The Only Way To Avoid Attending A Church You Have Disagreements With

The Only Way To Avoid Attending A Church You Have Disagreements With January 11, 2016

Pastor praying for congregation

Church.

There’s probably few words in the English language that provoke so much emotion when I hear it spoken– maybe that’s true for you too. There are times in my life where I’d say the word “church” with watery eyes and a heart of gratitude, and other times when I say the word with exasperation and my hands thrown up in the air.

Looking back on life thus far, I can honestly say that church has been both the biggest tangible source of support and encouragement in my life, but has also been the biggest source of frustration and hurt.

There are seasons where I want nothing more than to run from it, and seasons where I long to be wooed by it. It’s been a love-hate relationship if there ever were one.

Often I find myself asked, “How do I find a church that I don’t have major disagreements with?”

And, that’s a good question. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of years asking it myself.

I mean, how awesome would it be to have community, friends, and to embrace a communal process of learning and growing– without having major issues with them? That would be the golden ticket right there.

I think if anyone has set out to discover if such a scenario exists, it’s been me. In the last 10 years I’ve tried out every kind of church I can think of.

Baptist. Congregational. Methodist. Non-denominational. Charismatic…

There’s been a whole long list of places I’ve tried, to the point where I doubt I could remember them all if I wanted to. And honestly, I’ve never found a church where I didn’t have some sort of issue with them.

I’ve come to accept that if you can (a) read for yourself and (b) think for yourself, you are highly unlikely to ever find a church where there’s little to no tension between what you think, and what they think.

A gift or curse? Who knows- it just is what it is.

I even find myself having major disagreements with the church I attend now– and I knew those disagreements existed within 3 minutes of my first visit to the church. My 13 year-old daughter was the first to point it out, as she elbowed me in the side and pointed to the American flag set in the position of honor, to the right of the pulpit (and we all know how I feel about that).

Yet, even with full knowledge we were attending a church that most likely had radically different views than my own, we knew we needed to plug in somewhere, and that when it comes to attending a church one has disagreements with, everywhere is somehow the same.

And this brings me to the answer to the question as I have discovered it.

“How do I avoid attending a church I have disagreements with?”

My answer?

Stay home.

Really, stay home. Keep your comfy clothes on, and don’t worry about how many people are in line for the shower. Just don’t even bother.

If you want to avoid attending a church where you have major issues with them, don’t go anywhere, because as long as you can read and think for yourself, everywhere will somehow be the same.

A few summers ago I was sitting with my friend Frank Schaeffer in his back yard in Massachusetts. We poured a fresh cup of coffee, pulled up some adirondack chairs, and chatted about life and this thing we call “church.” During that conversation he said something I’ve said before, and that continues to stick with me:

The only way to avoid attending a church you have serious disagreements with is to become a church of one person.”

Frank was right. He’s still right. The only sure-way to avoid attending a church you have disagreements with is to make your own, and to not invite anyone else to join.

If you want to avoid attending a church you have disagreements with, just stay home.

BUT…

If you’re interested in exploring what it means to follow Jesus in the context of a group of people who may express varying degrees of brokenness and beauty, ignorance and wisdom, or peace and tension, all while seeing where this uncharted path may lead us, then there are plenty of churches that will have room for you.

As for me? I’ve tried a church of one, and I find it unfulfilling. Instead, I choose to embrace the only alternative that exists.


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  • Kenja Purkey

    I know you’re right. I do. But I live in an extremely conservative evangelical community where I think that it would cause me more pain to go to church than to not go to church. I keep looking for a place where I’m at least allowed to have differing opinions on some values that are very important to me. Or at least they aren’t made fun of during that Sunday’s message. But I do wonder if the advent of the Internet isn’t changing the face of worship somewhat. I can connect with others who see things the way I do, and even though we argue and discuss many points, I’m still accepted. Being accepted as a Christian is important. And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be accepted in my community at most churches.

  • Geerhardus Vos spent his waning years at home on Sundays reading his own sermons. I think about that from time to time. Brilliant man and challenging exegete and I owe him a lot, and that’s how you can end up if you decide you can’t put up with anything but your own thoughts.

  • I am a person who will never find a church with which I can agree on all things, but I don’t find it necessary to agree on all things; no church is a perfect fit. However, I do have a need for a church of generally like-minded people.

    I really like your conclusion to this article: “If you’re interested in exploring what it means to follow Jesus in the context of a group of people who may express varying degrees of brokenness and beauty, ignorance and wisdom, or peace and tension, all while seeing where this uncharted path may lead us, then there are plenty of churches that will have room for you.”

    While I cannot be part of a church that is opposed to all I am (like a fundamentalist church for example), a church with reasonable people who disagree with me on some things can be a place of growth.

    Last week I posted an article on finding a new church that might be of interest to some people. https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2016/01/04/5-steps-to-finding-a-good-church-fit-for-you/

  • Bill Burchard

    As a former Christian-now-atheist, I have found the internet
    the ideal “church.” It provided me the venue I needed to come to grips with the
    teachings of Christ I embraced versus those claims about him that I rejected. (i.e.
    I concluded I can still embrace the teachings of Jesus while also rejecting His
    divinity.)

    The best part about the internet church is that it’s always open,
    includes virtually every human being on the planet, and I don’t have to shower,
    shave, or get dressed to attend. ;)

  • Yeah– there’s definitely a line and issues/beliefs that are deal breakers for me. If people won’t accept the diversity individuals bring, then it’s definitely a no-go– which is why my church options are limited as well.

  • Randy Myers

    After making a similar journey I have learned to embrace (and am still embracing) Michael Ramsey’s (of Canterbury) definition of the Church as the always broken Body of Christ which turns to be a haven for all of us broken types.

  • Matthew

    I think we really need to discuss just exactly what we mean when we toss around the word “church” in this context. I´m rather convinced the institution we so boldly encourage people to plug into is nothing like what we see in the New Testament. I also tend to think this idea of the “local church” that we toss around is more of a pastoral power play than actually an institutional body grounded in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    The books “Pagan Christianity” and “Reimagining Church” were helpful as I worked through my issues with church as an institution.

  • Jordan Wk

    I’m in the same boat, and think you’re right about the internet. North East Wisconsin is primarily hyper-reformed, god-and-country type congregations that I am not able to be at peace with attending.

    A solution I’ve discovered is to regularly meet with friends, listen to a podcast from a church that does seek peace and then have a discussion afterward. Our group is about 6 – 10 with zero ambitions of turning into a “home church,” but we’re people who are seeking to follow Christ and be fed by teaching that seeks to create, redeem and restore the world.

