Saturday, May 27, 2006

What is Church?

I've been going through some issues with my church. Most of it revolves on how a Lutheran church has managed to remove most of 'Lutheran' from the service. Toss in a senior pastor who is either jacked up on caffeine or has adult ADD. Speed-reading the Creed or the Lords Prayer just takes everything that I used to get out of service and justs destroys it. It doesn't matter what the sermon may be about - blowing through the service that has been part of my life makes it meaningless. Toss in the fact the the church focuses on the town it resides in rather than the cluster of towns that it serves.and it just doesn't do much for me anymore.

I like going to church. It helps get me centered and focused on why I'm here in preparation for the week ahead. When I don't go my week doesn't go as well as it should and I stop being the person I should be.

For the past few weeks the wife and I have been going to one of the mega-churches, Willow Creek. When I had first heard of it several years ago I laughed and wondered what kind of Christian would go there? Non-denominational? Is that like being a moderate? No core beliefs.Well I was wrong. We went there for the first time as a class project for one Thing1's freshman religon classes and it's stuck with me since. The music, the message, the people: it's what a church should be. While not a service like what is found in the Lutheran Book of Worship I get more out of the service than I have in a long time at my home church.

Which leads to a dilemma. Thing2 really likes our home church. She's just finishing confirmation and is involved in Bible study and service projects. Any mention of changing churches starts a bit of a fight as she doesn't want to leave her friends. We're going to have her try the youth bible study at Willow and see what she thinks.

What is even more interesting is my father-in-law. He had attended a Methodist church for as long as I knew him. After his wife died and he remarried and joined the Lutheran church with his new wife. The mere mention of attending Willow seems to drive him nuts. What would joining do?

In the end it's about what is best for my family. Time will tell.

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