Primarily because my children were involved in a program, I needed to get out of the house, and it was a lovely Sunday Father’s Day.
I am always curious as to what my own reaction will be. At one time, I was desperate for answers. I looked forward to church, simply to interact with people with questions I was having. Inevitably, I left with more frustration, as the answers given were so standard fair. Nothing I hadn’t thought of countless times before.
I reached a point where I became irritated at church. I wanted to ask questions, and knew that those about me were not interested in those questions. They wanted the standard response that with a God everything will be all right, and all one has to do is believe, and just have faith. So I became completely silent in church. That was not good either.
I went through a stage of detached interest. Where I would listen for a bit, scream inside my head at the simplicity of the information, tune out, and through boredom, re-tune back in to see if anything had changed. It hadn’t.
I became resentful toward the church. Why couldn’t it address my questions? Why couldn’t I manage to have more than one conversation in a row with the same pastor/teacher/elder/deacon? It seemed that after just one “session” I was written off as too hard of a sell. Too hard of a package.
I became frustrated with the church. Here I was, anxious to be actively involved in some way, and they were turning me away! There was no place for me to fit. I could not teach, I would not be allowed to help; I could not attend anything remotely suited toward my interests. There was nothing for me to do, but be a lump in the pew and keep my mouth shut.
I haven’t attended a church since December or so. Therefore, I was curious as to what my reaction would be after six months.
After seeing the program, the singing started. Same songs I was familiar with. I looked inside. Was I angry? Nope. Was I frustrated? Nope. Was I interested, bored, anything? Nope, nope, nope. What I found, to my complete surprise, was that I wasn’t feeling anything at all.
I looked at the people about me and thought for a moment how odd it was to be so self-convinced of something that was totally made up in the human mind. But it was with a quick thought of “how odd” and nothing more.
The preaching started with the customary verse-reading, slide-presentation, same-old interpretation that the audience wanted to hear. I found I could listen and not tear my hair out because….I didn’t care.
I listened, reflected on what the pastor said, and didn’t resonate in any way. He may was well have been giving a lecture on interest-rate fluctuation.
I am very lucky to live in the age of the internet. Although I do not say it enough, I enjoy and appreciate the interaction with theists that take time to respond, and answer, and reflect with me. That interaction, I realize, has made me apathetic to attending church.
Oh, I miss the friends, the socialization, the camaraderie found in a church—sure! But what I am engaged in, the church is unprepared. It is here that I have found the theists that are my “church.”
So, to any theist that has responded with any degree of civility to me, both here and on the forums, I owe you a cup of coffee, or a beer, your preference.
It is this interaction that has kept my interest far more than 1000 sermons could ever do.