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ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 08:53 AM
I have so much angst about not going to church. I have a deep and abiding faith, a love for Jesus and our beautiful earth; all the lovely plants and animals on it.

What I don't understand is going to church and how that is a holy thing to do; or necessary.

Here it is: Easter Sunday morning. I had planned to go; said I would go. But, I can't. To me it's nothing more than mindless recitation of words on the teleprompter....don't get me started on teleprompters in church. I hate the interruption in the worship to shake hands and say good morning to people. Isn't that what everyone did in the back BEFORE the service started? I hate the way the music has changed. I hate that nobody bothers to dress up. I hate that in order to be a *good* Christian, I am expected to get up at a certain time, get to a certain place and follow somebody else's idea of what worship is. How do they know that their way is the *right* way to worship.

God is in my heart. From my favorite hymn "...in the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere..."

Am I totally weird and off base here?

Lady Eboshi
Mar. 31, 2013, 08:57 AM
I have so much angst about not going to church. I have a deep and abiding faith, a love for Jesus and our beautiful earth; all the lovely plants and animals on it.

What I don't understand is going to church and how that is a holy thing to do; or necessary.

Here it is: Easter Sunday morning. I had planned to go; said I would go. But, I can't. To me it's nothing more than mindless recitation of words on the teleprompter....don't get me started on teleprompters in church. I hate the interruption in the worship to shake hands and say good morning to people. Isn't that what everyone did in the back BEFORE the service started? I hate the way the music has changed. I hate that nobody bothers to dress up. I hate that in order to be a *good* Christian, I am expected to get up at a certain time, get to a certain place and follow somebody else's idea of what worship is. How do they know that their way is the *right* way to worship.

God is in my heart. From my favorite hymn "...in the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere..."

Am I totally weird and off base here?

Nope. I'd say your faith is the real deal--spirituality, tapped into that which is divine in every moment, and not dependent on external validation.

Go take a nice walk or ride out in Nature and don't give it a second thought!

Half those people are there "to be seen," the other half probably to gather gossip! :)

Happy Easter!

Louise
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:07 AM
You're following your own path and there's nothing wrong with that. Some people believe, some don't. Some find comfort in the familiar rituals of the church, some just find them irritating. Something we all should bear in mind is this quote from The Dali Lama

“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.”
― Dalai Lama XIV (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/570218.Dalai_Lama_XIV)

Which can be turned around just as easily to mean, just because you're not on their road, doesn't mean you're lost.

alibi_18
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:08 AM
I'm sure you know that God is immanent and omnipresent.

You don't need to go to that church .

twotrudoc
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:10 AM
I am not going and I'm about the biggest newest Jesus loving born again Christian you may know :)

A good church is worth its weight in gold. I go, when I go, to fellowship and pitch in where.needed. Church is not meant to be the only time you "act good", dress up and put on a showy grandstand so everyone can see how religious you are ;). God isn't real fond of that either.

Church should teach you the Word and bring you together with other Christians who support, encourage you but also can hold you accountable.

Have a good Resurrection Day, God bless.

cutter99
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:10 AM
I was raised fundamentalist Christian and now want nothing to do with organized religion. I do not consider myself a Christian because I do not believe Christians have a lock on salvation just because of Christ. That is not to say I am not spiritual or do not treat others properly. But, many times in this world if there is hatred, I see it perpetuated by someone's misguided thought of what God is and should be, so I choose to stay away. My own mother is convinced I am going to hell, but that is her issue, not mine.

I believe you can worship in the situation of your choice. As long as you are connecting with your higher power, who is to judge you? For me, I have more appreciation for God when I am out in the woods on horseback than any religious experience I've had in recent years. Might sound strange, but I find it spiritually uplifting when I am with one of our pigs who is giving birth because I realize how amazing life is.

Find what works for you. If you desire the church experience, find a small one without the pop culture and teleprompters- they must still exist somewhere!

Larksmom
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:12 AM
it souinds to me like you just need another church. Good luck with the music though. We that prefer the hymns are being left in the dust.:sadsmile:

paulaedwina
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:16 AM
I concur -it seems you need another church or church community. You want to go to church (it seems this way from the OP), you just don't want to go to that church. If you didn't want to go to church it wouldn't be chewing on you like this. So go find a community.

Paula

judmor
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:16 AM
I believe in worshipping our Lord in my own way. I am quite capable of reading the bible on my own, I don't need someone quoting scripture at me. My biggest issue with organized religion is that it always seems to come down to money. They are constantly wanting me to tithe more of my earnings. I know they need the money to keep the church in good condition, but I don't earn enough to be comfortable giving it away to the church. I know I believe in God and I will worship on my own.

MMacallister
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:17 AM
I agree with Larksmom, a good church is hard to find. I am not quite sure how you go about "church shopping" but I did it recently and am still not 100% about my choice. I do like the community feeling and learning more about the Bible. My church shopping consisted of asking friends, going to some church funtions like spaghetti dinners and then showing up on Sunday morning. The first church was so uncomfortable that I left half way through. The one I chose has been welcoming and seems to do a lot in the community.

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:19 AM
I believe totally in what you are saying. I wish I could drop the expectation that I have that I should WANT to go to church. I have shopped around and haven't found anything that comes to close to reverent, spiritual worship. My biggest criticism of churches is that they aren't religious enough. I guess they've all morphed to appeal to our pop society.

It's more like church has left ME, rather than me leaving the church.

