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Eric's Sunday Sermon; To Church or Not To Church

Updated on February 8, 2015

Yes that is a church way down there on the ridge.

I would just love to go here on any given day.
I would just love to go here on any given day. | Source

Churches in general

Oh for sure this applies to all kinds of places of worship. I have been blessed to travel much of the world and I just love visiting all types of places of worship. Temples are perhaps the most interesting but the Sistine Chapel ooh la la. Tabernacles are cool and the churches set above pyramids in Mexico are awesome. Monasteries fill one with calm and Mosques somehow call one inside. Home sanctuaries are neat and one room country churches give a real sense of devotion. Kivas and Sipapus are not to be missed; the same with sweat lodges and mountain tops. So let us set aside the differences and wrap our minds around the similarities and reasons for such places.

Shall we start off with a simple concept. If you like to go to worship with others then by all means go and do it. If you do not choose to do it then fine and more power to you. I do not know of a phrase that suggests that if you do not go, something bad will happen to you. Oh there are texts that beseech you to go to church. But not any that condemn you if you do not. Probably going to a bad church is far worse than not going.

This song always reminds me of a very low time I spent in Tijuana Mexico and oh baby I was so alone.

This picture always reminds me of God's Church and a service a buddy of mine and I had right there.

Church is anywhere anytime you make it. My service don't start until you show up.
Church is anywhere anytime you make it. My service don't start until you show up. | Source

Guilty as charged your honor?

Now in this day and age there are many folks who were brought up to attend church services. Actually by statistics, more went than did not go a mere 50 years ago. Now in some cases this was literally beat into the psych of many a child. And so what happens when they decide not to go? They feel guilty about not going. What a shame. I have an older daughter like that and she is just a blessing and has a deep and abiding faith. And by golly she just loves to go to church but cannot always attend due to her work. It has taken some hard preaching to get her to get over her guilt. And I never ever made her go to church. It just shows how engrained it can be. So let us get over our guilt if we do not attend church.

If you are wondering about the author, well wonder no more, I do not go to church ----- six days a week. Why? Because one is plenty for me. I used to attend about 4 services a week and preach in a church. Well actually outside as much as was reasonable. I used to teach a young adult Sunday school. And I enjoyed all of it very much. But I just got a little too filled with dogma and rules and customs to feel comfortable with too much anymore. I still read about 8 sermons a week, 7 days a week of lessons and everyday reading scripture, praying and meditating on my Lord. And then one day going in for the festivities singing and a good rip roaring, happy preacher man sermon live at a community church.

So it can be said that I can appreciate not attending a church.

Church can even be on a "Hollywood" stage!

How about you?

Do you attend your own church?

See results

Life is long you can change your mind whenever you like.

Let us be clear there are some of us that live a basically solitary life. I do not know. I am sociable and have been taught very good social graces. I can make small talk or big talk with the best of them and know when to back down or stand up. I do not fail socially. Neither do you. You are interesting and people like you. Me, not so much ;-0 Seriously we can do the social thing but choose not to. It is all about energy. Some folks just think their energy is better spent elsewhere than in dealing with people. And make no mistake it takes energy to be sociable. Just getting dressed up for it takes time and effort.

Now let us remember some folks like doing that. They also like to get dressed up and go to parties. And that is just fine. For others it is just not their cup of tea. Is one more worthy than the other. I think not.

I hope you pick a good spot

Any place can be made beautiful with the right attitude.
Any place can be made beautiful with the right attitude. | Source

Your way is the right way.

The long and the short of it.

Many churches have a short break in the liturgy where people just get up and greet each other. Many say something to the effect of “peace be with you” to each other. And that is really cool. The response is something like “and with you also”, although the Catholics just changed it, without great adieu. This is normally called “the peace”. Now I reckon that if you are not there then you do not get this wonderful tradition. Wrong! We do it in my house on Sundays. My wife is a tax preparer and works Sundays during this time of year. Heck she works every day this time of year. (Remember to render unto Caesar that which is Caesars’ – and not a penny more) So guess what. I preach at her as she gets ready to go on Sunday mornings and then as a family we hug and say peace. Then off to church my son and I go. Now that works for us.

