The connection to a church has been as a normal part of my life since birth as breathing. I went to church schools and even when I had the option, I thought long and hard and chose a Christian college attached to my current denomination. I deduced that it was better to not surround myself with all the worldly temptations of being exposed to debauchery with a bunch of young adults celebrating the first taste of freedom and independence. I wanted to skip the rampant sex and partying that came with a secular college and become closer to God without any interference.
Years later, I am not having a crisis of faith in God (been there done that!) but a crisis of faith in church. Church meaning an organized religious institution. I am thrilled for those who have found their place in a nice cozy setting but my luck is not that good. I think I am somewhat tired by the prospect of church hunting and is now on the why-go-to-a-church kick. From my current perspective, they are all the same: self-serving to a point and adding bits and pieces of what they consider ‘teachings from Christ.’ This is not to say that there are not churches that do good works mixed in.
A friend and I were having a conversation about chosing partners from different religious groups and she was very clear on staying in our denomination (this definitely cuts down on the conflict that comes with having two different belief systems) which decreased the dating pool. I think that touched a major undiscovered nerve with me because my thoughts were why should two Christians be unequally yoked? Why is it that as Christians we have such differing beliefs and religious practices when we all study one bible, with one Christ, and one teaching? When did it all go from I am a Christian to I am a (insert denomination here) Christian?
This is not a new phenomena because when the bible started out, there was just one God and one set of laws and expectation as a people. However, by the time Jesus showed up, there were a number of Jewish sects who had their own ‘this is important to get to heaven additions.’ Interestingly, Jesus rejected them all and essentially said they all have strayed. If I had a $100 dollar bill for every religious institution that believes they have the truth and theirs is the only way to heaven, I would be Oprah rich. The last time I checked, there was only one way to heaven and it was through ONE Christ (not through the Anglican, or Catholic, or Seventh Day Adventists, or Baptist… Christ ).
I understand the importance of fellowship with other Christians. There is something so invaluable in that and this is the reason why the bible talks about “where two or three are gathered in my name….” I guess at this point, I may only want just two or three not a whole religious institution. So until I have a crisis intervention, I think I will be a churchless Christian for right now.