Keeping the Faith: Why Do I Keep Ghosting Church? By Susie Moore for Red State
With it being a new year, I’ve been doing a fair amount of reflection recently – looking back at end/beginning-of-year posts, old resolutions, taking stock, that sort of thing. A recurring resolution or goal through the years has been to “write more.” I have done that and aim to continue doing so, which is part of what’s inspiring this – one of my most passionate writing subjects is faith. I’ve written about my faith here countless times – and often woven in stories related to my church. But I have an embarrassing confession to make about another resolution I’ve made several times over the years and yet, have stuck with only to varying degrees: regular church attendance. I haven’t been going to church lately…and I don’t really know why.
It isn’t that my faith has wavered. I remain firm in my belief in and gratitude for Jesus Christ as my Savior. But even as I write this, I’m forced to acknowledge that I’ve been lukewarm — at best. I profess to be a believer but I’m not really walking the walk. And it feels like getting to the why is important. So, please bear with me as I write through this.
I’ve gone to the same church (on and off, obviously) for roughly the past 15 years. Initially in person, first at one campus, then at another, closer to where I live now, then increasingly online because the technology is available and makes it so convenient. And that’s probably a key right there – the true test of it shouldn’t be convenience. Church attendance should be a deliberate action – not just something that fits nicely into one’s schedule.
I will say that there’s an element of comfort at play here – not just the “I can roll out of bed, fix some coffee, and watch in my PJs,” sort, though, truth be told, that’s an appealing aspect of being able to “attend” online services. But there’s also the comfort of not self-consciously walking into services and sitting solo, attempting to make pleasant small talk with other congregants I don’t really know. I’ve attended numerous classes and church events over the years, but I’ve never really become part of the church family. It isn’t that most of those I’ve met aren’t warm or friendly — they have been. But there’s remained an arm’s length between us. On some level, I’ve clearly preferred it that way.