by Eric Muhr
I got sick one morning not so many years ago, thinking about going to church. I suddenly felt dizzy and tired. Incredibly tired. I sat down on the couch (with a plate of brownies for sustenance).
“What’s this about?” I wondered. Church had been my life. I volunteered for hours every week, attended services at several different denominations, read just about anything I could find regarding what it means to live a God-centered life, what it means to know God. But I realized, while I was thinking, that I didn’t much like church. It felt like a waste of my time. I resented having to go.
I took another brownie and asked myself, “Is there anything wrong with church?” I knew that I believed in an active, living, present God, and we were spending a lot of time talking about God. I wondered if maybe that’s the problem. We talked God to death every Sunday. But when did we experience God’s presence with us in corporate worship? Did we ever feel God or hear God? Did we know God?
My brain considered all the good that churches do: we sent money, supplies and volunteers to help with Hurricane Katrina. We provided food baskets and Christmas gifts for children in town. We held an annual appreciation dinner for local public-school teachers. We offered free counseling to couples in crisis.
But do we know our neighbors? Do we love them?
I asked my students, that week, where church originated? Where do we get the idea of church? Nobody seemed to know for sure. It’s just always been, some claimed, while others thought that God had founded the institution.
But Jesus didn’t go to church. He invited people to enter a new way of life.
“What’s that mean for me?” I wondered. “What’s next? What can I do? Should I do anything?”
I didn’t know. And now, years later, I’m still not sure.
Looks like I’m going to need another batch of brownies.