Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why Do You Go to Church?

Why do you go to church? Assuming you go. For others the question might be, "Why don't you go to church?" Ever think that the whole idea of church is kind of weird? Where I live there are several on each block. On our street, our Presbyterian Church is one half block away from another Presbyterian Church!

What is (or is not) church for you really?

I am curious as to your answers. As one who is in the biz, I think of this as a marketing question. What is it that all of these churches have to offer humanity? What is it that we should do, say, be?

I like this quote from Brooks Atkinson:

I have no objections to churches so long as they do not interfere with God's work.

So is church a benefit to humanity (God's work if you wish) or a detriment?

What would it take to make churches more beneficial?

Talk amongst yourselves and comment!


  1. To approach it from a more theological perspective, to me worship is the very essence of who we are created to be. We are the creature that adores, that loves - never more so than in worship. The church in its most basic sense is "the assembly" of God's people together for worship. I think we've forgotten how revolutionary worship is when I hear all the time people saying "I would be happier out in nature by myself". One certainly can encounter God while alone and the beauty of nature can be inspiring, but it can also be an idol. The gathered community experiencing a foretaste of the eschatological banquet is the moment when God is most present. I don't think you can be Christian by yourself.

  2. I actually don't attend church all that often (as much as I want to make this a priority I have not).

    My problem is that church does very little for the communities they reside within - in some senses - they live to serve themselves - I think prayer is the one thing that actually tries to concern anyone outside the church.

    I guess I still go when I can and the reason I go is because I respect and love the teachings quite a bit. I also want to be more social so this would be 2nd reason for me.

    However, I know I will always feel some level of disappointment but I can change - honestly - I can. LOL.

  3. I regularly attend an old (120 years) but small (building and space-wise) church where I 've seen attendance fluctuate wildly for the past 14 years. I've asked this sae question and the answer may be in the character of the community that people are seeking - perhaps wanting to be around like-minded, like-desiring, like-feeling others. When people leave the church for another or no church at all, its often because those qualities are no longer readily apparent or they been replaced in primacy by others - for example, the need for like-political stance, like-theological orientation, like-Biblical interpretation.

    Its membership has become rather conservative (politically) and fundamentalist camp over the past 5 to 6 years and that is disturbing to me. I'm a political liberal, social libertarian, in a sea of Republicans, and it is slightly uncomfortable.

    Scripturally, I don't read the Bible as literally as the mainstream hardcore, but I still have stepped forward to lead long-term Bible studies and Sunday School classes over the past 12 years. Perhaps I realize that by being an example of openness and tolerance and understanding is more effective than demanding an acceptance of doctrinally controversial views.

    Perhaps I also atted because it's a community, not a cult, and I appreciate the differences that I do find. There are different ways to serve inside the church and the community in which we are engaged. There are ways to be in fellowship with others, apart from the actual service we attend. There are messages of caring and nurturing beyond what is spoken for 12-14 minutes, with the three main points from the pulpit. In short, there are ways to be a community that transend the confines of the building we occupy or the grounds that we inhabit, or the personalities we encounter.

  4. An elderly monk was asked what is the most difficult thing about being a monk?

    He replied, "Other monks."

    I think the same is true for congregations. Yet, what is most difficult is also most necessary.

    Congregations of all kinds can be places where people participate in negotiating life's struggles and celebrating life's joys.

    In a society that often "bowls alone" congregations gather us. Worship is where we open ourselves to hope and transcendence beyond our differences.

    That is why I go to church. I trust in the power of communities. To speak theologically, it is the work of Spirit to expand our awareness as individuals and to develop love for one another and for Earth.

  5. John, you asked me this when I joined 1st Pres. I guess I have the same basic answer; four reasons. First, good fellowship. Second, it's a way to be involved in our community. Third, for personal growth, and the older I get the less I realize I know, so plenty of room for growth. Fourth, it's good for my kid for all the reasons above.

  6. Hey Bobby,

    Great reasons! See you in church!

  7. I often dislike going to church. I do what I can to get out of it. There are so many things and people which push my buttons. Church people can be so pushy.

    Which is also the main reason 'going to church' remains important to me. Within the church, we are continually reminded of the commandment to love God first and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we remain engaged, we can't avoid the implications of that far-reaching commandment.

    It is true, as Aric says, that you can't be a Christian by yourself.