  • I think this is a great idea! I would love to do the same.

  • Matthew

    Best wishes on your 6 – 10 group and your journey together.

  • Mary Hanner

    First, thank you Benjamin Corey. I have to find a church where I can not just sit in the pew and argue in my head about so many of the ideas. For a long time I thought that if I talked about my doubts and my questions about theology that I’d be okay. But it didn’t work that way. My own desire to be part of a church was painful. So, I don’t go anymore. And I miss it. I even miss the sham ‘coffee hour’. We at least looked like we were trying to talk to each other. I read “Undilted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus,” and felt like there must be others like me. So, thank you, Benjamin Corey.

  • Matthew

    There are others like you Mary Hanner yes indeed.

  • Terry

    It strikes me that the church of the NT (and reflected in her teaching) was never about all being the same, but agreeing on the One in spite of all being very different. Nothing we see evidenced in the Scriptures would indicate that a church of one can even exist. (Not disputing your tongue in cheek Ben.) Even by its very nomenclature the church is an assembly, and mostly an assembly for purpose. Rather than “going to a church” or “attending a church” there’s a real need for us to actually be the church, which puts all disagreements, preferences and opinions in their place — under the head of the Church, Jesus. Sadly, for me (and many), I find it too hard to place myself under Christ for the Church; it’s always easier to say: “I’ve tried but” and “I just can’t and” and “I don’t like” and “I know I should, however”..

  • liberalinlove

    If Jesus is the corner stone and we are the building blocks, isn’t it about finding other “building blocks” where ever they are. I am connected to many “Christians” just by virtue of recognizing Jesus in them regardless of a church.
    I am considering liturgical worship as food for the week.

  • Colin Smith

    Oh, boy. I could really do with settling down to some serious writing today. Hold on while I find some nice music to play, then I’ll say my piece here and then I’ll write. This is a metaphor.

    No one needs to go to church to be a Christian. Your church membership card (or whatever it is) is not a pass through the pearly gates. Nor will holding the wrong membership card damn anyone to hell.

    I’m going to use the word ‘writer’ here, because that’s what I am and what I’m familiar with. I’m not a Christian. However, of you substitute the word ‘Christian’ for ‘Writer’ in the following I think we’ll find common ground.

    Writers write. Goes without saying, doesn’t it?

    Not quite because it’s surprisingly easy for a writer to forget, not least because writing is not easy and a writer knows a whole host of ways to avoid actually having to write.

    Writers can do things in support of their writing. I’m a member of a writing group who meet once a fortnight and member of an authors’ collective which will help with self-publishing my books and I have a few textbooks on writing on my shelf and follow a couple of writing blogs. I also love talking about writing (you can tell) own a couple of really nice pens and I’ve personalised ‘Word’ on my laptop so it looks ‘writerly’.

    But none of that matters if I’m not writing. Worse, engage in those support activities too much and they can displace the actual business of writing. It’s as though the supporting cast have killed the lead actor and think the story can carry on and no one will notice.

    Writers write. The connection is so strong and unbreakable it would be better to think of writer as a verb and not a noun.

    Now, writing is very personal. Ultimately, it’s only about two people: the writer and the one they’re writing for, that mysterious, slightly unknowable reader. You know who I mean by ‘reader’, don’t you.

    Every writer approaches the reader differently because every writer has a unique point of view, a unique way with words, unique concerns, a unique voice. But every writer has things in common with other writers. The degree of common ground varies, but in the essential that all writers write all writers have something in common.

    The use any one writer finds in a group of writers will vary. Superficially the group’s usefulness to a writer relies on finding the right group, an ideal linking of shared genre and style and intention (which needless to say does not exist) and a writer can grow frustrated at not finding that ideal group. At one time I wanted that kind of group but I’m wiser now and know that if I ever found such a group it would only have reinforced my belief in my strengths as a writer and ignored my faults because it would only have reflected my preconceptions back at myself. Instead I have discovered that writing wisdom comes from unlikely places and have improved as a writer precisely because I met with writers who did not share my aims and concerns.

    Equally, a writer needs to find a writing group that accepts them and their aims and concerns. Some writing groups focus on poetry, others on specific genres, some are wholly focused on publication, others offer a form of therapy where the act of writing wholly serves the interest of the writer and there is no ‘reader’. All writing groups are good but not all writing groups are good for everyone and a writer needs to remember that. Writing groups need to remember that also.

    But there is something else to consider. So far I’ve only spoke of the benefits of being a member of a group and ignored the benefit to the group of your membership. I’ve been doing this writing thing for a while now and increasingly (measured purely in the benefit it brings to my writing) I find I bring as much, if not more, to a writing group than I gain from it.

    You might ask why I still bother being a member of a group if I get less out than I put in. Two reasons: when I began going to writing groups I took more out than I contributed because I knew less than those around me and though the ones I gained from are now long gone from my life it’s time to pass on what I learned to others. That’s how it works. Secondly, seeing the error in the ways of others reminds you to look for faults in your own work because you will never be perfect. Thirdly, helping others is enormous fun.

    Where was I? I’ve rambled. Anyone would think I’m avoiding writing.

    Find a broad group that accepts you without questioning or judging your aims or who you’re writing for. The reason you joined the group is to become the writer you wish to be and not what others think you should be.

    Accept wisdom from everyone and be patient with those whose aims are different to yours. You may not yet know the kind of writer you are best suited to be and will never grow if you avoid challenges to your self-image.

    Seek out those from whom you can learn and give yourself to those who would learn from you.

    All who write are writers.

  • BrotherRog

    Most excellent. While it’s nice to flock together with kindred spirits, there’s not much growth to be had in an echo chamber. Some diversity of thought and ardently committed difference is invaluable. There are some churches where people are more likely to share much in common than others. But there will always be those in them who think differently than we do. Thank God. Here are “7 Ways to find a progressive Christian congregation” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogerwolsey/2014/01/7-ways-to-find-a-progressive-church/

    Roger Wolsey, author, “Kissing Fish: christanity for people who don’t like christianity”

  • Virginia Galloway

    My journey has been different, in that I spent my childhood in an every-time-the-doors-opened, bleak, Southern Baptist milieu, escaped from that as quickly as I could, logged a few years as an angry atheist, spent some very happy years in a loving and accepting interdenominational church, then was led (objecting all the while) by that pesky Holy Spirit to the Roman Catholic Church. While it’s not always a perfect fit, being a Catholic gives me joy, in large part because I have ongoing opportunities to have in-depth conversations with highly-educated priests. First I became a Catholic, then earned two degrees in theology, which gives me a strong foundation for saying “Yes, but have you considered …?” during those conversations.

