It’s Sunday morning. A few years ago, I would be putting on makeup, fixing my hair, slipping into my Sunday best, grabbing my Bible and heading out the door for church.
But, like I said, that was a few years ago.
As a kid, mom never had to fight with me to go to church. I wanted to go. Like, taking a bath and washing behind my ears, it’s what I did. It’s who I was. Besides, anywhere my mother went is where I wanted to go. I even begged her to let me go with her when Oliver Green https://en.wikipedia.org held revival tent meetings in our community, promising to get up in time for school the next morning.
I got saved when I was five. Got baptized when I was seven in a freezing cold creek on a freezing cold Easter Sunday morning in Landenberg, Pennsylvania. Jokingly I tell people my sins were frozen when I got baptized.
I can’t remember a time growing up that I didn’t go to church or Bible School or Christian Camps or revival tent meetings. Regretfully, for reasons unknown, I never got to go with mom to the Billy Graham Crusade back in the ’50’s.
Yet, here I sit this cool, Sunday morning, drinking coffee on my messy, cluttered back porch having church. In my pajamas. No makeup. No spiffy outfit. No congregation. No choir. No entertainment. No preacher behind the pulpit. No Bible on my lap. Just me and God and the birds and the squirrels.
And God spoke to me. He told me stuff about myself that I didn’t want to hear. He broke my heart. He made me cry. He made me see into the depths of my soul. And there I sat, coffee cup in my hands, tears streaming down my face, seeing and hearing and surrendering my stubborn will to God.
I could give you a million reasons why I stopped attending church, but that would only open a can of ugly worms and be seen as blasphemy in the minds of many. And nothing anyone can do or say will ever change the way I feel and perceive the church today. And the last thing I want to hear is that you have to go to church to worship God or to even get one little toe into heaven. That kinda limits those who are bed-ridden in nursing homes, or hospice or an iron lung, don’t you think?
So please, don’t question those who don’t attend church. Question those sitting in church whenever the doors are open. Question their motives for being there. Watch what they do. Hear what they say. No one is what he or she wants people to believe they are; especially in church.
Things happened in the church I attended for over twenty years that after four years, I’m still working through the hurt, anger, and disappointment. Things that opened my eyes and made me question, made me think, made me wonder why I didn’t quit attending church long ago before it finally crushed my spirit.
People will argue that I need to be in church to connect with other Christians. Well, that’s funny because most of the time I felt as connected sitting in church as I did walking through a crowded mall.
So, there fly’s that theory out the window.
I’ve heard all the arguments, I’ve weighed all the pro’s and con’s, and I’m over feeling guilty for the choice I’ve made. I feel happy and free from the hypocrisy and pretenses I observed and adopted over the years. It’s like my brain went through a deprogramming process of what I once perceived as truth and discovered that much of it was a lie. Especially all the rules and regulations made by the church to keep its members on the straight and narrow and making a good appearance.
So today and the next day and the next, my church is my heart; the Holy Temple of God. As broken and screwed up as it is at times, it’s where God really wants to be. I think He enjoys cleaning and redecorating as much as I do. Anyway, He kicks off His dusty sandals, pulls up a chair and makes Himself at home there. And if He sees a crooked picture on the wall or dirt on the floor, He doesn’t shake His head and wag His finger in disgust, He helps me straighten it and clean it up. Best of all, I don’t have to dress up, primp up or put on my Sunday-best behavior. I just have to be me. Raw and naked, honest to the bone me.
So tell me, why should that offend anyone?