Perhaps your church is a back porch rocking chair, or a breakfast nook with a view. Or maybe it is quiet contemplation anywhere. Church is a place and nothing more. But going to church is a communal thing. So I must insist that you gather together at least by twos and commune in some sort of spirituality. I just love the Christian notion; whenever two or more of you are gathered in My name, I will be there. One of my favorite mental views is two old people walking hand in hand on a beach. I try to remember that and hold my wife’s hand as often as is reasonable.

It just hit me that you can do it by phone or even the internet. I am down with that. Maybe just maybe me writing and you reading is good enough.

I do not mean to keep you from church.

Wow what would we do without churches? I give money every week to keep them running. Note here that my wife gives to St. Judes and a little to churches. She just thinks that direct to hospitals and the like is the best tithing that she can do. Again this works for our home.

Alternatives

Hey what about church on TV. Why not? That just is reasonable. There was a time I was an LEM II, and that means a Lay Eucharistic Minister of the degree that we brought the “service” to places like nursing homes and home bound folk due to illness. Talk about rewarding! The point is to emphasize that church can be anywhere at anytime if your heart is in it. One time when I was “stationed” in a communist country the closest thing to a service was a Buddhist monastery open for prayer. Shucks I figured no one would mind if I attended and prayed to my God. I was thankful for the little stools they have as I cannot sit cross legged on a wooden floor.

I hope my rambling service here was eclectic.

You see by showing the diverse methods and rambling discourse on worship it was my intention to give a whole bunch of alternatives to church. The idea being that we should not judge another on whether they go to church or not. I hope that the examples are crazier than ones you would give so that you feel in the norm by not attending. Perhaps I should rephrase “by not attending a building and structured worship process”. Maybe just maybe on Sundays I am lazy. Maybe I just go to church so I can get some “religion” and not have to work at it so darned hard, just sit in my pew and sing and play with my son.

I figure that my God just wants me to think about our relationship in earnest once a week at least.

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    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Happy Sunday, dear Eric!

      I just love that too, "whenever two or more of you are gathered in My name, I will be there." It is so comforting for we know we can worship our Lord God wherever we are and give Him praise to His glory.

      We need not have to go to an actual church building, for we are His temple, the Body of Christ. We try to attend a church service in a building on Sundays to have fellowship with other believers and such, but I am with you on not following the religious traditions of man, but more so having that intimate and personal relationship with Him.

      Another brilliant Sunday sermon for this beautiful day the Lord has made!

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      I enjoyed worshipping with you this day!

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 2 years ago

      Gospel singing was cool. Loved the hub.... Ever been in a Kingdom Hall

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Faith thank you I now feel like we did worship together. Just back from church and it was great to see friends. Sermon was t but real good just too long. I say that and laugh at just how little time I spend listening. Thanks again for coming by and visiting.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      Eric my friend , for some of many I'm sure that YOU are our God guy ! And so there ! Thank you for this one especially because as you know , I'm a pretty private guy , I can't sing either or remember the lines for all they are worth ! This sermon is extremely important ! ............. Hey , you could just be our hubpages chaplain ?

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Joy I just adored the two Kingdom Halls where I attended services. I am more of an Episcopal/Lutheran/Catholic attendee because I am all comfy with the liturgies having taught much in those communities. Perhaps I should "get out more" to attend differing worships.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed I really did not want to go today. So I rebelled and my son and I went all "come as you are". This is what I have been told about my singing "Eric you are the loudest singer in the house" isn't that just good old church folks to not insult me.

      Careful with that chaplain stuff -- they already banned me from the forums.

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 2 years ago

      Oh no you were banned from the forums.... So many hubbers would argue about religion on there when I used to frequent them. Did you upset someone.

