I was talking with Heather of the EO the other day and realized that I'd never really come out and said where I'm at with regard to church. I guess it isn't something I advertise, though I'm putting it out there now as just a piece of information.
The short story is that we don't go to church. We've been to a lot of churches, regularly attended a few, and finally decided that this is not what the church is called to be. We believe that we ARE the church, that the church was intended to be the body of believers who are called to live and work together, loving each other in a way that calls others irresistably to Christ. Last I checked that isn't what happens in most church buildings...on Sunday or any day. I believe in church as the community of believers, not the church building. So, we don't go to church...as in, we don't attend a service or a building, which calls itself church. I actually don't believe that one can go to or attend church because church is supposed to be who we are not where we go. But anyway, we don't go. Have I said that enough times now?
The truth is that I can listen to great music, sing, and hear a sermon all at home, on TV or over the radio. There isn't time when we go to church to actually BE the church. No actual, real live fellowship happens in most churches on Sunday morning as near as I can tell. Small talk? Sure. Real friendship, sharing, discussing, exhorting? Not so much. Where real fellowship (or church) tends to happen for me is in my small Bible Study group, in coffee shops, in my living room, around the kitchen table... Corporate teaching and worship may have its place, but I don't think it was intended to be the bread and meat of the Christian life.
We are called to BE the church, and the church is not a building.
This is not to say that I don't feel guilty about not GOing. It's pretty tough to grow up going to church and feel like it's ok to NOT go, especially if you still call yourself a Christian. My neighbor called the other day to offer to take Mane to Sunday School. Ouch. She's of the firm belief that we should be GOing to the building, and we aren't doing the right thing for our children if we're not.
We DO teach our children about God. We read the Bible and pray together. We talk about living our lives in service to God. It's part of fabric of our lives and our conversation with each other.
So, that's the beginning of those thoughts. There's a lot more to say and a lot more I'm thinking through, but this seems like a good stopping place for now.