The moment I became a Christian (see I, a Rabid Anti-Christian, Very Suddenly Convert), I did not also simultaneously transform into something which apparently God himself can’t turn me into, which is a joiner. I have no idea why it’s true, and I’m not proud of it, but if independentitis were a disease I’d have died of it long ago. I couldn’t join an “Up with Water” organization in the middle of a draught. It’s not that I don’t like people; I’m resolutely pro-people! But if I’m in a room with more than about three of them who all start agreeing upon the same things—let alone upon the same set of, say, moral principals—I can’t help but feel that I’m about two minutes and the working out of a secret handshake away from being waterboarded until I confess something.
Upon converting to Christianity I also did not become a conservative evangelical Christian. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with being gay before I was a Christian, and I didn’t think so afterward. Before my conversion I thought it was crazy to think that upon dying all non-Christians are automatically sentenced to hell; after my conversion I thought that was even crazier. Before my conversion I thought it totally obnoxious for Christians to “evangelize” to non-Christians; the very thought I had while reaching for the doorknob on my way out of the supply closet in which I had my conversion experience was, “Oh. So that whole evangelizing thing really is bullshit.” Before I was a Christian I thought Christian rock n’ roll was the most painfully awful thing in the history of ear drums; after I was a Christian my taste in music remained intact. (That’s an obnoxious joke; sorry. I know lots of today’s Christian music is great.)
So though I’ve been a Christian for some eighteen years now, when it comes to church I’ve largely remained as ever I was, which is less of a go-to kind of guy, and more of a, “If I wanted to be bored into a coma I could spend the morning staring at my sink full of dirty dishes” kind of guy. Or I could watch golf on TV. Or I could polish my ancient fancy shoes—the shoes I would wear to church if I ever went—that I bought at a thrift store.
Generally speaking, I would prefer to do just about anything on a Sunday morning other than drag my disheveled, unshaven, still-sleepy self to church.
Am I alone in this sentiment? Am I the only Christian in the world whose basic attitude is that church is to the life of a Christian what, say, Sea World is to the life of a dolphin?
A slew of polls in recent years tells us that about one in three Americans do not attend church. Furthermore, eighty-five percent of those “unchurched” people self-identify as Christian.
That works out to about eighty-five million American Christians who do not attend church.
So no, I guess I’m very much not alone.
Hey, I am part of a group!
And it’s exactly my kind of group, too: the kind that never gets together for anything.
Eight-five million Christians who don’t go to church.
Is that actually a good thing?
What do you think?