Monday, September 12, 2005

Church Chat

I would like to start this "rant" off by saying that I am a Lutheran, and even though I do not regularly go to church, I am a God-fearing human being, and I believe in God and Jesus. That being said, I think I finally realize why I have never been a big fan of going to church (not just in the fall, when I could be in danger of missing valuable NFL pregame shows). I came to this realization this past Sunday, as one of Sue's nieces was being Christened.

Sue's nephew, Evan, who is around 2 years old, was on the grumpy side, and wanted the company of his pacifier and teddybear. However, his mother informed him that these "friends" would not be accompanying him into the church. It immediately connected with me. I remember going through similar circumstances as a youngster - not being allowed to bring my favorite toy train or teddybear to church. Unfortunately for me, I also had to dress up in some sort of three-piece swinger suit that was about as comfortable as sitting on a cactus. What kind of motivation is this for kids who are encouraged to go to church? Yes, I understand the reasoning that it is a duty and obligation to go to church and it is not meant to be fun (and, yes, I've also heard the saying "was Jesus comfortable on the cross?").

My point is that I believe that church is very important, especially in teaching young kids morales. However, somebody needs to start thinking outside the box and making it fun, and even relevent to modern times (just my opinion). I would love to have other reasons or motivations in going to church, other than, because I have to (again, just my opinion). When my wife and I decide to have kids, I will take them to church or Sunday School, because I value teaching them morales and ethics and this is a great way to do so. But, I will not make them wear goofy tan suits, and make them keep their teddy bears and pacifiers in the car. I just hope it is less boring than I remember.


Rev. Smokin Steve said...

The biggest problem with the church is that it desperately needs modernizing. Holding on to all of your old ways doesn't cut it anymore. God doesn't care if you hold on to a teddy bear. In fact, God provided the means for the child to get the teddy bear for comfort. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in church. The whole thing is that Jesus suffered so we wouldn't have to. Church and religion was made to comfort people not afflict. So it doesn't make sense to say that a kid can not be comfortable in church. That is a human rule, not God's.

And remember one thing... churches want you to believe it is your duty to go there because they need your money in the collection plate to survive. I'm not saying it is a bad thing to give money to a church. But every church has a financial interest in some way. It's the unavoidable reality of being a church. They have to pay bills too.

I've always believed that a church does not bring you closer to God. You bring you closer to God. A church is a good vehicle to find God though I don't believe it to be the only one.

Ink and Stone said...

Oh my, oh my, where to begin, where TO begin??

For the record, I am not religious in the common ideal and I despise organized religion. The thing I consider to be god is the idea of Free Will (and caffeine, Ohhhhhhh blessed, blessed caffeine. :) )

I see organized religion as bullshit institutions whose main purpose is to suck the populace dry of money and Free Will via fear, guilt, or a sense of duty.
But THAT's not the topic here.
(and don't forget intolerance! That whole "my way is the only way" crap is the worst of all the bullshit they spew. - of course their way is the only way... that way they get all the money!)
But follow what ya want, if it makes you happy and helps you sleep at night than more power to ya!

Now, as for making services and congregations fun? Worship fun? It should be! Completely!
Taking away a child's teddy and pacifier is just wrong. It's a sense of security for them. And the whole "solemn, droll" atmosphere of churches REALLY needs to change.

"Gotta dress up in your sunday blues!" Screw that. Dress casual, dress comfortable. Your god won't love you any less for being comfortable.

For that matter, you can worship anywhere you want. Every religion (well, monotheistic, at least) considers that their god made everything. So worshipping anywhere still means your worshipping your god! You wanna worship on the toilet? Go ahead! You wanna worship down at the beach on a nice sunny day? Do it!

Jeff said...

You guys really need to get out of the northeast on occasion. This is a stuffy-urban-northeastern (and European?) issue only.

Catholic Mass in San Antonio has mariachis. Mass in Santa Fe was also far more relaxed.

Growing up in rural central PA, we often went to Mass not at the local church, but at Bucknell University, where the ceremony held true to religious values but was more relaxed, featured a college-student choir, etc.