    Your remark that “If you’re interested in exploring what it means to follow Jesus in the context of a group of people who may express varying degrees of brokenness and beauty, ignorance and wisdom, or peace and tension, all while seeing where this uncharted path may lead us” resonates with me profoundly. Thank you.

  • Patti Owski

    I have found that community often means we have detach ourselves from the institution and find solace in a place where denominational differences in doctrine have no place. I have found that I have grown exponentially since leaving the institution we call church. I have found my community with the least of these in an at-risk school setting or the senior home at which my 91 year old mother lives. The students at the school and residents at the home have become my extended family. My husband and I meet at a local coffee shop on Sundays to do a book study. We read books written by Christian authors with whom we agree and disagree. The books have sparked some lively discussions. We are a church of two. Leaving the institutions which often hinder us from following Christ is okay. God is not limited to the building nor is he limited to the people in it.

  • Elspeth Parris

    A Church where it was accepted that we don’t necessarily all believe the same detail would be good. It’s that lack of acceptance that is my biggest problem.

  • Kimbrough Leslie

    By definition there is no such thing as a church of one, no matter how unfaithful and dysfunctional a majority of U.S. churches are. Ecclesia is a people called out of the culture.

  • Colin Smith

    A good church teaches you how to drive. A bad church tells you to get on the bus and sit down.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I would have thought the following would be required to in good conscience joon a church you had disagreements with:
    1. They did not require you to do or condone anything you thought morally wrong.
    2. You can in all good conscience join with them in worship (I.e. you can say
    the words of the prayers and liturgy without being required to lie).
    3. They don’t kick you out when they find they disagree with you (or require you to conceal what you believe to stay).

  • Al Cruise

    The problems start when a Church takes upon itself to try and define who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell. Once they feel that they have got it right, all hell breaks loose for those who do not share their theology. No pun intended.

  • Herm

    … or even the fear of rejection?!?!

    In my case what keeps me away from most long term fellowships in a church is that my direct statements of my relationship with Christ today might cause damage to another’s journey. I really stay away in those “seasons where I long to be wooed by it” because I can’t relax to be honest.

  • Herm

    writers, abundantly proficient to just beginning, each grow most from a reciprocal fellowship shared out of valued concern for the other

  • Yes!

  • Herm

    I maintain that if I give any grouping a name that the name will take on a life of its own to survive with less and less regard for the members of the group. Season the name with divine allegiance and the least devoted becomes a target as the weakest link to gather the divine’s gifts of enlightenment for the group. From managerial positions in groups with names I have long fought to protect and engage the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who seek righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for their righteousness because they each are perceived as a threat the name of the group. Church needs to be discussed not as a name but as a group, a fellowship drawn to He who calls them out.

  • Herm

    … and the mortgage companies come to you!

  • Herm

    … you just made me cry, thanks!

  • IMHO it takes discernment & experience to know if one is taking in real good food or stuff that was once good but has spoiled and thus bc toxic & poison. satan can come as an angel of light 2 COR 11.14 I know i’m only safe walking around in my own skin by staying in constant contact w the holy spirit. an addict is his/her own worst enemy & the enemy is w/n where the kingdom should be! “(j:D

  • is this the ‘bargaining stage’ of grief & loss of what one knows as ‘church fellowship’? when peeps, places & things die or are dying there are stages as per kubler-ross imagined: 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, 5) acceptance.

  • Colin Smith

    I’d add.
    4. They do not require you to condemn or abandon that which you believe to be none of your, or anyone else’s business.

  • simplymagic

    Very nice.

    I’m lucky in that I love my church, warts and all. It’s not perfect – it’s a little too priveledged, a lot too white, and exasperatingly clings to the “frozen chosen” stereotype (it’s painful watching the congregation stiffly and reluctantly attempt to clap and move with the music… like a middle school dance with less b.o.). It’s progressive, but largely without any actual risk. Nothing is at stake, so it’s easy to support cause x, y or z and feel like a reformer. But, we are trying. We really do walk the talk of being welcoming. We have quite a few gay and queer congregants, we have so many women leaders you’d think there was a shortage of men, and we are one of the only “green” buildings in the area. We take care of each other. And we aren’t done yet.

    I did the church-of-one thing. There’s not much challenge there. Now I get to work up a sweat and get my hands dirty while I jump into the midst of a well-intentioned but comfortable and wealthy congregation that’s looking for a spark. It’s an exciting time to be a church-goer!

  • liberalinlove

    I have absolutely loved listening to the Catholic apologists on their radio station. Their love for Jesus is obvious. Their love for the social justice teachings of the gospel resonate with me and they always have an answer for those who are committed to, bible-only truth.
    I have been through 3 church splits with three different denominations. I know politics often govern over the voice of the Holy Spirit, but it seems when the rules are in place the security sets better parameters for belonging to a group of people that can worship AND have fun together.

  • SamHamilton

    “The only way to avoid attending a church you have serious disagreements with is to become a church of one person.”

    Yup. Congregations are made up of people, who are flawed, who think differently than me. You can’t avoid that in any group of people. Unless you spurn community, you won’t have a “perfect church.”

  • Bill Burchard

    LOL! (True, true.)

  • Jerry Lynch

    I have been in this highly conservative town in the Southwest for eight years and the Universalist church I now attend is the only one not to make the potluck Sunday service a three course meal of Democrats, Obama, and Muslims. Charbroiled. I have tried twenty churches thus far out of an estimated 80 in this town of 90,000. All the same. All pro death penalty, all pro guns, all pro Republican. All. I work at a local Christian TV station: it has the same voice as the general community of so-called Christians. I guess they see me as a functioning saint, like a functioning alcoholic: not ready for boiling oil yet not quite ready to be in the Book of Life.

    I am not a Universalist. Yet their hearts are closer, I feel, to what Jesus taught and did than a single Christian I have met in this city. Do not get me wrong. The Christians I have met are not bad people; I count a few among my closest friends. But their marriage to conservative politics has them be extremely loyal.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I agree with you, but I think that’s covered under 1 and 3.
    It is, however, I would say, the business of the Church to advise, counsel and discuss as to how to live in a way that promotes or hinders spiritual and moral growth and closeness to God (otherwise what is it for?) and they would not be wrong in doing so.
    However, in the Codex Bezae (an old copy of the Gospels) the following saying from Jesus appears after Luke 6:5: “On the same day seeing some one working on the Sabbath, He said to him: ‘man, if you know what you do, blessed are you; but if you do not know, you are cursed and a transgressor of the law.”
    Something to remember when the church is considering its response where someone is honestly and sincerely doing what they believe to be right to no harm to anyone else.