DH goes every Sunday, son in law is a Deacon in the Catholic church, DD is also active...NONE OF THEM ARE JUDGEMENTAL OF ME. All accept me for who I am and don't pressure me to be anything else. This angst comes from inside me...that I'm not living up to some notion of how I should act.

My idea of a perfect Sunday morning is going to the barn and cleaning stalls. And while I do this almost every day, there's something reverent about Sunday mornings in the barn. THAT's where I want to be.

Edited to add: I think I do want to go to church. But, more than that I want to WANT TO GO, not go out of some sense of duty. I'm not good with doing things I don't want to do just because that's how it's done.

houndsRus
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:34 AM
If you’re looking for permission not to go to church today here it is, as many have said, don’t go. There are lots of other churches for a good reason; perhaps you have grown beyond the one where you currently attend.
Only you can decide what will bring you closer to Jesus. Though many people go to church for many different reasons, some with a lot of spiritual integrity, some with seemingly very little, to get too caught up in arguments about the church and the people who go there really defeats to the whole point of attending worship. It is a spiritual red herring.
Attending worship is about gratitude, plain and simple. It is about coming together with other grateful people the flawed and broken, the duplicitous and dumb and acknowledging that as imperfect as they all are, and as far short as it all seems to fall some times, God is worthy of our worship and praise exactly because God is greater than all our limitations; and exactly because we have come to know that in our own lives or are praying, hoping to know that very soon.
In all honesty—and this is CLOTH Off Topic Day so all honesty is expected :) — it does not take a whole lot of reliance on Jesus to find God on the back of my horse or in the early fall dawn-dark while unloading at a remote hunt fixture. It does take a whole big lot of prayer and willingness to let Jesus draw me closer to him so that I can find him in the shambles of humanity that is often church.
Jesus retreated to the wilderness only so that he could draw closer to his Father so that he could live a deeper life of love to those who fell so very far short of expectation.
Christ is risen!
hound

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:41 AM
Wow, hounds. THAT was beautiful.

When I had my heart problems a few years ago, I had less than a 50/50 chance of surviving the infection. I put myself in God's hands and accepted that I might not survive. He saw fit to mend my wound and send me back in the ring to fight some more! I have always had a deep faith but since that episode it's like He and I have this special thing going on that doesn't need anybody or anything else.

I agree that church is just big business now and the whole morphing of services is to attract *customers*. That's such a huge turnoff for me. I can't be about faith or religion anymore if it's about money.

Schune
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:42 AM
I am a lifelong atheist. I considered going to church this morning.

But only because I want more reasons to wear my derby/church hat that I bought for a fundraiser last year :lol:

MMacallister
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:47 AM
OP you probably want to go to church because you are directed to in the Bible, however the Church of the Bible and the Church of today are very different. The Church of the Bible is fellowship within your community. So if you get together with friends and relatives and talk about what easter means to the Christian religion, you are still following Gods word and should feel good about it.
Now I have to go put on my church clothes, to continue testing out my new Church :)

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:49 AM
Schune, you wouldn't be the first person to go to church to show off some new clothes! Doubt you'll be the last!

Maybe just to a restaurant brunch, wear the hat and let everyone THINK you went to church. :lol:

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:50 AM
Does it actually say we're supposed to go to church? Spend time in a certain building, doing certain things?

houndsRus
Mar. 31, 2013, 09:56 AM
Ezsuzit,
It is a great grace and blessing that you have known. Thank you for sharing it. Sounds like you are struggling to grow into a faith that was shaped by a very real experience of God’s love and grace. You have a great challenge before you. For today, the question of how you will draw closer to Jesus in gratitude and love remains. For the longer term, perhaps another church would better nurture and support you? Perhaps you are being called to ask Jesus to draw you closer so that you can stay where you are in church and be a witness to a deeper fuller faith and reliance on our risen Lord? Perhaps there is something else Jesus has in mind for you? Remember two things: 1) the graces and blessings, healing and wholeness we receive from God are never for us alone, they are to build up and nurture the Body of Christ, the Church, God’s hurting, struggling people; and 2) God wants only for us what we most deeply desire for ourselves—our calling is where our deepest joy meets the world’s deepest need. Where is God calling you in the midst of this?

hound

MMacallister
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:12 AM
OP you probably want to go to church because you are directed to in the Bible, however the Church of the Bible and the Church of today are very different. The Church of the Bible is fellowship within your community. So if you get together with friends and relatives and talk about what easter means to the Christian religion, you are still following Gods word and should feel good about it.
Now I have to go put on my church clothes, to continue testing out my new Church :)

rustbreeches
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:24 AM
OP I feel your pain. I left a great church when I moved to CO. It was just a little country church, we baptized in the river, but it was great. I too am disappointed in churches where people wear jeans and sing the 7-11 songs. Seven lines, eleven times over. I love the hymns, the doxology, the altar call. But like everybody else has said, there are so many churches because there are so many different tastes. I think to be spiritual it is more important to know why today is important.

We don't go to Easter service because the two local churches band together and do a sunrise service only. My husband has to be on the dairy early every day. He would miss the kids opening their baskets and hunting eggs if I made everybody go to a sunrise service. I think the time spent as a family is just as important as the time spent worshipping.

flowersmom2
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:32 AM
I'm another that is not in church today because my church and I have gone different directions. The last election cycle was very hurtful. I feel that too many Christians in the US are fighting for the wrong things. And forgetting the important words of our Savior about not judging, helping the poor and weak and not flaunting their faith.

