Processed Church

It’s been a long, long, long time since my last post. I’d apologize but that seems pretentious. When I started blogging I had the intentions of getting a new post out every week. This goal I set for myself is becoming clearly hard to keep. See, life sometimes gets in the way. I’m a creative guy. Always have been, but I’ve never been good at stirring up creativity. I find that if I try to do something creative it either doesn’t work or it sucks. If I sit and try to write a song, good luck. If I’m driving down the street and randomly get inspired by a melody. Bam. A song has been birthed.

Anyway, I say all of this to say I have just not had a clear head or time to think/reflect on my journey this month. In all honesty I’m in the best place I’ve ever been regarding my struggles and life but have become spiritually blah. I don’t know what it is. I’m listening to God, talking to God, going to church and doing the things that got me to this place but at the end of it I just feel blah. I feel great personally, but spiritually I just feel like, well.. I feel like I couldn’t care less.

It’s a strange thing really. The Holy Spirit has taken me to this amazingly free place. Yet now that I’m here I’m more frustrated and apathetic about church than ever. Actually, to be honest I hate church and most Christians right now. It’s strange isn’t it? Before I go any further I have to say that this does not negate the last few posts regarding my passion for the church and its potential. I still believe whole heartedly that the church could be the greatest place on earth. It can be the greatest place for relationship, community and experience. However it so often isn’t, and so I’ve begun to hate it and find going to church is draining and accomplishes nothing. (Hate is probably a strong word)

Let me ask you a question. If you didn’t go to church on whatever day you go, would your life be affected negatively at all? I was on stage looking out at our church last weekend and wondered this for myself and the rest of the family. The problem is for the most part I can answer no. This means we are doing something wrong. Church should be something we miss, something we need. Instead it’s turned into a processed program that is predictable and meaningless because of its drawn up nature. My friend (I use the term loosely, or friend might be to strong..:) ) Jasen asked me if we use the program or does the program use us. Meaning, do we need the program to accomplish what God wants to do on the weekends or does the program accomplish what we need to do.

There is something natural about a family dinner. The only thing planned is whatever mom decided to cook and the prayer before hand. Otherwise relationship with each other, with our Father and Mom and some good food is accomplished. Imagine running a family dinner like a church service. Doing so, without intending too would suck all relationship and natural interaction out of it. Before we pass the peas Brother Evan has an announcement about next week’s dinner. Do we really need that much program? I feel like the program is artificial. Even our best intentions have become processed and appear fake. I’m sick of eating cheese slices. I want natural roast beef.

We started a Saturday night church at my church. It for the most part has renewed my love of a church family dinner. I was getting to the point where I would have rather just grabbed my food and ate by myself in front of the TV. However every once and a while we go back to this need to keep things fresh idea that just sucks the joy out of my soul. To me the only thing we need to keep fresh is the conversation with the family. Set the table and see what happens. Prayer before we eat (worship) and let’s see what God does. My soul craves the things that God does. It’s sick of being filled with processed procedure. We don’t need to be creative, we don’t even need to be new, we just need to let God speak to us, as we speak to him. Church as a family dinner would be refreshing. Probably even life changing. Remember when you were a kid and you used to invite people over for dinner if you were having something cool to eat? Maybe that’s why people don’t like coming to church. It’s a family dinner that they don’t get to feel comfortable in and there’s nothing good being served. They feel like outsiders and our process has made it next to impossible for us to notice we have someone new, let alone give us time to talk to them.

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7 thoughts on “Processed Church

  1. Hey Evan, I hear you. The predictability of church is killing the mystery that is God. You’re right we just need to let God speak to us. Keep up the good bloggin. Uncle Bob

  2. Evan, this is sooo true, We feel the same like hurry thru the program and the what? what should change in the church?

  3. I’d like to comment Evan that it can be one of those things where once removed from your life then you’ll realize how much you miss it. I work 1 in 6 weekends at the hospital and am in the toddler area once a month during church service and miss roughly a service a month with trips to my parents’/in-laws’/brother’s/etc. and when I finally get to sit in a service (no matter where we are) I cry every worship time because I miss it so much. It’s sometimes in the same category of how we mistreat our spouses and kids in the busyness of our day to day until that moment we realize how much we miss/appreciate them when they are gone. I hear what you are saying, of course, but if church was suddenly removed from our freedoms in this country you would mourn it’s departure. Hang in there.

  4. I’d like to comment Evan that it can be one of those things where once removed from your life then you’ll realize how much you miss it. I work 1 in 6 weekends at the hospital and am in the toddler area once a month during church service and miss roughly a service a month with trips to my parents’/in-laws’/brother’s/etc. and when I finally get to sit in a service (no matter where we are) I cry every worship time because I miss it so much. It’s sometimes in the same category of how we mistreat our spouses and kids in the busyness of our day to day until that moment we realize how much we miss/appreciate them when they are gone. I hear what you are saying, of course, but if church was suddenly removed from our freedoms in this country you would mourn it’s departure. Hang in there.
    +1

    • Melina and Sheri-Lee. I wasn’t saying that you wouldn’t miss the community, or even some aspects of church. My questions was would it affect you negatively. Church is supposed to actually do something in you, cause deeper faith, or more personal development. I go on holidays often and come back and am happy to be there. I miss some of the people and the community I’ve built, but I also get the same feeling if I’m away on holidays and have a BBQ at my house for all my friends.

      Sure, we miss the community, or at least I do, but the processed church is doing nothing for my spritual development (for the most part) and that’s what is worrying me. I fear that I am one of many that is feeling the same way with the church environment. I’m on staff at our church, and see that there is a need for a real experience, not a processed event.

  5. I see what you’re saying Evan and I agree that some people are feeling that way. And I have been to some services/churches were things are feeling processed. It’s true.

    I think I am maybe playing a little bit of the devil’s advocate and just want to clarify that when I wrote “I cry every worship time because I miss it” I mean the actual act of worship and communing with God and not my church community specifically (that’s why I wrote “no matter where we are”…even if I’m in a church when we’re on the road and we don’t know anyone from Adam). 🙂 I always come away blessed by the lyrics of the songs, even if they are sung a bit off key, and most times the words spoken from the pulpit are an encouragement to me and really do help me feel like the roots of my faith are receiving a long, cool drink of water. I think church can be really hard on the people who are “doing” it day in and day out as their job. Like anyone, there are times when your profession becomes stale and it’s hard to keep your passion up and you start to feel like you’re not really accomplishing anything. Like my physio job…some days I feel like it’s a waste of my time that I even showed up…my patients are not getting better or I have nothing left to offer them or there is always a new complaint…BUT then you hear from your patients (or parishioners) how much something you did/said/etc actually helped them. It is one of those relative things and I just don’t want it to bring you down. It’s a good to be mindful of getting in ruts if it spurs you on, otherwise it can become a tool of the devil creating division and strife. So again, I say, hang in there.

    xoxo

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