Why I hate the church…and need it desperately

I just came from an amazing Christmas concert that my church put together.  There was dancing, singing, drum-beating, visual backgrounds, instrumentals, even a mock computerized band.  We were even able to get my father there who does not leave his retirement home very often.  As I listened to the sound spectacular before me, I thought a lot about my experiences in church over the years.  And why I sometimes hate it.

I have had to listen to many sermons that were simply too long or too wordy.  I have seen churches split over worship style.  I have seen principalized to death by Bible teachers that could only inform me.  I know of members who have been deeply hurt by ministers, and ministers who have been wounded by their congregations.  I have been a part of  the religious mask-wearing that often infiltrates church communities.  I have seen church leaders go off the deep end and leave devastated people behind in the wake.  I have felt a wrenching disappointment about the church and at times simply wanted to leave.  And yet…and yet…

I looked around tonight during the concert.  I could see students I had taught, men I had backpacked with, women I had consoled.  Some had offered me great insight, others told me their life stories, and some simply encouraged me with an email.  Others have been closer to me on a regular basis.  There are even those few who have been my own band of brothers.  And I realized that without them all, my life would not only be impoverished. It would be cut off from so much of the life that Jesus offers me.

This is why I desperately need the church.  For the life he gives me is not just directly from him to me.  It also comes through others.  We are called the body of Christ.  There is a connection to each other as we connect to the head.  To cut ourselves off from this is not just a bad idea.  It’s death.  It’s like cutting your finger off and leaving it on the ground.

So as I left tonight, I hugged an elderly woman who has become precious to me, slapped the back of an alumnus, and marveled at the energy of pre-school boys running in the cold.  And I was glad I was at church.  I needed to be there.

PS…I hope you enjoy the falling snow!

About Coach D

I have been a teacher and a coach for many years. My real name is Bill Delvaux, but my students call me Coach D, hence the user name. This blog is about the journey into the unknown I am walking and the landmarks I am navigating along the way. The destination: becoming who I really am as a man. I invite you to join me by reading along every Monday and Thursday.
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6 Responses to Why I hate the church…and need it desperately

  1. Well put good and faithful servant. I remember well the words you said when we celebrated your mother’s entering the gates of heaven. Best Celebration of Life sermon I have ever heard. I want you to preach at mine!

  2. Luke says:

    That’s a good reminder for me. Your imagery brings back enough good memories to battle the bad experiences and disappointment that resides when it comes to my current perception of church. Thanks for helping me to want church again just a little bit more.

  3. Mike Pollard says:

    This is so true…and while we are called to love the Church, we constantly need to be asking if the church we’re a part of is functioning biblically, and what might need to change about it. Does it practice church discipline? Does it have a plan for authentically discipling people rather than transferring information? Is it proactively involved in outreach, both local and global? Are people doing life together or are they exchanging niceties on Sunday morning? How much of the church’s budget is spent on putting on the Sunday morning worship service? (Often it’s 75-90%. Are we okay with that?)

    • Coach D says:

      Good to hear from you. I love the idea of the “reformed church always reforming.” I think the Holy Spirit is always leading us this way. True repentance is always a process of transformation. Jump-starting that in the church sometimes happens when we pull of the religious mask and start confessing our sins to one another.

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