Losing My Religion

Yesterday I attended church for the first time since Christmas. I have officially become what my mom calls a “C & E,” someone who only attends church at Christmas and Easter. I wasn’t always like this; at one time I attended church regularly and even went to Sunday School. The problem is that, as churches became more “hip” with their contemporary services and power point presentations, I became less interested in attending. While I love keeping up with current trends, I like my religion to stay old fashioned and grounded. Give me a hymnal, a simple pew and a preacher without a microphone and I’m happy. I just don’t understand, or even like, modern organized religion. Some might argue that this makes me an unholy person or someone influenced by Satan, but I know I’m a spiritual person and don’t need to prove it by showing up somewhere every Sunday morning.

My favorite part of attending my mom’s church is the architecture of the sanctuary. I spend my time admiring the stained glass and stonework that incorporates all the mid-century modern design that I love. I don’t like the power point presentations, the contemporary songs and the messages that are sometimes mixed with politics. But this isn’t my church. I arrive as a guest and, as a guest, I will graciously thank them for inviting me and attend the next time an invitation is made. After all, sometimes being in church is more about being with family than it is being with God.


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6 responses to “Losing My Religion

  1. Carrie

    Even the Catholic Church is getting a little too “Kumbaya” for my taste. We went to Immaculate Conception during the ice storm and it was a downright jam session, complete with a band. (Good God, people were even clapping along!) I just don’t understand where the reverence and respect for the mass went. It’s like churches today are being run by a bunch of theater majors. (No offense to theater majors) I’m there to pray. I’m not there for the entertainment value and if you have to resort to that as a church… you might be in trouble.
    Mass is its own unique entity and I kind of resent that people feel that they need to “jazz it up” I’m not saying that I want to go back to Vatican I or anything, (and I am certainly not the type of person that believes that everything the church says is law) I’m just saying that a little more tradition and a little less hand-holding might garner respect from people and a long-term committment to the church. It sounds like you feel the same way about your church.

    OK sorry for the lengthy reply. You just hit on one of my pet peeves. By the way, Mick disagrees with every one of the points that I just made above. Apparently I’m a freak.

  2. Kirsten

    Church is nothing like it used to be, so I went to yoga on Easter Morning! No power point, no jam sessions, no clapping…..just quiet, like I remember it. I think they’ve resorted to entertainment due to the fact we live in such a media driven world, which has created us to have an even shorter attention span! Remember when CNN used to have like a whole news story, instead of a ticker running across the bottom and trying to cover like 4 stories at once…need I say more? Churches have gone this direction to satisfy the stimulation factor……it’s a bummer.

  3. Carrie: I’m laughing at the comment about theater majors running churches. That’s just so on target! You and I are on the same page so don’s think you’re a freak. Unless that makes me one too!

    Kirsten: Personally, I think yoga is the perfect way to spend Easter morning. It’s in quiet meditation that I feel closer to God and more at peace. Isn’t that what church is supposed to be about?

    Anyone else want to chime in? Matt, what’s your take as a seminary scholar?

  4. Matt and I had quite an interesting conversation about this very topic at Tammy’s place a while back. I get the sense this comment thread is coming from non-evangelicals. From what I undertand, in the evangelical community, church services have never been very “quiet”, and as that movement gets bigger it seems like other churches are following suit with “contemporary” services. I know having been raised Catholic (non-kumbaya) that for me, attending that kind of thing strikes me as a bit odd—especially PowerPoint presentations! I went to a service at a mainline Protestant church recently that was “contemporary” and they were showing videos and doing all kinds of things… my event-planner friend who brought me complimented the quality of event-planning behind the service. It’s just not what I associate with “church,” but to each his or her own. Personally, as time goes on I have become more interested in spirituality and less interested in hierarchical religion.

  5. JL

    I must say, I whole-heartedly agree. I was raised in an evangelical Protestant denomination, and am also a “C & E” now. I still can’t get used to having no hymnals in the sanctuary, power point presentations on screens above the choir, and having to sing what I’ve heard described as “7-11” songs–seven words repeated eleven times! The praise and worship choruses commonly used in churches nowadays just have no resonance for me. I went to Easter services this year hoping to hear “He Lives…” or “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” but instead heard songs of which I have absolutely no recollection other than to notice that they used the word “awesome” about 5000 times. I felt it was only a matter of time until I found Oprah’s “The Secret” in the back of the pews where the hymnals used to be.

  6. I laughed out loud a the idea that a copy of “The Secret” would be placed in the back of pews. Then I got a little concerned. Let’s not give churches any ideas. Also, the word “awesome” has completely lost meaning thanks to religious overuse. Good observations, JL.

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