Guest Blog by Cultural Rebel, Connie Smith Jakab
On the way to church last week, my five year old asked me, “Mommy, why do we go to church?”
Good question. I honestly had a hard time answering. For me, its just something I’ve always done since I was three. Below are a series of answers I thought of giving, but when thought through, I wasn’t even buying it. A lot of food for thought for the church wanting last another generation; a generation all asking the same question: “Why go to church?”
I thought of saying, “To grow in our faith”. Although this is somewhat true, I don’t want my son to see church as the only place his faith grows. Faith is meant to be cultivated into the ins and outs of daily living. The last thing I desire is to raise a Sunday morning “good-boy” who only knows how to live out faith through church activities.
I wanted to say, “To get together with others who are following after Christ”, but I knew what he would say through his simple, five year old thinking; “But can’t we do that anytime?” A valid thought provoking thoughts of what genuine community looks like. Is seeing one another on a Sunday morning living in community? (as I rush past friends, and maybe even someone in need, to pick up my children from nursery and Children’s church)
I would have loved to say, “It’s a place where the poor and broken come to be a part of a family”, but is it? How ironic is it that just before my son asked me his question, I was pondering what Jesus would think of those who populate the pews and are welcomed into our churches? I realize all of us are broken and in need of grace, but how would we respond to a cross dresser if they walked into our building? What if a stripper came to church dressed promiscuously because she had nothing else to wear? What if another who carried a garbage bag full of empty bottles sat down next to one of our broken, yet polished, members? If I answered my son this way, would he tangibly see my answer to be true? He knows what the poor look like. If I asked him, would he say seeing them in church is a regular occurrence? I think we need to re-evaluate who church really has become about. If we are serious about who Jesus is about, we may have a mass renovation to undertake.
As someone who loves worship, I was tempted to say, “It’s a place we go to worship God”, but I wouldn’t want him to think of singing songs and sitting and listening once a week as worship. I want him to know that choosing to be nice to his brother is worship as well (trust me, I really want him to know that one…)
And even though it goes against everything I learned as a young person, I am rebelling against the idea of teaching my son that church is a place he brings “lost” people to. I don’t want my son growing up with an “us and not-us” mentality. I don’t want him to see church numbers as a successful church. I want him to be able to truly see people. To love them and want to invite them into community to embrace a life of discipleship together, which includes meeting together. This opposes the “bring them to church so we can say we had 1000 people this Sunday!” This “us and not-us” mentality is causing terrible separation between the church and those it is called to. I want radical discipleship for my son and the adventure of reaching people where they are; not seeing them as “projects”.
My son needs to see the risk Christ intended for His body. Yet what he sees looks similar to school; organized activity for learning. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just seeing at five years old, he’s already yearning for more.
Maybe I am too?
For more from Cultural Rebel visit http://culturerebel.com/
Connie Jakab is the author of the blog, Culture Rebel, which is also her book title released this fall 2012. Connie is passionate about rebelling against status quo living and encouraging others to branch out. Connie is an active member of poverty reduction in her city, the founder of WILD (women impacting lives daily) as well as Mpact (www.mpactdance.com), a dance company that produces shows based on social justice issues, Connie drives her passion outward into the arms of those wanting something more radical and meaningful in life. Connie is an active speaker and lives with her husband and two boys in Calgary, Alberta Canada. She can be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Culture-Rebel/ and on twitter @ConnieJakab.
Connie is honoured to be a part of the Redbud Writers Guild