During the last week of my stay in South Africa I got three emails from three different people with three very different reactions to my article, Why I Don’t Go to Church Anymore. I thought you’d enjoy a chance to read over my shoulder, because some of you might have very similar questions or concerns. The first is from Timothy:
This was my response to Timothy: I’m afraid you may not have read my article carefully enough. My point was that none of us really go to church, even those who think they do. I think the New Testament is clear that the church is God’s people on the earth not a building or an organization.
The reason I didn’t use ‘references’ in the article is because of its format. It’s not a treatise but a letter of explanation. Proof texts can be used to justify just about anything, unfortunately, and I much prefer to think Scripture through in context not in individual quotes that are distorted from their original meanings.
As to the Hebrews 10 passage to which you prefer, there are many of us finding far more effective ways to meet together by sharing Jesus-centered relationships over the whole of our lives, and not just attending a meeting once or twice a week with a roomful of strangers where participation is left to only a few up front. I realize it isn’t for everybody, but there are lots of people who are finding that the church is a living group of people who share the life of Jesus together as they grow in him.
There are some wonderful ways to discover God’s life with a group of people, outside the systems we’ve inherited over the generations. If those systems work for you, I don’t have any problem with that. I hope you can also make room for others who have found ways that are more effective for them in living out the reality of the New Testament.
Jesus is the head of the church after all, and it is far more important that we are following him than just fitting in to other people’s expectations.
Then I got this one from Lisa:
And finally I got this from Nancy:
This was my response to Nancy: It always amazes me what God uses to bring people to Lifestream. I had a good laugh at your entry, though I’m sure it made sense to you. Someone else got here simply by searching for, “Am I nuts?” Funny!
Anyway, yes I still don’t ‘go’ to church. In fact I continue to meet hundreds of people who are thriving outside the structures of organized religion and are finding life in God and connections with other brothers and sisters to be greater than they ever imagined. What a deal! I am sitting in Atlanta airport at the moment connecting home from my trip to South Africa where I met hundreds of out of the box Christians who are growing by leaps and bounds…
It is interesting to discover that these are not focused at all by their ‘not’ going to church, but on the simplicity and joy of living as his church in the world… I hope that’s what you were asking. I don’t know what kind of journey you are on but pray that God continue to lead you closer to himself and free you to know the fullness of his life and joy.