I also had a bout with a life threatening illness and the members of my church helped me enormously. But, since then, our pastor has "drunk the koolaid" and made it hard for me to enjoy worship. It is sad, because it is a small, older church with the familiar hymns and traditional service. For a long time, I tried to follow the idea that the church was the people, not the pastor, but I finally could not deal with the direction of the Prayers of the Church and about every other sermon. We have done some church shopping since then, but I haven't gotten any good feeling yet.

So, I'm sitting home instead and this thread is helping me remember what this day is all about.

Christ is risen indeed!!!

hosspuller
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:34 AM
Church is the community of believers. It's meant to support each other in faith and body... Not a building. If you don't get that, you're not in the right church for you.

sk_pacer
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:40 AM
I am certainly missing it deeply this morning. Easter Sunday brings out so many of my favourite hymns and here I am, stuck with a dead truck and a Jeep behind a wall of snow. Later, will fire up the keyboard and have my own service for me and the cats. I would have had my neigbour pick me up but cars can easily get well and truly stuck in the mess here - hard packed snow with a 'frill' of soft, tire-grabbing stuff that people somehow end up driving into and I have to pull them out.

chai
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:40 AM
ezduzit, I agree with you. Mr. Chai is at Church today. He finds great fulfillment in attending but to me it is a more personal thing. Plus the minister I so admired turned out to be a rather chilling sociopath who was caught in a number of lies and deceptions and sent on his way, but not until hurting many people in the Congregation. Then there is the horrible abuse of children in the Catholic Church and the fact that the Cardinal who knew all and did nothing is now living in luxury in Rome. Seems to me he should be answering charges in the city of Boston instead.
So, to me, faith is a personal relationship, but to each, his own. Personally, I've always felt closest to God among my horses and the outdoors.

Perfect10
Mar. 31, 2013, 12:07 PM
OP, maybe a Bible study would be more your style? My mother only occasionally goes to church, mostly for the reasons you've mentioned. She hates the new music and that people don't dress up, and she hates having to say hello to people she's never met. She goes sometimes to hear the message, but she often feels like she doesn't get anything out of what the pastor is preaching. So she has a Bible study with a group of ladies on Thursday mornings, where they work their way through the Bible and do lessons on a section each week. She really enjoys that, because she doesn't feel forced to act a certain way or do a certain thing like she is in church. Of course, you are free to worship your own way. You don't have to go to church if it doesn't bring you closer to God.

CandyHaasch
Mar. 31, 2013, 01:17 PM
Keep "going to church" your own way (listening to the rustling in the grass) and let the other go. Lose the angst. You are not wrong, time has just gone on. (And I missing the dressing up in church, also. And I never go any longer, either.)

MMacallister
Mar. 31, 2013, 02:05 PM
Check out Hebrews 10:24-25. It mostly says to gather to praise him, which is what our version of Church is. That is why I say that getting together at Easter and praising the Lord would work.

Blue Yonder
Mar. 31, 2013, 02:11 PM
Today was a gorgeous, celebratory day. :) Ez, find a new church! There are so many options. Find one that meets your most pressing need (sermon? music? size?) and jump in.....but not to spectate. Jump in to serve others with your own special gift.

Jesus was among people - crowds, throngs, multitudes - to spread his good news; your Christian faith asks more of you than to ponder alone, always. The church is most certainly more than a building or a time, but it also most certainly includes people! (This, by the way, from a self-confessed hermit, so not an easy confession for me to make.)

My Children's Church room was filled to overflowing with fluffy dresses and button-down shirts and CHAOS this morning, and it was my Big Blessing of the day. Not because I love stuffing 40 candied children in my room (:eek:) but because I had the chance to mentor and teach and love on the kids who were there, and to allow their parents to hear the good news. That is my gift.

The cool thing is, we are each equipped with our unique gift! Perhaps finding yours and putting it to work in service to Christ would help make "time together" more appealing? No judgement from me, just a thought.

Truly, best wishes and blessings to you this day. :yes:

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 02:13 PM
There seems to be a common bond connecting us horse lovers. Maybe it is the horse and thru him, the spirituality of Him. For so many of us, it is superior to anything man had dreamed. Maybe belief, faith, worship was never meant to be more than that.

You have all helped me to accept that what *is* isn't for me and what I *wish for* will probably never come back. I loved my days singing in the choir, my teen friends, the community. That was a lifetime ago. One by one I have weeded out the chaf in my life...seems like home, family and horses is all that's left. It's more than most people get. I am blessed.

ezduzit
Mar. 31, 2013, 02:17 PM
Blue Yonder...you hit on a biggie for me. There are no children in this congregation. DH said there was today and you'll see them again at Christmas. But on a regular basis it's just a bunch of old adults going thru the motions. There's no life or vibrancy to it. And it's small...50 people at a service is BIG. So pretty clannish in that they don't understand a senior who rides, hangs out with young people and still loves the thrill of horses. I really have nothing in common with women my age. Except for the horse shows.

I love the kids, their spontaneity, their energy. Hard to find a child who isn't filled with wonder and amazement! I miss that.

twotrudoc
Mar. 31, 2013, 02:40 PM
Oh, I can understand that! But, for me, I am at odds with my church because we do not have strong Christian female mentors and leaders. I also feel that there is no outreach. If and when my house closes, I am visiting a church known for it's strong leadership, women who do more than bake and crafts and preen about when hubby gets back, and it's commitment to a rescue mission. I also understand that there are a lot of hookers about a mile from there, right by the gas station I plan to use. Plenty of opportunity to help and get involved :)

vacation1
Mar. 31, 2013, 06:39 PM
I have so much angst about not going to church. I have a deep and abiding faith, a love for Jesus and our beautiful earth; all the lovely plants and animals on it. What I don't understand is going to church and how that is a holy thing to do; or necessary....I hate that in order to be a *good* Christian, I am expected to get up at a certain time, get to a certain place and follow somebody else's idea of what worship is. How do they know that their way is the *right* way to worship.

