Recently on his blog Storyline, writer Donald Miller did a post about why he doesn’t attend church very often. He received quite a backlash from his readers who thought that someone who has written a dozen books about religious faith, as Miller has, should attend church regularly. Readers gave Miller all kinds of reasons why he should go to church and in a second blog he responded to those challenges.
One common theme in the responses was that church attendance was important because it provides people of faith with community. Miller replied to that concern by saying that even though he doesn’t go to church he does have community. ” I worked to create my community,” he said. ” Community is everywhere, and every church you’ve attended was a community that somebody sat down and created…….. Millions of people who do not attend church have rich, meaningful communities that they created or have joined. You could create your own community out of your home in a matter of months.”
That thought resonated with me. I remember when we moved to Hong Kong leaving behind our communities of friends, family, church, colleagues, sports teams and civic organizations in Steinbach. It was a little scary. But Miller is right! You can create your own community wherever you go. By the end of our six years in Hong Kong we had built a community of people in our lives who provided social, spiritual and professional support. It was a rich and meaningful community just as our community of people in Steinbach had been. Of course it was different to be part of a community of people we had only known for a short while rather than ones we had known for thirty years as was the case with the people we left behind in Canada. But I came to realize that both long established communities and new ones have their own blessings and strengths.
We all need community. Some people find it at church. Some people find it in other places. But whether or not we have a community is largely up to us.
Other posts about church……