Friday, October 18, 2013

Getting your Church On

I had a really bad attitude about going to church.  This is a bit unusual for me, but I was not in the best mood, I did not want to take it to church and I was feeling really resistant about church in general.  But I went anyway.  And as usual, God turned my heart around.  God softened my mood, my anxiety and my irritability and I walked out with my prayers answered for a new day, a new week and a new outlook on the tasks ahead of me.
This reaffirms my belief that we need to be churched.  Let me caveat this statement because I know many disagree.  This is a personal belief.  I believe that going to a church is a good thing.  I don’t always agree with my church, or THE church or necessarily the doctrine espoused through tradition by various denominations, but I still believe that going to church (temple, whatever you want to call it) is very important in spiritual development.
First off, more often than not, church provides a moral compass; second, church provides a discipline to self development; and third, church provides a community of believers.  Church is very important in the development of a moral compass.  Very few individuals have the individual discipline to develop a spirituality with God and a moral relationship with the world around them on an individual basis.  Sure, I consider myself a fairly spiritual person, however, it is through the discipline of church that I learn that consistency and repetition is key to feeling God in my everyday life and not just when I want to call on the divine to participate.  Most of us live a very charmed life.  I can go months, if not years, without being touched by poverty, sickness, loss, or devastation.  I am blessed beyond reason. Church is very good at reminding us about our Christian call to help the sick, the homeless, the needy and the destitute.
Often, our call to the church is financial.  There are very few people who are disciplined independently to tithe (whether to the church, or some other helping organization) and be involved not only financially, but with time and talents.  Church often provides the means for giving of time, talent and money to those who are without.  Churches are struggling now as more and more people leave the church.  How do we actively engage in our Christian calling without participation in church?  How do we see the sick, the needy, the poor and the destitute without God and the church to show us on a weekly or daily basis?  We are members of a church to help the whole of our communion and not just who are wealthy enough to attend.
Finally, being a member of the Body of Christ is a community of believers.  Being a Christian is about being in a relationship.  Not only a relationship with God, but with other people who believe in God or want to believe in God or are searching for a relationship with God.  You don’t have a relationship by yourself or with yourself.  You do this by developing a relationship with those around you and building a sense of what others believe around you.  Relationships are built by communicating thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about a topic.  A church community is built by the parish membership talk, living and sharing about a God-centered life.  If we do not go to church, or religious organization, how is God communicated throughout our society or community? How do we learn about God to teach God to our children?  This is not something that is innate.  Learning about God takes study, discipline, practice and sharing.  If I do not tell you that I believe in God and I struggle to know God’s teaching, you would not know this if I did not share this with you.  Church allows for us all to share in the journey of being a part of God’s creation.  The church has often been referred to as the bride of Christ. We cannot participate in the wedding festivities if we do not show up.
I apologize in advance if my ruminations today offend.  I am a strong believer that, more often than not, church is an important part of the Christian journey.  Even when I do not want to be there, church reminds me of why I am here on my journey and provides me with the structure and discipline to hear the Word of God when I am being my most resistant.  When I have made the effort to go to church, I have never regretted it.  #christwalk1 #fitness #journey #church