I think that if it bothers you, that means you still want some exterior, community-focused structure in your religious life. If you were truly contented to worship in nature or at the barn, you'd be content and this thread wouldn't exist. I don't think we share a religion, but all religions place a great value on the concept of faith. Maybe you're at a point where you need to put faith in the value of doing some things you no longer feel strongly about, like attending services, and persevere in doing them anyway.

Wellspotted
Mar. 31, 2013, 07:09 PM
I can't really add anything to the good replies you've already gotten. They've done me good too, made me feel better about not getting to church today (or any nights during Holy Week this year).

I don't really enjoy being in large crowds even when I know the church building and a lot of the people. Very, very stressful for me to visit an unfamiliar church (which is why I didn't go when friends invited me to go with them to their church on Maundy Thursday this past week).

That said, I can recommend the Episcopal Church. Not each and every parish, of course, but the denomination in general. In my experience, no teleprompters, no hymn words up on the wall, just good traditional hymnals. And no long pause to "say hey to your neighbor," but, as part of the Communion portion of the service, the "Peace," when the priest says to the congregation, "The peace of the Lord be always with you," and the congregation replies, "And also with you," and then turn to each other and say something like "Peace be with you." In my experience, this is NOT a time to exchange news, ask after family members, etc.; it is JUST an "exchange of peace." You say "Peace be with you," shake hands, and that is IT. Very peaceful!

skydy
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:21 PM
I am a lifelong atheist. I considered going to church this morning.

But only because I want more reasons to wear my derby/church hat that I bought for a fundraiser last year :lol:

Here's your song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wogta8alHiU

Sannois
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:34 PM
I am not going and I'm about the biggest newest Jesus loving born again Christian you may know :)

A good church is worth its weight in gold. I go, when I go, to fellowship and pitch in where.needed. Church is not meant to be the only time you "act good", dress up and put on a showy grandstand so everyone can see how religious you are ;). God isn't real fond of that either.

Church should teach you the Word and bring you together with other Christians who support, encourage you but also can hold you accountable.

Have a good Resurrection Day, God bless.
Me too! Although my faith is very new found.
I have not met anyone that I can really talk to about Jesus and I am just not sure what church would even be right for me.
I continue to read the bible, and some wonderful books that a fellow Cother recommended to me.

Abberlaze
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:48 PM
Church is the community of believers. It's meant to support each other in faith and body... Not a building. If you don't get that, you're not in the right church for you.

Yes, Yes, 1000x yes.

I moved last year and it took almost 6 months of "church shopping" before I finally found a church that I loved & connected with. And it was not even on my list of original options (I'm an ethnic minority in the church and didn't consider it initially). I was seeking a church that was biblically conservative with a young worship-style and active small groups. My new church is AWESOME!! But I had to awkwardly attend a lot of new services before I found it. I tried to attend the one my friends went to for several weeks, but the pastor was flippant about some issues I think are important in the bible and finally had to recognize that I should not go to a church just because my friends go there.

I guarantee the church you are looking for exists, but it may take you a while to find it. Be patient & pray!

shea'smom
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:49 PM
I am a life long Catholic. We have a very ritualized mass, saying the same things every time. Sometimes I like it and sometimes it annoys me.
Also, the music at my church stinks. Catholic hymns are horrible and draggy.
The priest, god love him, is not a good speaker.
I'd rather sit on my couch and watch that joel guy on TV.
Add to that the church handed out leaflets on how to vote if you were a good Catholic.... so apparently i am not.
I would love to see the Catholic church accept gay marriage, or at least gay PEOPLE.
so there ya go.
fed horse by myself this morning and thought about Jesus at 3:00 on Good Friday.

twotrudoc
Mar. 31, 2013, 10:56 PM
Me too! Although my faith is very new found.
I have not met anyone that I can really talk to about Jesus and I am just not sure what church would even be right for me.
I continue to read the bible, and some wonderful books that a fellow Cother recommended to me.

How long? 4 years and 3 or so months for me :)

leheath
Mar. 31, 2013, 11:11 PM
I am an atheist and go to church as many Sundays as I can! I always envied several of my friends who really benefit (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) from attending various Christian churches, but am not hypocritical enough to attend and pretend I believe. Through a COTH Off-Topic Post last year, I discovered a local Unitarian Universalist church and have attended nearly every Sunday since my first visit. The minister is an atheist as well as an excellent, intelligent, educated speaker. I have gotten something out of every sermon he has given and if I miss one I read it online. I have also met many people from all walks of life and they have all been welcoming. There are lots of small groups that get together to do things that I find stimulating and valuable. Thankfully, there is no teleprompter (!) and we sing songs/hymns from all different cultures and faiths (I love music). I have finally found a community of people who I can interact with spiritually who share my values of openness, inclusivity, and taking action to make the world a better place. There are no prayers in the service, no mindless recitations of words, lots of children (and a children's story before they go to their classes), and meditation. Some days I wear jeans and some days I dress up - other attendees also span that spectrum and this suits me just fine (I dress this way in all areas of my life!).

