Sunday, October 31, 2021

Church: An Update

 I have not officially been "back to church" since March 2020.  Our church "shut down" due to The Plague, as many others did, and put themselves on line - again, as many others did.  I have to confess that that I have had little to no urge to "go back" once they reopened.  We have watched on the InterWeb of course, but it does not seem to be the same.

I also have to confess this bothers me less than I had anticipated.

In some ways, this strikes me as odd. I like many of the people there.  Last weekend I helped a bit at their Fall Festival and it was genuinely good to see them.  And of course, it was nice to be of service.

On the other hand, as I have alluded to in the past, I have issues as well.  The worship music has become a bland continuation of more or less the same song, time after time, with just as much emphasis on what we are doing for God as what He has done for us.  And strangely enough, singers that are emotionally in the throes of worship, eyes closed and fists clenched as their voices try to break through to Heaven, do not move me the way they seem to move others.

And, of course, the  messages.

One does not necessarily remember what mediocre preaching is unless one subjects one's self from time to time to the greats.  I am re-reading a mid twentieth Century Apologist, Cornelius Van Til, in his book The Defense of The Faith.  His distinct defense of the Reformed Faith position has more clear biblical teaching than I have heard in the last year.

The Ravishing Mrs. TB has asked me about what we are going to do - do we go back or look for another church?  On the one hand, she likes the people well enough and in terms of timing, it is likely a year and a half or two years before we will move.  On the other hand, we - the both of us - seem strangely unmotivated to go back.

That, I think, should be telling me something.

17 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:06 AM

    I know what you mean. However, you need to go..... at least somewhere or start inviting people over to your house. . Sometimes we go because we are told to go and not because we feel like it. I think the verse is Hebrews 10:25. One purpose is to be available to others so that they can kindly mention what needs to be mentioned to keep us on the straight and narrow. Accountability. Stay strong!

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    1. Anonymous - You are quite correct of course; at some level this is just me grousing about something I should be doing and do not feel like doing (as much as anything). And perhaps, at some level, it is a discussion I am putting off because I do not want to deal with the reality of finding another body - but that is on me, not on the church.

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  2. We too find ourselves in the same situation. Tiresome messages of Jesus loves you but woefully short on repentance. Repetitive "worship" songs have replaced meaningful hymns. More of a club than a church at this point. The evil that is upon us is seemingly ignored rather than exposed and resisted. May God have mercy on us.

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    1. Exactly, this.

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    2. Old Al and Cache - Thanks both for taking the comment, and grateful (at least) that my experience is not isolated to me.

      Old Al, you said it better than I: Woefully short on repentance and repetitive worship songs. A club is not a bad comparator. And evil is discussed in vague terms, without actual accountability (including those things the Church may have enabled).

      I am currently reading through Jeremiah. Amazing how much it resonates, even today.

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  3. I know the admonition in Hebrews, and yet I haven't been since about the same time as you. I have a few friends that I can talk with and pray with and for. "Where two or more are gathered in My Name..."

    My coughing jags I'd rather keep to myself. They few doctors offices I've visited, I'm typhoid Mary. Even though it's just a hold over from the pneumonia. I don't want to share that on Sunday morning.

    I never would have guessed I'd be a shut in...

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    1. STxAR - I completely understand, especially given the current environment. The side glances would be unbearable, at least to me.

      At least, we have ourselves - here - to pray for each other and lift each other up.

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  4. How deep of a bond can you really form with the folks there, knowing you'll be gone in a couple years and probably never see them again?

    These are really tough times for the churches.

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    1. Glen, it is an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, you are quite correct in that often you cannot. On the other hand, I can think of short periods of time where I formed deep bonds with people. At least in my experience, it is the depth of willingness to share and not "time served" that can be the determining factor.

      Or not, as you say. It would be difficult.

      These are difficult times for churches. I suspect many of them are not handling it well.

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  5. Anonymous10:20 AM

    Was raised as a Catholic with the Latin mass with beautiful songs on feast days. Catholic school with nuns for the first 8 years. All the things I read in books with the ruler, shiny shoes for girls, etc. was not practiced at our school. Went to junior high and sat for a year bored as I had been taught most in 7th and 8th grade. But left after marriage and watched in horror as the Latin mass was eliminated and various forms of worship was instituted. When we moved with what our final move I thought maybe now was the time to go to mass again. So a friend and I went on a Sunday and looked at each other with surprise. Walked out after looked at each other and said when did the catholic church become protestant? My uncle was a Baptist preacher, cousin was a priest and stepfather was Lutheran. First time at his church the preacher railed against all Catholics for all of the sermon. Father and his family were so embarrassed. So I talk to G-D every day and read I don't go to any church any longer and can't say I miss it.
    Margi

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    1. Margi -Probably my best friend in the world, The Redoubtable Usidean Ruadh, is a Catholic, so I have been following (and discussing) the current state of the Catholic Church with him. It is not a confidence builder - and I say this as a pretty settled in stone Protestant. There is something majestic and worthy about the Catholic Faith (and Orthodox too) that is lost in this current rush for pedestrian Christianity.

      I think given the circumstances, talking to The Father every day even on your own is not a bad thing.

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    2. Your comment on the state of the Catholic church makes me think of the supposed Pope at the Vatican.

      You all be safe and God bless, TB.

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    3. Linda, although not a Catholic I think it is fair to say the current occupant of that position is unlike his predecessors in meaningful ways, and not in a positive way.

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  6. Our church has been open since June 2020 I think and we've been attending but it still isn't running like before. We are sitting every other pew instead of every third like we were last year. Except for perhaps two Sundays before the Delta variant struck up, we still don't sing which I absolutely don't miss and never will. The part I do miss is that we aren't supposed to socialize before or after the service and instead socially distance ourselves out to our vehicles though that is starting to naturally slacken and people are congregating here and there. The big plus in all of this is that for the three months when our church was shut down completely, we did explore some churches in other locations around this country and world virtually and quite enjoyed the variety of sermons. When on the road on a Sunday, we now don't feel like we have to find the nearest church and can instead find one through an internet connection.

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    1. Ed - I do remember when you stated gong back. I think our church is much more towards "normal" seating, except masks are still strongly recommended.

      The socialization is a powerful part of any church body, and frankly I do not know how they are handling it. It is a little easier in the non-Winter here, as the socialization can happen outside.

      I have watched several different services as well and enjoyed many of them. That said, the virtual just does not quite work as well for me as the in-person - and of course, Communion, though, is something I have not actually done since all of this started.

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  7. We started going back in June, but then the delta variant hit and we stopped again. We have both had COVID, I've had a monoclonal infusion and my wife has had the booster. We have little to be scared of. Fact is, we got out of the habit, and found watching online to be so, well, convenient. This past Sunday, the wife was out of town, so I went. Like all churches, mine is not perfect. But the fact is, I need it. So I'm back.

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    1. Bob, the habit has been a thing with me as well - and I have gotten out of it. And like you, I need to make a habit of it, until other things get sorted out.

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