  • $136305622

    Very smart discussion. Two things popped out to me.

    1.

    “if you can (a) read for yourself and (b) think for yourself, you are highly unlikely to ever find a church where there’s little to no tension between whatyou think, and what they think.”

    I find that to be true. I would take it a step further. If you can do a & b above, you don’t need to attend a community where someone is going to tell you how to do a & b. I never understood that. It is indoctrination and it is perhaps the most horrifying thing I ever witnessed when attending Church for so many years: seemingly intelligent people checking that intelligence at the door for an hour or two.

    2.

    ““How do I avoid attending a church I have disagreements with?”
    My answer?
    Stay home.”

    Amen. I see no other answer. Have been successfully doing this for 23 years!

  • Colin Smith

    Don’t agree. As with my bus analogy above, it’s the job of the church to help you find your god. It’s not the job of the church to tell you who god is and how to please him. Or to use my writing analogy, you join a group of writers to become a better writer but that process is all about acquiring the skills to be the best writer you can be on your terms rather than blindly following another writer’s style or genre.

    My use of lower case for god is not impoliteness but to discriminate between the Christian idea of God and the much broader range of deities encompassed by god. My church, had I need of one, would be universalist.

  • Every church I go to is perfect until I show up.

  • ER

    Whew! So it’s not just me!! We live overseas and move to a new country every 3 years. Sometimes we find a church that everyone in the family can agree on, such as when we lived in Costa Rica. Othertimes, such as now in our current city of Jerusalem (yes, as in the Holy City of), we are unable to attend church due to the politics and doctrine that is preached from the pulpit.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    That’s because you don’t believe in God (capital letters intended).
    Christians on the whole don’t believe in a “small-g” god – an invisible entity with a beard sitting on a cloud somewhere doing magic – but that the entire perceived, contingent universe emanates from a single, eternal, unchanging source, which permeates the entire universe and on which the entire universe depends for its functioning and existence, and we call that “God”.
    There can be no question of “my god” and “your god”: only “God” – that’s what monotheism means.
    It is precisely the function of the church (and any religion) to study how to communicate with that universal entity (whatever we may think it is like or name we use in addressing it) and assist others to do the same.

  • Colin Smith

    You completely misinterpret what god can be.

    The problem with “only “God” ” is no one agrees on what that God is.

    And I disagree with your generalisation that “It is precisely the function of the church (and any religion) to study how to communicate with that universal entity (whatever we may think it is like or name we use in addressing it) and assist others to do the same.”

    The only way around it is for all churches to be universalist but not to make a belief in universalism a condition of entry.

  • Colin Smith

    On the matter of finding the right church, just saw this on Facebook.

    “Senior Anglicans call for repentance over sexual discrimination. Signatories of open letter to archbishops say LGBTI members of Church of England have been ‘ignored and vilified for too long’”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/10/senior-anglicans-call-church-of-england-repentance-lgbti-sexual-discrimination

    I’m English and this is the church I know.

  • Herm

    Powerful … Thank you!

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I have said what I mean, and on the whole Christian theology means by the word “God”. I am well aware that the word “god” is also used to refer to other things: the use of the capital “G” is not an honorific it is a disambiguation.
    I am also aware that the nature and character of God is disputed, but the definition of God as given can’t really refer to more than one being.
    If what you are referring to is the origin and foundation of existence, you are referring to God, whatever else you say about him / her / it, if not, you are not referring to God.
    I would be interested to hear what you, as an atheist, would consider the function of religions and religious practice.

  • Kenja Purkey

    Yep, LOTS of others!

  • Colin Smith

    Well, I don’t think you or any religion gets to define God. The God of Islam, Judaism and Christianity have different characteristics and we also have Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer or transformer of Hinduism who are collectively Gods. Wiki says this: Shiva [] meaning “The Auspicious One”, also known as Mahadeva (“Great God”), is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. Shiva is distinct from Vishnu and Brahman yet one with them. That sounds a lot like the Trinity.

    There are also various personifications of a great spirit in Native American and aboriginal belief and there id the Goddess of Wiccan belief.

    I don’t think anyone can claim God, capitalised or not, for their own use.

    My objection actually was your line about “an invisible entity with a beard sitting on a cloud somewhere doing magic” which is both how many non-religious people see the Christian God and also rather disrespectful.

    A good church, in my opinion, will accept everyone’s idea of God, Christian and non-Christian, and help them to attain a better relationship with it.

  • Colin Smith

    The function of religions and religious practice?

    Helps with group identity.

    Makes the unpleasant things in life less unpleasant.

    Grants meaning to existence.

    Cross between therapy and an absorbing hobby.

    Creator of stunning works of art, great music, and magnificent buildings.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Fair enough, but, as I have saud, you don’t believe in God. At the end of the day if God is not real, religion is pointless and could and should be replaced with the benevolent social club you envision.

  • Colin Smith

    No, religion is far from pointless. It’s presence in just about every human culture there has ever been suggests it has, or had, an important role. It fulfils that role regardless of whether the object it venerates exists or has any power.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I am not “claiming God for my own use” I am explaining what i mean when i use the term. I am quite happy for someone else to use the term differently so long as they and I are both clear we are talking about different things.
    Your idea of “good church” is spectacularly patronising: a sort of institution to support the poor deluded souls who go their to a closer relationship to their choice of imaginary friend. I am (and any other theist is) not interested in attaining a better relationship with my idea of God: I want to seek out God himself as he actually is. I care, and all religions care about determining what is or is nit actually true.
    I am completely unclear who I am being disrespectful to in describing a non-existent entity no-one believes in in disrespectful terms, and I can’t see why I am obliged to believe in such a thing because some atheists who haven’t bothered to study the beliefs they reject think I or other Christians do.

  • Colin Smith

    For a start, I don’t reject any belief. I have a belief. Atheism need not be a reaction to or against any other belief any more than a Christian needs to have first considered being a Buddhist or an atheist or a Muslim and then rejected them.

    The God of Judaism, Islam and even Hinduism would appear to have the same function as the Christian God in terms of being the centre of a person’s worship and being the creator of everything. It’s the same entity or concept regardless of the name and specific characteristics given it by a religion.

    There are at least three possible choices:

    All of these entities are real and are the same thing.

