An Honest Inquiry

In this post, a local pastor inquires about an important issue that he has been wondering about...and invites YOU to share in the dialogue!

I am writing this entry about something that I have been wondering about for quite a while. In writing this, I want you to understand that I am not doing so to cast any judgment on anyone. I am just really intrigued by this issue I am going to describe and I’d really like to have a dialogue about it.

Allow me to cut to the chase: All current data indicates that the majority of people, including the majority of those who were raised in an organized religion, very rarely attend worship services. For most people, in fact, being present in a house of worship is limited to weddings, funerals and special events involving family or friends.

Now all you have to do is read my title above and you know something about me - I go to church every week! No surprise there. Yet, in addition to the fact that being a clergyman is my profession, I also happen to really value both participating in worship and being part of what is usually described as a religious congregation. Now, I can give you several reasons for that, but the reason I am writing,  as I said, is that as a clergyman trying to serve a congregation and be part of a larger local community, I really want to know peoples’ perceptions of organized religion and participation in the activities it provides.

As a Christian pastor, I wonder what it is that keeps people away from worshiping in and being part of a local church.  My sense is that for many people, the church has just not met your needs. I also would like to hear from you for whom the church is a life giving and energizing people and place.

For a good number, I would suppose, what we offer does not seem relevant or meaningful to your life. In future writing, I will be glad to share with you what it does for me, but, right now, quite honestly, I would be most pleased if you would offer some feedback to me. Please leave a comment if you are so inclined.

While in future entries, I will explain my personal perspectives on these matters, I have to say one thing before I end this column today! I have heard people tell me that you don’t need to belong to a church or synagogue to either worship God or be a good person. What I want you to know is that my belief in the value of
worshiping and being part of a community of faith completely accepts the fact
that faith in God and good ethical living is found both in those who go
regularly to places of worship as well as in those who never or rarely set foot within.

Yet, as someone who believes that worship and connection with a group of people who are connected to worship is important, I don’t want to live in a churchy bubble. I want to know what people in the everyday real world are really thinking...so I’d love it if you’d give it some thought...and maybe give it a response!


Pastor Bob

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brigid March 04, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Yet another example of why many people avoid going to church - you judge without knowing the facts.
William Boylan March 04, 2013 at 04:45 AM
Richard, you make an honest point, based on your observation, and yet you are accused of "judging" without the facts.
Daniella Ruiz March 04, 2013 at 10:55 AM
many conversations between people have become an "I" challenge. listening to people as they exchange, is like a race to 'fill the dead space' between them with as many uses of the word I as possible.>> I did this, I did that, I went here, I was there, etc. its almost as if they have to impress people, endlessly with the small sphere of 'ME,ME,ME ME" (as you mentioned) and how 'seemingly vital it is for everyone around them to be aware of that sphere that they have wrapped around themselves, where it goes, what it does, who does what to them, etc etc. it is a level of self absorption so venal as to be offensive, as if no one else's life even had substance or reason to 'be', other than their own. as well, parents push their little darlings either into every 'requisite' social activity (lest they be thought malcontents), or push them aside. (as if the child were some kind of obstacle). very little in the way of genuine family or communal values, more of an expression of desperation, even a sense they are struggling to exist in plain view. others may not even notice them, or even rigidly avoid their existence, and worse, often with niggardly disgust or an air of snooty contempt. friendly, they are not, self centered, they very much are. and that is a far cry from what any congregation of good people in common is. it is a divided, separate, chafing, obsessiveness that has no cohesion, let alone any semblance of 'country'.
Daniella Ruiz March 04, 2013 at 07:58 PM
yep, its much easier to wake up, hit the couch in your 'jammies' , turn on those newsy truth-vangelists, and be 'filled with the joys of humanity', all day long, without even bothering to rub elbows with others as well! (they even have people mentioning the latest 'stuff for sale too!) now as for the sabbath, that's another day of real religion, that's when the likes of what we called preachers years ago, really pound the truth into you, and back it up with a reference manual called, the bible, or some book of their persuasion. no, people aren't lazy, really now, we're just modernified, all living in the church of monetized existence, and by golly, "Thats the American Way", "God save the buck" or at least "pass the buck"' .... (In God We Trust?)
William Boylan March 04, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Well said, Daniella!


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