Thursday, April 17, 2008

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

If you don’t go to church, why not?


The Walk said...

I took a break from church for a while last year.

I think there are a lot of reasons people don't go to church, some good, some not so good. I'm really glad I stopped going to church last year...I had become prideful and self-focused, more focused on what people thought of me than focused on God.

One thing I would change about my decision is that I would continue to involve myself in Christian community through Bible studies and small worship groups. It's important that we meet together and pray isn't nessisary to get together every Sunday and sing praise music.

For a lot of people, I think it's tempting to quit church because of apathy or whether or not we go to services, I think it's important to involve ourselves in regular community.

Greg said...

the walk,
Good comments. Thanks. Regular community with the believing allows for us to make a contribution to others and to receive their contribution to us - something of mutual upbuilding and learning more about God in serving Christ.

Jeremy Cook said...

I hunger for authentic, intentional and redemptive community but unfortunately, these qualities aren't something that typify the average church--at least in my present context. I grew up in the church but found through experience that the church can painfully distort and warp a person's view of God. In all fairness however, occasionally it can provide a healthy environment for growth into Christ-likeness. These are just some of the reasons why I'm currently not going to church.

Greg said...

Thanks Jeremy. Trust you're well! It's very sad that some churches hinder, rather than help us in understanding God and following in the footsteps of Christ.

preacherman said...

I took a break from the church for 1 1/2 years.
I got burned out on ministry and how I was treated by Christians inside the church as well as elders who where suppose to take care of me.
I tried like Jonah running from God but learned when you have a calling, you can't do that. So, I switched to the calling I had recieved and striving to be emergant and missional in all I do.
I have been blessed by your blog and look forward to reading more of it in the future.
God bless all you are doing.
In Him,
Kinney Mabry

Greg said...

Good to have you back for a visit. Thanks for your comment. Let's keep trying to treat each other in more Christ like ways that speak of redemption and renewal, instead of power and manipulation.

So glad for your calling and that God has kept you in the groove.

Anita said...

I recently began attending a church again and wonder if I will keep going. It is often a disheartening and uninspiring experience which pronounces my confusion about how to live as a Christian rather than providing clarity about it. I'm so confused about how or where to find the fullness of life Christ said is found in him, and I keep hoping I might find it at church. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place? Or maybe I'm going to the wrong church? I cringe every Sunday morning because I know I will hear either harsh dogma that over emphasizes human depravity and feel this strange pressure to give up my brain and become uniform with the churchy masses or a motivational speech about "living my best life now." Church is not a place I have found where real problems are being discussed and where people are truly cared for and become more fully themselves, but is a place a where particular theological bent is rammed down the throats of the congregation and trite cliches or Bible verse quoting is substituted for real compassion and understanding. I usually leave church feeling like a loser and wondering why I am a Christian.

Greg said...

Welcome to Living Spirituality. Thanks for your comment.

Lamentably, your situation seems to take place all too often. Engagement with real problems, thinking through our faith with integrity, and teaching about following in the footsteps of Christ are woefully missing in many churches today. Being asked to check in our brains at the door and feeling like losers when we check out is foreign to the truth and we're right to start asking serious questions.

When programs and dogma become more important than people we're losing the way of love.

When the Bible is used as a hammer to win all arguments and insure that "I'M" always right, rather than a sword that graciously and challengingly pierces to the bone and marrow of each of us, we need to change the way we handle and read the precious word.

Anita said...

Thank you for responding to my comments. When Christians find themselves disenfranchised with the church, where do we go? Do we give up attending on Sunday and create communities of encouragement outside of the traditional format? I have friends who have become a part of the "emergent church" movement and have been criticized by some in the church as being part of a just another short-lived reactionary group. This seems to me like an uniformed attitude to have, but do you think it has any merit? I want to be where life is, and am certainly not finding it in church, so what would be the point of staying?
Any thoughts?

Greg said...

Good questions. Yes. I think, depending on your circumstances, that you may be better off in a non-traditional church community where there is good teaching and a focus on redemptive living, saturated with grace and forgiveness. Of course, nothing is ever going to be perfect, but having a real community that has its life centered on the crucified and risen One is essential in that it encourages us on the path to life and allows us a place to do the same for others. Find it where you can.

harry coe maynard said...

The problem with God is that He might be There, the problem with the Bible is that it might be True, and the problem with a Church is that it has to think about the first two questions every week.

The problem with us moderns is we want to be God and can't quite make it. The problem right now is I have to mow the back yard and am tired.

Years ago when I studied at L'Abri we had a cute little phrase, "L'abri is tough on pregnant women and non pregnant men".

His Care,


Greg said...

harry coe,
Thanks for your insightful comment.