Two Theses on Church: Disputing the Power of Sunday Morning Performances

On Sunday mornings I shuffle my family to church. There are donuts and bagels at the front that I can put in their faces before I hand them off to other people for ~75ish minutes. Normally I’m not a big fan of sugar pills, but hey, this gets the kids excited about going and for at least an hour or so they’re burning off that sugar under someone else’s watch. This morning I got them checked in, with badges that have family-unique numbers for safety—the numbers no one ever checks when they kids are released. And then I left.

I just walked out of the church and went for a walk for an hour around the neighborhood. Sadly it was a more spiritual experience than attending the service.

My biggest fear with Sunday-morning services today is that we have equated them with the word “church”.  Our word “church” comes from the greek Ecclesia (or Ekklēsia—“gathering of those summoned”). Fundamentally it’s about community. Folks getting together. Amazingly the ambiguity in the original language is what’s most observed today. That is, we gather together. And we do literally nothing else.

Church is, at its foundation, at its bare fundamental, not a sermon and songs sung in a certain way—but rather a gathering—community.

If there is one thing you should get out of a Sunday morning it is community. There should be people there who know you. They should know when you come, when you leave, what you care about, what kind of bullshit is making your life terrible. They should know more about your life than you care to share. If you’re a vet tech, they should know that your job is to express dog’s anal glands and that sometimes it’s unpleasant to get that stuff in your beard. If you’re a manager of people and two of your people are driving you nuts, there should be people there that ask how they are treating you…. by name.

I think I’m coming to the conclusion that this simply cant happen in pews. If you’re sitting in a row listening to someone “preach” then you probably are not experiencing community.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are no absolutes in this. Some Sunday morning services have adult Sunday schools, where even couples with kids can drop their kids in some sort of kid care and then get a time to talk about who they are (be known) and get to know others.

It’s a weird concept. But also extremely unusual outside of the bible belt.

I’m going to propose two theses (because 95 seems absurd).

Two Theses on Church: Disputing the Power of Sunday Morning Performances

1) Sunday morning should be about inviting your neighbors over for pancakes and bacon. If bacon isn’t proof there is a God, then I don’t know what is.

There are fancy religious arguments. Then there is bacon. Bacon will convert vastly more people than the average evangelical with horrifyingly narrow world-views.

2) If you have to attend a service, and hosting something in your home or attending someone else’s small gathering doesn’t work, maybe try a Bible study. A small circle of broken people trying to understand the Word of God is pretty damn fun.

That’s it. I’ve mostly given up. But I think I can safely give these two bits of advice.

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