    • Joy56 profile image

      Joy56 2 years ago

      p.s. Yeah get around more..... Go on J.W.org

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the message...our way of worshiping is the right way. Very well-stated, Eric!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Wow this is a great message. I read somewhere in that Bible aslo that the temple is your body. I get my religion that way, right from the source. I used to go to church all the time when I was growing up, Wednesday night social, Sunday morning and Sunday evening and even to those those, Revivals, a gathering where the pastor yells at you. I never did like being yelled at and didn't listen to them, but I had friends there. Then I converted to Methodist for my 1st husband, although we married in my church,Welsh Baptist. After my divorce I kind of just wandered around and read the Bible a lot and then went through Roman Catholic Initiation of Adults to marry my current husband. Then I could not go anymore because now I am a Minister and a woman and they do not like either of them speaking the word of God, from a book or anything else for that matter. My church or congregation is the Internet, right here.

      Eric, seriously you can spread the love of God and Jesus and not get slandered and bulled and told that you are wrong, but when I do I get all of that. I just do not understand at all. The saying goes stick and stone will break my bones but words will never hurt me....That is totally false. I wanted to sit down a cry today for all the words that have been thrown into my face here. Oh I better stop that because I do not want to sound or be negative and not want that to come back to me. I feel that I am on very thin ice here at Hp for stating my cause and that of God and many who are doing the bullying are reporting me for nothing but revenge and that I do not teach the way they think that I should....just a feeling.

      Take care Eric until your next sermon.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 2 years ago from Washington, DC

      I loved your ramblings, Eric. You hit the nail on the head on several points, especially the one about the church being where your heart is and where 'two or three are gathered.' You gave this subject a very nice personal touch without a preachy overtone.

      I wrote a dry hub about this subject matter as I am a regular church goer and wanted to share the value of being a part of a worship community. You did an excellent job here, I really enjoyed your angle. Voted up, useful, beautiful, and interesting.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Joy I am not always the nicest fellow. So they did not like my bluntness and preaching.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Bill thanks for taking the time on a Sunday to read and comment. I know enough about you to know you make a church out of your love of life and that is a darn fine church.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Debra I feel what you are saying. I have in my repertoire some sermons that would get me kicked out of anywhere because people just do not want to hear it. I can say that I am a dirty low down scum of the earth sinner but I cannot say that to someone else to make a point. We all sin, but around here you cannot call someone a sinner. Strange at best. So we direct and not force, we compel but do not force, we set by example rather than promotion. I think next week I will write a bit of a hell and brimstone sermon, let us see what happens.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Janis, how was I not following you? You are a wonderful writer and bring life and joy into your hubs. You are compassionate and loving. I am truly honored to have you visit and leave such a pleasant and uplifting comment.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      I was raised Catholic, took my first steps in a convent, but I always believed the way you worship God is the way your heart tells you and what you believe. Do I go to church? I am embarrassed to say not every Sunday but when I can.

      I do believe believing in God and loving your brother is most important. How and where you chose to worship your God is between you and your God.

      Another excellent sermon Eric that brings light and love to thoughts of "church".

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 2 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      This is a good subject. I was a faithful church goer as a child and into my teens, but life got hectic as an adult and Sunday literally became a day of rest for me, that is, if I wasn't obligated to work that day. Lazy is the right word for it. However church or not, my faith in God never got lazy. I pray often and I appreciate every day the good Lord sees fit to give me. Good hub.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      I can't wait to read it. Thanks for your true caring and respect.

    • DSmizzle profile image

      DSmizzle 2 years ago from Long Beach, New York

      Interesting read as always Eric!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi tillsontitan, you really add a lot to this hub with your comment. Thank you.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Diana, it sounds like you have a healthy mixture of attending and not. Perhaps lazy is more like lacking motivation.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for reading and leaving a note, it means a lot to know you dropped by.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      My grandfather was a Baptist minister and my mom was a good and faithful preacher's daughter. Growing up, I was forced to go to church many times during the week. When I had my children, I didn't force them to go to church with me. I went and hoped they would see my devotion. Now, they are grown and go to their community churches on their own. I'm a fan of the television churches, too. I see nothing wrong with them. At the same time, I do believe in connecting with others face to face in some form or another.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Marlene I also like the human connection. I wish my elder children attended more regularly. But to each their own I suppose. Thank you for coming by and leaving such a nice addition to this hub.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Eric dear, I'll be honest, I don't remember the last time I went to church. I used to enjoy it though specially the live choir. Like your daughter, I felt guilty in the beginning but then the feeling subsides until I finally come to terms with my own worshipping preference. However, I can tell you that I do have a very strong relationship with HIM and we talk every day. :)

      This hub certainly leave your readers with something to think about.

