I have to admit it – the article disturbed me. You see, I was reading through a local newspaper and came across an article (actually commentary) on one mom’s explanation of why she doesn’t go to church. Her son had come home and told her a classmate told him that he must not love God because he doesn’t go to church. Now that was disturbing enough (because no one should make anyone feel bad for not attending church), but then the mom explains why they don’t go to church.
She says this, “I am fairly liberal in my world views. I have this crazy notion that we are all equal in the eyes of God. I also like to think that love thy neighbor means all my neighbors, not simply the ones who look, act or think like me.”
It made me squirm, and I felt sick to my stomach. Why on earth did this mother feel like church was home to so many hypocritical, conservative losers? This was happening everywhere. We were losing people at church because they have this preconceived notion that all of us “church goers” are goody two shoes. That we all have the same viewpoints. That everything is so black and white.
Now, I was raised Methodist and became a Catholic a few years ago, and I can tell you that I still to this day struggle with being the perfect Christian. It is hard work. My mind has this ability to hold to what I believe is right and somehow place that in my Catholic mind of what is right. Maybe that doesn’t make sense to all of you, but it does to me. I consistently work on my faith and my relationship with God, and somehow put that to work in the society around me. Society teaches me new twists and turns everyday that I have to work through so that they line up with my faith.
It got me thinkin’ that maybe, just maybe I am giving off this false image that I am perfect and I know it all. Maybe instead of evangelizing for God, I was doing just the opposite – “de-evangelizing” (if that is even a word). Maybe while I am working on my own faith, I am sending out this message to all of the non-church-goers that I am a hypocrite.
I am here today to set the record straight. Maybe a sort of confession is in order before the Last Supper tomorrow, Good Friday and Easter!
I, Anne Slamkowski, am a church goer. I am a sinner. I gossip. I lose my patience with my kids and my husband. I have made horrible choices that affected people in ways that I can never undo. I am a hypocrite. I am prideful (especially of my own kids and husband). I am selfish. I follow the crowd many times instead of listening to God. I have recently found that I have materialistic desires that sometimes push God to the side. I envy others and what they have. I sometimes doubt God’s plan. I have a strong faith life so I am judgmental and unbendable. Some may call me stubborn. I probably have turned people away from church, but I actually was trying to convince you to go.
I sit in church every Sunday and pray for God’s strength. I do this because there are others all around me that do the very same thing and they lift me up to be a better person. I do not go to church for selfish desires like
- Wanting people to think the same way as me
- Wishing my pastor will give me a great motivational sermon
- Hoping to hear my favorite music
Those are all great things, but I go to church to worship and thank God for what He has done for me AND ask Him what I can do for Him. I go to church to be with all people – liberal, conservative, black, white, hypocritical, friendly, and whoever happens to be there that week. Just being in the presence of God is enough for me. I know with all my heart that God loves everyone – no matter what their views are, no matter what their sins are, and no matter what path they have chosen. He loves everyone.
Why did this article make me so uncomfortable? Because this poor mom did not see that there are so many just like her sitting in the church pews. They need her. She needs them. They all need God.
If you are like this mom, and cannot seem to find a church to match your views, your needs, your exact faith; don’t just sit back and justify why you aren’t going. Just go. Giving God your time on Sunday at church will never hurt you, it will uplift you. You might even find out that you enjoy it.
Like Sam I am would say,
“You do not like them. So you say.
Try them! Try them! And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.
Sam! If you will let me be,
I will try them. You will see…