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Monday, May 31, 2010

Warning! Christianity - read at your peril.

Church. It's almost old-fashioned - all those musty-smelling school halls with rows of hard, bony school seats, children's artwork tacked carelessly on the walls, dirty little 'facilities' (toilets) and a narrow kitchen to one side of the airy hall.
Amongst all the little one-roomed churches, school-hall churches and house churches, there are the really traditional ones: Anglican buildings that have been around from before the Flood, stained gray blocks of stone with peepings of coloured glass and rose bushes around the entrance. Full of old people.

Then there are the mega-churches, with tens of thousands of members. The kind of arrangement that the little churches can't comprehend.

I've found (in my many years of experience) that the defining characteristics of a church are not the superficialities of the type of building. When you walk into a church for the first time, several things stand out about it.
The people standing around in little, close groups that can exclude you. Random, friendly people coming up to you out of nowhere, taking an interest in you as a fellow christian. Conversations with people where you seem to get to the heart of what matters in christianity and christian living. Obscenely loud music. Unaccompanied singing, or a piano, with a pianist faithfully thumping away the chords. The cups of tea in awful little brown-glass cups, and biscuits. The feeling you get when you know that the people at the church actually care about each other.

What makes people continue to go to church, even though the repetition of going and the regularity (often) of everything done at church could possibly drive any normal person batty?
Going to church is like having your own mini-revival. What the pastor says in his sermons drives home hard, slicing through your self-contentment and apathy. You have no option but to let your attitudes and opinions bend to God's Word. The songs and hymns condemn you for your own lack of concern for God, and your sinful attitudes - but they also make you long to be the person you should be.
After the service, you mix with other christians. It's refreshing, being around people that you love and who love you. Every week, day in and day out, the reality and stresses of life can erode your 'christianity'. Good christian friends will challenge you, encourage you and help you with difficulties.

One last comment about churches. This is something a friend of mine said to me a year or so ago, and I've always remembered it.. It's unique to be in church. There are very few gatherings where people can come whose sole connection with each other is that they have been saved by God.

I love church. What about you? Do you go to church? If you do, what's your church like?
If you don't - why? Please don't let yourself miss out!

- Lydie


Anonymous Tirzah Duncan said...

When I was about 13, our church's pastor resigned. We were over a year without, and I grew to hate going-- the speakers were generally poor, there was tension in the congregation, people were leaving the church.

Then we finally got our current pastor, and-- man, listening to him is the best part of going. He is an extraordinarily intelligent man, with a passion for figuring out all he can about the Bible, and he does a great job of clearly, amusingly laying out the conclusions he comes to.

My knowledge and understanding of the Bible has increased so much in these 5 years he's been here, as has my desire to serve God. I'm not sure what I would have done if he hadn't come along, but I'm fairly sure it would have involved leaving church as soon as I was old enough.

...By the way, is there any way to follow your blog besides RSS feed? I don't have one, but I would love to subscribe by email or some such thing...

5:38 am  

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