Reply to Comment

A few days ago I received the following thought-provoking comment on the “Things I’m Looking For” page.

“do you think there’s a danger of slipping into a me-centred consumeristic attitude, rather than seeing the search for a church as the search for a community to be part of and to contribute to? To paraphrase JFK, don’t just ask what a church can do for you, but what you can do for the church. Just another angle you might want to consider!”

There are two real parts to my answer:

First, I should note that the very process of church-shopping is by its very nature individualistic, and does to an extent treat church (christ-centered community) as a commodity like any other. I do not believe that church is a commodity, but urban church life is very different to the kind of parish life that presupposes an obvious choice as to what community one should behave as part of.

I am looking to find a church community to engage with, and contribute to. Churches are, however, incredibly diverse and I want to make sure I make the right choice. Like most people my beliefs and values are very important to me, and there are quite a lot of churches where I would not agree with the leadership enough to feel comfortable there. Also, things like style of worship and congregation have to be considered as well. Although I am attempting to as be open minded as possible, I have felt a little out of place in a couple of the Churches I’ve visited, due to either age or mindset. So yes, my choice of church is “me-centred”, because it is “me” that will be giving up my free time to attend. But though my perspective comes only from myself, I am looking for a church where “me” can fully contribute and feel part of the worship community. An individual looking for a group.

Secondly, I am in a sense part of a church community. I am a regular attendee of wednesday nights at Sanctus 1, in the Nexus Cafe in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. I like Sanctus’ originality, casual attitude and I am beginning to get to know the people there better. Sanctus has a lot of strenghts, but those strengths can sometimes be weaknesses too. It is open to all types of people and opinions, but in its attempt to be non-divisive and creative it isn’t very worship focussed. Sometimes I feel that it doesn’t really fulfil my more spiritual needs, but I do feel part of the community and I feel that God is present there, but not in quite the same intensity as at a more traditional church.

Hope this has given my perspective on your comment!

Church Shopper

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About churchshopper

CS is a Manchester based student looking for God, or more specifically, looking for Church. I have been "church-shopping" for a few months now, and I have realized that there are a large number of people who share my situation. Perhaps you have just moved to Manchester and have not found a church that appeals to you yet. Perhaps you have become disillusioned with your old church and fancy a change. Perhaps you have no history of church-going, and are interested in what the fuss is about. Because this blog is readable by everyone, CS will attempt to make it accessible and not too filled with ecclesiastical (church-related) jargon, or at least with a bit of clarification. About me: I have history of being involved with an evangelical youth movement, but it was far too conservative for me. My negative experiences there, as well as growing doubts and uncertainties in my head, led to me stop attending church for a number of years. Over the past year, however, I have been filled with a spiritual yearning for worship and community. I have an appreciation for the theology of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Tom Wright, the retired bishop of Durham, and Dave Tomlinson, author of "Post-Evangelical". This blog will chart my journey around the various worship communities in Manchester.

3 thoughts on “Reply to Comment

  1. I agree about Sanctus. The fact that it is so diverse in opinion and doesn’t set down one way of thinking always comes up when we “review” the current state of Sanctus. It always comes back to your point; yes some people are craving more solid teaching and worship but the space to think and discuss openly is something rare and valuable to everyone. I don’t know exactly how many regular Sanctus-goers also regularly attend another church but I suspect it’s common. And, despite what i’ve been told by some churches I’ve been through in my time in Manchester, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

  2. Just a note on women’s head-covering.
    We believe it refers to having a male “in charge”, in authority, not the custom of wearing scarves or hats …
    “For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels … But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” (1 Cor. 11:10, 16).

    We believe God made men & women equal but different, to try to make one the carbon-copy of the other reduces the glory of both, and of God. As often, the physical differences are mirrored spiritually

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen.1:27)

    “For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.” (1 Cor. 11:7).

    • I believe Paul was referring to a platonic “myth of the primal androgene” when he wrote Galatians 3:28: There is neither man nor woman, slave nor free, greek nor jew, for all are one in Christ Jesus.” I believe gender roles (but not sex) have been abolished in the new creation through Christ. Christ is the new Adam, but he is the Adam from before Eve was separate.

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