      ...and peace I give you.

      Love from the sky~

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      It's great Eric! I also feel the same way as you do. I do not attend temples like most of us do. But, I believe more in God than they do and my God is in my heart and in my home. So you should not feel guilty of it or feel compelled to attend church or temple. You are free to do as you like it and as it is convenient to you. Very great sermon by you. Thank you for it.

      Voted up and awesome.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Cris, I think your situation is about as common as it gets. People just do not talk about it much if they do not attend. And that guilt is what drives many to attend. If attending is not driven by the positive then it can become a negative.

      Thank you for coming by and leaving such a great comment, that I hope helps others.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      to answer yes, I attend church. But I do not believe that church attendance is necessary for me to communicate with God. Sadly many churches have become less than Christ-like and that does sound like a judgment call but having traveled and visited many I find that is true in some cases.

      I do not feel that is true of all, obviously.

      I do go to church because I enjoy worshipping and praising with my friends. But I have church with God, every day, mostly all day, with no building...

      Thanks for sharing..

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Venkatachari for coming by and writing such a nice comment. I think those of us who do attend must be careful not to judge those who do not. It is what is in the heart that is important.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this important subject. Going to church is a good thing; communing with God is far better. Of course, doing both is best.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Patricia, I am feeling those angels as I read your comment. Some churches just have a "wrong" feel to them. I get that feeling in churches that are too influenced by the preacher and not as much from the Bible. Discernment in such cases is a great gift.

      I like to stay close to Him as best I can all day.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora, for me at this time it is best to do both. Church recharges my batteries for the week. I really like to hear sermons and sing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting and I agree with pstraubie48

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Devika thank you for coming by and leaving a comment. Patricia's comment added much to this hub.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      When I left the church I was put on a guilt trip and was told that he would tell them why, lies, as to why I did not want to go anymore.....cult? Look what they do to me around here....cultish behaviour...you bet. Some are the furthes from God as you can get....but we must realize that God is within us all and he and we can never leave each other....so they are at their own level in understanding. Some are there to strengthen us and some are just there so we may stragnthen them....even if we do not see it. We always can plant seeds. Whether they grow or not that is not up to us.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Debra, judgment of anyone in the realm of their heart and intentions is a slippery slope that we need not go down. We must be careful to judge all with a loving heart no matter what harm they may or may not cause us. Certainly church is a good place to learn to love others that are not necessarily the nicest folks in the world.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I think your diverse methods and rambling discourse are a breath of fresh air here on HP, where the discourse is sometimes a little stale. Johnny up there summed up my own church experience of late when he sang "I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt - And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for desert..." See I had all that in my head without even watching the video. Seriously though, I too have been working Sundays for a few months and using that as an excuse, but it has to change. Great hub my friend!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel thanks for coming all the way up to the reservoir and leaving a great comment. Perhaps sometimes just setting the goal gets it done.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Ericd

      Yes the body is a "moving temple" as the Hindus say but its also good to sometimes be with others. JC did say for prayer that 2 or more is better.

      I challenge myself to go to any group and feel the same inner connection.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oztinato, thank you for coming by and reading and commenting. I often find it a challenge also, but the rewards make it worth taking that challenge.

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

      Eric, you always provide a unique way of keeping our hearts on fire for God. Thank you fro providing many ways to stay connected with a loving Father through different church outlets! What a refreshing Hub! Thank you! And I love the Johnny Cash song! :) Voted up!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Emunah I am very happy that you found this hub uplifting and refreshing. It makes my day.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 24 months ago from Central United States of America

      Well, sorta different, sorta right, and really interesting in your unique way. Also enjoyed both videos - had previously seen -and forgotten the second one, but it was again fantastic! Thanks for an expressive and cheerful hub!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 24 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for joining us frogyfish, I think you nailed this hub in your description.

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