11.30.2005

The whole of things confuse me

I sometimes really wonder why I go to church. It is a hard thing to click in my brain. I think i go to a really good church. They are striving to get out of the christian culture norms. They are good people who actually wrestle with their faith and the things they do and how those two things combine. They are seeking to love God and people and leave all the things that have become tacked on to that behind. But still it feels like I go because it is what is expected. It is what you have to do. If you didn't go people would wonder about you. How's your faith. Are you really committed to God, we never see you at church anymore. How's your marriage? How is your relationship with God progressing? Are you falling into things you shouldn't. If you go to church every week, show up for extra meetings, fellowship activities, are involved in something visible to church members, the questions don't typically get asked. And your brain doesn't freak out about those things either. My brain goes nuts if for whatever reason I'm not at church every week. What will people think. They won't trust me or that I'm "right with the Lord". Maybe they won't ask me to help with things if they need help. Maybe they will write me off and anything I may have to contribute or friendships that have begun will wither away because they won't really feel like I'm committed to the church or God or them.
I go because I live in america and profess to be a christian. So if I don't go to church, what am I? What will I be. Will I have to spend my time wasted on defending my faith to other christians. Will I loose something?
I don't want to go out of obligation. The only reason I want to go is if it radically alters my view of God, grows my understanding and faith, deepens my love for him. Not because I feel like i have to go or am expected. Right now in life it is a strange mixture of the two. Honestly the way God is speaking to me more than any other way is through, music, movies, art, and other people, most of whom do not even go to my church if they go to one at all. And then when sunday comes and am at church all the things I have heard or learned or new ideas I am wrestling with seem to, without fail, be addressed, either by a friend or through the sermon. It affirms things and encourages me to keep seeking new insight. It makes me brave to keep thinking in new ways. Even with all that most of the time I feel obliged to go to church so that it feels a chore to go. Not that I don't enjoy my time there. I love the friends I have made there. It is good to see them and hug them and know their smiles. But over all those are not the people with whom I feel connected to in the way I am thinking through the issues of God and faith and church. We all seem to be looking at the same issues but are looking at them from such different ways. It is a funny place to be.
So i really don't know the answer to this whole thing. I just know there is a decision that will need to be made or a conclusion to come to. A reconciling of the two sides of life, church and everything else. I want my life be a holistic thing; God, love, people, work, play.... Not this thing that is full of expectations I have no concrete reason for and parts that don't quite fit and everything that seems to pull my heart in separate directions against my will. It confuses my heart.

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