April 19, 2016 Anyone for tennis? (spirituality as a singles sport)

Christianity is a team sport.

– tons of pastors all over the place

I hear that and it makes me think I’m wrong. That I’m somehow messed up because I don’t want to be part of a big group of people. I prefer single sports over team sports.

I’d much rather play tennis, or swim, than participate in any team sport. There’s nothing wrong with team sports, they’re just not what I’m drawn to.

That phrase makes me feel like if i’m not going to church consistently, if I’m not part of a Christian group, I’m doing it wrong and probably aren’t even really doing it.

It makes me feel like Christianity is about showing up to group meetings. About being extroverted.

I kind of hate that. It makes me a little irritated every time I hear it.

There’s no piece of me that feels like I’ve got it all figured out, but I do feel fairly confident that there no authentic spiritual journey is rooted in attendance at a meeting.

Meetings are lame. Conference calls are lame. Lately church services feel something like a conference call to me. Now, I gotta confess, I’m never on conference calls. I haven’t ever sat through a whole call. But my husband is. A lot. Like all the time. And I’ve heard more than my fair share of them when he puts his phone on speaker. They make me crazy, and I’m not even required to be listening. They’re a gigantic time and energy suck in which someone tells everyone else something really important that they all either know already or doesn’t actually apply to them. And attendance is required!! How is this not optional?? Why can’t they say if you don’t know this key point yet, show up and we’ll tell you.  How business leaders think this is the best way for their employees to be spending their time is beyond me. Treat your employees like they’re actual people with brains and goals and skills with which they’re desperate to make a contribution to the world. Quit thinking of them as a group entity that needs to be controlled and managed. Ugh.

I guess what I’m saying is that lately, sermons kind of feel like that to me. I’m not against sermons per se, I think they have the potential to be an awesome art form. I actually listen to them sometimes through podcasts. Just for fun. There’s a lot of potential there and they can be downright interesting especially when I can choose one that applies to me. But not when they’re required. And not when they’re lame. How many times has the speaker on Sunday morning had nothing really to say, but they know they’re expected to say something, so they do. And we all sit quietly and listen and do our part by keeping our church attendance streak up. Ugh.

I’m also not against the group singing that so often happens in church services. It’s a little weird if you think about it. Especially if you can think about it from outside the “this is my norm” bubble. Who meets up weekly to sing songs together? Singers, sure. But just the general public? No one does that. It’s a little weird. Maybe people should though. There’s something awesome about it. It’s like that magical feeling at a concert where the band pauses and the crowd continues the song…it feels good and magical and right. It’s transcendent and I’m totally for it. (I am against a lot of the lyrics that we sing, both in church and at concerts, but that’s an issue for another day.)

If conference call sermons are what people are referring to when the say christianity is a team sport, no thank you. Truthfully, I know that they’re not. They’re pretty sure you need to be regularly interacting with other christians and they want to help you so they provide these handy meetings. They know that the people you surround yourself with influence you more than you are aware of. And they’re concerned about people going off the deep end theologically.  At least that’s what they’ve told me when I asked.

Eh. I’m not so concerned.

I think I’m much more interested in making some dinner and finding some people who are willing and able to talk kindly and openly about the things they really think and are experiencing. People who have brains and goals and skills and who desperately want to use them to affect the world.

That doesn’t feel like a team sport to me. That feels like tennis.

2 thoughts on “April 19, 2016 Anyone for tennis? (spirituality as a singles sport)

  1. davisb50 says:

    ahhhh you need to attend some of our conference calls.. Now I do admit that I am almost always multitasking, BUT most of our calls really are productive and while I may have needed to only hear or contribute 10% of either the time or effort they required… there still are decisions/actions and learning that have taken place. I think attending church is an effort to build community and to have a place to act out your beliefs with and for others. Seems like if you can find that community elsewhere, then there you go…. you KNOW I am not a big church goer at all anymore…. In fact i think i might be allergic to it 🙂 BUT I think it can be just the right ‘game’ for some people.
    Want to play a little tennis?


    • Sarah Budd says:

      10% of usefulness doesn’t seem like a good use of time. I’m glad (thrilled!)you can stay positive about it, but Uggh. Ir’s so dang inefficient.

      I think the *theory* of church may be to build community, but that’s not what’s happening with the model that’s in use. Our current mode probably worked really well at one point, but in today’s culture, it’s lagging. For me.

      Course I’ve been told time and time again I’m not like most people, so it may just be me.

      Liked by 1 person

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