The Churchgoing Habit

nintchdbpict000272082110
In Sunday’s sermon I mentioned that the churchgoing habit is an easy one to break.

If I had had more time I might have talked about how it happens, how you take a Sunday off and realize there are all those other things you could be doing during that time, all those other things other people actually are doing during that time: sleeping in, going to the beach, going to the mountains, having a second cup of coffee, reading the New York Times, mowing the lawn, lounging by the pool, or doing nothing much at all.

It’s a nice change of pace, but I’m guessing it could quickly become the new normal.  And it might take weeks, or even months, to become aware that something was missing, something you used to get at church that you aren’t getting anymore.  And on your best days you might acknowledge that what you were missing is pretty important: the fellowship of other believers, the robust singing of hymns, the prayers of the people, the Word of the Lord, and the faithful preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, one that consistently challenges the false gospels of appearance, achievement, and affluence.

So I’ve come up with a strategy that will make the churchgoing habit harder to break.

It came to me when I was talking to a couple of guys on their cigarette break.  I was just standing there, and one of them offered me a cigarette.  “No, thanks,” I said.  “I never have developed that habit.”  “Lucky you!” he said.  “I’ve been trying to break it for years.  Cigarettes are expensive!” (he didn’t mention that they can also kill you).  It struck me then that people will pay good money for something that has the potential to kill them simply because cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.

And that’s when I came up with my new strategy.

Let’s just pump some nicotine into the air conditioning system at church this summer, let it waft over the pews along with all that cool air as people sit there and listen to the sermon.  They won’t even know they’re inhaling it, but somewhere around Monday or Tuesday of that week they’re going to say, “Man, I’ve got to get back to church!”  They won’t even realize they’re doing it, but as they keep coming to church and keep inhaling that nicotine the addiction will begin to grow stronger and stronger, until they start saying things like:

“I’m dying for a sermon.”
“I sure could use a good hymn right about now, couldn’t you?”
“I haven’t had communion in, like, forever!”
“Will Sunday ever get here?”

I know there are probably laws against adding nicotine to the air conditioning system, but the churchgoing habit has gotten a little too easy to break.

And desperate times call for desperate measures.

–Jim Somerville

3 thoughts on “The Churchgoing Habit

  1. Like much of the world – I don’t get Sundays off to do whatever. I usually have to work. Somebody has to be around to deal with all the Christians who want to buy food and stuff.
    It also helps that the churches out here are really uninteresting. You know, like the 99% of churches you don’t attend and have no inclination to see what they’re up to. I haven’t found one worthwhile one.

  2. Jamie: Thanks for helping us understand why some people don’t get into the churchgoing habit. I hope you won’t give up trying, when you can, and I hope you find one worth attending! In the meantime, you can join us on Sunday mornings for our live webcast at http://www.FBCRichmond.org at 8:30 or 11:00 Eastern time. Maybe you’ll find something worthwhile. I hope so!

  3. I sincerely doubt it, most here are complementarian and can barely hide their disdain for there heretics who aren’t. It’s hard to know where you fit in at a church where you really don’t. In a church all about being married, being single is pox on the congregation. In a church all about having children, refraining from doing so might as well be the plague. They really don’t want those notions to spread.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s