Why I go to Church
When nonbelieving friends learn that I go to church every Sunday to worship the living God, their faces usually register surprise. Why, they ask, does someone like me, a person who functions relatively well in the “real” world, go to church at all?
In response to the litany of criticisms aimed at organized religion—like “Isn’t the church full of hypocrites?” or “Isn’t the church corrupt?”—I nod my head in agreement and try to be clear about what I think the church is and isn’t.
The dialogue is especially intriguing when people involved in 12-step recovery programs—many only recently aware of a Higher Power in their lives—learn I am recovering from similar addictions by relying on my Higher Power, Jesus Christ, without ever setting foot in a 12-step meeting.
Step 2 of the “12 steps” states, “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” The remaining steps emphasize that the quintessential basis of recovery is spiritual, acknowledging God (“as we understood Him”), prayer, confession, making of amends, and similar actions as elements of “spiritual awakening.” Yet, while millions of 12-step meetings have taken place in churches and much spiritual growth has occurred, participants have quietly, and almost universally, steered clear of Christ and his church.
Don’t I, they ask kiddingly, have rocks in my head for believing the Rock of Ages is real and relevant? Might I be in the throes of denial (a commonly used term)? I shake my head and cite the past 11 years free of drugs and other addictive behaviors.
Like many of my contemporaries ...1