I am not going to church anymore!

I am not going to church anymore!
There’s a sound-bite for you. Can you imagine me posting that on Facebook? Can you imagine a politician making such a statement during this election season? Well, I am declaring it right now. I am not going to church anymore!
The reason is, I can’t go where I am. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before. The church is not the building on 28th & Wisconsin Ave. I’m not exactly sure when people started equating the “ecclesia” the gathering of the body of Christ as bunch of brick and stone. It surely is not biblical, and I think calling the building a church is one of our biggest problems. It’s not that I have a problem with us caring for our buildings. Investing in them and caring for the building is important because it is one of the tools used by the church.
The problem occurs when we “go to church”. By saying that the church is something we go to, it becomes something we go in and out of. It is something we visit; we give ourselves permission to leave. It occupies a small portion of our time on a Sunday morning, if we decide to get up or don’t think of anything better to do. Instead the church is who we are. We worship, study, and fellowship on Sunday morning. We are fed, forgiven, and fueled with faith so that every other day we are the church at school, on the road, at the store, at the doctor’s office, on the internet, and at the voting booth. Do not misunderstand me. Gathering each and every week is vital for the church—for me.
One of the motivations for this pastors’ page is today’s climate. Not that the days are getting shorter and the temperature is getting colder. No, it is the intense divisive, hurtful, violent, judgmental, untruthful climate of our culture. So many people who say they go to church, and probably even do, have somehow forgotten that we are to love one another, especially those folks we think of as our enemies. We are not to judge. We are not to preach hate. If folks do that, well I guess they might as well say they go to church, because they certainly are not being the church.
To help us be the church. I suggest that we begin with first an easy step. Go ahead and declare that you are not going to church. Secondly, train yourself to say regularly,“I am going to worship, I am going to Bible Study, I am going to a meeting, and I am going to St. Paul’s.” Doing this as often as you are able, will help you to follow Jesus and be the church. So, go ahead and tell all your family and friends that your pastor doesn’t want you to go to church anymore.

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