I didn't go to church today. Mea culpa. But I was the only one without responsibilities at a church, so I got to stay home and wait for the repair person to come and re-install a kitchen light. He didn't get here until after I would have gotten back from church, but, oh well.
It is s strange thing, for me, not to go to church. For 30 years I have had vocational responsibilities that required that I be at church, so you have to understand. This is just plain weird. It's funny, though, because I don't feel guilty, so much as just awkward.
So much of the church culture I am a part of equates "being a Christian" with "going to church." We say things like, "Oh, he's a Christian but he doesn't go to church" or "She's a strong Christian; goes to church every Sunday!" For some reason, attending church services has, for some, become synonymous with faith commitment. Even though we all know that going to church doesn't make one a Christian any more than going to the movies makes you Brad Pitt.
There is an episode from The Simpsons (yes, I admit it, I like The Simpsons!) on this very subject. Homer decides to stay home from church on a wintery day. He discovers the "joys" of staying home from church and decides to start his own religion, which consists mainly of sitting around in his underwear watching football. There is a lot more to the plot, of course (you can read about it at http://tviv.org/The_Simpsons/Homer_the_Heretic), but suffice it to say that I felt something like Homer (without wanting to sit around in my underwear and start a new religion). Weird.
Tomorrow I am taking Nathan and his friend, Lizzy, to Disneyland. Now there's a contrast for you! I didn't go to church, but I'm going to Disneyland. But, you know, I'll bet that going to Disneyland is a lot closer to the common experience for modern Americans than going to church. In fact, I wonder if there aren't more people who go to amusement parks in a given week than go to church in the same week. What does that say about our culture? What does it say about me that I would ask that question?
Like I said, I feel weird.
I'll have to think about all of this some more, and I'll have a lot of time while the "kids" are off doing the Disney-thing and I find a nice shady spot to sit and think/read/watch people go by. Now THAT'S what I call FUN!