    All beliefs except mine worship a non-existent deity.

    All beliefs except mine have been deceived by the devil.

    My idea of a good church is something like this which is about twenty miles from me: http://www.ukunitarians.org.uk/oxford/

    Quote: We welcome members of the public and the university, of all faiths and denominations or none. Our religious faith does not require adherence to a fixed creed. We believe that religion is wider than any one sect and deeper than any one set of opinions. We find a basis for unity in our shared search for truth, our reverence for life, and a mutual respect for sincerely held beliefs.

  • Paul

    I know Mr. Corey is Mennonite, but I wonder if his blog post is sort of a passing reference to this week’s meeting among the Anglican primates?

  • seashell

    Perhaps you should consider trying out the churches that conventional wisdom considers only one pew away from hell…?

  • seashell

    And then there are churches like the former Mars Hill under Mark Driscoll, that throw you under the bus and gleefully drives over your body.

    Too many guys waste too much time trying to move stiff-necked, stubborn, obstinate people. (pause) I am all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus (laughs) and by God’s grace it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done.

    You either get on the bus or you get run over by the bus. Those are the options; but the bus ain’t gonna stop. And I’m just a—I’m just a guy who is like, “Look, we love ya, but, this is what we’re doing.” There’s a few kinda people. There’s people who get in the way of the bus.

    They gotta get run over. There are people who wanna take turns driving the bus. They gotta get thrown off (laughs). ‘Cuz they wanna go somewhere else…

  • Colin Smith

    What a piece of work.

    Actually, there’s another 4-letter word would apply even better to Driscoll.

  • Don Lowery

    I was surprised that the “The Simpsons” episode where Homer became his own church wasn’t mentioned. Another is the episode where Homer has a crayon removed from his brain and is able to show logically there is no God…no matter what Ned Flanders tries to prove.

  • mervynthomas

    Yes, a community of flawed and damaged people learning, through Christ, to forgive each other, and ourselves.

  • RonnyTX

    Benjamin:
    Church.

    There’s probably few words in the English language that provoke so much emotion when I hear it spoken– maybe that’s true for you too. There are times in my life where I’d say the word “church” with watery eyes and a heart of gratitude, and other times when I say the word with exasperation and my hands thrown up in the air.

    Looking back on life thus far, I can honestly say that church has been both the biggest tangible source of support and encouragement in my life, but has also been the biggest source of frustration and hurt.

    There are seasons where I want nothing more than to run from it, and seasons where I long to be wooed by it. It’s been a love-hate relationship if there ever were one.

    Ronny to Benjamin:
    In my life, I’ve been a member of two local churches, until I was 27 years old. So the last local church I was in, was 33 years ago. Since then, well, since I was 16, I’ve been a member of the church/body of Jesus Christ. God/Jesus Christ made me a member of that; but it was some people, who made me a member of the local church.

    The last local church I was in, was for a little less than two years. I didn’t agree with everything that was taught there and we had several pastors in a row. I liked the last one, a lot. A real nice guy. But that church closed down. I found out later, that was mostly because of one of the church elders. He couldn’t take it, because the pastor was a stay at home Dad and his wife worked at a public job. But this pastor was always ready to come help you on any job, all week long. The church official who made sure this church closed, he molested me once, when I was 16 years old.

    I was in my first local church, from a baby to 25 years old. There you were never taught to think for yourself, with the mind God gave you; but instead you were supposed to simply believe whatever came from the pulpit. And better than 99% of the time, I did just that. Then there was a church split, when I was 25 and part of my family and one other family, went and started that other church. Back then, I didn’t know why we did that? Later on, I figure it was because two of my in laws were raised Armenian/free will in belief and this church was Calvinistic teaching.

    I liked a lot about that first church, like the singing and such. :-) And though it scared me to death at first, I liked being the teens Sunday School teacher, when I was in my early 20’s. But one thing I was afraid of in that, was that I wouldn’t say somethings just right, just exactly as I had been taught in this church. Too, I was around 21 or so and I was scared to death, that someone might figure out that I was attracted to a 17 year old boy in my class. Well, by overhearing some church elders at 12 years old, I had come to be taught the lie, that my being gay was self chosen and the worst of sins. And I believed that lie, right up until I was 40 years old and God then taught me better! :-)

    Something else I remember. One time my Mom went up at church,after a service and told about something she had done, that she saw as wrong and a sin. Found out later the pastor got on to her about that and said she shouldn’t of done that.

    And everyone in my earliest home church wasn’t like this; but some, were very racist. My Mom and an aunt, they worked in a hospital and had friends there who were black and white. This black guy they worked with, he liked listening to our pastor, on a local radio program. He said he would like to come and hear him preach, in person. My Mom and aunt told the pastor about this and he let them know it would not be a good idea, to invite that guy to our church, because if he came, that would upset some people. (ha) But he did say the guy could come and listen to him preach, if he stayed outside and listened from there! Boy, did that upset my Mom and aunt. And this reminds me of the first time I ever knowingly disobeyed some of my church elders. I was out inviting people to our church, for our yearly revival meeting. Just driving down the road, going from house to house. Came upon a house, with several black men sitting out front. Was thinking, well what to do? Invite them or not?! And I actually thought, what would God have me do? So I invited those men to our church meeting.

    Just thinking of the first church I belonged to. There was good in that church and also much bad. So much so, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    Choice one.
    (And that entity really isn’t a big invisible guy with a beard sitting on a cloud doing magic – no major religion believes that.)

  • Bones

    Doubt Welby will have a bar of it.

  • Bones

    There’s not many of those in rural and regional areas.

  • seashell

    Actually, it was more tongue-in-cheek than a serious suggestion, but now that you bring it up, why aren’t there many of those in rural and regional areas (other than just because not as many churches)?

  • Bones

    I live in a large regional city in Australia, have worked with most churches and I know of no liberal church here beyond the occasional Anglican (Episcopalian) and Uniting Church minister who gets sent here.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much for that RonnyTX. It was interesting getting to know a bit more about your journey and biography.

    I´m wondering what you think about the idea of “local church”? Is it really a biblical concept? Is what we are seeing in modern Christianity anything like what the New Testament illustrates regarding “church”?

    I become frustrated when church people make it seem like if you claim to be a Christian, but don´t attend or are not a member of a local church, you´re basically not a true believer. I realize that Christianity is supposed to be a community and relational belief system, and that scripture does seem to indicate that members of the body are supposed to spend time together, however my gripe is that the modern manifestation of “local church” looks nothing like this. Sometimes I feel more a sense of community in non-Christian settings than Christian ones. It seems like the local church is all about programs, events, doctrinal purity and cohesiveness, etc. I´m sick of it.

