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People like to say that the conflict is between good and evil. The real conflict is between truth and lies.

Don Miguel Ruiz

Why I don't go to church anymore

June 6, 2017

Why I don't like to go to church

First let's look at the word "church". Where does it come from? What does it refer to? The Greek word "ekklesia" is the root word the English translated to "church". But what does "ekklesia" mean? The literal meaning is "called out", or "a calling out". It does not refer to a building of any kind, nor does it even refer to a place, or location. It refers to a group of people (Acts 19:30-41), the children of Israel (Acts 7:38), and the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 5:25, 32). In the bible ekklesia can refer to the group of believers in a particular location(1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1-2), it can refer to individual believers (1 Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13), and it can also refer to the universal group of all people who have trusted Christ through the ages (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:23-27).

Is a building the ekklesia? If you have a building and there are no people in it, is it a church? Or is it just an empty building? Ekklesia is a group of people called out from society in general who meet. Where they meet is of no importance. Ekklesia means "called out", as in Acts 19:32, 39. It was used to refer to an assembled group of people. Then there is the use of the word, more than 100 times, in the Greek Old Testament. In that use it meant "assembly" and had more than a few different contexts. It referred to the assembly of the prophets (1 Sam 19:20), assembly of soldiers (Num 22:4), and in general, the people of God (Deut 9:10). In the New Testament the word Ekklesia referred to the local "called out christians" (1 Cor 1:2) and also to the entire people of God (Eph 1:22,23). The church is not a building, it is not an organization. The church is a group or assembly of believer’s who have been purchased by God through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and adopted into the family of God. So, to answer the question at the beginning of the paragraph - no, ekklesia is not a building, it is an assembly of people called out by God.

The church is not a building. The church is not a social club. The church is a united group of believers who have turned from their sins (repented) and then turned to Christ and placed their trust in Him. The church never panics about whether it will survive or not. Jesus said it will survive, no matter what (Matt 16:18)!

Did you see that term "social club"? That is key, that is important, because in today's world, the "church" is often little more than that - a social club. A place for people to gather and talk, spread rumors, compare stories about our daily lives. It's a place to gain acceptance, to gain stature. Too many people can spend many hours per week working for their local church, often after working a full time job, and taking care of the family, and then feel completely run-down, exhausted. Is this what God wants for us?

For me, I am secure in my spiritual life, I have no low self-esteem or insecurity issues. I don't need a place to go to to feel "accepted". I know I am accepted by God just the way I am, and no matter where I am on Sunday morning, on any day, at any time, God is with me. Being in a building is not relevant, not important for me, to have a relationship with Him.

I spent many years in churches, in independent, non-denominational, churches. I spent many years playing on the worship teams in those churches. I know many people who do that, and I know that most of them do not worship God when they are up there on the stage playing their instruments. Some, not all, but some of them are there to be seen. A minority are there to worship God. Now when I go to a church I always look up there at the worship band, and I watch them - are they playing to be seen? are they worshiping God? Why can't the worship band be hidden behind a curtain or something else? Why do we have to see them? It distracts us from worshiping God. Leave the sound system, but get the musicians out of sight. Get all the people who want to dance out of the front of the church, out of sight of the congregation. Why do they need to be seen? What is the purpose of us watching them? That is a distraction when we are supposed to be worshiping God.

What about the pastor? What does he have to say from the pulpit? Is he preaching from the bible? Or is he preaching from the latest news reports? I can read the news reports on my own time at home. At church don't preach about your opinion of the Paris Accord, about environmental issues, about the President and all the stupid things he is doing but you still support him anyway. If I go to church I want to hear preaching that comes from the bible. I don't want to hear opinions about the bible, I don't want to know how you interpret a particular passage of scriptures. I want to hear what the bible teaches. I don't want to hear about money and how the church needs more money for this, that, and the other thing. If you want to teach about tithing, fine teach what the bible says, just don't give me your opinions about it, and don't tell me it is required. It's not. It's suggested.

I don't want to be told what I can or can't do in my life. The New Testament has no "you must do" statements, no laws, God only asks for us to be obedient to him (Look at Hebrews 10: 11-12, 16-18).

Not all churches are such negative places, but I think it is safe to say that most are more business oriented, institutions out to earn money for a select few. Too many pastors want to get their people following certain rules, and some churches even push those rules to the point of publicly embarrassing those who do not follow them. You aren't tithing? We will come to your home and ask questions why. You didn't come to church for a week or two, or three? We want to know why. Too many are about pastors buying expensive homes and "big boy toys", when their own congregants are struggling to pay the rent and put food on their own tables. I think the pastors should be earning no more than the average of all the congregants. They are not their to fill their own pockets, they are their to teach the Word of God.

Oh, and there is one more reason for me, personally, not attending church here where I live - there are no bilingual churches in this city. My level of the local language (Spanish) is elementary. That makes it very difficult to understand native speaking pastor spitting out the words at a hundred miles per hour. My time struggling with that ends up completely wasted, and I could spend it doing something actually worthwhile, at home. Now if the pastor spoke at the level of an intermediate learner of Spanish then I would gladly attend his services. But honestly, what pastor, anywhere, in any language, would do that? Of course not, that is completely ridiculous. As a new learner of Spanish at the elementary level I need to be listening to intermediate level Spanish, not the fully fluent, fully advanced, level.

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