I suspect you are looking for this type of community and interaction with people - often we don't even know that is what we are missing until we find it. I feel very blessed to have finally found it. It is out there - you just need to search for it. Until you find, don't feel guilty about not going to the right church - if it isn't filling your needs, it isn't worth your time. But do keep looking for the right one - when you find it, it will feel right.

Sannois
Apr. 1, 2013, 07:39 AM
How long? 4 years and 3 or so months for me :)
A year this is Easter! :yes:

Event4Life
Apr. 1, 2013, 11:44 AM
This thread has inspired me to get off my bum and start searching again. Its hard, because I've moved 4x in nearly 2 years and only in one of those places did I find a church that truly fulfilled my needs. They had it right, by holding fast to tradition but allowing for new traditions while focusing on the spirit and community of church, rather than going through the motions. I haven't been able to find that happy balance since then. I need the tradition of hymns, communion, the doxology, and baptisms but I'm looking for that combined with forward thinking. It seems like the two don't go hand in hand often. I looked and looked in the last place I lived but never quite found what I was looking for. I suppose that experience disheartened me from starting the search again only 6 months later. I did go to church at Easter, but that was at my parents so I can't go there every Sunday. I will start the search again though!

Mosey_2003
Apr. 1, 2013, 11:55 AM
Now see, I would look forward to going to church MORE if there weren't children! :lol: I've noticed myself (and I'm a recent Catholic convert, if that matters) that I really don't 'feel like' going to church, but after I go I feel glad that I did. Perhaps you just haven't found the right spot, either physically or emotionally, to want to go to church. It's certainly not a crime. Well, unless you're Catholic, it's a sin for us not to go weekly ;)

talkofthetown
Apr. 1, 2013, 01:49 PM
Ok, I haven't read all the responses, this is just my view on things:

Try a different church. If that doesn't do it for you, try a different denomination. Seriously. If your thoughts are that we can all find God, just do it different ways, then why not? Sounds like your current church might just be a little off-base. Church should be about following what the Bible says, no matter what. Not about politics or tradition or what have you..

I am an avid church-goer, DH and I are there every Sunday and every Wednesday. I respect people's different opinions on these matters, I just don't necessarily agree with them. A lot of people say "I'm a good Christian, I obey God, I just don't go to church". To me, you can't seperate those. Going to church IS obeying God.

Again, I am NOT trying to criticize or judge, that's the Big Man's job;) This is just how I interpret the Bible...

We don't go to church to prove anything, we don't go just to dress up once a week, we go because a) the Bible talks about meeting regularly, and not forsaking the congregation; and b) you surround yourselves with the people you most want to be like. Could we try and live good, Christian lives on our own? Sure. But, it's a heck of a lot easier to stay true to that if you've got a church family to help support you. Being a Christian means trying to be like Jesus, in every way possible. Which in turn means loving each other, loving His people (christians), and if you love them, you want to be around them. It's like family. It's having those relationships to help you, as well as leaning on you when they need it.

Not at all saying that you can't be a good person if you don't go to church. Also not saying that if you're friends with people who don't believe, then they aren't good enough friends. Just saying that if you belive in God, if you're feeling a pull to be at church, then I don't think that's coincidence. I think you should listen to your gut.

Sannois
Apr. 1, 2013, 03:24 PM
I wish I could find sincere like minded people to talk about Things with,
I would not know where to being to look for a good small church, not that we do not have a ton of churches around me.

talkofthetown
Apr. 1, 2013, 03:47 PM
I wish I could find sincere like minded people to talk about Things with,
I would not know where to being to look for a good small church, not that we do not have a ton of churches around me.

Same way you find a vet, a hair dresser, the best coffee shops.....ask around.

Spotted Pony
Apr. 1, 2013, 04:41 PM
...
Church should be about following what the Bible says, no matter what. Not about politics or tradition or what have you..
...I am an avid church-goer, DH and I are there every Sunday and every Wednesday. I respect people's different opinions on these matters, I just don't necessarily agree with them. A lot of people say "I'm a good Christian, I obey God, I just don't go to church". To me, you can't seperate those. Going to church IS obeying God.

.

I've read through all the replies and agree with almost everyone. The above, from Talkofthetown, is what irritates me the most about organized religion. I can not reconcile the "do what the bible says" and the "politics and traditions" that every organized church follow. Why should I be told I am not obeying God when I do not get the same interpretation of the Bible as another might?

Event4Life
Apr. 1, 2013, 04:43 PM
There are tons of churches here too (yay South!) its just that they are all massive (like congregations of 500+) modern types. I know some people LOVE those. I went to one where I last lived because it was the closest I could find to what I was looking for, but I wasn't loving it & inspired & actually counting down the days until Sunday and Tuesday (yes, literally) like I did in Paris. Then the smaller more traditional churches seem to be the exact opposite end of the spectrum. I probably just need to start with one of those and see where I end up.

cowboymom
Apr. 1, 2013, 04:54 PM
My favorite church is my MIL's extremely conservative old-school Catholic church. I think there is a technical term for them but they think the Pope is way too liberal! I'm not remotely Catholic but I loved the service, women had to wear a dress and cover their heads and the entire service is in Latin. No chitchatting, you can go to church and never have to hug a stranger or sing a song or even talk to another person. It's pomp and circumstance and tradition and beautiful to me.

We have a local church that is very social and hand-shaking and song singing and I just don't like it. I like church sometimes for the sermon and the old hymns, not the new religious songs that are so repetitive and all sound alike.

