Church is a MasqueradePosted: December 10, 2012 | |
I don’t know about you, but I have some really awesome friends. Two of them, David and Wes, decided to invite me to go to church with them on Sunday. Just like me, they don’t normally go to church on Sunday either, but we thought we’d give it a shot this time. We just wanted to check out what’s up with the local church nowadays. The service is usually held in our old high school, so we were familiar with the campus and a few faces here and there.
The actual preaching session wasn’t anything special, but it had some really good things about it, too. The pastor talked about hope, so it was encouraging for me in a personal manner. By the way, that’s one thing that I noticed about church. Pastors almost always take a big, vague concept and try to dissect it as much as possible. In doing so, however, they sometimes make it even bigger and more vague. The worship music was pretty alright, but the guy who was singing behind me had really bad breath, and whenever he sang stretched-out words like “holy” or “love” it just didn’t work well for my nostrils.
Anyway, after the service was over, the church-goers mingled in the foyer for a few minutes. My friends and I decided to mingle as well. We split up and talked to random people. I tried to see how long I could hold one conversation, and the longest I went was two minutes. I was asked two questions every time: 1. How are you? 2. What are you doing these days?
Usually after I had answered those two questions, my conversational partner would dismiss the conversation with, “Well, it was nice talking to you! I’ll see you around!” and move on to talk to the next person for at most two minutes. Small talk. It’s just a polite thing to do, isn’t it? I guess it’s socially unacceptable to talk about the deepest secrets of our hearts in a foyer filled with Christian church-goers.
David noticed two types of people: People engaged in conversation, and people looking to engage in conversation. I, too, never spotted anyone walking somewhere with purpose. Well, a few kids ran to the table with free cookies. But other than that, people were either making small talk or wandering around aimlessly. It felt like a Christian masquerade, where the attendees masked their real faces with holy ones and acted poshly proper. I felt like if I had invited an atheist to come with me, he’d have punched me straight in the throat for wasting his time.
After mingling inside the foyer for a few minutes, I met up with my friends outside the building. We shared our thoughts about what we had just experienced, and David also pointed out that there was a specific age group missing in this church. There were tons of high schoolers aged 13 to 18, school faculty or dormitory assistants aged 23 to 30, students’ parents (40+), grandparents (60+), random elderly Germans, and teachers (25+), but no 18 to 22-year-olds!
When I was a young teenager, I’d look up to the young adults (18-22). I would watch how they talk, how they walk, how they act, and how they sleep. They were the cool ones, the group I respected the most, other than my parents. As a high school student, you can learn SO MUCH from that age group, because they’re relatable. They were in your shoes just a few years ago. But that was the group, that crucial age group for teenagers, that was missing in church. Where are they, then? In college, for the most part.
So that church experience left me with this summary: A somewhat boring but encouraging preaching session, average-quality music, short, meaningless, impersonal, politeness-driven conversations after the service, free cookies, and the absence of the very age group that brings the most amount of energy, fun, and creativity to the table.
I thought about how the Bible says that Christians are supposed to like a city on a hill – something that people can look at and say, “Wow! They’ve got something we don’t have! We want some of that stuff, too, because it’s awesome!” The church I attended with my friends was no such thing. I don’t want to go back there again, other than for the free cookies. Maybe.
Now, brothers and sisters, tell me about the best or the worst church experience you’ve had in the comment section.
I will leave you with one of my favorite verses from the Bible:
“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” – John 3:16