I love the church. I love the church with passion. I love the church TOO much. This is a big part of why I don't really go to church anymore.
You see, if I didn't love the church, I wouldn't expect anything of the church. I would not expect the church to be the people of God. I would not expect the church to remain honest in the midst of a political campaign. I would not expect the church to love people instead of labeling them and judging them. I would not expect the people to gather around the wounded and pray for them instead of ridiculing and devouring them.
If I did not love the church, perhaps I could just go... participate in the things that are beneficial, and just be too concerned when the unthinkable and unbelievable is perpetrated on the unsuspecting. I would not be sensitive to truth being sacrificed for tradition or applause.
I haven't been to church much in the past 3-4 years. I miss praying together with other Christians. I miss worshiping with a group of believers. I miss the encouragement and bearing of burdens. But when I look back on it, there wasn't much of that really happening at church, and when I do go to church occasionally, I don't see much of that happening. I get more of that at Kroger or online or right out on the street than I was experiencing at church. I am able to give that to people right out in the neighborhood without violating any programs, agendas or tight schedules or egos.
So, lately, I've been missing church again. I realize it started when I saw all the Halloween party pictures posted online. I miss getting together and decorating and dressing up and eating each other's culinary creations. I really am going to need somewhere to go sing Christmas songs and hang tinsel and see a Christmas play. As these thought go through my mind, I think.... "I got all that in school, as a child. I know some people get that at community centers... where can I be a part of the seasonal fun?"
I've always valued community... needed community, wanted community. So, is it possible I could just approach church with a "community center" mind set? Could I just go for the party, but not be heartbroken over the times I see people rejected because they just don't fit in? Could I just go for the pumpkins and not notice the dirty politics? And could I handle the "tick tock" approach to fellowship... move it move it move it people...what's the hold up..." lady, why are you crying, get out of the way we've got important stuff to do here," attitude that seems so pervasive to me when I do enter a church?
The insane thing is... right now, I honestly want it so badly. Why do I feel like an addict confessing to an illicit craving? My family is sure it would not take much to cure me. Still, I keep thinking... "If I could just pretend it doesn't matter... maybe..."