One of Cliff's relatives wanted to tell us how she feels about church attendance. By the way, Angela has a blog of her own if you'd like to check it out. Just click HERE. She's an excellant writer; I'm waiting for the day she publishes a book.
Why I Go To Church
I go to church simply because I want to, not because I have to. For me, there really is a big difference. I use to be a part of the have-to crowd… that somehow God was keeping score on me and the blessings in my life would depend on my attendance record for the month and whether or not I read my Sunday school lesson for the week. I quickly (or not so quickly) learned, however, that I could do everything right and still not feel like I was quite up to par. Of course, that’s how some people want it. Some congregations can be more brutal and more competitive than the stereotypical lunch table in a junior high cafeteria.
Even so, I treasure the whole Sunday experience thing. Granted, we are in a church now that I can relate to: the songs are my grandma’s songs (Victory in Jesus, Unclouded Day), the congregation is mixed (from what they wear to where they are from), and the pastor is someone who has not been spoon-fed the Bible his entire life (not that I’m knocking the man who has known and lived his calling since the age of three, but it’s refreshing to hear someone in their 60s say from the pulpit I have been where you’ve been!). Is it about entertainment? Sometimes, yes. Does that make it more real? Most of the time, no. I am a firm believer that all that entertainment can very easily confuse the real message.
I am reminded of a woman whom I know who dances for a living (and I don’t mean the ballet either). She very enthusiastically gushed to me one day the attributes of a new church she was attending, “I love it! It’s like being at a club!” Or I think about youth groups that entice young people to attend based on themes taken straight from Hollywood. I’ve seen more than one kid disillusioned based on the raw hamburger they were encouraged to eat (Fear Factor) or the strange rap song they were admonished for not singing along with (American Idol). Just because we put the name of Jesus in neon lights or squeeze His Name into the chorus of a song does not make it all about Jesus. Lives aren’t transformed because the three-point sermon was so brilliantly spoken or the nice people at the tape table accepted our money with a “Bless You, Sister.” Lives are changed when Jesus becomes more real than the fog machines and spotlights and color-coordinated praise teams.
My living room holds none of those show-stopper entertainment gadgets and my closet is severely lacking in color-coordinating anything (that fits anyway); but my Bible sits to the left of me yearning to be read and my spirit knows that God is with me whether I kneel before him at a church altar in trendy black heels or lock myself in the bathroom with desperate petitions pouring from my heart and soiled slippers on my feet. I don’t need a church building to worship a God in Whom I firmly believe in and depend on and hope for. I want a church building to worship while I wait. My choice. His glory. It’s why I go to church.