Sunday, April 24, 2011

Does church pull you farther away from God?

I hadn't thought about this in a while, but Rick mentioned it in the Easter message this morning. If I hadn't experienced it myself, I'd likely interpret it to mean that some churches are doing things that are against Biblical teachings that separate you from God by means of encouraging, supporting, disguising or ignoring sin in their congregations. Which yes, that does happen, but for me, it involved participating in highly extroverted worship services.

It was years ago, but one day, I was sitting in my usual corner, staring across a sea of about four hundred people from my armless usher chair. In the midst of praise and worship, I suddenly felt an intense need to dig a hole and hide in it. I stared at the blue carpet beneath my feet, longing for it to open up so I could get away from the shouts and screams and get closer to God. We were directed to have time for private prayer, and I couldn't focus because of regular, loud commands echoing through the building.

All this time I thought I was simply experiencing my introvert reflex to run from anything crowded and loud, but I just realized today that two forces were pulling on me. I genuinely believe that, at the time, I was attending services at a place that put its parishioners in a place where, if they wanted to deepen their relationship with God, they'd have to do so IN SPITE OF the leadership and environment. So yes, introvert Megan wanted to run, but even if I'd been thoroughly enjoying services, I undoubtedly would have had to reorient myself after leaving the building. I sometimes wonder how many other people there were experiencing the same thing I was, but simply reacting differently.

Happy Easter!!

(I'm a fan of Byzantine religious music...this piece is absolutely haunting.)

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