I have been looking for a church to settle in recently. It has got me thinking about the way we think about church and spirituality and how we think about being Christian today. For one thing, I find that I initially had to tread very carefully into the world of organised religion. There is a such thing as bad religion and I do not intend to get caught up in it. But the question is, how much of Christianity today is bad religion?
Many people think of all of Christianity as bad religion. Becoming a Christian is considered a very odd thing to do. Looking for a church to go to has made me start to wonder what kind of Christian I am and how much of Christianity I agree with. In other words, why am I a Christian? Should I continue to be one?
Should being a Christian translate into doing charity work? Or should church just focus spiritual matters while allowing me to get on with charity work in my own way? Does ritual have meaning? Am I looking for a church in order to find a social circle, or because I want to worship God, or because I want to challenge my faith in a safe environment?
For that matter, do I really believe in Jesus as part of God? Do I believe in the Jesus story as historical fact? Is Jesus really my saviour? Is my life better or different ‘with Jesus as my guide’?
All I have to fall back on is my one experience with Jesus. I find the grace of God much easier to relate to since that experience, and I find this a helpful model. But without a surrounding community of Christians I struggle to find its relevance in real life. So in a sense, I am looking for a church for affirmation of my Christianity – without it, I feel my faith is dying. But should we need a community in order to believe? Would that not suggest that the belief is untrue?
One more thing. If I am truly honest with myself, I am hoping to find a Christian partner at the church I go to. Since coming out I have been playing with the idea of having a relationship and I am beginning to wonder how I might go about finding Mr. Right. I don’t want to have a string of meaningless relationships borne out of loneliness; I want to be in a real relationship with someone I think I could possibly spend my life with. I think church might be a good way of finding a good, single, gay (or bi) Christian man with whom I could be compatible. Is that a bad motivation?