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Reform Magazine | November 28, 2021

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Commitment-Phobe: Church busyness

Commitment-Phobe: Church busyness

I’m relieved church doors have closed

I have something to confess. I feel a relief that my church has taken the decision to not reopen after Christmas. I feel terribly guilty about this but, in all honesty, I am not sure I want church to go back to what it was ever again.

Coming from a performing arts background, I know about the pressures of putting on a show, gathering a group, rehearsals, nerves etc. I know about how to do this at a professional level. The amateur level is a whole other kettle of fish. There is far less discipline and rigour, as no one is in fear of losing their job and being replaced by another more-than-willing performer or stage technician. This fear was a reality for many in the performing arts until the pandemic turned everything upside down for them. Being involved in the Sunday service has always felt very like putting on a show every week, but with different content, the cast and technical team constantly changing, and an amateur directing team who are happy to make changes at the last minute with no thought for their performers’ nerves or technical consequences. I suspect that I am not supposed to feel like this but I must admit that some large part of me does.

I owe a huge debt to my church. I have found my faith there. I have made new Christian friends there. I have been discipled there. But, on the other hand, I resent all the busyness that comes with church and the endless servitude to the Sunday service. And I realise now that I knew very few people. I became part of a community of servers – a small sub-community of the church who were unofficially part of church leadership. We were so busy and ‘engaged’ but, unless we were neighbours with one of our churchgoers or our child went to the same school, we were not part of the same community. I notice this now, when I see prayer requests on our WhatsApp group and I think: ‘I cannot picture this person’s face.’ As Marley tells Scrooge in A Christmas Carol: ‘People were my business.’ I thought that church was my business, but it was people and God, of course…

Commitment-Phobe is a Christian

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This is an extract from an article published in the February 2021 edition of Reform

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