Let me start by saying I don’t attend worship these days. I went to Christmas Eve services, but before that I can’t recall when. It is hard to stir me into the shower and into tidy clothes to face a service that’s tedious, antiquated, self-serving, mindless, frantic, implicitly homophobic or any of the other faults that too often plague churches. There are two or three that would be OK — one quite good, to be fair — but isn’t the Dupont Circle farmer’s market so nice. I go there more often. At least they feel fresh and alive and don’t promise more than they deliver. I used to feel guilty if I didn’t go. No longer. I don’t give to charities that don’t manage their mission well, and likewise won’t attend or support a church that doesn’t have its act together. I’ll go back to regular worship when I’m ready. That’s part of the subtext behind my new church plan. The very slowly developing one.
And part of the slowness is that I’m feeling more and more unchurched and there aren’t good church models for the unchurched, at least in the moderate-to-liberal mainline. Like independents in a(n open) primary, you’re welcome at a church — or so it is said — but it really isn’t planned for your needs. That’s a frustration, but also an opportunity. What will the unchurched — a rather prejudicial churchly term — and especially an urban and progressive population of which I’m a part need from a church that will make it a compelling option?