The Great American Church Out

A couple of weeks ago on the Stupid Church People podcast I somewhat jokingly through out the idea that everyone should stop going to church. This concept hit me when preparing for the grace talk. After I read the passage in Matthew 25, it suddenly hit me…I need to live this way.

Give more and take less. In something of an epiphany, I said out loud “I need to stop going to church!” My thought process continued with the idea of actually living what I have been teaching and receiving all of these years. I have dabbled with this idea since leaving full-time church ministry six years ago, but never so clearly had this idea been formed in my mind.

The concept of “stop going to church” is almost offensive to many people. For some it is sacrilege and for others, rebellious. Yet I have begun to see that for a few people that “get it”, the idea is refreshing.

Think about it this way. If you are overweight (or fat, for us un-politically correct people) what is needed to lose weight? Is it just not eating or is it excercise? Is it eating the right things or just not eating those things that are fattening? Is it joining a program like Weight Watchers? Whatever it is that works most would say…and I agree.

But the common thread in all of the above listed fixes is “life change”. The fat person needs to change their life habits if they are going to see results. Stupid Church People need the same thing. We keep doing the same things over and over again and getting the same results. This is simply the definition of insanity.

I am a fat Christian. I have enough edification, education and spiritual formation to last a lifetime. My problem is that I do not actually live it. And in true co-dependent fashion I keep going back to church to eat more and more food that is gladly provided by the pastor/cook. He needs to cook each week (its his job) and he needs me to eat (because I feel the need to be fed, or close to God, or fellowship with other believers).

Of course I could serve in the ministries of my church, but most of them are programs designed to keep children, youth, women and men “well-fed” spiritually. Keep them fat, keep them happy, and keep them coming back!

It is so much like the movie “SuperSize Me”. The purpose of the fast food market is to indulge us and meet our needs. On many levels what happens is they addict our children with their marketing, providing them a fun, safe environment to not only eat, but also to play (and in addition receive free toys). This creates feelings of belonging in the child that make them want to come back again and again – even as adults. It is a carefully orchestrated plan for McDonalds to keep you coming back for life.

And what their food lacks in substance it makes up for it with addictive qualities: caffiene, sugar, preservatives all have addictive components. If you have nothing else to offer, addiction always works.

So while I may or may not stop going to church full-time, I am proposing to my wife a church diet for our family. We will spend our Sunday morning this week together, at a park or in our backyard. We will be playing some games or singing songs for our little one and showing him how much we love him. With our 4th grader we will look at a couple of Bible verses and discuss how we can serve others in our community.

(for those not aware of “podcast”, just go to our home page and follow the link – it’s like and online version of what you are reading here.

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