I did find that the Methodist church here has a much older crowd and they have more the service that I like. I think the younger people and families instill the social aspects and the older groups are more formal. I like church to be formal.

Usually though we do find it out in the mountains with the horses and kids...

Sannois
Apr. 1, 2013, 05:07 PM
Same way you find a vet, a hair dresser, the best coffee shops.....ask around.
Well I just do not think it is the same. Churches are different. I do not know many folks and well, I am good reading the bible and praying in my garden.

talkofthetown
Apr. 1, 2013, 05:08 PM
I've read through all the replies and agree with almost everyone. The above, from Talkofthetown, is what irritates me the most about organized religion. I can not reconcile the "do what the bible says" and the "politics and traditions" that every organized church follow. Why should I be told I am not obeying God when I do not get the same interpretation of the Bible as another might?

As I said, I respect people's different opinions and interpretations. But I also feel that some things in the Bible are black and white, solid, and other things are a little more grey, open to different meanings. I personaly think that going to church is one of the black and white things. If you interpret that differently, cool, that's your decision. Now, if you're sick, or tired, or out of town, or whatever, I don't think it's a big deal if you don't make it every single week. I just disagree with the absolute "I will not go to church ever because I don't feel like it" mentality.

talkofthetown
Apr. 1, 2013, 05:11 PM
Well I just do not think it is the same. Churches are different. I do not know many folks and well, I am good reading the bible and praying in my garden.

Yeah, church is absolutely different. Just trying to be helpful; you stated that you didn't know where to start in seeking a church. Asking a friend or co-worker where they go can be just as beneficial as randomly picking a church you drive by. Either way, the only way you'll know is by visiting, shopping around, seeing what you like/dislike.

paulaedwina
Apr. 1, 2013, 05:26 PM
Sometimes the church will come to you. I belong to a Liberal Quaker Meeting -worship is traditional (sitting in silence), but the community is very diverse and embraces everyone. Nothing wrong with that, but the risk here (as far as I was concerned) was that it was too easy to be a Quaker -there were no demands made of me, there was no chafing; and the community was not very close -everybody was doing their own thing.

I live in rural PA and dress Plain. There are many Plain communities out here and I wanted to feel like I belonged to Friends like they felt they belonged to their communities. One day coming back from Chambersburg I saw a new sign outside a church that had been sitting idle for a while. It was the Dunkard Brethren. So I visited and attend regularly. I still go to Meeting in Frederick, but also attend this church.

So seek and ye shall find.
Paula

Tiger Horse
Apr. 1, 2013, 05:52 PM
I am a life long Catholic. We have a very ritualized mass, saying the same things every time. Sometimes I like it and sometimes it annoys me.
Also, the music at my church stinks. Catholic hymns are horrible and draggy.
The priest, god love him, is not a good speaker.
I'd rather sit on my couch and watch that joel guy on TV.
Add to that the church handed out leaflets on how to vote if you were a good Catholic.... so apparently i am not.
I would love to see the Catholic church accept gay marriage, or at least gay PEOPLE.
so there ya go.
fed horse by myself this morning and thought about Jesus at 3:00 on Good Friday.

As am I. Catholic grade school, catholic high school. Whoever thought I would miss nuns?! Other things I miss: the mass in Latin - it was beautiful and mysterious, marble floors and wooden pews, kneeling instead of standing. I want majesty and mystery, not the dumbed down version of today's mass and church. I am also at odds with a lot of what my church does/has done. Lots of their positions don't seem very "Christian like". I ride on Sunday morning and say my prayers in the saddle. I think God is OK with that.

skydy
Apr. 1, 2013, 07:48 PM
One day coming back from Chambersburg I saw a new sign outside a church that had been sitting idle for a while. It was the Dunkard Brethren.

Just had to say , I misread Dunkard Brethren as Drunkard Brethren and thought to myself, hmmm..they must have interesting Sundays! :lol:

Miss T
Apr. 2, 2013, 11:10 AM
I have really enjoyed this thread. I, like many others, do not attend church but consider myself Christian. The one thing that I find really strange: why do so many people say that they want people to dress up for church? I do not have "dress-up" clothes for my regular life - just no reason to have them. Why would I buy something that I can't afford to only wear it to church? And even if I did have those kind of clothes in my closet, why is that important? I think that this is the kind of attitude that keeps a lot of people AWAY from church. I don't think that what you are wearing matters to God.
Just curious.

Sannois
Apr. 2, 2013, 11:48 AM
I have really enjoyed this thread. I, like many others, do not attend church but consider myself Christian. The one thing that I find really strange: why do so many people say that they want people to dress up for church? I do not have "dress-up" clothes for my regular life - just no reason to have them. Why would I buy something that I can't afford to only wear it to church? And even if I did have those kind of clothes in my closet, why is that important? I think that this is the kind of attitude that keeps a lot of people AWAY from church. I don't think that what you are wearing matters to God.
Just curious.
I have always wondered that too, I am pretty sure God does not care how we look, He more cares what is in our hearts. Church should not be a fashion show, and if it is, Are the people really there to worship our lord and learn more?

Mosey_2003
Apr. 2, 2013, 11:55 AM
I think dressing nicely is a sign of respect. But, as it was explained to me, wearing your "Sunday Best" means literally that, you wear the best outfit you possess/can afford. If nothing else, clean and serviceable. It's not supposed to mean the best that money can buy so that you can show off, just the best you can do.

gully's pilot
Apr. 2, 2013, 12:15 PM
I'm Catholic, and I find deep meaning in attending Mass--the sacrament of the Eucharist is really important to me. I would like it if our music were better!

