Many people are turned off by church people and so don’t attend. Although I attend, my feelings run in different directions because of my experiences:
a. Church people have been unusually nice to me, visiting me in the hospital, laying hands on and praying for me when I had a suspicious tumor on my right ankle, bringing me prepared meals after my wife died suddenly.
b. Church people have held my hands while praying for others or myself causing warmth to flow throughout my body, helping me experientially understand the term “communion of the saints.”
c. Church people wished me the best with obvious sincerity on my wedding day.
d. Church people also argued with each other in front of me taking sides based only on personalities.
e. Churches split based on different interpretations of the Bible.
f. Church people argued over what song they were going to use to praise God.
g. Church people fought over the introduction of a new communion cloth.
h. In some countries church people killed each other over differences in doctrine.
i. Some church people seem not to have put into practice anything they heard in sermons like loving their neighbor as their-self.
So why do I steadfastly continue to attend church?
1. The main reason I attend church is I need to have a sanctuary where I am free to express the feelings I have towards God, to acknowledge God’s greatness, to come before him with requests, to sing meaningful hymns. In order for this to feel legitimate, I need to be in the company of other like-minded believers. Being physically in a church affirms my faith.
2. I also need to be instructed regularly on what the Bible teaches and how it applies to my life. My thinking can go off the right rail from time to time. Instructions and clarification from the Bible is offered in many churches every Sunday, I just need to find one in which this is happening and in which I feel comfortable.
3. Finally, in church I recognize a laboratory where I can work out human relationships under the watchful eye of God. This happens in the church where there is plenty of prayer before, during and after worship; before special events, regular church meetings, and all celebrations. Even though church people many times act badly towards each other, there may be still a sense of divine guidance overall. I must look for and find evidence of grace in these relationships over long periods of time and in myself as I also grow and mature while regularly interacting with people who are far from perfect.
This theme is explored in my new novel “The Hungry Pit” which I am presently writing. For more information about my current novel “Memory Theft” about a widower whose being harassed by some scammers, please go to http://www.richrockwood.com. The site also has a tab with information on reported scams perpetrated against senior citizens.