Why would anyone want to go to
church? The week is busy enough; if
Sunday morning is taken away that only leaves Saturday to sleep in and revive
the body’s energy depleted cells. What
would possess a 9th
grade boy to answer in the positive his mother’s
question, “Does anyone want to go to church with me?” It wasn’t as if we had been going, and what
was my mom’s sudden interest? Whatever
the reason we went and not just one Sunday, but for three Sundays in a row.
My mother grew up in the Methodist
church, but she didn’t want to limit the possibilities of finding a church were
she could be happy. So, off to the
Presbyterian Church the first week, the Methodist Church the next, and finally the
Southern Baptist Church. There wasn’t
much difference that I could see, though the pastors in the first two wore
robes and the songs more somber. The
Baptist church was a little livelier, but all in all they were…well, church,
singing, preaching, and an offering plate.
Yet, out of the three churches only
the Baptist church sent someone to visit us in our home. The Pastor was a nice man with a broad
smile. I don’t recall what he talked
about but he was warm and inviting. He
left some literature, which I never read, and encouraged us to attend his
church again. Not more than a day later
another pastor from the Baptist Church called and wanted to stop by, this time
to visit me. All this attention seemed a
little pushy. They were like salesmen
hocking their religious wares. Pastor
Larry Pritchett had the dubious honor of being responsible for the teenagers of
the church, and probably dreaded visiting me as much I did his coming. He too was friendly, and to my delight,
didn’t stay long. Like the pastor before
him he invited me to attend a Wednesday night bible study. Like that was ever going to happen.
It was bad enough I had given up my
Sunday morning to attend their church, and now they were asking me to give up a
Wednesday evening; and for what, to listen to another sermon? Two
Sundays went by and church became a distant memory. I was back to enjoying a leisurely day with
Conspiracy is the word that comes
to mind. A friend of the family was
visiting one evening, and in the course of conversation my mother’s and mine’s
foray into the world of church came up.
They attended the Baptist Church and their teen went to the Wednesday
night bible study. They invited me to
go, and what was I to say, no? I felt
trapped, and not wanting to be impolite I assented.
Interestingly enough, no one who
invited me ever pressured me once the invitation was made. I was drawn by a promise and pricket by
curiosity. No one picked me up; I simply
got into my car and drove the 10 miles to the church, and the bible study was
in an adjacent house. There were a
smattering of students gathered in groups outside. They acknowledged me as I walked by, and
hesitantly I opened and stepped through the door. There was nothing in the house. Students sat on the floor in a circle. They sang a song at the beginning and Pastor
Pritchett talked about the bible. I sat
and listened. The simplicity of his
presentation, his genuine faith, and the honesty of his convictions were
Jesus said a curious thing, “No one can come to me unless the father
who sent me draws him.” This didn’t
preclude the invitation of Jesus to James, John, and Peter, and Philip’s
invitation to Nathanael. But no one
comes to truly follow Jesus unless the Father reveals its importance and
enlightens the mind to its truth.
Interestingly enough I never saw
the family who invited me attend the church, and my mother never attended
again. What seemed to be the duplicity
of God was the sovereign working of his will.
But this isn’t why I Hate Church.
I’m just saying… (Continued).