Posts Tagged ‘attending church’

When I came upon this meme, I immediately saw two inferences: (1) only people who our culture considers “weak” go to church and, (2) church (or any kind of faith, for that matter) cannot help us get through life’s challenges.

From my perspective, these broad generalizations entirely miss the point of faith.

Most importantly, when hard times smack you in the face, do you want to face them alone? As my pastor friend Ross Carkner points out, “church isn’t a place that you go to, but a people you do life with. And life isn’t an individual sport; it’s often a war and we do battle together.”

Ross’s point is significant because unlike, say, a wine-tasting group or a book club, church deals with the most important matters of life. And because of that, churches are uniquely equipped to help you deal with disappointments and bad news.

Are people of faith weak and incapable of standing tall when setbacks strike like a hurricane? Some folks might think so, but those of us who follow Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God) know that He’s the one who makes us strong.

We are strengthened through His sacrificial death (to make up for all the wrong things we’ve done and all the right things we’ve failed to do) and His resurrection. We are made capable of forgiving even the most heinous crimes because through Jesus, we are totally forgiven.

That might make us seem weak to some, but there’s no point in living life angry and bitter. Before deciding to follow Jesus, that’s what I was like and it made me unpleasant to be around.

When Jesus followers encounter hard times, we absolutely want to fall to our knees and start praying. I know many critics of faith believe prayer is an eye-rolling waste of time, but for us, it:

  • connects us to Jesus
  • helps us to discern how He wants us to respond to the challenges before us
  • gives us the willpower to stand tall

Just as important as these points, connecting to Jesus helps us to understand that life isn’t just about our needs, our hopes and our struggles. It’s about seeing – and responding to – the pain and suffering around us.

Because of our faith in Jesus, we become God’s ambassadors in a world that even the most optimistic person will admit isn’t doing very well. Out of that has come Samaritan’s Purse, World Vision, Compassion Canada, Christian Blind Mission, International Justice Mission and many other charities that are helping people in crisis to get back on their feet and stand tall.

So let me end by making a suggestion that ties directly into the meme: if you have young kids, take them to church, even if you don’t fully understand what’s going on and even if you’re not sure what you believe. When you take that step, you keep the door of faith open for your children to explore. If you’re a person open to spirituality, I believe that would be important to you.

Agree? Disagree? Post your response below and let’s have a conversation. 🙂

Read Full Post »

atheism humanityWhen I read this graphic on an Internet atheism community, I started searching my mind.

When was the last time anyone — even my wife — “demanded” I get up early every Sunday and go to church? I’m still searching and still haven’t found a single instance.

In my faith, Sunday church services are important because they bring together followers of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God) to:

  • strengthen each other;
  • learn together how to be better Jesus followers, and;
  • pray together and for each other and for a world that I think we can all admit isn’t doing very well.

So has it ever happened where one Jesus follower has demanded or “guilted” another into attending church services? I’m sure it has, but I’ll venture to write that those occasions are truly regrettable. No one should ever be forced to attend “religious” events. It should *always* be voluntary.

What about “overdressing”? Um, welcome to 1955; they want their suits, fedoras, dresses and white gloves back.

In a vast majority of North American churches, what you wear is pretty much irrelevant. The church I attend includes teens in jeans and T-shirts, seniors in suits and dresses, middle-aged men in cowboy boots and even recent African immigrants who love wearing their colourful ceremonial outfits. For many years, I haven’t gone to church wearing anything fancier than jeans and a golf shirt.

Are there churches where your clothing matters? Yes. But a majority of those churches are in decline; God doesn’t care what you wear to church, since He knows you inside and out and isn’t fooled by fancy and expensive outfits.

Apologize for being human? I suppose some people might think that’s what happens. But what really happens, in most churches, is people apologize for the wrong things they’ve done and the right things they’ve failed to do.

Let’s be plain here: in all the original source documents of His life, Jesus of Nazareth never once asked a single person to “apologize” for being human. And He still doesn’t today.

Bruxy Cavey, a Canadian pastor, tweeted this about our humanity: “I’m only human.” There is nothing “only” about being human.

Why did Bruxy tweet that? Because God made you and I and everyone else human. God made His Son human. So to “apologize” for that or feel bad about that is to insult our creator.

Finally, “nobody really knows where all this came from”? Well, where (and who) else would it come from but God?

In the end, while I very much appreciate the work done by dudes in lab coats (their work often tells me how God does stuff) I’d rather trust my creator. Because I love Him and follow His Son, I have a better life NOW. And I have ETERNAL life with Christ. Not even the most celebrated scientist can offer me that.

What are your thoughts? Post them below and let’s have a conversation.

Read Full Post »