I know people who go to church regularly. I do not.
But with the people I do know who go to church; we have nothing to talk about. Why? Because they go to church for the entertainment, the socializing, the activities, the children, the personalities involved, their own personal edification, then it’s over. Church and them go their separate ways till next time.
They don’t study their own scriptures and much less anyone else’s in order to be able to speak intelligently about the writings. I have been studying scriptures for a long time, Biblical, Eastern, Psychological, Common Sense, Philosophical. I’m happy to discuss anything spiritual and metaphysical.
Discuss objectively and not necessarily argue. I am not a defender of any faith, I am a seeker on a journey. Writings can give us tentative directions, and we can recalibrate according to the detours of changing experiences. I highly respect people who do study their scriptures, even more if they’re fearless enough to go beyond “their own” and look at others. But most Christians I know out here don’t study their writings as they should – as it says to in their writings.
Since they do not read and study, all we can do is state an opinion not based on anything objective such as the scriptures, and entrench ourselves in it.
No dialog possible there. Shame.
They don’t think they have to study because they heard a sermon from their celebrity pastor. A sermon that waters down the scriptures that they taut as perfect and infallible, with jokes, anecdotes, hooping call and response, and all other manner of theatrics. There’s no seriousness to the church experience. Sure, they slow the music down to a whisper, people close their eyes for a few moments, out loud say “yes Lord!” and wave their arms to give the impression they’re having a real moment with god, then WHOOPIE! Back to the party!
What a cop out from studying the sacred, infallible, words of god for yourself. You see, you can blow off the pastor once you leave his presence. Be holy in church and around him, but away from him use language you wouldn’t use in his presence cause, well, he ain’t there now! But, if you read “god’s word” and believe you are accountable to him who sees you all the time, and knows that you know what his required do’s and don’ts are; it makes you really work on changing your behavior, full time, not just Sunday morning and on activity days.
I had a conversation with someone recently about that. They were a participating member of a local mega church and they asked me why I didn’t like their church. I told them that I knew they did a lot of activities and had lots of programs. But I felt it was all show business, because a lot of people who I know and go to that church don’t improve their behavior or grow in knowledge. Behavior isn’t taught enough. Nobody is trying to be holy, someone even outright said so to me once, with pride!
This person said “Jesus is coming back real soon you know!” All you have to do is believe that we are saved by grace. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I think that subconsciously all of us, believer and unbeliever alike, really understand what a friend of mine who is a solid, studious, mindful Christian says: “A grace that cannot change you, cannot save you.” Knowing the bible he’ll back that up with scripture. But that won’t matter to people who don’t care enough to follow their scriptures.
Behavioral change is evident. You don’t declare it, talk is cheap. Behavioral change is witnessed. It is what separates you from your old friends and family. That you don’t talk or act like them anymore. That you don’t enjoy the same things anymore. That you choose to think differently about things. That you study and train in order to support your change.
I don’t see that local church having that effect on people I know.
Theologically I disagree with them on the existence of a personified god, heaven and hell, angels and demons, blessings based on being a club member, the infallibility of their writings, and more.
But those things are moot points in relation to developing a higher character and being a continually better person. Godless unbelievers become transformed people without those things. Yet, the people who say theirs is an awesome powerful god, have a god that cannot transform gossipy, gluttonous, mocking, violent, selfish or lustful personality from his followers, although that’s what he wants from them.
Church just ain’t doing it.
*I use as a title the title of a book I’d recommend, click on it for the Amazon link: