Family Business | Spiritual Issues

What’s the point?

July 29, 2008

When was the last time you went to church and actually walked away refreshed and encouraged.  When was the last time you were actively pursued and welcomed beyond, “Hi! How are you?” when they won’t even meet your gaze and are looking at the person behind you before they’ve even let go of your hand in their perfunctory greeting.

And if these things are happening?  What services do you provide for your church that would make you such a valuable asset you are worth the time, effort and resources of the “group”?

It’s so sad.  We are in a state of “flux” right now.  The Mr. says we are “in between” and I say we’re in No Man’s Land.   I have no desire whatsoever to go to church.   I’m not a cog in the machine and as such I have no intrinsic value.   I’m new so they can’t rely on my “generous giving” and after a few visits I’m just a “drain on resources”.  Overlooked, undervalued and invisible.

Not that I complain about invisible right now.

But if I want to hear a great message surrounded by people with whom I share a common goal, vision and love?  I stay home and play some guy off the internet.

I have several good friends that I can talk to about the Lord, and we do, on a regular basis.  I’m part of a women’s study group and we have a weekly worship service in our living room to complement our daily (most days) family devotions.

Tell me again why we need more?  If I want to be alternately ignored or used?  I can go to work for that.  At least I get paid to do the bidding of whoever is in charge.   And it’s work I like.  At church?  There’s no telling where I’d end up and if it doesn’t fit my skill-set, passions or interests?  I’m just not willing to be a “joyful servant” or I am not “content in whatsoever state ” I find myself in.

I prefer my weekends open and quiet.  Big brunch on Sunday and naps on Saturday.  My kids are happier, my house is cleaner and my business runs better.   For me?  At this juncture?  Church would be an imposition on my life.   I like being completely self-absorbed and focused on my kids and husband.   I care for my close friends but the rest?

Couldn’t care less.

Is it burn out? Cynicism?  Hurt? Reality?  I am SICK to death of the Church Game.   And, frankly?  I could stay benched for the rest of my life and I don’t think I’d care.

But don’t tell Rick… Oh. The I Told You So I’m going to get!!!!

  • That last line made me laugh!

    I completely understand where you are coming from. 🙂

  • I would never say that. I really wouldn’t. I remember when I was a building believer and people would do, what we have done, I would think they were out of their minds. I’m just thrilled that you are seeing what I think God is doing. I don’t believe you are “in between”. I think you’ve lived “In between” and have now found what “Freedom in Christ” is all about.
    Is is more difficult? Yes, in many ways it is. Is it richer than anything? Yes. I’m not hurt, I’m not burned out? I just want what you want….a real relationship with God, His son and the Holy Spirit. We are still part of the church. We just don’t have to go to a building to celebrate that.
    Let me recommend a great book. It’s not theology but I think there is so much prophetic insight in this book. It’s called “The Shack”.
    Now, go enjoy God.

  • What if someday we all get to Heaven and discover that half or three quarters of what we did, we didn’t have to do?

  • One thing to keep in mind….use discernment when talking of these things with those who are still in the institution. People don’t understand but it doesn’t mean they won’t. Also, we love the church and consider ourselves part of the body we just don’t like the club.

  • Big Cat

    My wife and I go for a number of reasons, none of which rely on the actions of others to affirm why we go. That said, I understand where you’re at because I’ve been there and am in fact ‘there’ now to some extent. Personally I am compelled by “do not forsake the fellowship of the brethren” to a fairly large degree. Fortunately, we have a small group of friends that we worship with that make ‘dealing’ with the rest more palatable. The reality is I’ve NEVER attended any church that doesn’t have issues similar to those you’ve chronicled recently. That’s likely because all churches are full of sinners who fall far short of anything resembling Christ’s example. Thankfully there are always a few who inspire with their servants hearts and sincere attitudes of grace. They aren’t always the most visible or outgoing but they always seem to be there in the mix. Sometimes they are hard to find in the chaos that can be the church but if you look for them its been my experience that they are there surrounded by a spiritual calm. It is those that help me keep a sembalance of equilibrium when the buffeting begins, and it will inevitably begin.

