I read the following on someone else's blog this morning - the options they were presented with after realising that so many sermons were just a preachers personal venting platform and .....
I'm also trying to take Option Two, having dabbled in Option One. Sums up a lot of what's been happening lately....
"Two Options Arose:
1- Stop going to church. Read the books that suit me on faith. Talk with my friends about my faith and hobby of theology, but get away from the organized crap. This is the option that is statistically preferred.
2 - Find a church I could love, despite flaws, and work within the system while fighting my cynicism.
I chose option two. I committed to the church and Christ healed me. I didn’t know how, at the time, but I knew I was being healed. The sermons were good, but it wasn’t that. The Anglican liturgy was new to me and beautiful, and as a student of words this helped, but I think there was something more. The prayers were Trinitarian and theologically based: I could no longer handle all of the prayers that went like this “Lord you are just the best. We just delight in how you just love us.” Grammatical and syntactical problems aside, I did not want to be cynical of my upbringing, and I know that it wasn’t simply a different order of services that was healing me.
I grew up in a church culture that valued the Lord’s Supper and Baptism but seldom discussed it and monthly took the bread and wine. Communion and Baptism were touted as intellectual exercises. I remember once getting a nail in a megachurch service, while a gruesome image of Christ’s passion stared at me from the front. We were told that when we took communion we were to think about how we drove the nails in Christ. I tried my hardest, but inevitably an intellectual exercise ends with more abstract guilt than grace.
I was healed because I learned that the church is a place for healing and brokenness. It is partially a place to engage intellectually, but we are also called to gather physically, to partake from physical elements that God uses to give us grace through faith. One of the five words I remember from three semesters of Greek lets me know that Eucharist is thanksgiving."