  • RonnyTX

    Up early this morning and thinking of the following. Something we all need to keep in mind, especially when times are tough and or some people are just giving us fits. :-) That something to keep in mind is, God/Jesus Christ is love and God is in control of all things. :-) So everything is going to work out right and all things will come to a good end. How so? Again, because God/Love is in control of all things. :-)

  • Colin Smith

    Good. We agree on that.

    Might be some trouble in the fine detail, but we agree on the main issue.

  • Colin Smith

    Sorry, doesn’t translate. Do you mean Welby won’t listen to them?

  • RonnyTX

    Matthew to Ronny:
    Thanks so much for that RonnyTX. It was interesting getting to know a bit more about your journey and biography.

    Ronny to Matthew:
    You’re welcome Matthew. :-) And thank you too. :-) And if I hadn’t of been tired last night, I’m sure I would of written more! :-) LoL I do tend to talk a bit! LoL Too, last night, my oldest sisters little house dog, started to bark a bit. That’s way unusual for him and he many go months, without barking at all! (ha) So Sis got out her gun and came and got me. I walked around outside with my flashlight; but didn’t see anything, besides the neighbor lady leaving/driving off from her house. I sort of suspicioned her big Lab dog got loose again and came trotting out this way. And Sis’s little house dog probably heard him outside and started barking? :-)

    Matthew to Ronny:
    I´m wondering what you think about the idea of “local church”? Is it really a biblical concept? Is what we are seeing in modern Christianity anything like what the New Testament illustrates regarding “church”?

    Ronny to Matthew:
    Matthew, I’m not saying I’m right on all of this; but I suspicion that much church we have today, is not much at all like the earliest churches. The best way I understand it now, most of those were house churches. Just some Christians getting together in a local place and that at one or more of their homes. And of course the church people back then weren’t perfect, just as we aren’t today. (ha) I don’t know? But I just tend to think that local,small community/home churches are much more like the early churches. And I just don’t see the need for these huge and fancy buildings. Seems to me, the money spent on such, could be much better spent helping those in our communities, who are in real need.

    Matthew to Ronny:
    I become frustrated when church people make it seem like if you claim to be a Christian, but don´t attend or are not a member of a local church, you´re basically not a true believer.

    Ronny to Matthew:
    Matthew I think way to many people like this, they’re looking to put down and criticize someone else, so in some perverted way, they can feel better about themself. And others just want to be bossy and run other people’s lives! (ha) And no, you don’t have to be a member of a local church, to be a Christian, to be a true believer. And I think many are not members of a local church, because they see little of Jesus Christ in such and a lot of the worlds way in such. And I’m not saying every local church is that way; but just think way too many are. Too many of the Pharisee denomination and too few of the Jesus Christ denomination! (ha) :-) I have to chuckle a bit and grin;but the bottom line is, such is really a sad thing.

    Matthew to Ronny:
    I realize that Christianity is supposed to be a community and relational belief system, and that scripture does seem to indicate that members of the body are supposed to spend time together, however my gripe is that the modern manifestation of “local church” looks nothing like this.

    Ronny to Matthew:
    Yes, we are supposed to spend time together; but sometimes I don’t think that’s possible, on a local level. In my own case, I actually no of no local church that would have me, given the way I see and believe about somethings. And the best I see it, such local churches are more about all people their having to be in lockstep agreement or else you just keep your mouth shut, smile and in that way make like everything is fine, when it’s reall not. And such as that,may very well be a local church; but I don’t see where it’s people, listening to and following Jesus Christ.

    Matthew to Ronny:
    Sometimes I feel more a sense of community in non-Christian settings than Christian ones. It seems like the local church is all about programs, events, doctrinal purity and cohesiveness, etc. I´m sick of it.

    Ronny to Matthew:
    You’ve reminded me here, that sometimes I feel close to some people, as I shop the local Walmart! (ha) :-) Sometimes there, I can smile at someone, smile and wave or even talk to some people. And most people are just friendly, when you do that. And of course, I don’t exactly believe the same now, as I was taught to believe in the Calvinist teaching church, I grew up in. But then some of my family is Armenian/freewill and I don’t see everthing their way either. :-) And if I say much or really very little about that, I sure can and have gotten some people PO’d! :-( LoL But out in public, every person is a member of my family. We are all the offspring/children of God. Jesus Christ went to the cross for us all and there, he took all of our sins upon himself. So, we are all forgiven. :-) It’s just that some don’t know that yet; but they will learn the truth of that, at the time God chooses for them to. :-) And we will all be together for eternity. Well, the way I look at it, we’re all family and we are all going to spend eternity together, so in the here and now,we are to love each other and we should do out best, to get along with each other. But we have to keep in mind, that some people are just so set to have their way, think they are right about everything and want to run everybodies life. And the sad fact is, too many of those people are in and members of what are called local churches. And too many times, the ones like that are up preaching, from the pulpit. Sad; but true. But, we will make it through such and all will turn out well in the end. :-) How do I know that? Because God/Jesus Christ is love and God is in control, of all things! :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Phil:
    Every church I go to is perfect until I show up.

    Ronny to Phil:
    Good one! :-) LoL

  • Bones

    I thought Welby wasn’t in favour of gay clergy and same sex marriage but I could be wrong.

    Christians definitely need to repent for their treatment of gay people over the centuries though.

    Btw The Rev is a great comedy which really does show the reality of the C of E. I trained in seminary and worked in Anglican parishes for years.

    Have you seen The Rev, Col with Tom Hollander and Olivia Coleman?

  • RonnyTX

    When I sometimes get down in the dumps or just upset with some people acting like a jackass, :-) I like to watch the following and this little lady, she always cheers me up! :-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6hznSYUFBw

  • RonnyTX

    Good for them! :-)

  • Colin Smith

    No. I tend to avoid most sit-coms.

    Seems you’re right about Welby. Ignore the wording of this but the article is interesting (not least for idiotic journalism) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10828762/Archbishop-of-Canterbury-Justin-Welby-says-gay-marriage-is-great.html

  • RonnyTX

    Seashell to Bones:
    Actually, it was more tongue-in-cheek than a serious suggestion, but now that you bring it up, why aren’t there many of those in rural and regional areas (other than just because not as many churches)?

