This is where I duck my head as I shamefully admit… We have not been to Church since April.
“But but but!!” I want to shout…. I want to explain, to excuse my and my family’s absences. I feel guilt and shame at the admission. Like I’m letting my Dads – both my Heavenly Father and my Earthly Father who is now in Heaven – down. At times I feel almost crushed under the weight of the guilt. I worry how my children will feel toward church when they are grown… Will they avoid it as we are now?
Truth is… It’s just sooo much easier not to go.
Two of my three children are diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. The third suffers from severe separation anxiety. My oldest loves church. He loves the singing, the Bible stories, the games in Sunday School. He doesn’t quit fit in, but he is blissfully ignorant of this – most of the time. Those times that he does notice though… My daughter, who is very perceptive and easily stressed out, hates church. She hates having to sit in a room with all the other kids, and trying to fit in. She blanks out when called on, and hates the attention. Hates it to the point of making herself sick if we tell her we’re going. Like, physically, I-have -a-fever-and-will-barf-if-you-make-me-go, sick. My youngest will heave a dramatic sigh, and head into the Sunday School/Nursery room with no trouble. But upon our return home afterward, he will be attached to my right leg all afternoon, and right on through Monday and sometimes even into Tuesday.
There is a solution, of course. We could go, and let thePinkDiva sit with us. But then BigBoy would get upset, and feel that he was being abandoned in the Nursery while his sister had special time with us. So he’d have to some sit in the pew with us also. Which would lead to us, the parents, playing mediator, and constantly shushing, and plying the kids with tic tacs and gum to keep them quiet while supplying them with pencils and paper to doodle on when they get bored. The end result – We wouldn’t hear half of the sermon, and we’d leave service irritated and frustrated. Not really the goal of church service.
Then I read this article, Why I Don’t Go To Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobsen. Things just make so much sense. Like when he points out that “church” was never meant to be a big building or institution.
Scripture does encourage us to be devoted to one another not committed to an institution. Jesus indicated that whenever two or three people get together focused on him, they would experience the vitality of church life.
Read the whole article. Mr. Jacobsen makes some pretty valid points. I’ve also started reading Jake Colsen‘s book, So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore, available online even. So far it’s a good read.
But even though we haven’t been attending a physical church, that doesn’t mean that we have given up on learning about God, or that we sit around in our jammies just enjoying a day off. Instead, we choose to hold “church” at home. We have four different churches that we “attend” online, thanks to sermon podcasts. There is Pastor Waite, the pastor who married us over 12 years ago. We could listen to Pastor Burcham, my mom’s pastor, and a church we attended when we lived nearby. There’s a our current church home, led by Pastor Tim Piland. We also recently found our pastor from Italy, Pastor Jerry Boritzki, relocated and now serving a church in Michigan. Awesome. The best part about listening to the podcasts from home – we can pause the sermons when the kids start to interrupt. No more missing out on half the sermon due to distractions. *S* We can also download the podcasts and listen at our leisure. “Church” is no longer confined to 10-12 A.M. Sunday morning!
YouTube is a big help too. You know those worship videos most churches play on the big screens along with the lyrics to the choruses? YouTube has ’em! I don’t have to invest a small fortune in music, I just find some good ones, add them to playlist, and sing along, without worrying about staying on key. Music is such a balm to my soul, this playlist is sure to grow as I find more songs I like.
So… yea. I’m still feeling just a little bit guilty about missing church. But I always feel so much better after I’ve spent some time singing along with some good worship music, and listening to a sermon with my hubby.