Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Don't Know What to Do about Church

I have not been able to get my preacher’s Pentecost remarks about dead soldiers off my mind for days now. They oppress me day and night, and I have started to look at my church with a jaundiced eye. Frankly, I had avoided political discussions with my co-religionists because I really did not want to know where a lot of them stood. I knew a few of them were pro-war, most notably a retired military man, but I wanted to believe that the membership was by and large anti-war and pacific. Maybe it is, but I really wonder about the silence of the church on the war.

I have been praying about what to do. Do I talk top the preacher about it? Do I take the initiative and lead worship services or prayers for peace? Do I look for a church that is more concerned with peace? Do I just forget about “church” and find an alternative?

If anyone out there has struggled with this and has some ideas or words of comfort, I would love to hear from you.


Steve Scott said...

VF, I can give you some ideas, but it's too long for the comment section, and I want it to be confidential. Do you receive separate emails for all your comments? If so, I can post it somewhere as a comment so you receive it, then delete my own comment. Let me know.

Presto said...

Some rambling thoughts:

Only you can truly know what to do. Having said that, I'd strongly consider talking to your minister. Tell him why you are so upset, and that you are considering leaving the church over it.

I don't think that you have much chance of changing his mind though. Be prepared for the potential problems of coming forward. Challenging leadership in the church is generally considered a bad thing(a gross understatement, of course).

I once studied for the ministry in the church, but dropped out when I came to different conclusions about what I was learning than the church orthodoxy, and came into conflict with church leadership over it.

For a while I attended a Unitarian Universalist church. They are far more tolerant of dissent than any other church I have attended. The only problem was that I got tired of the emphasis on Democratic Party politics. I have heard that there are anarchists in the UU church, but unfortunately I never encountered any. Perhaps you'd have better luck.

Talking to your minister will probably not change his mind. But you owe it to yourself and your beliefs to not just sneak away. You should consider even making it public, but I know that is a difficult thing to do for many people.

In the long run, you'll have to consider whether or not this church is for you. Search around your area and see if there's another church more to your liking.

If you have people around you of a similar mindset, you could even consider starting your independent house church. Remember Matthew 18:20: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." You don't need an "official" church to be a good Christian. In fact, you might be better off for being independent. Many churches are cults of personality centered around their pastors. That's not a good place for an anarchist to be.

Presto said...

That last paragraph's first sentence should read,"If you have people around you of a similar mindset, you could even consider starting your own independent house church."

That's what I get for not proofreading.

Vache Folle said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Presto. Steve, I would appreciate it if you would drop me a line at stgeorgeatoptonlinedotnet.

Adem D. Kupi said...

Jesus does not require you to obey the thoughts of man. In fact, he strongly warns against it, if I'm reading the Gospels correctly.

Keep reading and ask Jesus what to do. You'll figure it out, I have faith in you.