Tuesday, July 30, 2019
People are leaving the churches. They are not leaving the church because they don’t believe. They are leaving the church because they don’t know what to believe. Everyone seems to know what the churches stand against but people are confused regarding what the church stands for. It would be hard to estimate how many actual church buildings there are but in the United States alone it is generally estimated there are 31,000 different Protestant denominations. What this tells me is that people have come up with at least 31,000 different ways to interpret The Bible and that doesn’t even count the thousands of independent churches. While virtually all of them believe in the basics (God, Jesus Christ as savior, etc…), beyond that, the differences are numerous enough to be frightening to anyone searching for a spiritual path.
I am not going to single out any individual church belief or practice but I will admit I have had serious reservations about some of the churches I have visited. At one for example, I was actually turned away at the door because I had in my hand a New International version of The Bible The pastor asked me to leave explaining that his church only allowed the King James version. Another time, I was on vacation and did not bring a suit so I wore a nice Hawaiian shirt and slacks and went to the closest church I could find. I was turned away at the door because I was not dressed appropriately. Lucky for me, the church across the street welcomed me with open hearts. Granted these are a couple of extreme examples but with 31,000 denominations as well as thousands of independent churches, it is easy to see what a daunting task it might be for someone to find a church that not only shares their beliefs but also grants them comfort.
So, as seekers, what should we do? Well, I can tell you that I attend a church now but we do have some ideological differences. The people there are wonderful and I do truly enjoy their fellowship. Some of them to whom I have conversed very personally are well aware of my differences with their church doctrine but none of them have reacted negatively toward me in the slightest. As a matter of fact, they have been extremely welcoming and loving. I have befriended and even discussed some of my thoughts with the minister as well. We are very close and the only major comment he has made was that he believes God does not act logically. We both laughed and agreed to disagree on that point. The reason I go to this church is simple. It is a house of God and I feel closer to Him when I am there and I am always glad to go and worship Him. The fact that I have differences with this particular church’s doctrine does not change the fact that I am there to worship Him in my own mind and heart and in my own way. It also does not change the fact that I have come to love the people I have met there.
My suggestion is simple. Find a church and go there. Get to know the people. Unless they have beliefs that strongly affect you in an adverse way, enjoy your time with them and in God’s house. Keep first and foremost in your mind that you are there to worship God. If you manage to make friends at the same time well then you are all the better off. If you run into people you do not like, try sitting on the other side. Don’t let your feelings keep you away from God’s house. Above all, don’t let your head deprive you of God’s love.