    Ronny to Seashell:
    Not sure about other places; but here in rural, small town NE Texas, there are churches all over the place! And the only ones I know of, that would be condemned by more than a few church members, would be like the Mormon or Jehovah Witness local churches. Now many of the rest, would have a lot of disagreements too; but I doubt if they would say too much about that, when around those they disagreed with.

  • RonnyTX

    Al Cruise:
    The problems start when a Church takes upon itself to try and define who is going to Heaven and who is going to Hell. Once they feel that they have got it right, all hell breaks loose for those who do not share their theology. No pun intended.

    Ronny to Al:
    Oh my yes and that I well know. For I was a gay kid, growing up in what I would call, an ultra-fundamentalist church. And no doubt there were more than this, even in out little church; but the pastors youngest son, was also gay. Then God saved me, when I was 16 years old. And that was when I learned and found out, just how greatly God/Jesus Christ loved me. :-) But I still believed God was highly disappointed in me, because I was gay. Taught from 12 years old, to believe lies about myself, about what being gay meant. Then at 17 years old, one year after God saved me, I heard my pastors wife say her youngest son could not be a Christian, because he was gay. I knew better; but dared not speak up and say why I knew better. But my Mom spoke up. :-) She simply said she knew her nephew was gay, because she had been there, when he was saved. And from someone I knew was a fellow Christian, that was the one positive thing I heard said about any gay person, from the time I was 12 years old to 40 years old!

    And right after God saved me, I wanted everybody to have the same type of relationship with God/Jesus Christ, as I then had. :-) But after being born of God, it was back to my home church, which was Calvinistic in belief. And there I had already been taught, that God chose to only save a few and at the best, the rest simply went to hell. But then many years later, God showed me there was not hell of eternal torment and that all people have been made right with God the Father, by way of Jesus Christ and the cross! :-) And now it’s only a matter of time till each person learns this and that they will, as they born of God. :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Colin to Iain:
    You completely misinterpret what god can be.

    The problem with “only “God” ” is no one agrees on what that God is.

    Ronny to Colin;
    God is love. :-)

  • Colin Smith

    Perhaps.

    Though for it to be true God could not be omnipotent or the creator of everything as there is much in nature that is unlovely.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much for your input RonnyTX.

  • Nixon is Lord

    Church is boring. It’s a waste of time, money, and trouble.

  • Nixon is Lord

    How do you know this? Can you prove any of it? If not, you’re just whistling in the dark.

  • Nixon is Lord

    There are Anglican chimps and orangutans and gorillas? Explains a lot.

  • Nixon is Lord

    How can you repent of something done over centuries when your average age is 55? You can’t repent of something if you had nothing to do with it-other than that, it’s just self-congratulation dressed up with a hair shirt and whip.

  • Nixon is Lord

    Gay/lesbian and feminist causes and green/environmental causes are they typical boutique activist activities of the frozen chosen-they’re not a sign that you’re sincere, they’re basically serving your core constituencies, another piece of evidence of your irrelevance.

  • Nixon is Lord

    Church is the most self-segregated group anywhere; it’s basically the middle class, middle aged, and middle brow; NPR at prayer.

  • your post is puke buddy! there now, feel better? I sure do! if you are bored why don’t you turn on the tv & take another toke? “(j:D

  • can you whistle? I love you mang! “(j:D

  • Herm

    … and yet you attend to speak out in our gathering in Christ’s name?!?!

  • Herm

    I can point you to how you can prove it for yourself. You seem to be interested as to how we have proved “this” and “it” for ourselves to be able to speak so boldly.

  • Herm

    This is how we express sincere regret (repent) for our supporting of the traditions of family, nation, racial and religious self-indulgence inherited from our tribes of birth:

    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple (student). And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (student).

  • Churches like most of life a messy and imperfect. This is what it means to be alive and engaged in the world. Life will fill your heart and break it every day.

  • simplymagic

    I don’t see what you mean by “causes” in this context. When I take bread and wine next to a friend’s trans teenager or pray next to a seminarian and her engineer wife, it’s not a “cause”, it’s just Sunday. Same when I speak the Lord’s prayer in unison with the priest – what’s between his or her legs isn’t really on my mind in that moment. While I’m proud to be a feminist, a bisexual and supporter of LGBTQ equality, and a supporter of environmental responsibility, when I’m at church just not being an asshole to basically everyone, that’s not a “cause”. That’s just me doing my best to be Christian.

    In terms of relevance, I suppose I can’t say I’m totally satisfied with where we are at the moment, but I take that as a good sign – it means I haven’t become complacent. I know I’m not the only one hungry for a new approach. We do a LOT of really good work in the community, but I know we are capable of more. I’m thrilled to be a part of the generation that will, with God’s grace, bring about a time of joyful service, practical improvements, and sincere purpose to our corner of the world.

  • simplymagic

    You forgot tarsiers, gibbons, and bonobos!

  • Matthew

    What kind of proof are you looking for?

  • Herm

    We are so blessed that we have the opportunity of awareness as we challenge chaos to survive together. You’ve simply highlighted how the ecstasy of victory, the agony of defeat, the joy of fellowship with one another, the grief of losing fellowship with each other, the moments of savoring the past and present, and the lure of anticipating what’s over the next hill, around the next bend and what comes after … .

    Thank you!

  • RonnyTX

    Gewaite:
    Church is boring. It’s a waste of time, money, and trouble.

    Ronny to Gewaite:
    I never found church boring. In later years, after I got out of such, God did show me where somethings I’d been taught in church were wrong; but boring, no, I never remember finding a church service that. I especially liked the singing. :-) And in the small church I grew up in, when we sang, you might think sometimes we were going to raise the roof off of the building and or blow the glass windows out! :-) My, I loved that type of singing. Where people were truly praising God/Jesus Christ, thanking him and asking him for help. Not sure about this; but maybe the way we sang was called 4 point harmony? Not sure if that’t right or not? But it was a beautiful sound and moment, when we all were singing praises to God and thanking God/Jesus Christ, for all that they had done and were doing for us. :-) Ah, puts a smile on my face, just thinking about such songs as Amazing Grace, The Love of God and How Great Thou Art! :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Gewaite:
    How do you know this? Can you prove any of it? If not, you’re just whistling in the dark.

