Wednesday 3 September 2014

Going to Church is a Waste of Time

There is no doubt that going to Church is a waste of time.

After all, you could be on Twitter. You could be in B&Q or digging the garden or in bed. Or watching Great British Bake-Off on BBC iPlayer. Or checking the emails on the work Blackberry so you can respond to your boss's responses, and make it look like you're dedicated before the boss checks again. Or you could be replaying the highlights of the latest England game.

You will have to share your time with at least one, and possibly hundreds, of people who often don't have much in common with you. If a noise-sensitive type who likes reflection and peace and beautiful liturgy, you may have to be next to a baby. If a young mother or father, you may have to put up with tutting and shushing moaners.

You will be asked - though not forced -  to donate money - partly to fund a building, partly to pay the person whose talks you don't like. And then you will frequently be asked to donate money to help people who have never heard of you and may not thank you. You may well be asked to give your time to help people whose position in society means they are unlikely ever to return the honour in this life.

You will spend an hour or more in singing and expressing the praises of what you cannot see, and cannot prove exists, and giving thanks for a transaction involving something called "grace" and "sacrifice" that happened 2,000 years ago - and which you cannot prove happened. You will often then drink poor quality coffee.

You will be expressing for this short period of time - even if it's the only time this week - that the world does not revolve around you. That you are, if rich, obliged to help those less privileged. If you are on the floor, you can pretend for one hour that you are able to be raised up. You will be saying, even if the echoes of the working week have rung around your head from time to time, that making money and climbing career ladders is not all that matters. You will be showing that it is possible for a varied group of people, with different lives, political views and priorities, to come together with a common purpose. You will have had the chance - in a limited way - to express love to other people. And you will have the chance to dream the impossible dream that, although this world is awe-full and beautiful, there is a future that will be more awe-full and infinitely beautiful.

Going to Church is a waste of time.

It's supposed to be.


  1. Sounds better than the alternative.

  2. I would argue that it's the most valuable use of our time:

    1. It gets you of of the house.
    2. It gets you away from any chores.
    3. It gets you away from crying babies and stayinbed spouses.
    4. It gets you away from the housework.
    5. It gets you away from the DIY.
    6. It gets you away from cutting the lawn or digging the garden.
    7. It allows you to have a creative imagination.
    8. It brings some culture into your life with word and music.
    9. It gives you some free food and wine.
    10. It gives you the chance to share with all sorts (not liquorice)
    11. It gives you insight into others lives and to share yours.
    12. It provides opportunities to help others.
    13. It provides an occasion to worship your creator without being thought strange.
    14. It's an occasion to have some jolly good stories read to you.
    15. It's an occasion for someone to explain what those jolly good stories mean and how to apply them to your life.
    16. It's a place to receive encouragement, to learn and to grow.
    17. It's a place for the singles to meet other singles and build a relationship based on shared values, including love.
    18. It's a place where children have the freedom to express themselves, even if it involves hitting another child over the head with a toy train.
    19. It's a place to learn that fair trade coffee must be drunk, no matter how dire it is. (helps to understand suffering).
    20. It's a place to meet well meaning people who can provide completely free, unsolicitated advice on your life /children /wealth /conduct /car /football team /aftershave

  3. Brill. Would you let me publish this in our parish magazine? Attributed needless to say

  4. Can I quote this in my sermon on Sunday? It fits in beautifully with the readings.

    1. Me too?
      It's wonderful, and heaps better than the notes I have prepared!

    2. Yes . However from some Twitter comments you may like to make it clear that you are not actually advocating not going to church.

      irony is a two edged sword.

  5. This is really very good. Certainly didn't 'waste my time' reading it!

  6. Until "Church", generically, is more like (U.S.) the Episcopal Church or the United Church of Christ, this is still not going work for (most) LGBTs.


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