72. Church

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 ceiling reminds me of a ship.

The ceiling reminds me of a ship.

Another view.

Another view.

The organ

The organ

Stained glass and part of organ.

Stained glass and part of organ.

Stained Glass

Stained Glass

The steeple/bell tower.

The steeple/bell tower.

I spy a heart.

I spy a heart.

God is love

God is love

A burning bush?!

A burning bush?!

Insert joke about a "step and repeat" here. Haha

Insert joke about a “step and repeat” here. Hahah

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.

5 thoughts on “72. Church

  1. narf77

    I am with you on “church” being you and your relationship with God. I too did the rounds of the spiritual vestibles and came out the other side a bit jaded and worse for wear. It would seem the main problem with “church” per-se is people. Whenever someone decides that their view of the world is that much more important than someone elses is the point at which wars start to fester. It is very easy to feel right and much harder to appreciate that someone else might have a valid point. I would like to think that a God that could create everthing that we see around us would have a hard time squeezing into a small church but they say that you find him in the small things… we live right next door to a tiny convict built church from the early 1800’s. We like to take the dogs and sit on a bench overlooking the river. I see God everywhere when I can lay my hand on a dog and can feel the sunshine on my face. I wonder if more people wouldn’t have a clearer inner vision of God if they wouldn’t look outside themselves once in a while. You can’t help but believe in God if you get a load of how amazing all of the stuff outside the space between our ears is. Great post ma’am :)

    Reply
    1. Spy Garden Post author

      You make some great points. Making the rounds of the spiritual vestibules (great word by the way) can be disheartening/frustrating. We feel fortunate to have found a small, simple, pretty church where the people are quite tolerable (ahhaaha). Your “church” sounds wonderful ;)

      Reply
  2. Mominthegarden

    What a lovely church you have! I’d also offer that the reason we have churches is to help share God’s love for us; we invite others in to hear His word and learn of His unconditional love. You are so right that spirituality is personal, but it is so wonderful to share, too! ;-)

    Reply

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