    Ronny to Gewaite:
    Gewaite, I can tell you how I know God/Jesus Christ is love; but no, I can’t prove that to you. God/Jesus Christ will have to do that for you and God will. :-) For at the time of God’s choosing, you will be born of God. God will let you know that you’re lost, not in a right relationship with God, God will show you the sin you need to repent of and you will repent/agree with God about such. Then God will let you see and understand, that Jesus Christ was on the cross for you, there in your places, taking your sins upon himself. So yes, God/Jesus Christ will prove to you, just how greatly they loves you. :-) That will happen for you, at the time of God’s choosing. It may be in this lifetime or it could be after you die and are raised from the dead; but at some point, you will be born of God. :-)

  • Levi

    But even when it’s just me, there is disagreement. Loads.

    The me of 10 years ago might very well have condemned the me of today as a heretic. Who knows what today’s me will do or believe that tomorrow’s me will find repulsive? Given my track record, it’s pretty likely.

  • RonnyTX

    Matthew to Ronny:
    Thanks so much for your input RonnyTX.

    Ronny to Matthew:
    You’re welcome Matthew. :-)

  • Herm

    Methinks you are legitimately in the pursuit of truth which is the only reason I can see for eternal life. It helps to have one Teacher along the entire journey who knows your heart and mind without the barrier of facade. In order to become an enrolled student of His I had to find all previous lessons, that I had carnally been dependent upon as a child of Man, disagreeable, yes even of my own teaching.

    I have been fortunate that I have read, listened to and shared with condemned heretics all along this all too short 71 year journey not the least of which was and is Jesus Christ.

    Thank you for enhancing the picture of truth!

  • ‘typical boutique activist activities’ yes! Accessories to enhance a lifestyle that needs a reason (any reason!) to justify it’s empty parasitic existance! “(j:D

  • our beloved gigi has been around a long time posting on the blogs I follow. (I’m actually quite fond of him tho it is an aquired taste!) he is very articulate & peceptive in some past posts I checked out on his profile today. “(j:D

  • Nixon is Lord

    Thank you-can’t forget them! Or baboons-plenty of those flashing their brightly-colored hindquarters!

  • Nixon is Lord

    It’s self-flagellation dressed up as concern; moral self-congratulation masquerading as regret. Pathetic, but then, it’s religion so you’d expect that, wouldn’t you?

  • Nixon is Lord

    it’s boring. It puts people to sleep.

  • gimpi1

    Fortunately, this philosophy didn’t work out well for him or his church.

  • Herm

    … from the religion yes but not from inside the actual relationship of which religious theology is only a dim study of viewed from the outside.

  • Herm

    Are we then your warm milk before going to bed? That’s comforting, thanks!

  • There will NEVER be a perfect church however if the church you belong to teaches the truth of the Word and the spirit of God resides there then that is where you need to be.

  • Nixon is Lord

    More like a mass distributed Lude.

  • Herm

    During warm morning sermons sitting in a pew I would have to agree with you … in a take it or leave it cyber fellowship church is not a downer. If one doesn’t care enough to be prompted to get involved then one can go elsewhere. Kinda’ convenient that way!

  • John

    I’d like to think I am mature enough to handle disagreements and conflicts. What I can stand is being avoided, overlooked, accused or labeled as a trouble maker for asking questions and holding different views. We all know people can talk big, but actions speak louder than words. How many times to keep trying when the effort is one sided???

  • you gotta know when to Hold’em know when to fold em & know that you’re not in the last chance saloon.

  • Nixon is Lord

    “Stay home”? Sure-works for me. Saves money and time, too.

  • Nixon is Lord

    You can get the same feelings from booze-and at lower cost.

  • Nixon is Lord

    But we still have to give you tax breaks and housing allowances. Why does your fantasy/leisure life get state subsidies and not mine?

  • Nixon is Lord

    Brilliant retort! Grad school clearly wasn’t wasted on you!

  • Nixon is Lord

    You’ve taken over 40 years to stay in the same place; that’s not complacency, it’s inertia.

  • I know! I am! & I never even went to graduate school! “(j:D

  • well hello again gigi! you keep poping up today on all the blogs iI follow! you can’t stay home can you cuz then you’d have to face the lonely guy…sad! “(j:-{

  • BrotherRog

    There’s actually a wide range of diversity among the many *kinds* of churches. Some are just as you say, “middle.” But many others are very poor, very low brow, very wealthy, very high brow, etc.
    Most are very white, or black, or Hispanic, or Asian, etc. — however there are some notable exceptions; i.e., congregations that are truly racially diverse, sexually diverse, and cerebrally diverse.

  • Lynn

    You then help no one, serve no one, and are in community with no one.
    I consider even a charity a church of worship. A church where no one disagrees is a dead Church and not a community either.

  • Lynn

    No Church is fun unless you find a way to serve or learn.

  • Lynn

    You found your fit.

  • Lynn

    What do you do to make your world a better place?

  • Lynn

    Once again a Church trying to take God’s job away.

  • Patti Owski

    My husband and I became a church of two about 4 years ago. Frankly, we find it quite freeing. We meet at a coffee shop on Sundays and do book studies(like Undiluted which we found extremely edifying). We are now reading a book on Christian community. We have yet to find a place where we can do life with other people of like hearts. In every institutional “Christian” setting we have attended, we have yet to see the element of people over politics or ideology. No one seemed to want to deal with people whom they deemed unlike them. We found that disheartening. We have evolved in our theology over the years, adopting a more Jesus-centric faith. We re-read the gospels and looked closer at the life of Jesus. It was an epiphany to read the gospels without the glasses of evangelical christianity’s interpretation. I find more in common with people who are not believers, but have a heart for people(especially those on the fringes) and a genuine concern for their welfare. We have gotten involved with people and organizations that care for “the least of these, some Christian, some not. Pope Francis recently made this comment and it capsulizes perfectly how I feel:”We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” We just want to meet believers “there” if we can, but it seems fewer and fewer show up. If you are in Southeast Michigan and have left the institutional church, we would love to meet you.

  • liberalinlove

    I find fellow believers wherever I go, who are also longing for integrity in the worship experience. We are living stones with a shared corner stone for whom we build our church. Invisible, without walls, brought together often by divine appointment or because of the Holy Spirit, building each other up…we do not belong to a building with structure and rules, though we may serve in one. We belong to each other and to Jesus, first fruit of many brethren. Jesus has never failed to give me brothers and sisters in Him, even though I do not attend. It has never been a church of one for me.

  • liberalinlove

    I have to agree with you. But I AM willing to change my mind. As a Christian, I find stewardship of time, money and effort is not supposed to be wasted.

  • liberalinlove

    But booze depletes you. It’s a negative gain.

  • liberalinlove

    Yes, churches should be taxed.

  • Nixon is Lord

    Church is boring.

  • Nixon is Lord

    If you’re stupid enough to get drunk, sure.