Mosey_2003
Apr. 2, 2013, 12:19 PM
My problem with the music at mass is that our choir is all, erm, well-seasoned age wise, and they just *cannot* all get on the same page, and it makes me giggle when I know I shouldn't be, and then I feel ashamed :lol:

Dramapony_misty
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:32 PM
I have really enjoyed this thread. I, like many others, do not attend church but consider myself Christian. The one thing that I find really strange: why do so many people say that they want people to dress up for church? I do not have "dress-up" clothes for my regular life - just no reason to have them. Why would I buy something that I can't afford to only wear it to church? And even if I did have those kind of clothes in my closet, why is that important? I think that this is the kind of attitude that keeps a lot of people AWAY from church. I don't think that what you are wearing matters to God.
Just curious.

I sort of find "dressing up" for church along the same lines as having a clean horse with nice braids and clean tack at a horse show to show respect to the judge, the show committee, and my fellow competitors. Dressing up for church shows respect to the Lord, to the minister, and to the congregation. By "dressing up" I mean dress slacks and a nice shirt...not a fancy dress and hat with white lace gloves of yore. Maybe it is my mother's view pounded into me, but I just cannot feel comfortable wearing jeans to church.

Miss T
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:36 PM
I think dressing nicely is a sign of respect. But, as it was explained to me, wearing your "Sunday Best" means literally that, you wear the best outfit you possess/can afford. If nothing else, clean and serviceable. It's not supposed to mean the best that money can buy so that you can show off, just the best you can do.

I understand the respect aspect as far as behaviour. I am really trying to understand how the way you dress has anything to do with respect for God or Jesus. The best I possess are jeans (clean and not ragged) and T shirts. There are some people who would take that as a sign of disrespect.
I was just really surprised at the number of people who mentioned this as something they do not like about church. For me, it is completely the opposite. I don't want others to look down on me (and we all know there are "those" people) because my way of dress does not measure up to their standards.
As I said, it doesn't matter because I do not attend church anyway. For me, the bigger obstacle is services in the morning - early at that!

paulaedwina
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:39 PM
Funny thing about dressing up. I embraced the Quaker testimony for simplicity so strongly that I do not dress up anymore period. I wear simple clothes for everything; so the dress you'll find wearing in Meeting is the dress you'll find me wearing to work, to the movies, to walk my dog, etc. Pretty much my only other attire is riding breeches. And I wear a covering. For me there was no day-of-church. As corny as it sounds, worship became something I tried to live every day. But that's a Quaker thing -making an act every day instead of special. Which is why, for instance, we won't "swear to tell the truth" in court.

Paula

Mosey_2003
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:46 PM
I see a difference between 'dressing nicely' and 'dressing up'. The people that would look down on you for not having 'fancy' clothes are in the wrong.

quietann
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:50 PM
I am a lifelong atheist. I considered going to church this morning.

But only because I want more reasons to wear my derby/church hat that I bought for a fundraiser last year :lol:

More or less agnostic, and Jewish, here.

This reminds me of how I used to go to the midnight Christmas service at the big UU church in San Diego... not because I really believed any of it, but because the choir was unbelievably talented and riveting even to a non-believer. (Sadly, much of the choir lost their lives to AIDS....)

Dramapony_misty
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:52 PM
I understand the respect aspect as far as behaviour. I am really trying to understand how the way you dress has anything to do with respect for God or Jesus. The best I possess are jeans (clean and not ragged) and T shirts. There are some people who would take that as a sign of disrespect.


I know I'm going to sound judgey, but I'm mostly just flabbergasted...How in the world can someone live without at least 1 nice shirt (button down, sweater, polo...anything non-Tee) and a pair of dress slacks or khakis? What happens at funerals? Weddings? Any sort of special event that calls for a bit more formal dress. :confused:

Wellspotted
Apr. 2, 2013, 03:55 PM
Does it actually say we're supposed to go to church? Spend time in a certain building, doing certain things?

The Bible says to not forsake gathering ourselves together.

And I think that's a good point--WE are the church. Not the building. The original Church met in each other's homes.

I love what ezduzit wrote about the special feeling of being at the barn on Sunday mornings.

Makes perfect sense to me, seeing as how the One whom people go to church to worship was born in a stable! One Christmas Eve when I went riding and then had to leave to go to church and dinner with family I didn't much want to be with that night, I put Blaze in his stall and stayed in there awhile visiting with him, not wanting to leave. He was eating his hay, and I squatted down to pet him and found myself listening to his munching and to all the stable sounds. And I realized that those are the sounds of Christmas Eve. I have always thought bells, organ music, etc. And they are ... but how much more so are the quiet peaceful comforting sounds of all creatures in a stable.

talkofthetown
Apr. 2, 2013, 05:22 PM
Wellspotted, my church used to literally be an old barn. So, so lucky to have had that experience...quaint little white barn that was converted into a chapel.

When we outgrew the building, though, we moved into al old bar/pool hall, so maybe it's just us :lol:

Wellspotted
Apr. 2, 2013, 06:19 PM
As I said, I respect people's different opinions and interpretations. But I also feel that some things in the Bible are black and white, solid, and other things are a little more grey, open to different meanings. I personaly think that going to church is one of the black and white things. If you interpret that differently, cool, that's your decision. Now, if you're sick, or tired, or out of town, or whatever, I don't think it's a big deal if you don't make it every single week. I just disagree with the absolute "I will not go to church ever because I don't feel like it" mentality.

