Why the primaries remind me of church

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?

5 Replies to “Why the primaries remind me of church”

  1. How about “church-free” rather than unchurched?

    I’ve been a fan of the Saturday afternoon Mass in terms of being able to go to church as part of a day of activities rather than having to get up on Sunday and have church take over the day. My 2 cents.

  2. As a child-free, car-free person, I rather like church-free. Except that I do miss church. I, too, would prefer an evening service, but would prefer Sunday evening to Saturday.

  3. We’re trying to get a younger movement going at my church with Soulful Sundowns- getting music and a kick-ass guest speaker once a month and centering more on a theme and a spirit of communion. I’d love to hear your ‘new church’ plan.

  4. I am considering exactly the same things as I am in the very beginning stages of planning a church plant. Urbanish, aimed at non-church folks or sick-of-church folks or love-church-but-need-more folks, progressive Christianity, gatherings that are meaningful, no clinging to stale unidirectional forms such as “speaching” sermons (thanks to doug pagitt for the term) and liturgy that feels forced, but honoring ancient forms that are rich and transformative, and definitely evenings, not mornings. Etc. Etc. I hear echoes of your dissatisfaction with current worship offerings everywhere I go. Words like “desert” and “empty.” One of my friends who is also thinking of planting a church isn’t going to worship right now either. We should talk. Email me if you want to hear more, now that I’m almost done with seminary my plans are becoming much more concrete .

  5. We should talk. Email me if you want to hear more, now that I’m almost done with seminary my plans are becoming much more concrete .

    Readers, I responded “yes” to Anna.

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