Monday, January 16, 2012

I don't go to church much any more (Part 1)

This all stems from a conversation that came about on Facebook.  
A local lady put this in her status update:  "I can't keep this in any longer, this morning I was questioned about why I haven't been going to church......but wasn't invited. I knew that I haven't been going but would think an invitation might have been part of their job !!"
This led to quite a long discussion, with various people giving their input.  I told them at the time I'd try doing a blog post about the subject from my own point of view.  This is going to take more than one entry, so I'll start with an old poem that was in a book my mom had when I was growing up.  You see, I want you to know first and foremost that it's my own fault I don't go to church much any more.  We'll move on from there in another entry.  

It Isn't the Church - It's You

If you want to have the kind of a church
Like the kind of church you like,
You needn’t slip your clothes in a grip
And start on a long, long hike,
You’ll only find what you left behind,
For there’s nothing really new.
It’s a knock at yourself when you knock your church;
It isn’t the church-its you.
When everything seems to be going wrong,
And trouble seems everywhere brewing;
When prayer meeting, Young People’s meeting, and all,
Seem simmering slowly-stewing,
Just take a look at yourself and say,
“What’s the use in being blue?”
Are you doing your “bit” to make things “hit”?
It isn’t the church-its you.
It’s really strange sometimes, don’t you know,
That things go as well as they do,
When we thing of the little-the very small mite-
We add to the work of the few.
We sit, and stand round, and complain of what’s done,
And do very little but fuss.
Are we bearing our share of the burdens to bear?
It isn’t the church- it’s us.
So, if you want to have the kind of a church
Like the kind of a church you like,
Put off your guile, and put on your best smile,
And hike, my brother, just hike,
To to the work in hand that has to be done-
The work of saving a few.
It isn’t the church that is wrong, my boy;
It isn’t the church- it’s you.

The entries on this subject may be sporadic... there may only be one more; there might be several.  For this subject only, I am taking guest entries.  If you would like to have your voice heard on this subject, send me an email with your thoughts and I will copy and paste it to my blog.  Let me know if you prefer to remain anonymous.  
I only ask that you keep it courteous and honest.    

Dear Lord, I hope I haven't opened up a can of worms.  


Lindie said...

I really liked the church I went to, but when my friend moved to Ok I felt awkward going by myself.


I've always thought if you hold God in your heart, where you worship doesn't matter. Even if it's just in your own house. Nice poem, though.

Margaret said...

Interesting topic. I grew up going to church, but don't any more. I married someone whose grandfather was a minister but he didn't grow up going to church, so between the two of us, we never made it to any church.

Hyperblogal said...

The idea of church was awesome and then man got a hold of it and it's been nothing but complicated ever since.

Paula said...

I love our church and I've never even joined it formally.It is the most friendly church I've ever attended in my life.

Heidi said...

I am really interested to hear your story, Donna. I have an "I don't go to church" story too. Looking forward to the next installment.

Mo Rage said...

I love your last note in this entry. Of course.

I went to different churches. I quit the one I was raised in when I was about 22. I won't mention the name of it here.

The last one I attened regularly I did enjoy but they kept telling me God was inside me.

I thought about it.

Finally, I agreed--they were right.

If "God" exists, he/she is in here.

MissKris said...

This reminds me of the bumper sticker I saw around a few years ago: "Oh, to be with the Saints in Heaven will be glory! Here on earth is another story!" Amen to that. Someone also once said 95% of the work needed doing in church is done by 5% of the congregation. Odds are not too good on the human side of the equation. I go, I worship, and I avoid the social gathering hang-outs completely. Like I told someone who asked me once why I never fellowship in the Narthex, "The less I hear, the less ammunition the devil has to work with." Works for me!

Anonymous said...

AMEN AMEN TO THAT.My Bible says we are to meet with belivers to incorage each other. I love my church. JO

darev2005 said...

I could hit two different churches with bricks from my back yard. And I'm often tempted to. One is a Church of the Nazarene and the other is Assembly of God. I often wonder if there will be a gang fight between the two in the alley some day. They often throw loud "youth group" meetings that tend to last late in the evening out in the parking lots, which make my dogs bark and keep me awake on the rare nights when I can go to bed early. And if there's something special going on people always park in front of my house and occasionally in front of my driveway which pisses me off no end. I've threatened to have a few of them towed away.

One Sunday afternoon while I was mowing my yard some young pimply punk in a cheap suit carrying a bible the size of New Hampshire walked up the alley and very calmly told me that I was going to hell because I was working on a Sunday and not on my knees in church.

I used words that I don't use in print and he's real lucky I didn't throw my lawn mower at him. But I made it quite plain that his life and his immediate future were in dire jeopardy. He ran off and I haven't seen him since. Wisely, he seems to have chosen an alternate route to use from now on.

If there was anyone in either of those establishments with a lick of common courtesy or common sense, I might consider attending. But as it stands... No.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Tary Terre--you can worship God anywhere and HE will be there for you. I always went to church growing up and after marriage--raised my family to take part in it. Unfortunaly, we got a minister that change things so badly, that he lost almost the whole church attendnce. Going to church and worshiping god should be so beautiful and meaningful,not just to say YOU go to church AFTER YOU HAVE even gone out and committed murder! That happened in a small town not far from me. God help us!

Anonymous said...

I have attended church and ... not. I have only attended one church which had a preacher who really moved me. He was a true "born again", who had come from a dreadful background and found his way into the church and became a minister.

I truly hate to hear a minister pick a single verse in the Bible; then pare it down to about 3 words and preach an entire sermon on it. An I'm sitting there saying...whaaat?

I'm amazed at the absurdities in the Bible, most of which was written by old men 200 or 300 years after the events happened. I believe a lot of the Bible is history distorted thru the writers and interpreters and fashioned into magic, sorcery and imagined illusions, a lot of which is used by fanatics, who believe it literally and are hamstrung by archaic writings, which are not applicable to modern life.
Take Leviticus for example. Even scholars agree it was written in Moses' time and "developed" into it's present form over hundreds of years.

Is this part of that can of worms you didn't want to open?

Donna said...

To that second anonymous: I don't consider your comment "opening a can of worms". I just did an entry the other day in which I confessed I don't believe everything in the Bible literally. It was a scary thing to openly admit, because people I respect take things like that seriously; it literally breaks their hearts if I don't believe everything in the Bible: "God said it, I believe it" is what many of them say. But who wants to live a lie? I'm a hypocrite if I say I believe certain things when I don't. I believe Jesus died for me. I believe God created the world. I can say those things and mean it.