Sigh. We skipped church today. This isn't the first time. We've skipped a lot lately.
And nobody seems to have noticed.
Admitting this in a blog is kind of scary for a Christian writer.
Now, even we tend to think of ourselves as 'new' at our church but the truth is we've been going there for over 4 years and been members for about 3. We have volunteered for all sorts of things, only to never get a call to help. We have joined small groups only to never get a call (or email - we always give our email with these things) to attend. We have attended Bible studies, which have been good starts but then fell apart when people didn't understand the material and dropped out and nobody called or emailed to see if we could fix it. We have belonged to groups. We have certainly not followed through as we had planned to on some of these things, I own that.
I adore my bookclub and I miss sometimes but when I show up they are so happy to see me - to me that is the BEST part of our church, the monthly bookclub. I also love our minister and think he has an amazing spirit and such enthusiasm.
And Larry. I love Larry. Of all the people We've met, he is one of the few that after all these years know our names.
This matters to us. We think about it a lot. We take the blame for our part of it. Maybe we're at the wrong church. Maybe we're not likable enough, maybe we aren't trying hard enough... except, you know, there is this place I meet friends for coffee on Saturday mornings and have done so for a little bit longer than we have belonged to this church. We almost never meet there anymore but once in a while I go in and they immediately recognize me, we chat and laugh. I feel welcome. They are glad I came through the doors - I don't doubt that. A few weeks ago the lady who has sat in front of me for a couple years at our church (in the small service - maybe just over 100 people) and served me Communion many times asked me if it was my first visit when I went to the help desk to try to volunteer again. At least she spoke to me.
Yesterday I'm at King's Island at the Way Too Much TV musical revue (LOVED IT) and when they launched into the theme from Cheers and all I could think was -- why isn't church like Cheers? It's what we really want from church, isn't it? A place where people go to know our troubles are all the same, a place where people know your name. A place where broken people come together to know that they matter. (yes, there are other reasons, but without this starting point, we might as well be watching church on TV or doing a home Bible study and donating money to good causes)
Theme from Cheers By Gary Portnoy
Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go,
where everybody knows your name
and they're always glad you came
You want to go where people can see
your troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name.
Bye bye church, not that anyone will call.