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Help me get motivated to go back to church

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by kingcreole, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Listen to "God's Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash a few times. That'll do it.

    In all seriousness: I think the only way you're going to tell about a church, short of ones that are extremely obvious (like Fred Phelps' cult in Kansas) is by going to one and seeing how everything hangs together. What do they believe, how are the people who go there. But I guess your question is HOW to go to church when you haven't been in a while, not so much which one to go to.

    My advice is to try and find a few churches that come close to the one with which you had a good experience, and see how that goes. Once you go, it's easier to go a second and third time, either to that church or another one. Many churches have taken on a "seeker friendly" approatch to attracting people, which means if nothing else they won't be hounding you for your address or trying to add your name to the list of volunteers for next Saturday's car wash.
  2. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    When we moved here at the end of June, one of the promises I made my wife was that I would start going to church again. Like you, I had gotten used to pulling the late-night shifts and Sunday seemed like the only time I had a prayer of catching up on sleep.It had probably been 2-2.5 years since I'd attended church regularly, and about 6 years since I had ever gotten anything out of it.

    We visited one place here for a couple of weeks and felt lukewarm about it. The second church came at the recommendation of a friend, and we are on the verge of joining. One of the main things I like is that it is truly focused on worship and God instead of being a GOP infomercial. And you are encouraged to ask questions and explore things deeply (or as the guest pastor put it last week, you don't have to commit "intellectual suicide" to be a believer there.)

    Something that helped clarify my feelings about religion and what I was looking for was a book I've pimped on here before, called Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. He talks about his progression with doubt and faith and reconciling his faith with his political worldview (way more liberal than mine.) There's a chapter in there called How to Go to Church Without Getting Angry that helped capture what it was I wanted.

    Best of luck. Those of us so inclined will be praying for you.
  3. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Wanting to avoid an eternity in hell should be reason enough to go to church. [/my mom]

    I see where you're coming from, King. My mom is a very strident Catholic who attends mass without fail every Sunday (thanks for teaching CCD classes, mom, that REALLY convinced the other kids that I was not a complete freaking dork) and I did the whole Communion/Confirmation thing. But I haven't done a whole lot since then...partially out of laziness and partially because my wife is pretty close to agnostic. She's very, very cynical about religion. I can usually see where she's coming from and I have my own questions and uncertainties about organized religion.

    That said, I've always believed there's something bigger than the rest of us, for lack of a better term, and at times I'd like to at least ponder such deep thoughts in church. My mom laid the guilt trip on me re: not getting married in a church, so we were married by a Unitarian. But that did NOTHING for me. I got nothing out of those services. It was more like a group therapy session. It just didn't work for me. There's got to be a way to modernize religious lessons without sucking all the challenge out of it.

    Of course, I'll be playing first base for the Yankees before I convert my wife to Catholicism (she's never been as mad as she was when my mom convinced us to go to Easter eve mass, which turned out to be 2 1/2 hours long). So I imagine I'll be in this boat for a while.
  4. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    A great book. I flipped through most of it at a Barnes and Noble a couple of years ago and was thoroughly impressed. I get the sense that church gets a bad rap since so many people associate it with stone-throwing at sinners and consider it the non-profit fundraising arm of the GOP. Most churches, and most people who go to church, aren't like that at all -- even the conservative Christian types.
  5. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    A few things. First, for the sake of your daughter, don't worry so much about the formalities of church - worst turnoff ever for kids. Take the bible, catechism, whatever you want her to learn and teach it in the home. Teach it your way, and bring her to church when she's ready to go.

    The same for you, don't worry so much about the packaging as what you're getting. Direct your prayers before the mass or service to allow God to use you in that time. Just go in and strike up a personal thing, even if it's just walking to a Jesus photo, saying hi Jesus and soaking it in. That's where the benefit comes from.

    Third, don't be afraid to try different churches even of the same denomination. Once you're grounded in your own spirituality, you can find fulfillment many places. Find one that suits your family, and make it special for you.
  6. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    Because you'll die a slow, agonizing death and spend eternity in hell if you don't go. ;D
  7. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    What is "Help me get motivated to never go to church again", Alex? ::)
  8. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    OK, here's what strikes me the most about the original post: you say you don't feel like you "get" anything out of going.

    This is one of the things that bothers me about organized religion. There's a lot of acting going on. Even if it's not the Pentecostal snakes-rolling-in-the-aisles reaction, many people claim to be "transformed" each and every Sunday.

    "Oh, Father, I was so moved by your sermon today!"
    "I could really feel the spirit strongly during the singing, couldn't you?"
    "I feel like my soul has been cleaned every time I attend service!"

    People often claim to have very spiritual or even physical/mental reactions to attending church. And not to say that it doesn't happen, but you gotta wonder how often that really happens. And how much is a front to make other people think they're "more worthy" or "more spiritual" or even just "succeeding" at church?

    I would guess that most people who attend services, when answering honestly, don't "get" that great transformation out of it. If you're looking for it, you may be disappointed. If you continue being honest with yourself, you may find other ways church can benefit you, even if it's just a quiet hour together with your daughter.
  9. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    A religious service, at it's best, should be spiritually cathartic, transformative and/or transportive.
    When it is none of the above, it is still an individual's expression of acknowledgment, commitment and/or love for god.
    On those occassion's when you're not 'getting' something, you're still 'giving' something.
    That's the way I look at it, but I'm an atheist.
  10. Dirk Legume

    Dirk Legume Active Member

    I have a friend who is catholic and was led to do some seroius soul searching a few years ago when a very bad priest was assigned to the parish (not "THAT" kind of bad...he was just an awful, awful priest). While he and his wife were going back and forth about whether to leave that church and go to another catholic church or whether to leave completely, he decided that he goes to church for what he gets out of it. Not for what is being said at the front, or who is doing the speaking. He said that after coming to that conclusion, it got a lot easier to go and some other things came together in his life as well.

    So go for what you get out of it, if you're not getting what you think you should, go somewhere else.

    My daughter is 17 and has not been a regular church goer. She is a good kid, although being a teenager makes it hard to tell now and then ;) .
  11. westcoastvol

    westcoastvol Active Member

    This has nothing to do with anything, but someone told me recently that they were raised Lutheran but were Episcopalian by choice.

    My jaw hit the floor on that one.
  12. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    Thank you. Thank you. This crystallizes something I've felt about modern organized religion for a long time.

    There are times when people talk about how good a Christian they are because they go to church, Bible study and what-not that I just want to say to them, "Oh, you did your bit to impress the neighbors? Great!

    "But tell me . . . what have you done to make the world a better place today? What did you do yesterday? And what do you plan for tomorrow?"

    If there is a God, methinks He is more impressed by our choices to make the world a better place seven days a week than He is by our perfect attendance and adherence to ceremony in a flashy building one day a week.
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