Saturday, 7 April 2012

A Question Of Following Jesus?

I reckon that roughly 1,500 people go to church in Caversham (including Emmer Green and CPV) on a normal Sunday, whilst around 30,000 do something else. Yet I know that some, possibly many, of those 30,000 non-churchgoers do still seek to follow Jesus (just as not everyone who does go to church is, in any meaningful sense, one of Jesus' followers). The puzzle I have is that it seems to me that following Jesus is something that is best done together with others: helping one another along the road. So how is this done?

Caversham church services all seem to follow the same basic pattern, whatever the denominational label: a mix of singing songs, talking at God and being lectured by a preacher. The songs sung never seem to have any point of reference to everyday culture: either they are songs from long ago, or they are songs which come from a purely religious subculture. These activities are doubtless great for those who like such things, but somewhat off-putting for anyone else. So, again, how do those "anyone else"s come together for Jesus?

I cannot be the first to ask these questions. The problems of institutionalised religion are obvious and rapidly becoming worse as the 21st Century proceeds; whilst the limitations of a purely individual spirituality, in a world where it is only by working together that we can make a difference, are steadily becoming clearer. So, someone out there must either have an answer, or at least have a piece of the jigsaw, which can be added to other pieces to give the first step of an answer.

There has to be more to following Jesus than isolating ourselves into a religious backwater; there certainly must be more than dogmatic doctrines and rigid intolerance; just as there has to be more than blandness and shallow platitudes. Somehow there must be a way of coming together, learning from one another, supporting one another on the journey, and working together to make Caversham (and beyond) a better place.

What do you think?

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