Absent from Church

(image copied from http://www.stltoday.com)

It is quite an oxymoron to be an church absentee believer. However, some Christians have passed through this stage at one time or another and probably more often than one would care to admit. I have been absent from a physical church for sometime and this is to the distress or my parents.  They naturally assume that my distance from the structure indicates a distance from God. There may be some truth to that but not the whole truth. My parents, like all good christians, believe that the strength of your connection to God is very evident in the frequency of attendance to church.

Therefore, my notable 2+ years of shoddy attendance is a sign of spiritual distress. However, the real reasons behind my absence from church is three folds. The first is what I call the case of the unbelieving believer. This describes me in the sense that I believe God exists, believe in the words of the bible but is having some struggles with not seeing God’s power in the world as much as expected. I guess there is a sense of disappointment of my expectation of God’s presence.  As an unbelieving believer, there is the conflict of knowing and seeing.  I am very aware of the bible’s caution against the deception of the eyes  “No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us…” I John 4: 12. “Eyes have not seen or ears have heard, neither have enter into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love him.” Is 64:4 & I Corin 2:9. (Side note: 1 Cor 2 is a very good chapter). However, it does not negate that this is the rut in which I am momentarily stuck.

The second part to the fold is people avoidance. No I don’t have a psychological phobia (I think lol)but my childhood personality is resurfacing. As a kid, I was shy and only interacted one-on-one or in very small groups with people. I did not like large groups and I was slow to warm up to people. As I got older and the influence of  my choices in occupation required that I became more bold, outspoken, social, and pretty much the opposite of my childhood personality. After many years of ‘dealing with people and their stuff,’ moving to new places, meeting new people, doing many things, I find myself completly tired of people and reverting back to being more isolative. Churches are filled with people in which I do not care to have much of an association or relationship or small meaningless talk. Neither do I want to find a new church and meet new people. I keep joking with my good friend that one day I may become that person who lives in the mountains and only comes to town once or twice a year to fulfil my social interaction needs :-).

The third part of the fold is church boredom. I was raised on Christianity and the bible. I have been learning about the bible, bible verses and stories at church and schools all the way through college. There is not a whole lot about the bible to which I am not familiar. There is not a whole lot to which a preacher can babble about on Sabbaths or Sundays to which I have not heard (in different variations no less). Going to church and listening to a sermon does not provide any new information. I have sat through stories and lessons from Adam and Eve to the second coming of Christ and the symbolism of Revelations. One can preach that God is love and we are sinners in so many different ways before it becomes repetitive and therefore boring. There is nothing really new that anyone can lecture to me about God (at this time) that I was not taught throughout all these years. Please don’t be confused-God isn’t boring, church is. It could be that I need to be in some poor needy country somewhere practicing Christianity instead of in a nice building listening to what I should be doing. Who knows!

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: This is MY experience at this moment. This is NOT saying that anyone should skip church. The bible, on the contrary, does advocate for fellowship and its importance that “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” Matthew 18:20.   Afterall, it was at church where I learned everything about God and this reinforced my beliefs as an adult. This is not to blame the church but taking responsibility for where I am in my spiritual journey. I have my moments when I just can not get enough of all things God and other times when I seem like the antagonist to most things religious. There are times when it is all clear and other times when it is so cloudy it is hard to see very far. I do not always find the belief in God and the redemption plan to be very easy. However, the one part that is always unwavering is that I do believe God exists.


7 thoughts on “Absent from Church

  1. Like numerous things in life, the adage “familiarity breeds contempt” really applies to what you’re saying! The strongest, most on-fire Christians are the ones who are being persecuted for their faith, and yet have an insatiable desire for God. Deep down, I know that’s the only thing that’s really going to change me from the inside out–when I’m faced with challenges so great that only God’s grace and mercy will get me through, and I see every truth lived out through the flames of the fire. Frankly, I’m scared to death to admit that, but I know it’s true.

    That said, I’m not a fan of small talk or plastic “I’m fine, we’re all fine here; now, how are you?” Christianity. That’s why I love the small church (a.k.a. Sunday School) class I’m in at the moment–which is small enough to allow solid, honest discussion between everyone in the class. I appreciate people without pretenses, who are willing to ask the tough, awkward questions that make me look at Scripture again or dig even deeper than before. And the courage to admit that we won’t always know all the answers, but that we need to trust God and the principles in His Word.

    1. It was the small classes at church that taught me so much as well. I really do enjoy those informal christian gatherings where you are learning and teaching others-there is such a lively experience. I know that most christians will not openly proclaim that they have a lull moment when it comes to their faith.

    2. I love God and had dreams and visions in the beginning from satan and later from God; I came out of the “Mormon faith” to becoming a “born again Christian” John 3:3 –
      I have had two bad marriages and divorces, sexually frustrating, my fault. I love God and His Creation during the six day creation. I have been single a long time and attempted to remain as we are taught in a physical church and various denominations. (Ephesians 4:5) First of all “we the Body of Christ (Jesus) are the “Church” – so Sunday School – and meetings on Wednesday and Sundays are in relationship to “Fellowship often with each other”. I am getting frustrated of not having a woman as a friend or companionship to hold and talk to; perhaps I am ready to leave the Organized Christianity myself. Michael.

      1. Thanks for stopping by Michael. I think every christian goes through that ‘religion is disappointing’ moment. Some of us experience this a little longer than others. The organized church can be a little difficult to keep up with and we each have to make a decision how to deal with our frustrations regarding religion.

  2. I understand where you are coming from. I don’t know the Bible quite as good as you but i was raised in church up until i was about 18 or so. I myself don’t like going as much anymore for a few reasons. One, like you i get bored with sermons because its nothing you haven’t herd before. Two, i tend to see more and more people acting like what they call “the world” in the chruch , and to many people putting forth judgement on anyone thats not a claimed christian. Three, christians in general have a tendecy to push other people into their own religion or pester them about it and i see them drive away so many people this way. I respect that other people don’t believe the same things i do. I will not sit there trying to make them believe something they obviously do not or make them go to church if they do not wish to,

    I have not been to a church in a small while probably about as long as you now. Would i like to go back? Not to the ones i’ve been to. Maybe if i found one less stressful. By the way i understand the joking about the “in the mountains” thing. Sadly enough i have actually considered moveing into the middle of no where some where and liveing my life.

    1. My mother always remind me that you do not go to church for other people. There will always be sinners in the church so when you go focus on God. She does have a point but at times when there are too much craziness in a church, it might just be time to leave.

      1. Yea thats what i am saying. Its not just a few anymore. Its usually everyone in the church or the majority. I haven’t seen much i don’t agree with you on as far as beliefs on this stuff go.

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