It is easy to knock church these days. Organized religion is being seen less and less as a positive thing. At best it is seen as a boring, unimportant, harmless chore for unusually dedicated folk to do to feel better about themselves. At worst it is a unsafe incubator of hate, distrust, scandal and secrets, more worthy of being protested against than a beacon of light to society.
As I sat in my church today I realized how unfair both these extreme views are. I was also reminded how important church is for the Christian who seeks to have a vibrant, growing spiritual life not only with God but the others in their community. Yes, church is easily lampooned but that doesn’t make it any less powerful and important when it is done right.
For me church keeps me focused on the important things in life. It engages me. It reinforces beliefs that I hold. It encourages me. It reminds how I am supposed to (and want to) live. It allows me to see, meet and enjoy the company of other believers. It gives me a place to refresh and renew myself. It gives me a safe place to emotionally open myself up to a God I rarely am open to. Church does so much I am convinced that no Christian should go without it on a regular basis.
I have had a very positive experience with Church my whole life. I realize many others haven’t. Their churches and leaders have not been what they should have been. Instead of love and truth, people have experienced distrust and judgement. Some have even faced serious abuse in church. Others have simply been bored to tears waking up earlier than desired on Sunday mornings. All of these failings are tragic. However, none of this means that all churches are wrong or unnecessary.
If you are a Christian who has never found the right Church I encourage you to start looking again. If you aren’t a Christian and think going to a church would be crazy, I encourage you to give it a try. If you live in the Boston area I’ll pick you up and drive you. It’s easy to dismiss and disregard church. Finding a good one can be difficult. But for my money there is nothing better for my faith than a building full of dedicated, worshipful people seeking out God’s will for themselves in this world.