Sunday morning. There’s a 30-60% chance of whose house I will wake up in. Though, every once in a while there is a curve ball morning and I find myself in foreign territory.
This week followed the norm as I woke up on my friends couch and I was confronted with a common dilemma. I want to go to church, but it’s obvious I’m still rocking an outfit from the night before.
Do I not go simply because I’m not fulfilling the “Sunday’s best” outfit expectation? Or, do I go because church is important to me, regardless of my knee-high boots covered in dried dirt, jeans that at one point had as little as one full cup of beer spilled on them, Nebraska jacket, ponytail and whatever makeup is still clinging on. I rarely even leave the house this sloppy.
I went for it. She gave me a ride back downtown and dropped me off at the church, I had two minutes to spare. I sat in the back, I walked quickly to and from communion.
We talked about lasting positive impacts when someone remembers us, and leaving the places we go with a lasting “good thoughts”. This is also why I’m deciding I will go on the road trip in a couple weeks. I hope we can figure out how to get to New York.
The main reason I decided to go to church was because my philosophy on what a church is for. Churches are like hospitals. Being free of sin is being “healthy”, healthy people don’t need to go to a hospital. Sinners go to church to get better. Churches heal.
However, there are other expectations in church, some of which I feel cause people to not go at all. If you want to go, there should be no reason you don’t. It’s people that drive us away. Here are a few examples of expectations:
1. Never show up late. My family struggled with this growing up. Showing up late is like saying, “I don’t care enough about God to leave my house on time.” Obviously false. Sometimes things come up. Some people just have different struggles.
2. Dress your best. I understand that wearing nice clothes implies respect. However, when it comes to religion I believe in “come as you are.” Spirituality isn’t something you do once a week that forces to put on a show and act out of your norm. Churches shouldn’t expect this either.
3. Never bring food. I live on coffee during the week. Nothing would make me happier than sitting in a beautiful building, thinking about theories of how to make myself a better person, and drinking a hot latte. But I won’t.
4. Don’t sit in the front row.I think there is a false precedent that sitting in front must imply you think you are ‘in front’ of everyone else, because no one ever sits up there. Maybe it’s because we don’t like to make eye contact with the pastor. Maybe it’s because we don’t like a hundred people staring at the back of our head for an hour.
5. Put your tithe in an envelope. That way no one can see how much you are giving. I’m not a member. I usually put in whatever small bills I have left in my purse from the night before.
6. Use the buddy system. The first couple years of college, I often wouldn’t go because I would have to go alone. People don’t like doing things without someone, though most outsiders probably don’t even notice. I don’t mind it any more, it’s just exactly who I am: A young, single female making mistakes, learning, and doing what I want to do.