Ok, it’s Eastertime. People who don’t usually go to church will go on this day. I am not an exemplary church goer. My excuse is that C.S. Lewis and Bono didn’t/don’t like going to church. That is an excuse for me, whatever their reasons. What is really happening is that I am scared to go. I’m scared to be around a bunch of people. I’m scared of coming in the building and going out. I’m scared of taking communion because my hands might shake too bad. I’m afraid of dropping the offering plate.
I don’t like shaking hands with people and saying ‘God loves you.’ I’m not fond of singing.
Actually the only part I care about is the sermon. It has to be clever. Unfortunately for me, churches post their sermons online, so i don’t have to go.
I’ll admit that I have been hurt by people and I don’t want to be in that position anymore. I’m embarrassed by the way I look and feel.
There are reasons for this that are beyond the scope of the subject matter.There are a lot of things I could quote about C.S. Lewis, but i think this encapsulates it most neatly for me:
When I first became a Christian, about fourteen years ago, I thought that I could do it on my own, by retiring to my rooms and reading theology, and I wouldn’t go to the churches and Gospel Halls; . . . I disliked very much their hymns, which I considered to be fifth-rate poems set to sixth-rate music. But as I went on I saw the great merit of it. I came up against different people of quite different outlooks and different education, and then gradually my conceit just began peeling off. I realized that the hymns (which were just sixth-rate music) were, nevertheless, being sung with devotion and benefit by an old saint in elastic-side boots in the opposite pew, and then you realize that you aren’t fit to clean those boots. It gets you out of your solitary conceit.
C. S. Lewis, “Answers to Questions on Christianity,” God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1970), pp. 61–62.
In the end, I cannot deny that it is conceit. Not just conceit, but selfishness to refuse to engage in the body of Christ.
The other person i like to use as an excuse to not attend church is Bono. It seems clear to me that Bono really has a spiritual relationship with God of some sort, but that is beside the point. His point is that the church isn’t fulfilling its obligations to humanity. He is absolutely correct on that score. The church doesn’t do enough. We never do enough. I don’t do enough.
Unfortunately for me, God hasn’t called me to be a mouthpiece for ending world hunger. It would be cool if he did, but he hasn’t. He isn’t a prophet or a theologian, he’s a man with a mission and his job is not to talk to me about whether or not I should go to church.
Deep down, honesty tells me that I need the church desperately, and the church needs me desperately.
There are days when you just have to put on your big girl panties and do what you know you need to do. I like to ask myself ‘what would the healthy thing be to do?’ It is impossible to share insight with you unless I am there.
Wish me luck.