Sunday, September 14, 2008

Insanity

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

I went to church today. Shocker, I know. I went to a new church, started by a guy I have known forever. He is charismatic, to put it lightly. His energy and zest for life is almost exhausting. I would love to say his church is the lively, fun and different, but it is the same as every church I have ever been to. Here in lays my problem.

Church equals a greeter at the door handing out name tags and glad handing all who come in. Children are schlepped down to there rooms. Grown-ups file in to sit in pews or rows. There is a greeting followed by announcements. Several armature musicians take the stage and "lead worship". Followed by prayer and offering. The pastor takes the stage and preaches a sermon. We are dismissed to the lobby where people have a light conversation with people they don't really care about, retrieve the children who were inevitably given coloring pages with picture of a white guy Jesus. Go home, repeat next Sunday.

Stephanie posted about her idea of a perfect church and here is mine.
  • A church full of real people, not perfect people or people who feel like they need to pretend to be perfect to come to church. We are all hypocrites and screw ups.
  • Diversity, hard to come by in Littleton. I want a church full of different people with different back grounds and different ideas of who God is.
  • Worship. Why does this always mean several people in the front of the room with musical instruments, microphones, and power point slides on the wall? Really, if I believe that I am serving an infinite and powerful God who created us all uniquely, then why does this always pass for "worship"? This can't be the only way. What would happen if a church put out art supplies, if there was no "stage", if children were included, and maybe even left an area open for interpretive dance for those who felt lead?
  • Pews and chairs in a row would have no place in my church. This puts the pastor on a pedestal (literally) and creates no sense of community. I doesn't foster learning or conversation. We would have big, soft chairs and kitchen type tables.
  • Toys, my church would have an area where there were toys to play with and children felt welcome to sit and play or stay close to mom and dad. There would be swings and bouncy seats scattered through out the room.
  • Good food, every Sunday is pot luck Sunday.
  • A pastor would be available for counseling. He would get up to bless the food. He would wander the room really getting to know people. He would lead a discussion, cause people to think, and have a tangible way to act out what you just learned.
  • Sunday would be a culmination of living in a community of believers who is actually active in the world. These wouldn't be people who you saw only on Sundays, but actually people who were in your life, who gather together on Sundays to learn and grow and bless others.

I have yet to go to a church like this and I am pretty sure nothing like this exists. It could be because I am the only one discontent with the way things are. I am not sure where this leaves me.

5 comments:

Honeycutt Family said...

As always, I love to hear your thoughts...
Unfortunately, you are right--no church like this exists. At least none that I know of. Unfortunately, what you experienced today is a snapshot of pretty much every church in America. Ours (Trailhead) is very similar. Lately, I am trying to look at "being" the church and not "going" to church (as you are trying to do as well).
I love your table and comfy chair idea. We tried to do that at Church at the Bar. It helps facilitate conversations, instead of being "talked AT".
Love ya, girl! I pray you find a "fit" soon.
Jen
P.S. Can you email me that pic of Matt, Grace, and I from Friday night in front of the balloons? THANKS! :)

McHam Family said...

I love your idea of interpretive dance. I think that would add a big kick to the whole church scene. I for one would LOVE to watch you do interpretive dance. ;) As for the church thing, maybe you are looking for some kind of community/ commune type thing. You could start one! (I'm serious!)

Kari said...

church challenge: don't visit anymore churches and start your own with Steph :-)

move onto Plan B instead of forcing Plan A to work and being bummed when it doesn't

i've often had to use that technique in my dating life - haha!

or see if God wants to lead you overseas to do missions work. obviously your heart belongs in something bigger then a building with pews...or work in ministry/missions here in CO

Sarah said...

Hi Gretch,

I always find your view of church interesting - even if often I don't totally agree :-P

I think that the above comments are good ones. Maybe it is time for you to take a lead in creating the environment you envision.

In the mean time, be careful not to project your assumptions onto every church experience. e.g.

- For those who don't get their community at home, that welcome and hand shake means a lot
- Conversation in the lobby after church for me is discussion with people who are important in my life not meaningless chit chat
- Sunday school for many is the basis of a child's love of the bible and of Jesus and is taught in a way that is interesting and fun for them. It is also the start of their Christian peer community

I agree that you definitely seem to need something different, but it also seems that you have trained yourself to look for the negative, and project that on others

Just my thoughts, let me know what you think :-)

Polka Dotted Pickles said...

The best churches I have ever been to are churches where the majority of the people are African. One was in Uganda in a burning hot building made of some sort of plant. The kids did worship by banging on these plastic tubs and singing and DANCING. I also went to one in Denver. It was a teeny tiny church and myself and my friends were the only white people. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. Amazing! :) Good luck in your church search.