Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Appeal of Church: Being Wanted

I have a family. Husband, kids, parents, brothers. They like me well enough...we even hang out.

I have friends. They like me. We hang out sometimes. But I'm noticing more and more that I do nearly all the calling, all the planning and inviting. It gets me really down sometimes. And then I read Atheist Girl's post about community. So I'm thinking about the times in my life when I felt really liked, and included. When they really wanted me around, and showed it. One of the major times that comes up is when I was a churchgoer.

All churches aren't like this, and I'm sure individuals' experiences within a single church are different too. But there were many times when individuals in a church made sure to make ME feel welcome. "Hey, are you coming to voleyball tonight?" "Will we see you at service Sunday?" "See if you can make it to camp this summer...it'd be great to have you there!" And see, they were sincere. They really did want me there. Depending on the instance, the tone of the invites ranged from come one come all, to a sort of generally speaking it'd be nice if you came, to We'd like to see You, Faithinate, at XYZ gathering, because we like YOU.

Apart from my small gang of friends in high school, no other group has ever made me feel more wanted and more a part of things. I'm even in a mommy group in my area who are perfectly welcoming, but it's all very general. I very rarely get toward the end of the scale labeled "Faithinate, we want you there!"

Which is not to say that I'm considering joining a church, heavens no. But if I - who have a loving family, slighly neglectful friends, a social club, interests, etc. - am able to feel lonely and unwanted on a semi-regular basis, imagine the appeal even a halfway friendly church has to anyone lonlier than I am.

This, then, is one of the major success factors of organized religion. Instant access to a fun club.

1 comment:

praiseNull said...

A couple of thoughts jump to mind: drama club and writer's group. Weren't they inclusive? And for a while I think the martial arts classes had a bigger social aspect for you.