Visited another church last week. It was friendly enough, and while a “satellite” of a much larger church it was a much smaller congregation than my last church. The music was as good as it could be considering the restraints of the current era’s sad hit or miss Christian songwriting. And they seemed to have a lot of stuff to get involved In. I made the statement about a year ago that I wasn’t going to sit alone in a church again.
Well, I’ve visited two in the last month or so and ended up breaking my promise both times. Is it impossible to be with someone or connected these days if you aren’t married, in a relationship, or with a family member? For the record I’m not sure this is just a church problem. The idea of extended family that is not family doesn’t seem to exist in todays culture anywhere including the church.
I talked on the phone to a friend of mine last week, someone who I haven’t connected with in about a year and a half. We were fairly close before he got married, we played in bands together, backpacked together, and I stood up in his wedding. We use to go Christmas shopping every year at a local outlet mall even after he was married. But like most traditions in the modern era it fell by the wayside. He probably uses Amazon, and he’s busy that time of year. I get it, I just can’t help but think that being a part is harder than ever in our society of on line friendships. Ironically, he observed that he had seen much the same thing in his own recent church experiences.
I was reading someone last week probably on Facebook talking about the need of being part of something larger than ourselves. I suspect this is what drives a lot of church attendance these days, and I certainly agree. But is it possible to become a part if you aren’t already a part? I’ve made efforts in my last three churches to do so and found it very difficult. Like I said before I was involved in one ministry for three years and realized I had never seen the homes, had coffee, or a meal with any of the other parts.
And when I left I wasn’t missed. That doesn’t sound like the description of a body that Paul uses in I Corinthians 14. Sadly while we read chapter 13 all of the time, we rarely take the words of chapter 14 to heart. Being a body is different than being a “part” of a business or cause. Parts are replaceable, I was a part, at the last three churches I was a member of, I wasn’t a member of a body. People would miss their hand, eyes, or gall bladder if it was removed. But you lose a part of an institution, you just replace it with the next part, no big deal. It happens in the business world all of them time, it shouldn’t happen in the church.