leaving church, part 1

no, i haven’t done that yet, though some days it’s still sorely tempting.

this question has been posed: why do we need church?

someone has likened his relationship with the church to a “bad marriage” with more lows than highs, and just when you’re ready to bail, you remember why you fell in love in the first place and you stay. i think of my relationship with the church more like cox and jordan’s relationship on scrubs. they can’t be married to each other, but they can’t stand not to be together.

but that doesn’t answer the question. needing church is something altogether different. and maybe that’s tied in to how we define church…so let me try to start there.

church: a community of faith with similar basic beliefs; ideally the community provides opportunities for spiritual growth and service to others.

so why do we…why do i need church?

i need to be challenged to grow spiritually, to have other perspectives, to have the support of a community loving people…i need the resources of the organization to make the connections to needs that i can meet, to have access to a little more money to that end…i need a place to call home because church was that for me for so long.

now though, i’m the one doing the challenging, pushing people to think…and there’s certainly a place and a need for that in church at this point because there hasn’t been much of that for a long time. but challenging the church to move from where it’s at doesn’t typically meet my spiritual needs…so i go to a coffee shop on wednesday nights for an hour to be with a different kind of church, one not bound by the institution and the sacred cows that are so prevalent. it’s there that i experience a more ideal church…the kind of church i need.

however, my new church lacks something of the old one (both of which i attend regularly)…an intergenerational perspective. there’s wisdom across and among the ages and though the more postmodern/emergent older than us person is hard to come by, they are out there somewhere. why do you think the median age at CUDS is higher than expected?

be that as it may, neither place is perfect. one is certainly more ideal. both are a work in progress and i’m not giving up on either. far from it.

but read on…because i’ve done some reading and there are a couple of things that really resonated with me earlier this week.

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