Why Do I Still Go to Church?

It often happens that when I tell someone my horror stories about growing up in the church of Christ, the person will look at me in amazement and say, "I can't believe you still go to church!" Honestly, I can't quite believe it myself. After all those years of spiritual abuse, you would think I would be done with religion. Both of my siblings have left Christianity altogether, which seems to be typical of people who escape the COC (I have only anecdotal evidence to back this up). I won't say my siblings are atheists, but they simply refuse to be involved in any kind of organized religion. They think it's all a scam--that all preachers are money-grubbing charlatans and all congregations are full of toxic, controlling people. I don't judge them for feeling that way. The sad truth is that a lot of churches are like that. I guess I've been lucky to find a church that I find uplifting and nourishing, rather than soul draining.

So why do I still go to church? First, I love singing in the choir at my current church. Our choir director chooses great music for us, and my fellow choristers are lovely people. I feel privileged to sing with them. Also, singing makes me happy. It really helps alleviate my anxiety and depression. For a deeper look at why and how singing affects the human brain, I highly recommend reading "Imperfect Harmony" by Stacy Horn. It's worth your time.

Second, I enjoy the ritual of the Episcopal liturgy. It's a complete departure from the style of worship in the COC. I find it so beautiful and mysterious, and knowing that it has its roots in very old traditions makes me feel connected to Christians all over the world and throughout history.

Finally, I love the community I find at church. My current congregation has several different ministries that provide opportunities for almost everyone to get involved if they choose, but no one is pressured into doing something they don't like. In addition to singing in the choir, I also knit prayer shawls for our prayer shawl ministry and bake something every year for our Christmas bake sale. In the 5 years I've been attending there, I've met so many interesting and dedicated people, and some of them have become good friends. So, I guess that's why I keep going to church--to see my friends and sing and pray with them. There's no place I would rather be on a Sunday morning.

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