I have attended church all my life. Thankfully, I have never been or stayed in an environment where I can’t do one of the most important things I believe everyone should do when practicing ANY faith: ask questions. The reasons are plentiful as to why you should ask yourself big concerns about stuff you believe in, even if you choose not to attend church or a religious group of any kind. You should be free to doubt, free to feel, free to involve and listen.
So here are some things to keep in mind when asking questions:
- Ask yourself if you questions say who you are or are just inquiries.
This is important. You can ask a lot of questions. And that’s not a bad thing. But if you stay focused on certain questions that have nothing to do with the community (like why is there no chocolate mints in the offering plate) then you may not find ANY community that fits what you want. Now, I’m not saying you can ask things like “Why are there no women pastors?” because a statement like this might reveal that you believe women should be allowed to be a head pastor. And that is a major factor when coming to a community of faith. This may determine HOW you worship, WHO you worship with and define the entire worship environment. So be sure to prioritize your questions.
2. Realize that a perfect community doesn’t exist.
No matter what you find important or what you decide to believe in–no one community will fit every need. I say this because i have experienced it personally myself. I used to think that i had to find the perfect group that fit every church-going need I had to feel comfortable. But let me tell you–my home church of Messiah Lutheran is FAR from perfect (sorry friends who go there…its not.) It’s got its drama, its issues, its struggles. But that does NOT keep me from going. There is a guideline that only you will know that will be the line a community cannot cross. Keep that in mind at all times.
This goes with something to consider. Yes-there are individual partitioners of different beliefs. I know “personal” christians, those who don’t follow any faith, I know a solo practicing Wiccan. They are in every faith. But if you’re searching for a community–you need to remember that it is a community of people you are looking for–NOT a platform. It’s okay to still be searching, maybe not define yourself by the community’s set structure or belief systems. I know there are atheist who attend church and christians who go to a buddhist temple just because of the community they interact with and represent.
3. It’s okay to change your decision over time.
Many times issues do not come up until a problem comes along with them. This happens a lot in the claims world where I work. People do not understand how insurance works until they have an accident. The same can be true of finding a worshipping community. A kid could attend church with his parents, but then go to college and realize he is forming different beliefs and comes home in search of a new community. Or someone will realize they are a homosexual in a community the practice is not readily accepted.
I hope this gives some a little focus on asking questions in a belief system. Remember NEVER to stop asking!