Spirituality is a personal thing. The very nature of spirituality is how one understands how they, individually, fit into the universe. All of this is going on in the person’s head. You can’t see the thoughts or ever completely understand the perspective of someone else. Even if two people are both gleaning their understanding of the universe from the same text (i.e. the Bible) their understanding will differ. No two people are the same. So when one uses their own extremely individual and personalized understanding of the universe and starts trying to apply it to the thoughts and acts of others usually all sorts of unpleasantness occurs. Since spirituality is such a personal thing, often the best “church” is two people, who know each other personally, discussing their ideas on God. But if it is so personal, why even bother to share it with others? People like being with other people. This is why you see more than one chair per table at restaurants. The reason there are churches is because people are social. It is not complicated. What does get complicated is how very individualized views of “place within the universe” (i.e. spirituality) get molded into a collective.
I’ve been to many churches. Churches with projection screens, churches where people speak in tongues. Churches with drum sets and guitars. Churches with chairs, churches with pews. I’ve been to church services outside: on a mountain peak and on a beach. Some churches have made me feel uncomfortable. Some have made me confused. Some have bored me, some annoyed me. There are many, many variations a list of which would make a great Dr. Seuss style poem. Because again, everyone is different. You can explore your spirituality without going to any church at all. And I think it is actually helpful before getting social with your spirituality to identify what you like or want in a spiritual community. So how do you “explore” your spirituality? Reading the Bible is a good place to start. Even if you don’t believe in it or aren’t seeking a Christian spiritual path, it will certainly provoke reactions and get you thinking about questions like: Is death finite? Are right and wrong absolute?
I am drawn to a one-on-one approach in sharing my thoughts on God and like the quiet and simple calm of such an interaction. I like small groups over crowds. I like a biblical focus. A focus on the Bible as a whole, with no emphasis put on any particular section. I don’t like any added traditions to a church doctrine that aren’t biblically based. I like aesthetics. I like sunlight and stained glass and carved wood. I like a service that feels “traditional” or “old fashioned” and I like singing from a hymnal. And I like plants (obviously). These are simply my preferences. Not right or wrong and they aren’t for everyone. I took these pictures today after church:
The front of the church bulletin (a paper handout they give with songs we’ll sing that day, announcements, etc.) had a picture of a tomb-like stone structure with a rock rolled away from the door and the only words were “The dead are raised” (taken from Luke 20:37). When I saw it I immediately chuckled because last Sunday I shared pictures of another church’s sign that said “Zombies vs. Jesus”. Again, I will resist the urge to relate a zombie apocalypse to Christianity. But…
As evidenced by tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, in a zombie apocalypse a Bible comes in handy.