where do you go to church?

how about you? first baptist? family church? community church? some "cool name" church? some home church? some "small group church?" where do you go to church?

the longer you think about the answer, the more you think the answer could be a trick. but think about this, in our modern world, the idea of "going to church" is not that weird - we can actually answer the question direct.

but, let's ask that same question to a person living in the first century. think of it this way, that same question asked to a first century mind would be just too freaky. why? because the idea of "going to church" would be so unreal to a first century christian. you see, for them one did not "go to church" everything was the church. the church was not a place, it was the culture.

to the first century mind, church was not a "once or twice a week gathering" where you heard music, got preached at, to gossip or drink coffee. church was so much more. for them, it was a continuous community of interactions, gatherings, and others that flowed through every part of their daily being. church was never seen as a "place" or even a gathering of "people in a place." church was seen as the interaction of people on a daily basis. church was you, me and the people down the road - getting together to mow a lawn, go on vacation, paint a house, fix a roof, plant a crop - church was a community gathering that embodied all that we could be, in all our faults and still learning to love each other. "church" was the idea that you, me and everyone else needed each other for our daily life needs.

time changed that, and i am not certain any form of american church fits the idea of church in the first century. some may come close, and others may think they come close, but i think many fall way short. with our systematic approach to life we lost the idea that we are a non-linear people living in relationships that abound in greatness - where the lawyer can eat with the auto mechanic, and the doctor can hang out with the day worker; where the criminal can eat with the choir director; where the forgiven can eat with the sinner and the saint can know the life of the lost. where education, money, race and anything else we can think of does not separate us from each other.

the idea that "church" is a collection of programs, budgets, songs and meetings is so not what God desires from us as a people who gather. as a gathering people, a people who flow together in a union of life, the old ideas of church just have no value. for me, church is a deeper connection of friends and family where lives intersect and merge in a collection of chaos and fun. for me,i seek a deeper walk that goes well beyond one hour on sunday, or another hour during the week. Imagine a community of faith where people are so connected, they help each other with life; with mowing the lawn; with fixing cars; with watching the kids; with meals. think of a community where who you are is based on nothing more then what you share. where life is so active, and so connected, common vacations are the norm and people find reasons to come together and share life with each other.

i have seen churches where the people come for one hour, and then leave and seldom see each other - except by accident in the supermarket. our lives should be formed by a collection of accidents, or "just misses." we should be desiring to be with each other and sharing our lives, hurts and desires. we should be willing to go past titles, status, income and see the persons God is placing before us in community. so, the question becomes, "where do you go to church?" think about it for a second or two; now, where do you go to church?


kevin h said...

I haven't "gone to church" in 8 or 9 months. :P

ph0rman said...

To me, church is wherever and whenever I connect with God by virtue of "gathering together" with others of my kind ;).
So to answer a slightly different question:
"when do I go to church?".
Well, I just did =).

Ben said...

For me, church has become more experiential. I've always "gone to church" in some formal way, but I also seek to "experience" church through out the week. It may be in a club, with some friends, a discussion on God at work or during a class. Chruch has become finding the good in other people and blessing God for that.

iggy said...

I have a basic issue with that question... I usually resond when asked by saying, "How do you go to what your are?"

I can't go to something i am. I have been placed in the Body of Christ, i am the Church universal, part of the Kingdom. I can't go if i am already there. i can't go to what I am. I can just be.


Cindy said...

Exactly. I've been doing some thinking about the sacred nature of the mundane, non-institutional-church parts of life. It's all sacred, isn't it? Jesus gave us a perfect example of the uncompartmentalized sacred life. Why do we go to such lengths to compartmentalize the sacred out of our everyday?