Friday, 14 October 2011

why I'm part of a church

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I've been trying to formulate it into a blog post in my head. And I can't quite figure out how to do it in one neat, tiny post. So this may just be part one of this topic. So beware.

There are so many reasons NOT to go to church. Like too busy, boring, hypocritical, conservative, heads stuck in the sand, irrelevant, tiring, same old same old been there done that, and sleeping in on Sundays. And then there's the whole "I can find God in nature" one. I'm sure there are tons more. All of these have been excuses at some point in my life.

Church can be a struggle for me. Like when I was younger and was told by someone at church that doubting was not good. "Real Christians don't doubt," he said. But doubting has been a path to faith for me. As I've grown up, I've learned that there's room in the church for all: doubters and believers alike. And as an adult, I've chosen to be part of a church. In particular, the Mennonite church.

Here are some reasons I go to/am part of church, in no particular order:

* It cracks me open. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in tiny ways. But the cracks let in a little bit of light. Like this quote:

There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. - Leonard Cohen

* I get a weekly dose of hope. And a vision of how the world could be.

* Sometimes a song or a sentence will bring a tear to my eye. For no good reason. Probably light getting through a crack.

* I want to be part of a caring community that nurtures faith and looks for glimpses of God in the everyday. I want that for my kids too.

* I want my kids to think outside of themselves. To know there is a larger world out there. Sometimes a prayer will bring a world event into our awareness in a different way.

* Potlucks.

* Peace, justice, and service to others are spoken of, encouraged, and modeled. I'm challenged to engage in my world. To change my world. To make a difference.

* I get a brain re-boot each week if I let myself. If I'm open to being changed by a word or a song, it's amazing what can happen. After I fight with my husband (yes, we fight) I need to hear something of grace, forgiveness, and moving on.

* The silence can be profoundly loud. I am less selfish in the silence, and I hear whispers of God's voice. Sometimes. If I'm quiet enough. I wish there were more moments of silence at church. Being silent together with others is a profound experience for me. When I let it be.

* It helps me dive deep into the mysteries of life.

in a light-filled chapel in Elgin, Illinois


  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts Rebecca. A kick in the butt for me :). I just need to get out of bed, take my pick at a church and start trying again. I want to stay connected to my Mennonite roots. I want my children to have a church experience. I want to engage in conversations about faith, God, question and reflect and dig deep. Tricky though when my spouse would rather the kids not go to church on a regular basis. Diversity can be so very thrilling and challenging at the same time. I can see our differences being such a positive thing but how do we approach the situation? How do keep each others best interests in mind, support each journey and include the kids at the same time? Tricky life stuff. Deep thoughts for a friday morning.

  2. Shauna: good thoughts... and this wasn't meant to be a guilt trip - hope it didn't feel like that. I've been thinking this week about sacred - what is sacred, where does sacred inspiration come from. [you're welcome at our church, though!]

  3. So many things that you said rang true for me too, Rebecca. I really value the silence together, the beautiful singing, the honest from the heart speaking, the intergenerational caring and the fact that everyone has chosen to take these 2 or 3 hours to devote to this. Pretty powerful.

    Shauna, I can definatly relate to you, and how your partner doesn't share the same views as you do. It makes for interesting conversations for sure. My husband comes from a Menno background and was even MYF pres. for 3 years. He wanted to start questioning and doubting together with some mentor, and was told "we believe just because". That wasn't good for a critical questioner and science devotee. His view was that everyone is a literalist like his parents.

    Now, he respects my views, and I respect his, and I often go to church alone with the kids. Not ideal, and I even find myself feeling embarrassed sometimes about it.
    But - my kids will know that a belief is a choice. I like that.

    Looking forward to more light coming through the cracks....... ;-)

  4. Rebecca, I really appreciate the way you so often put to words things that I am thinking. And you do it so thoughtfully & eloquently! Thanks.

  5. Rachel: I like how you said that about your kids knowing that belief is a choice. Maybe even a gift? Eden remembers so much of what you've taught her, so thanks for passing on your faith to her. The one at supper tonight: "I learned in Sunday school that I should serve others first. That's why I'm pouring water for others before me." Love it that these lessons can come from others in the faith community.

    Wendy: thank YOU.

  6. Rachel, thank you for sharing about you and your husband. I love that you have taught your kids that belief is a choice and I really like the idea of it being a gift. That in this time and place we can choose and share and I believe add to the depth of faith. Rebecca - I did not feel a tad bit of guilt :). I love the word sacred. I love reading your thoughts. I would love to attend a church with you and Derek! Someday....for today...I might just head to my sewing area and create something new. Cheers to all :)