I visited a church today, for the second time in 2014. In the fall of 2013, I darkened the door of a church approximately 8 times, at least 3 of those were in another city while visiting family. My church “search” has been non-existent. I’ve put it off, at first I was desperate – but immobilized by longing for New Song Bangkok. Then for quite some time I had the impossibility of my schedule (hello, Retail, how I loathe thee), and then…I was recovering. Now – I am face-to-face with the fact that I really don’t see the point. I believe in the concept of the Church – a group, a community of people with one thing in common – their faith – regularly coming together….Hey now. No. That’s a club.
Somehow I had a chat with the pastor. Alright, in all fairness, the reason I had a chat with the pastor was because he found me on the sidelines and asked if I wanted to sit and I in my ever-increasing-hatred-of-crowds led the conversation like this,
Me: YES. But. Where?!
Him: Wherever you’d like.
Me: I can’t get anywhere. It’s impossible!!!
Him: Well, where do you want to sit?
Me: Anywhere! Anywhere that’s not in front of 95 people!!
Him: Okay…we need a center aisle, don’t we?
Me: YES! Yes, you really do need a center aisle.
Eventually, he found a seat and offered to help me get there.
After the service he asked what I was doing there, if I had come before, etc. And as I talked I made statements about how, yes, I was visiting…but I didn’t know that I really wanted a church. Community. Christ – yes. Sunday mornings – eh. I could leave them. I have the first 2, so did I need the third?
Some of my friends have asked, bugged, annoyed, and used all other manner of ways to suggest that a Sunday morning routine might be good for me. Because – that is what Christians do. *gag me*
Last time I visited a church, my old church, actually, I told the Pastor that I was glad to be back – I really needed “this”, I didn’t know what was going on in my life, should I be here? He responded by saying, “While you figure it out, you are welcome here anytime.”
I haven’t heard from him since. He meant no harm. But I attended that church for over 3 years, and see no reason to return if 3 years of commitment gets you not one meaningful relationship that will call you up after being absent for 12 months.
The Pastor at this church today, I may not return, I don’t know – I just stopped in – responded in an odd way to my description of kind-of-maybe-looking-but-not-really, “So, you’re meandering. Can we help? No, really, let me know if I can do anything to help you these days.”
It was one of two of the least judgmental responses I have received from a Christian on the grounds of my lack of church involvement in months.