Why church is the right place to be even if you can’t imagine being a believer

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I am a Pilgrim in Progress:

I want this morning’s post to stand (without any arm-twisting or guilt or leverage) as a persuasive invitation to let everything else go for a few hours, to show up at a church in your community, and to simply place yourself/ourselves in the presence of God.

For this invitation I’m not even asking that you walk in as a believer – I’d just like you to be there, if for no other reason than to step out of the oh so important  business of day to day life that consumes us (and disturbs, and frustrates, and overwhelms, and exhausts…), to take a deep breath, and to allow something else, something other, to give you pause… and rest… and peace… and hope… and substance.

You see I’m convinced that we are – as an American people – significantly out of rhythm, and that – even for the non believer – church on a Sunday morning can be the beginnings of a reorientation that might get us breathing again, heartbeat regular and strong, pulling in the fresh air of goodness, promise, grace, and light.

Life-affirming community:

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First Presbyterian Wilson

I believe there is a deep need lodged inside each one of us that can only be addressed in the context of a community organized around the idea that we are connected – connected not only to one another, but also to the power that both creates and sustains life.

Saturday evening Rebekah shared a story with me about people who claim to be “spiritual but not religious…” Well, I believe the church is the perfect place for those folk to begin to sort things out; and church is also a great starting place for those who see themselves as connected, but not necessarily on board with everything they think they’re “supposed to” believe; and church can be a great place for those who don’t believe anything at all, yet who want to burrow deeper into the core of their being as whole, healthy people.

  • the church is the perfect place for folk who claim to be “spiritual but not religious” to begin to sort things out;
  • and church is also a great starting place for those who see themselves as connected, but not necessarily on board with everything they think they’re “supposed to” believe;
  • and church can be a great place for those who don’t believe anything at all, yet who want to burrow deeper into the core of their being as whole, healthy people.

I’m concerned that the world of Christianity often projects a “them and us” mentality, a barrier that effectively discourages the uncertain from engaging with any faith community. But I’m convinced that public worship is (at its best) a place – a space – where all people should be able to find rest and restoration for their most fundamental sense of self; where everyone should be able to reestablish a sense of rhythm, of meter, of cadence; where what is essential to our common humanity can be experienced regardless of how belief is recognized, organized, or understood.

public worship is (at its best) a place – a space – where all people should be able to find rest and restoration for their most fundamental sense of self; where everyone should be able to reestablish a sense of rhythm, of meter, of cadence; where what is essential to our common humanity can be experienced regardless of how belief is recognized, organized, or understood.

So come – no matter where you find yourself in your journey. I honestly believe that church can be the kind of community where you not only find what you’re looking for, but where you can find people who are on the same path – people like us…

Like you, I am a pilgrim, and I believe I’m making progress – DEREK

(Blogger Derek Maul worships at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church in North Carolina).

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