    Being a musician you might relate to this analagy: It’s easy to start a band, but its nearly imposible to keep one together because musicians are nortorious for being so opinionated about their music. Getting more then two to agree on anything is like pulling teeth. I think churches are like that in a lot of ways. Everyone has an idea of what church means to them and how things should be done. When things aren’t done the way we like its really easy to just walk away. I’m not implying that you’re leaving for trivial or selfish reasons, just saying that quiting is easy because it aleaviates(sp?) the irritation. I know you’re a prayer warrior so I encourage you to continue to seek God’s guidance for your family through this time. You have my prayers also for the decisions you will be making.

  • Kris

    You know I don’t speak up much here on your blog, but you have touched on something that is close to my heart right now as well. I feel very much as you do, but for different reasons…or are they, really? I don’t know. I guess one of the things that hurts the most is that I thought we had “friends”, people we invested in and cared for. But when the day has come and gone, no calls, no letters, no e-mails. They don’t even seem to know were gone and it’s been three months. Sigh…Like you, God and I are having our own church. I miss ‘the gathering’ of those who are truly wanting to seek God and feel the Holy Spirit’s presence, to ask Him to meet with us – to sit at the foot of The Throne collectively and just love on our Heavenly Father…and each other. It has been sooo long since I was in a fellowship like that. Why can’t we just have church? It doesn’t seem so much to ask for when you wake up on a Sunday (Saturday) with expectations…but still the emptiness grows as each weekend passes. My time alone with Him is sweet, but I am afraid, not enough for me…the search continues…

  • Maybe that discontentment you’re feeling with that church is actually the Holy Spirit telling you something: He’s uncomfortable there too.

  • I’ve heard the “don’t forsake the fellowship of the Brothers” argument a lot in my day. Fellowship comes in many different flavors. I wonder how God sees fellowship. I read somewhere where it says “two or more”. I wonder if us discussing issues on the internet constitutes a church? Boy, so many unanswered questions. That’s what I love about God……He has no walls or boxes to stick us in.

  • True, Rick, and there’s no way we’re going to be able to ‘box’ God, especially within four walls of a church building. 🙂

  • Well said.

  • Wow, I can really relate to a lot of what you said here. My hubby and I have came to a similar conclusion after being taken advantage of. Long story there… You can still obtain ‘fellowship’ outside of a church setting, I believe. And then you take the man up front with the unchecked ego out of the picture. I like the discussion going on in your comments here, I especially like that it stands out that no matter what we can still have a personal relationship with Jesus. Thank god He’s not ‘cliquey’.

    And, to make a long comment longer, church should not be such a struggle that it becomes a distraction. Because, guess what? Then your REALLY taking the focus off of God, when you could do that just as easily by yourself without the annoying ‘help’ of others. Sorry to get ‘preachy’ on your comments when I am fairly new around here…

  • Serena

    My husband and I stopped going to church about 10 years ago. Three and a half years ago we found a small Torah-observant congregation and enjoyed it for just a short while and it folded. Then two years ago we found another and it seemed so good, but it is folding, too. We are holding onto the friendships formed, and in evaluating what is happening, we see that really it was church repackaged. What is my favorite definition of “insanity”? Insanity is continuing to do the same things, expecting different results. We really are content in sticking more to home and having informal times of fellowship. I don’t know if before Messiah comes if there truly is a safe place to park ourselves.

    Love and shalom,

  • I think the thing we have to be careful of is not to be too critical of “The Club”. The church, well it’s all of us. We don’t want to, and I’m not saying anyone is, slam the church. We have no conception of what God is aiming at, and as we go on it gets more and more vague. I wrote a blog on this on my website I don’t want to rework it so if you’re curious visit there.
    I think one of the biggest traps is we have our own idea of what the Christian Life should be. We try to figure out “What God’s Purpose is”. We say I’m meant to this or that. The club buys into this as well. We find “Ministry” for people when our ministry should be “Our entire life”. We wonder what special work God has called us to and we go and do that thing. The problem is the Big Compelling of God remains unanswered. He called us to live in relationship with Him. Part of that is living with others. But lets allow Him to define what that looks like. Man, that sure is a lot better than trying to do it myself.
    I ramble but love this topic.