I do not know where in the Bible it says "go to church." The church, after all, is people, not a building.
OK, if a building with columns and a steeple is where the people gather, then gather there by all means, but it could as easily be someone's home, back yard, barn, a restaurant ...

I mean, if you're going to talk Bible, then talk about where it says you have to go to church.

talkofthetown
Apr. 3, 2013, 10:30 AM
The Bible says to not forsake gathering ourselves together.

And I think that's a good point--WE are the church. Not the building. The original Church met in each other's homes.



I do not know where in the Bible it says "go to church." The church, after all, is people, not a building.
OK, if a building with columns and a steeple is where the people gather, then gather there by all means, but it could as easily be someone's home, back yard, barn, a restaurant ...

I mean, if you're going to talk Bible, then talk about where it says you have to go to church.


Wellspotted, my church used to literally be an old barn. So, so lucky to have had that experience...quaint little white barn that was converted into a chapel.

When we outgrew the building, though, we moved into al old bar/pool hall, so maybe it's just us :lol:

See above what I said about the old barn...

We're arguing the same point here. When I said the Bible tells us to go to church, I did not say "The Bible says we are to meet in a building with columns and a steeple." I meant it tells us to meet together regularly. My church family chooses to meet in a building, so I choose to meet regularly with them; I cannot help where that building is, or what it looks like, or the fact that thousands of years ago, they met in homes.

talkofthetown
Apr. 3, 2013, 10:33 AM
The Bible says to not forsake gathering ourselves together.

And I think that's a good point--WE are the church. Not the building. The original Church met in each other's homes.



I do not know where in the Bible it says "go to church." The church, after all, is people, not a building.
OK, if a building with columns and a steeple is where the people gather, then gather there by all means, but it could as easily be someone's home, back yard, barn, a restaurant ...

I mean, if you're going to talk Bible, then talk about where it says you have to go to church.


Wellspotted, my church used to literally be an old barn. So, so lucky to have had that experience...quaint little white barn that was converted into a chapel.

When we outgrew the building, though, we moved into al old bar/pool hall, so maybe it's just us :lol:

See above what I said about the old barn...

We're arguing the same point here. When I said the Bible tells us to go to church, I did not say "The Bible says we are to meet in a building with columns and a steeple." I meant it tells us to meet together regularly. My church family chooses to meet in a building, so I choose to meet regularly with them; I cannot help where that building is, or what it looks like, or the fact that thousands of years ago, they met in homes.

In response to your request for sticking to what the Bible says:

Hebrews 10:25
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

4cornersfarm
Apr. 3, 2013, 10:56 AM
it souinds to me like you just need another church. Good luck with the music though. We that prefer the hymns are being left in the dust.:sadsmile:

This was one of my biggest complaints, when we were still going to church. I love the old hymns.

4cornersfarm
Apr. 3, 2013, 11:11 AM
I was raised a Southern Baptist (in New Hampshire, no less.) Very strict, very conservative. But as time went on in my adulthood, I saw more and more hatred, exclusion (and child abuse) going on in church and began to feel uncomfortable with it. I still have faith, but I am reluctant to go to church. The last church we were attending, when my husband lost his job and we were struggling financially, one of the elder deacon type women came to visit me at home and told me I had to "get rid of" all my horses. I was teaching lessons and boarding to help make ends meet. That was enough of that church. I don't like the hate radiating off of so many of the places we visit. The "holier than thou" attitude. The looks we get because we're not there every weekend (hard to go to church when you're competing on a Sunday.) I would love to find a place where we are welcome, where they preach love instead of hate, where it's okay if you can't be there every time the building is open, where they sing real hymns, where nobody cares if you don't wear fancy clothes. :( It probably won't be Southern Baptist, maybe not even Baptist. But it's so hard to even visit without feeling unwelcome. I hate the judgemental attitude. :no: Sigh.

4cornersfarm
Apr. 3, 2013, 11:22 AM
Just had to say , I misread Dunkard Brethren as Drunkard Brethren and thought to myself, hmmm..they must have interesting Sundays! :lol:

I read it that way too, but figured maybe it had something to do with AA. :)

paulaedwina
Apr. 3, 2013, 01:15 PM
LOL! It's particularly funny when you think of how conservative they are. Dunkards are so-called because of the practice of immersion baptism.

4corners, you are going to run into this wherever you go. The secret is to accept the imperfectness of humans. Then they stop disappointing you as you realize we're all on the same journey. You know you're not going to find a church where none of these issues occur.

Paula

Wellspotted
Apr. 3, 2013, 10:14 PM
See above what I said about the old barn...

We're arguing the same point here. When I said the Bible tells us to go to church, I did not say "The Bible says we are to meet in a building with columns and a steeple." I meant it tells us to meet together regularly. My church family chooses to meet in a building, so I choose to meet regularly with them; I cannot help where that building is, or what it looks like, or the fact that thousands of years ago, they met in homes.

In response to your request for sticking to what the Bible says:

Hebrews 10:25
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

Point taken, talkofthetown. :yes:

One barn I visited used to hold worship services on occasional Sunday mornings. Outdoors, with cats in laps and horses in nearby pastures, some music, some sharing (what I heard of the services reminded me of what I have read of Quaker meetings), and then the Biblically-based common meal. I would love to visit such a service again sometimes.