Quote of the Day

3.01.2009

Church

We went to church this morning. I have a hard time with church. Here are some of my notes from this morning ( I jot them down and hand them to my husband who nods cryptically at me).

"Hair-on-head: Hyperbole"
The service opened with a short message about how awesome our God is cause He knows the number of hairs on our heads. Number of hairs x number of people = really big number = awesomeness factor.

BUT, the Bible was written in languages that rely on hyperbole, and as such, should not be taken literally. So this is like having a passage of scripture that includes the words "at the drop of a hat" and then making a big deal about the hat. I would argue that the hairs on the head bit is a poetic device saying that God knows us intimately.

I really don't have an opinion on whether He is a hair-counter or not. I think that focusing on the hair-counting is missing the message: that God knows us and attends to the details of our lives. Somehow that message didn't get included in the math and the bald-jokes and the awesomeness of it all.

"I feel like a fraud."
Whilst everyone is standing and singing songs that are mostly about feelings am I the only one whose only feeling is that of being a fraud as I stand there mouthing the words about feelings?

I have beliefs and convictions; the whole feeling thing mystifies me. In fact, the only feelings I was having was that of peevishness about the aforementioned hairy awesomeness and the requisite guilt associated with feeling peevish in church.

"What exactly do missionaries DO all day?"
Today was missionary day, where a missionary stands up and tells us about his life. I have missionary-allergies, having seen too many of them stay at my Mom's house and basically milk her for goodies. I have developed a very robust cynicism. So this guy stands up and I jot down, "What exactly do missionaries DO all day?"

To my delight and dismay, he proceeds to tell us: He sits in coffee shops and drinks coffee with people. Missionaries who run medical clinics and organize soup lines and so forth will get my donations. They are feeding the poor and housing the sick in the name of the Lord and it's likely that for the recipients, these missionaries' good deeds are the only Bible they will ever see.

But I just don't see the Biblical mandate for socializing -- excuse me, I'm supposed to call it 'investing in relationships' -- and even if there is a mandate, this guy can get a job and work shoulder-to-shoulder with other guys and invest in relationships that way. I am not donating to support him (and his wife and 3 kids and their tutor) in idleness.

"Jay Leno"
That's what missionary guy looked like.

"WiFi?"
I heard the little 'new mail' tone from my iTouch. Probably a good idea to switch the router off during the service. I'm just saying . . .

So, do you see why we don't often go to church? I walk in all confident that God loves me and Christ died to save me and that the details of my life are known to God and that He cares for me. And I walk out feeling like I had better keep my mouth shut.

On the bright side, I did get the outline done for a new children's book project I am working on.

~Suzanne

4 comments:

Heather said...

I SO get this. We actually stopped going instead home churching due to several of these issues (plus health stuff and God just plain saying "No".) And so we read the Bible together daily and have a time of worship weekly and it is amazing all that God is doing in ourselves AND the kids.And it is such a relief not to feel guilty for not teaching Sunday school (I have a elem and sped degree so they thought I should HAVE to want to teach) and to not have to be at the church CONSTANTLY, and all the other stuff --including giving where we really feel led instead of standing by and watching the church take out a million dollar loan so they can add on luxurious accommodations.

Suzanne said...

My cousin informs me that if he got a job he would be taking it away from someone else. So, stay in the states, get a job, support your family, and send all your extra money to hire someone already in your target country to go to the coffee shop on your behalf.

rachael said...

Well, at least you felt the requisite guilt about feeling peevish in church (which was a great line, btw) AND in addition to that book outline, you got a good blog post too, out of the deal.

Maybe you should try a different church?

Recent blog post: Friday Afternoon

Garin, aka Wally said...

Nice post, but... I have a couple of comments

In the past I've made the argument against God; then for God, but not religion; then for religion, but not church. I would say to myself that God and I are OK, so why muck thing up with all the bologna of church, church people, church politics and church games.

I now attend church much more often than not. I go not because I really love it all the time or come away with some amazing message each week (sorry Pastor Steve); I go because of a few measly little words that keep coming into my head.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
(Heb 10:23-25)

The bummer of the thing is that I think we are supposed to be doing all the things you talked about AND going to church to spur on one another. That said, I've written blogposts, shopping lists, worked and napped all during service. (again, sorry Pastor Steve)

As to the missionary part of the post, I think you are dead on. I've known both types and am proudly related by marriage to the right kind of missionaries. www.99plus1.org

I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
(Act 20:33-35)

I would give money to Paul and those that were with him.