Friday, July 17, 2009

Random Thoughts About Church

When I moved to the Northwest after Thanksgiving 1979, I began attending my folks' church, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Issaquah.

I joined within the year, and attended for most of the next 30 years. That all ended in mid-July, when the pastor went off on my dad. (My father had been speaking his mind for years, so what was the tipping point, huh?)

That very day, my parents decided they could no longer attend, and I had been dabbling with leaving anyway ...

During the last couple years, I started church dipping -- attending different local churches in the area. I attended Seattle First Free Methodist while attending Seattle Pacific University, but once I graduated, I mostly attended CPC again, now I've been attending FFMC again.

Prior to settling back at First Free, my reasons for the church browsing were probably different from the other CPC attendees who'd also been dropping like flies. This is what bothered me:

CPC feels disorganized. CPC is more than 50 years old, so why can't the leaders start on time? Two minutes here, five minutes there. It's all disrespectful to God and the congregation. (Yeah, God doesn't watch the clock, but tardiness is putting something else, whatever else, ahead of the worship time.)

Random changes in the service. "That offertory was so great, let's turn to it on page 345 in the hymnal and sing it!" No, let's not. Don't mess with the flow.

Pre-Sermons. I timed a few of them. The pastor was known to begin his 40-minute sermons with 20 minutes of talk on something he thinks vitally important. It's wasn't. It didn't make me more holy, just more annoyed.

Multiple uses of "I think ..." in sermons. Just tell us what God says in Scripture. Take your turn in a blog.

Hogging the pulpit. Anyone from the congregation (not just the pastor) should be allowed to read the Scripture passages prior to the sermon. What did Wycliffe die for anyway?

Interrupting Scripture readings with interpretation. Just read! The Bible is a powerful thing; let it speak!

So I'm looking for a church again. Back at FFMC for now, but would like to worship on the Eastside.

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