It might be because I’m 31, single and male, but church just doesn’t seem relevant to me anymore.
I like the music, well some of it, but I don’t necessarily connect with it. Well, not any more than I connect with Unfinished Sympathy, Fake Plastic Trees or Bittersweet Symphony. I seem to get an equally good message from my emails from Oxfam, as I do from the sermons. Add to this my struggling prayer life and there isn’t much left.
This isn’t a new thing. My faith tends to go in cycles, but this time it seems different. I’ve been to a range of churches in the last five years, including Church of England, Baptist and a variety of churches when I was at university, not to mention a year in South America where I went to a couple of Catholic masses.
Looking back, despite the different groups I’ve been involved with, I’ve never been totally settled into church. With each church there was a different reason, although it sometimes felt like there were just too many Christians. But now I’ve reached the point where I don’t have the will to fit in, or the energy to try to change it.
I basically go to church to hang out with my friends. While this is no bad thing (since community is really important) I’ve realised I could do this more effectively at the pub. (If you need a list of the top five pubs in Northampton, let me know.)
What would I like to see done differently? Well I guess less religion, more discussion, less formality, more accessible locations, less certainty in what we know, more relevant sermons to day to day life. Reading threads I suddenly realised that I haven’t heard many sermons about depression or Syria or the best albums of the 90s recently (ok maybe the last one is stretching a point).
I know stuff like this exists. In fact there’s something similar in my church, but it’s aimed at those who are younger than me. Is the idea we are meant to have grown out of this by our 30s? I’m not knocking church. I grew up going and it’s been an important part of my life, but it just doesn’t seem relevant to me now. In the words of Radiohead: “Where do I go from here?” I guess I could/should try another church, but for now I’m going to stick with my faith, and the pub.