A recent Pew Research Center article about why people go (and don’t go) to church, started me thinking about the role “church” plays in my own life.
I fully understand that if you want to clear a room, start talking about religion, yet I am boldly going to this place of comfort for me. I was born before Wal-Mart, microwave ovens, before electric cars—not before electric lights mind you, but let’s just say *McDonald’s and I were born the same year. EVERY time the church doors were open, Cynthia Ann went through them and not only did we go often and for longggggggggggg periods of time, children in my house didn’t have a choice in the matter.
I swore if, and back in the days of corporal punishment and the only time you used “why” was in reference to the 25th letter of the alphabet, I swore if I got big, I’d never ever darken the doors of the church. I am grateful to my parents that they dragged me in anyway. At church I found beautiful people who took time to nurture, discipline where/when needed, love and care for me. They were wonderful role models and I’m happy to report that not only do I still go to church, I believe I am an essential part of my preacher-husband’s ministry.
So, why I go to church is simple. It’s like home. It’s where I literally belong. It’s where I find the same nurture and care I have come to expect from the variety of folks I find there. It’s a salve to my soul – the music, the sermons, the teachings—all the things that go on in and outside the building keep me connected to my Power Source. This Pew article said that among people who go to church, they are there for those same basic reasons—to feel closer to God. I was encouraged and relieved to see that “roughly two-thirds said they attend religious services to give their children a moral foundation, to become better people, and for comfort in times of trouble or sorrow.”
The ones, however, who don’t go, sound much like author James W. Moore’s book title: “Yes Lord, I have sinned but I have several excellent excuses.” Excuses is bias on my part—replies are what they offered and is less accusatory but the answers ranged from (1) they’re not believers, (2) they haven’t found a church or congregation they like, (3) they find other ways to live out their faith, (4) not enough time, (5) their denomination isn’t available in the area, and/or (6) mobility and health issues. Of course the answers varied by demographics–race, gender, class, education, political affiliation, and age.
When you consider how many of our conversations are fueled by religious discussions and undertones–morality, who can marry whom, right to life, (abortion or capital punishment), immigration, justice, mercy, and the list goes on, this survey is a gentle reminder of how precious freedom of religion is. Lest we forget. Amen.
Survey was conducted December 2017 with more than 4,500 respondents. Results were released August 1. www.pewforum.org/2018/08/01/why-americans-go-to-religious-services
*The first McDonald’s opened in Des Plaines, IL in 1955.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.