to worship. That’s fine, except I can’t sing (don’t give me the joyful noise line, I know that. I understand that my aversion to the standard “Christian way” of worshipping is partially self-inflicted, but not completely). So, I go and mumble through a few songs. But I’m hardly worshipping. To me, worship is more than singing. Yet that is the only type of worship that is included in a typical sunday morning service. Somettimes UCCC does make use of art or drama…and I do tend to find myself more worshipful during those times. Again though, not every week. Then there is the NT purpose of fellowshipping. This one actually, for me, holds the most weight since it is often mentioned by the apostles as the reason for “getting together.” The problem is, I don’t know if many American churches have real fellowship on Sunday mornings. I know I don’t at UCCC. I go on Sunday morning, mumble songs, listen to a message and then leave. No one sees me. No one cares that I’m there (oh sure, there are some that would say they do…and they probably do. But my point remains). Mandy and I just slip in and slip out. Now, partially this is our own fault and circumstances. Anyone at UCCC would quickly say, “But that’s what small groups are for!” and I’d whole-heartedly agree with them (though it leaves me to wonder what Sunday mornings are for). However, Mandy and I are going to be leaving the area in ~2 months. That’s hardly enough time to get involved with a small group. We might just be starting to open to each other and get to a place where real fellowship can take place and then…”Oh, nice knowing you.”
So, I’m really curious, why go to church? What is the benefit for me to go to church over just staying home and translating some Hebrew? I’m not saying long term. Obviously, fellowshipping with other Christians is vital. The faith must be lived out in community. But I don’t believe that there is some mystical force in a church auditorium on Sunday mornings that causes this “fellowship” to take place there instead of on Monday morning with my boss at work, or instead of at lunch with some friends, etc, etc, etc. Again though, I’m not saying long term. When Mandy and I move we’ll become involved in a church and be able to give and receive. Minister and be ministered to. Be involved in a small group. Have fellowship with others. Make friends. All the things that go along with being part of a community. At present though, we have no community. We go to church because….well, we go because my parents raised me on the idea that good Christians go to church. I guess I go because somewhere in my mind I cease being a “good Christian” (not sure what that is, exactly) if I don’t go. Which is in and of itself the wrong motivation for going, I’m sure.