Monday, September 1, 2008

Are you a Man or a Motor Car?

"If all the people that fell asleep in church were laid end-to end...
they would be a lot more comfortable
." Abraham Lincoln

Going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a motor car. However, as those of us with cars can testify, a car needs routine maintenance, re-fuelling and regular servicing, in order to keep it running smoothly. Your relationship with God is no different!

However, recent opinion polls suggested that the vast majority of the population believe in God (or admit, at any rate, to praying to somebody or something…). People were asked the questions “Do you believe in God?” and “Do you believe in prayer?” But, even if the majority answered “Yes” to either question, they certainly aren’t filling the pews on a Sunday morning. They aren’t even filling the comfortable but stackable chairs in the more evangelical and modern churches.

Some may feel church is irrelevant to them, but for many, I suspect, they just feel it is unnecessary. Many people (especially in hospital for example) answer the question “What religion are you?” by saying “Oh, I’m C of E”, in much the same way that some might say “I’m Aquarius, what sign are you?”…

True, going to Church doesn’t make you a Christian - any more than going to a garage makes you a motor car. But, if that is a challenge to all of those of us that do go to Church - what about all those that don’t?

Well, I think we can all think of some common excuses… “Churches are full of people who think they’re better than the rest of us!” This really is sad to hear, because to say it, is to turn the Truth on its head: Many Christians go to church precisely because they realise they are no better than anyone else, as St Paul put it: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory [glorious standards] of God.” (Romans 3:23).

What about… “Oh, churches are just full of hypocrites!” This too is sad because it betrays the fact that many Sunday churchgoers manage to get through life without allowing their faith to impact the other 6/7ths of their week in any positive way - unlike Jesus: Jesus managed to impress everyone he met, and he changed many lives as a result. However, as someone once said: “…the churches are not full of hypocrites, there’s room for plenty more!”…

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