Monday, June 25, 2007

I've Quit Going to Church!

Alright, at first this may seem a bit rash, but yeah, there's good reasons for this. Many of these good reasons are just tied into some of my own issues, of which I have many, even some of which I'm even aware of. This issue of which I speak is one of my greatest pet peaves. And so, I'm coming out to the world to say I'm no longer going to be going to church. This way of speaking about church conjurs up in me notions of location, destination, accomplishment and perhaps one less thing "to do" on my long, ongoing lists.

The concept "going to church" is even something I'm trying to engage with my children around, beautiful and formative little souls that they are, even as they are only six and four. "We don't go to church Derek, WE ARE THE CHURCH! Damn it! Come on, can't you get this stuff?" Perhaps a bit harsh, maybe a more gentle approach would be helpful. But seriously this goes on deep down inside of me, this little voice cries out, WE DON'T GO TO CHURCH! One of the functions of being church is to worship and so we worship with the gathering of God's called and sent ones. But even then, do we really "go" to worship or do we rather attend worship with deeper implications for whose "attending" to whom?

And so on some other level too I'm wondering what and how our language forms the ways in which we understand who we are as Christ's Church. What difference would it make if we began referring to ourselves and our function as church differently? Would it mean anything? Would we be dismissed, or perhaps, heard differently by those with whom we speak? How much of what we say, in our language, is even for others, or does it also and even more have something significant to say about our own formation? I'm inclined toward the later on this one while still allowing others to engage in and around us as we are faithful to who we are, as Church.

I mean come on, do we really want to say we 'go to church' when at the same time in and similar ways we 'go for a run', 'go to the grocery store', 'go to a baseball game' or even 'go to the bathroom'? Is this form of "going" implicitly getting in the way or constipating anything God's Spirit is wanting to birth within and through us?

Who knows really, maybe it doesn't make a difference how we speak about these things. Maybe I won't bother after a while trying to swim upstream against the linguistic currents. Maybe I won't be able to shape even my own children in an ecclesiastical language that is more constistent with identity than organization or function. All I do know is that going to church for me feels like I'm reducing and limiting the scope of who we are as church and what God is doing in and through us/me, for the sake of the world. So for now, I've quit going to church...although I'm seriously thinking of staying faithful to my calling that came through church to the way of being church with a community that is the body of Christ with particular habits God's Spirit uses to create and sustain faith that reconciles and propels forward and beyond itself into a world in need of hope and light.


Andrew said...

I always liked when you would stress that at the road. It made alot of stuff as far as my faith goes make more sense, and I believe if more people accept this idea, lives would be transformed. It is a great first step for people who do not understand the idea of this new church.

dave tonn said...

great post. been there, am there, myself. found your blog by searching google randomly. a great find. (also cool to see people from the AZ) represent the emerging church. kindof scarce around here

dave said...

nice to meet you dave, welcome. where are you at in az? I'm assuming of course you're from these parts.