I did the church thing for three Sundays in a row, then stopped.
Five weeks later, I find myself as confused as ever.
I thought I wanted a formal space to figure out the spiritual and maybe even religious side of me, while also socializing after the service and in smaller groups other times of the week.
Yet thinking things over, with the two liberal Protestant denominations I visited, I started to get a bad taste in my mouth about the fundraising that was done during the service. I have no problem with lovely music playing while a collection plate gets passed around. It is more the reminders throughout the service that you really ought to put some money in said collection plate.
I do not like it when charities ask too often with endless e-mails and phone calls, why should I like it when a church does? I know that both run on the contributions of the people who support them and all they do for others.
Is it really necessary for such fundraising throughout the Sunday morning gathering time, when prayer and reflection should be paramount?
I guess that is something I need to figure out, maybe by visiting other congregations, before I push away the idea of a formal space to express my spirituality.
The thing my wife and I have the biggest problem in church is the worship service itself. Repeatedly singing the same choruses over and over as if that allows us the access to God. The old hymns are never sung anymore by any church I have been to in the last 15 years. The message from the pastor is the shortest part of it all and used to be the part with the most substance. I don’t go to church to “feel good”. I go to church to learn about God, my relationship to him and what do I need to do about my relationship to him. You are right about the collection plate being passed around. It is a biblical imperative to give to the church. I do not appreciate though, seeing the pastor driving a new Mercedes that my donations helped pay for when I drive a 97 Toyota! Sorry for the rant. Maybe we should all go to church more and just keep working through our notions. Have a great day.
I’m Jewish, and we NEVER ask for money during services. That’s not the reason for services. However, we do ask each member to pledge the amount of money for the year that they feel comfortable giving, and if a person truly can’t afford it, the pledge is forgiven.
There is a Jewish philosophy that says that no matter how poor you are, there is always someone poorer, and we encourage people to give what they can to charity. But we’re NOT out to make a buck, like some of the megachurches you see on TV!
I’m kind of church shopping too, and I have to say, I like George’s church the best so far. :-)