Believing in the cofe(10 Posts)
I think your approach to Christianity or spirituality is as valid as anyone else's.
I don't think that the view that any of the major churches take, but it's up to what you think is the right way.
I totally agree with greenheart and niminy, and would add that, depending on where you are in the country and how feasible it is for you logistically, you might try looking at what your local cathedral offers. We have everything from praise singing to full-on bells'n'smells BCP sung Eucharist, with, in between, things that might appeal to you like a simple, contemplative, Celtic-inspired Eucharist service; a peaceful prayer-focused service with lots of silent reflection time; short, simple Eucharist services (both BCP and Common Worship) early in the morning or on weekdays, or a more informal (CW) sung Eucharist service with robed choir and acolytes and what-have-you, but very little pomposity, lots of joining-in, and no arm-waving. The beauty is that there's lots to choose from, you can try out different services or vary from week to week, and yet still feel part of a broader Christian community. Good luck with your search.
I agree that being a Christian isn't just about what you feel, it's about what you do -- about trying to follow the commandment to love God with all our heart and soul and strength, and love our neighbour as ourselves, and about taking up the cross and following Jesus. Those things mean that we have to live our whole lives as Christians -- and that's hard to do all on our own. Belonging to a church, and working out how to live as a Christian along with other people is an essential part of it.
Also, church provides us with help to do it: with food for our journey, in the form of communion. We can't have that by ourselves, because it's a meal we have to share with other people -- and it's a meal that joins us together and brings us to God's table.
Try church again -- it doesn't have to be all hands in the air and rock bands. Some churches have a 'quiet communion' on Sunday evenings, and that might work for you. I hope you find something that will feel right and help your faith develop.
Not all churches are hands in the air churches. I've worshipped in the C of E for 30 years and that has never been the style of the church were I have made my home. There will be plenty of churches around that are more smells and bells or just plain middle of the road hymns and liturgy that is the mainstay of the C of E. If there is no non praise band service where you are then try the methodists as they have good solid teaching, excellent hymn singing and community.
Being a Christian is about more than sitting in your garden meeting and feeling at one with God in creation. I do it myself. But being a Christian is about discipleship and social justice as well and that is really hard to do on your own. Part of being in an imperfect Christian community is that we have to be real and get on with other people. That is tough but stops faith being all about us and what we want.
The desert fathers who practised a lone faith were seeking white martyrdom as the persecution of the Christians had died down by the 5th and 6th centuries and this was an extreeme form of faith that involved praying and studying all day.
So if the worship style of your local church isn't what suits you then find one more to your taste. Or go to an earlier service. I went to a charismatic C of E church on placement and their 8am service was lovely - used Common Worship, short sermon and communion. Later on it was praise songs, 40 minute sermons and hands in the air but those early services would have suited me if I had lived locally.
I hope you find something that helps you grow as a Christian.
It definitely sounds like exploring other local churches might help. There are many many types even within the CofE and even more outside of it. Perhaps something more 'traditional' with more of an emphasis on the mystery of God would suit you? Or something more contemplative eg Taize style.
Have a hunt around online for your area and see what types of services churches have got going on.
Have you looked into other services? Quiet weekday ones and the like?
Monks usually live in communities i.e. monasteries. It is true that there were hermits who lived alone, but they were definitely the exception rather than the rule. Christianity is generally defined as a corporate religion. There are a body of believers who worship together. But there is no need for you to rush. You need to work out what switches you on spiritually. I do believe religious community is really important, but everyone needs to take their time to find out what kind of community they want to belong to. I guess it can also be fine to just live in a Christian way by yourself, if that's what truly does it for you. For sure, many people have done this.
Certainly BEING a Christian rather than just going through the motions is far more important, but my point is that a community can help you stick to the path you have chosen and help you feel supported in a world that doesn't always respect or encourage Christian values.
Christianity is a way of living. It does help some people to be with others to worship but really it should be a personal thing.
What about Monks who live/lived alone?
I'm not a Christian now but used to be a member of a lovely CofE church. I changed religion. I feel being spiritual and having love in your heart is more important than which building you go to to worship.
I don't do it exactly that way, but just wanted to say - not all churches are the outgoing hands-in-the-air type. I personally would not be able to do that, would feel far too self-conscious. My church isn't like that. Maybe you just need to look at some different churches and find one that suits?
I also love to do the things you do and yes they make me feel closer to God. But I do believe it's healthy to belong to a (right for us) church, as it is full of other people to keep us going and support us when things get tough.
I'm not sure really that I believe in going to church as such. I do believe in God, Jesus and the message, however, I don't like going to church and I feel very self conscious and uptight while I'm there. Then I watch other people with their hands up in the air and the bands in church and I find it all a bit happy clappy for me!! To be honest this year has been a bit unusual for me as I have been sitting out so much in my garden which has been looking great. I feed birds and love to watch them and on a Friday night and Sunday morning I listen to the church bells ringing and this is when I have been closest to god. I tend to pull what I can from the bible and generally do believe in its message but I just don't want it ramming down my throat. I remember someone telling me that you couldn't be a Christian if you didn't go to church because then you're not praising God. However, I can't believe what he said because surely a light shines in everyone that does believe in God. It's just that I want to believe in the Christian faith in my own way. Do other people do it this way?
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