Monday, April 30, 2007

to go to church, or not?

Yesterday, like every other Sunday, I went to church, and I was blessed. Yesterday I also didn't go to church, and it made me think...

We have been going to our 8am service. With 2 kids under 2 you ask? Sure, don't be impressed, it just works for us. After the service, we went right to Sunday School. We love our class. Community, friends, learning, sharing failures and victories, very cool. I taught, although more significantly, I learned. Becky and I are both so excited about how we are being challenged in our faith and family as we watch and listen to the other families do life. More on this later...

Right after class we went home, got ourselves together, and then drove almost an hour to a park where a fellow class member was having a fellowship of friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Koodoos to them for having that "Matthew" Party. Drew rode his tricycle for what seemed to be miles. The sun was hot.

Right after the picnic, we went back to church for a leadership meeting. After our meeting is when it happen...

Most of my fellow leaders went home and didn't go to church, including myself. One leader/friend, that I know had had a very long day (he ran a triathlon!) and therefore had a great excuse to go home and rest and enjoy his family, wife and 3 kids, went to church. It was strange, he and family went one way, the rest of us another. It got me thinking...dangerous, I know!

When I questioned him today about it, he said "we try to miss church only on rare occasions. not to pat myself on the back, but I find that many people will use the slightest excuse to miss church (ie., I ate some bad chili the night before). it's almost like the default mode is to skip church. if all the stars align, then we'll go. I feel out of the loop and out of touch with my friends when I miss." I agree. I told him, "I agree, but I also don’t want to fall into the 'every church meeting is sacred and you are not as spiritually mature if you aren’t there' mentality like was rampant in fundamentalism, but at the same time, being at church is fundamental." Among other things, he also said, "I think any time I start to feel like I have to go instead of want to go, I have to scrutinize my weekly schedule. " Wow, now that is practical application of a core value.

Should I have forced church last night? Maybe. Should I have rested in the afternoon so we could attend last night? Maybe. My kids were really messed up in terms of naps, eating, etc. I don't think there is a right answer, but surely my mental calisthenics are healthy. Hey, if I am not doing them physically, I might as well do them mentally!

So that is where I am at. No, my family doesn't need to be at church every time the doors are open. Yes, church is important and I need to make sure my family is there.

One thing is for sure, there is nothing like the body of Christ. Thanks for joining me in this journey.


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