The reality of church is that the church is not what it was designed to be.
I’m disillusioned, disappointed, or else just plain disgusted. I haven’t quite worked out the semantics yet. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m not happy with our current organized religious situation.
Maybe it is the unpleasant experiences I’ve had in the past that are hindering my ability to see the here and now. Maybe it’s the hypocrisy I see in the pews and in the pulpit that are coloring my viewpoint. Maybe it’s God stirring up a desire in me to go and do and be. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t get enough sleep Saturday night.
My family and I have attended the formal ceremonies of the Episcopal Church, and we enjoyed bits and pieces. We have been a part of the Pentecostal movement and have found parts that were exactly what was needed and expected. All the denominations and experiences in between have been a part of our family Sundays. Where ever we go, there is always a sense that something is missing or just not quite right.
When I was a child, I attended a small Episcopal church. When you walked through the doors, the sense of warmth and peace hugged you. Outside the doors, that same feeling followed you around. The people who attended the church were a family, a community, a “group of one” that supported each other and stated engaged with each other. This body made visits to each other’s homes, had outings together, participated in phone calls, and (gasp) even wrote letters – all outside the defined church functions.
Today the world is too hectic to stay attached. No one wants to commit to the people around them. They’ll commit to a tithe and regular services, but once the service is over don’t be standing in the doorway or you might get trampled.
I’m hoping that it is just me. God is doing something in my life and my family that requires us to see beyond the building. Unfortunately, I suspect that the reality of church – no matter the denomination and throughout every corner of the country – they are all missing it. They have taken the plan that Christ laid out – the church body coming together to lift up and support one another – and made it into a set of rules.
There is a place where the biblical reality of church still exists, and I am determined to find that home.