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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 17: Going to church

The Day 17 chapter is about the importance of going to church.

Interestingly, this chapter was not included in relation to the purpose of worshiping God, but instead in relation to the purpose of being part of God's family. Rick Warren writes "While your relationship with God is personal, God never intended it to be private."

On an objective level this makes perfect sense - if you have an interest in something, you tend to like being around others who have the same interest. With that in mind, its a little strange then, that a lot of people make an exception to this rule when it comes to their belief in God and going to church.

When I started writing this blog and decided to focus on religion (at least for a while), I mainly expected people to make fun of me. Religion seems to have a bad name these days. Generally you hear negative things about it - things like "people start wars and kill each other because of religion" (I tend to think that, if there was no such thing as religion, people who kill other people would have found another excuse to do so) or "monks take a vow of povety but the catholic church is the richest organisation in the world" (Luke 12:31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and [God] will give you everything you need). So having assumed that no-one believes in God these days, I've been surprised to be picking up readers of this blog as each week goes by.

I only know one person who goes to church, my mum. In the lead up to my marraige I went to church but avoided talking about it in case people thought I was some strange bible basher who on the first opportunity would try to pressure them into coming with me. So the only reaction I got, that I can recall, is from a work collegue who said something along the lines of "its a shame they make you go to church if you want to get married there". I explained that my attendance was entirely voluntary and that I enjoyed having a hour a week where nobody was bothering me. He agreed that that would be a good thing.

Rick Warren identifies a number of reasons for going to church and being an active member of the church community:
  • it identifies you as a genuine believer - this may or may not be something you want the world to know about you, but if there truely is a Judgement Day, you might want God acknowledging you as a genuine believer
  • it moves you out of self-centered isolation - it gives you to opportunity to demonstrate that you do love others as you love yourself.
  • it helps develop your spirituality - it is unlikely that you will regularly learn about God in the remainder of your daily life
  • it is where God intends you to use your gifts
  • it is part of Jesus's mission in the world to build a church, so attending means you are a part of it
  • it helps you overcome temptation
Having read this I can see that it is silly not to go to church and so have decided to start attending again after Easter (gives me a couple of weeks to get used to getting up early on a Sunday and means I miss out on the crazy Easter services which are full of people who only go to church at Easter and Christmas.)


  1. Hi Isabella!

    Which church are you thinking of attending? Is it the one that you and Mike got married in?


    Ken x

  2. Still tossing up between that one or one closer to home.