Friday, August 16, 2013

I Don't Go To Church, BUT .....

I've run this post through my head a gazillion times, but I've been afraid to post it because of how people might react.  But here goes. I don't go to church.  There.  I said it.  I know that kills my parents who never miss a week, attend every holy day mass, go sometimes just because they feel like it, and have been part of a biweekly prayer group for as long as I can remember. But I don't.  I did when I was growing up, because my parents made me.  I did when I was in college, because the priest there was AMAZING, and I ALWAYS got something out of the sermon.  And I did for awhile after that.  But I don't anymore.  I go Christmas and Easter with my parents.  But that's pretty much it.  And honestly, if I didn't think they'd be extremely disappointed in me for not going on those days, I'm not sure I'd even go then!  :(

I stopped going because I felt like a hypocrite.  When I was there, I kept thinking about all of the things I could and should be doing.  I wasn't really paying attention.  I wasn't getting anything out of it.  I didn't WANT to be there.  I was there because that's what I was "supposed" to do.  So I stopped going.  And I'm okay with it.  But I know a lot of other people aren't.  I know a lot of people look down on me for not going.  They think I'm not a good role model for my children.  I'm not teaching them to be true Christians.  I'm not teaching them about God and being Godly. 

But you know what?  I don't have to go to church to do that.  I would like to think my children learn from my actions.  NOT from my action of going or not going to church, but for my REAL actions.  They see me volunteer at their school on a weekly basis.  VOLUNTEER.  They see me help my friends' when they need something.  They see me drive to Evansville every two weeks to help take care of Ryan's Grandpa.  They see me taking care of him, and therefore not sleeping, while he's here staying with us.  They see my ACTIONS.  They see how I treat people.  They see how I teach THEM to treat people.  They see how I treat THEM. 

I am teaching my kids not to be judgmental.  I am teaching them to love people for who they are on the inside, not for what they look like on the outside.  I am teaching them to help other people in need.  I am teaching them to respect other people, whether you agree with their beliefs or not.  I am teaching them to believe that you don't always have to get paid for the work you do; you do it because it's the right thing to do and because you want to help other people.  I am teaching them that no matter what they do or say, I will NEVER stop loving them.  I will never judge them.  I will never ask them to change who they are.  

So yeah, I don't go to church.  I have a lot of issues with it, and I have most of my life.  But that doesn't mean I'm not a good person.  That doesn't mean I'm not teaching my children the right things.  That doesn't mean I'm not a good role model.  That doesn't mean I'm not a good Christian.  It just means I'm different from you.  YOU go to church.  I DON'T.  And I'm okay with that.  I don't NEED to go to church.  If I did, I would go.  But please don't judge me for not going.  Please don't say my kids aren't learning about God because they're not going to church.  If you judge me for not going to church.  If you condemn my kids because they don't go.  What kind of a person are you?  How are you better than me?  I'm not judging YOU.  YOU are judging ME.  And yet, I'M not a good Christian?

Anyone out there going through the same thing?  If so, how do you deal with it?  Are you okay with your decision, or do you question it?  Sometimes I feel like a bad person because I don't go to church.  But when I WAS going, I felt like a bad person because I felt like a hypocrite.  How do you deal with those thoughts and feelings?  Do they eventually go away?  Honestly, I'm OKAY with my decision not to attend to church.  It really doesn't bother me.  Until someone brings it up.  Until someone questions me about it. Or judges me for it.

What would YOU do?



6 comments:

irene soh said...

I do not attend church services too. But that doesn't mean that I do not qalk closely with god. I believe that as long as you follow its teachings, it doesn't matter where you worship!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

My husband was raised Catholic and his father made him go to church. Once he reached 18 he could make his own decision. He stopped going. So did his dad! My husband hated that fact. So with our marriage (I was raised Presbyterian) other than being married in my church we never attended church. Husband felt he paid his dues and really didn't care for religion at all.

We didn't raise our children in the church at all. They are wonderful adults now, loving and caring.

I started going to a church about 16 years ago and I loved it but we moved about 30 miles away and eventually I stopped going. There are things I miss but I know my relationship with God is better and stronger than ever.

You do not have to go to church to have His love and have a personal relationship with Him. Thank you for sharing and way to go!

Bonnie Anderson said...

The sadness in your voice is palpable. I'm sorry you've felt judged and been judged. True, you don't have to go to church to have a personal relationship with Jesus. There are problems in church. Still, for me it's been worth working through them. I like having that church family to go with my family. Maybe you haven't found the church that's for you, maybe that's okay with you. I hope you can find some joy through Jesus though, you just sound like you're feeling sad.

onepairofshoesatatime said...

Okay up front. I am a practising Christian and I go to Church. But that doesn't mean I don't ever have doubts, that I have never sat in Church and thought that perhaps I was a fraud. I think doubt is a fundamental part of faith but that is a whole other discussion.

Why should you feel judged? It is your choice and yours alone. I don't doubt for a moment that you have brought up your children to be kind, thoughtful and spiritual people. It is the judgemental and dogmatic members of the church (of every doctrine) who fail to understand that goodness, spirituality and kindness are not the prerogative of those who go to church and in fact there are many who turn up to church every Sunday and show little of any of those characteristics.

My children came to church with us when they were little (if only because I wasn't going to pay for a baby sitter every Sunday!) Now they are teenagers I would not dream of making them come to church with us. Sometimes they do sometimes they don't. I am happy that I have given them the opportunity to choose, to have knowledge of faith if they want it. It's not up to me to force it upon them.

Hold up your head high with pride. You are giving your children a better experience than a hypocritical one where you went to church because you thought you should rather than because you wanted to.

Penny McDaniel said...

I don't go to church either. I quit going after I graduated seminary with a Masters in Theology and after having served as a student pastor in my church. God always seemed to play hooky from church whenever I attended, and I took that to mean that there was more to God outside of the church than in it. I've blogged about this, which you can fin at http://pennymcdanielspiritualguidance.blogspot.com It may answer some questions for you. You don't need to feel guilty at all. God is a diverse God whom you can worship in diverse ways...all paths lead to the same God. Church is great for some, but we can outgrow it as we embark on the spiritual path, which you are obviously on. Kudos to you for discovering this. I wish you many blessings on your path! Please keep me posted.

Rhonda said...

I love this post. I don't care if you go to church. I mean that in the nicest possible way :) I have friends who do and friends who don't, but it seems like the ones who don't aren't as judgmental and don't really care if people go or not. Some of the ones who do go, expect everyone else to or act like there's something wrong with them if they don't. As long as you're happy, it's good.