consumer or community

As I wrote about a recent post, I’ve been attending church my entire life. (I don’t say that with pride, either.) There are a plethora of issues and disappointments, but one thing I just can’t come to terms with is the consumer mindset people carry in with them.

Maybe it’s because we live in America, an extremely consumeristic nation. Maybe it’s because we are a society that is on the move, never staying in one community for very long. Maybe it’s our advertising slogans, “You deserve it, have it your way…” maybe it’s just plain old human selfishness. I couldn’t begin to diagnose the problem, but I can definitely see the symptoms!

Attending church isn’t supposed to be like going shopping. But how many people move around church to church looking for the best choir, the best preaching, the prettiest sanctuary, the cleanest nursery, and so on. I’ve known people who quit attending because the service time changed – by half an hour! Good grief! Yes, some of those things are important, but just like everything else in life, me included, no one person or place will have it all, all the time. (I probably don’t need to point out that in countries where people meet in secret because Christianity is forbidden, that those people aren’t irritated because of a time change or lack of a choir. . .)

Church is really community, or it’s supposed to be.

Church is where you come at least once a week to see your friends and carry their burdens, to be in a safe place, feed your spirit and worship God. It’s a place where you can use your gifts and serve God and others. It’s a place where you don’t have to put on pretenses (or you can get help taking them off) and it’s a place where you grow in authentic relationship with one another.

It isn’t all about me, it’s all about following God and caring for one another. It’s about learning to love God and others as much as I love myself. That’s the Bible in a phrase. Loving God, loving others as much as ourselves. Period. That’s community.

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