I have been reading Rachel Evans’ personal blog entries about why she left the Church in her 20s and why she returned at 30. Links are here.
I must admit to some empathetic nods as I read her entries. The comments on her blog from others are just as invaluable to read.
It makes me stop and analyze my own thoughts on the subject. The below questions are sifted through two truths in which I firmly believe: 1) My relationship with Christ is not affected by my struggle to find comfort in a church community and 2) I believe Christ intended us to function most effectively as a collective body of believers.
These are some of the thoughts I’ve had over the years in trying to discern a church home… (and some echoes from the comments on Rachel’s blog)…
* I have a small blog and a small readership. Is that the only way to create change of thought when it comes to the inseparable link between Christ’s mission and social issues of today? Wouldn’t my single voice be louder if combined with a larger body of similarly-minded advocates?
* Where is my iron being sharpened? I am seldom challenged to think differently and more broadly when I too often surround myself with those who think so similarly.
* Rachel lists Anne Lamott as a reason she returned to church. How can I be a conduit to the hunger for a return to a faith community in others?
* Echo: It seems the immediate societal assumption is that all Christians are Republicans.
* Throughout my lifetime of church attendance, I have felt more like an odd duck at church than a similar creature with my pew-mates. Our political positions have been so dissimilar in output (although, most likely, very similar in root intention).
* Are the majority of my relational interactions in life face to face or screen to screen?
* Echo: What services does my church provide (meals to the homeless, for example) that I cannot provide on my own (to the same extent) but can more effectively contribute to as a Body?
* I do not believe it is merely a trend that has led believers away from group worship. However, I also can’t put my finger on the exact reasons why (only contributing factors of our current culture and social media interactions.) But how do we fix the mass exodus? Should it be fixed? And how can I participate in the Change rather than the Complaint?
* The elitism (both perceived and real) of the Religious can only be defeated by the participation of more dusty and damaged peoples, such as myself.
* How do we justify coming and going from church without any authentic human interaction with others as a better alternative to catching the podcast online later in the week?
* When does a church feel like home? Like your own? When is it that the church body are the people that you turn to for encouragement and support? When do you feel like you’re contributing and feeding into someone else’s journey?
* Logistically, who will perform my funeral someday?
* Eric is funny on podcast. But even funnier in person.
* If I don’t feel an acceptance/kinship/friendship with others in the church, how do I go about finding that? Or do I just plug on in that church anyway?
* Why do so many Christians feel loneliest within the boundaries of the church, then anywhere else during their week?
* What if I would rather participate in the men’s group functions than the women’s group? Why is there a delineation?
* Echo: my gay friends need for me to attend.
* My Story might be helpful. Your Story enlightens my walk. Community is where the two coincide.
* Are some personalities more prone to feelings of Church Alienation while others easily fit in?
* I know what choices I’m making that keep me at a distance. What I struggle with is finding the motivation to overcome them. Or, quite frankly, the person who would be willing to lend me a hand out.
Do you struggle with Church involvement? I know many of you are firmly rooted in your church. But surely I am not the only one who struggles with authentic Faith Connections. Maybe I will just hear crickets. Maybe, however, someone else has questions about this subject as well. Can we try to sort through it together?