This is a religious article. Enter at your own risk.
It was 10:05 a.m. on a Sunday and I didn’t go to church. Gasp — how can I consider myself a student at a Christian school? How dare I miss church! Rain down punishment from heaven upon my guilty, sacrilegious head. Everyone knows that if you don’t go to church on Sunday that God will surely find some way to mess up your week, right?
However, it’s not like this whole going to church thing was even a big religious act. Going to church is, in a word, “basic.” It’s fundamental to the average Christian’s lifestyle. It’s the first step for anyone trying to get ahead in the moral department or trying to make up for cutting someone else off on the highway. Especially when there is only fifty feet until your exit and God knows you’re not going to slug along in this horrendous traffic for one moment longer if you could help it. It’s Monday night and “The Bachelor” will be on soon and who knows — maybe something different will actually happen besides people trading spit and drinking cocktails? Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bachelor. Which is why I cut that person off on Monday. Rant, over.
Maybe I needed church more than I realized. I needed to enter that specific building, whichever building it was, just to feel better about myself. I think part of the “feeling better about myself” stemmed from the fact that in order to go to church, I have to shower and wear real clothes, which always makes one feel like one is doing something with one’s life besides watching the Bachelor on Monday nights with a bag of baby carrots instead of your normal popcorn or chips because you were n-o-t going to be one of those people who gave up on your resolutions in February.
Maybe one of your resolutions should have been to go to church more often.
I had a moment of inner conflict as I stood in my kitchen, cup of coffee in hand. On one hand, I could get dressed, slap some makeup on my face and go to church. I could go through all the motions — even take really good notes for the sermon. But that was part of the problem; for several weeks, I had been disappointed with the sermons I had been hearing.
In my self-righteous and Sunday-school view, the sermons had been feeling rather thin, like a wafer. Not the vanilla kind that you put in banana pudding, but the flaky kind that you eat with cheese. There is a reason you eat those flaky wafers with cheese; they don’t taste like anything and need the cheese to feel important. I know that this is all my opinion. And that this little article cannot in any way hope to plumb the depths of a theological discussion regarding the idea of church. I’m not trying to do that. This is my opinion, my perspective. No offense intended to anyone.
Now you can understand my dilemma, can’t you? The guilt, the feeling of obligation, the deep-soul knowledge that you will probably fall asleep during the message and, banging on the front of your cranium, a really obnoxious voice that tells you it’s not worth it to go. Sympathize with my Christian school struggles, won’t you?
So this is what I did instead of going to church: I grabbed my favorite soft blanket, my journal that is leather and makes me feel like a real writer, and my Bible. I had my own church that morning. I prayed and I really talked to God. I asked Him about my problems, my grades and my future. I told Him that I had been feeling weird recently, like I was outgrowing Pepperdine. I told Him it was hard going to church and that sometimes, when I did go, I didn’t even like it (yikes). At the risk of sounding hokey, it was really great.
I don’t know where you find God or where you realize He has been there all along. Maybe you don’t believe in God and this whole article is total hogwash for you. Maybe you think yoga is the gateway to heaven. Either way, any way. Anyway.
What I am trying to say is this: Maybe God works outside of how I normally think of Him operating. Maybe I shouldn’t feel guilty for spending my Sunday morning on my couch instead of in a pew. Maybe I shouldn’t feel the urge to go to church just because I am at a Christian school. Maybe I should feel the urge to go to church because I find something there, something that feeds my soul.
Let’s not do something because we think we should simply based on the institution we attend. We should do something because we believe deep down that we should.
Organized expectations from a higher institution cannot always govern our thoughts and actions; we must take on what we believe to actually be true, honorable and of integrity. Let’s hear truth, be honorable and practice integrity. And above all, it’s okay to cut someone off if it is a really important reason. Like Mondays. Just Mondays. That’s important in its own right.
Follow Taylor Nam on Twitter: @nam_nam330