Good question! But first a joke.
Q: Are God’s farts pretty bad?
A: Not just bad. They’re omni-potent.
Recently I was perusing breasts on the Internet, while clacking my teeth together and emitting high-pitched mewling noises (how we quadriplegics express ourselves sexually), when I was distracted by this important question. I immediately closed all 23 browser windows and began formulating helpful insights.
SHOULD I GO TO CHURCH?
The answer is YES, definitely! There are several reasons this is a terrific thing to do, which I will outline below.
I know there are so many people hurting out there. So many people searching. Hurting and searching. Searching and hurting. And there are millions who are neither hurting nor searching. They are doing just fine. I’m writing this mainly for them.
So I’m assuming you don’t already go, haven’t converted, been inducted, drunk the Kool-Aid, or anything like that.
Additionally, due to the staggering number of different religions, denominations, sects and subsects out there, I will keep this limited to my own actual experience: American protestant church. As we move along, however, you will be able to extrapolate much about most any churchy type place before you even set foot inside.
OK! That was the boring part. Now on to the good stuff!
Reasons to go to church
Something (or nothing) to do
Do you live in a crummy little town with nothing to do? If so, chances are you’re in church right now reading this! Or you might be in a bar; crummy little towns always have an equal number of each. Or perhaps you are strung out on meth, the third option for spending the ABUNDANT FREE TIME that crummy little towns offer.
While bars and meth can be a lot of fun, let’s face it: they both involve SKETCHY PEOPLE and some pretty bad SMELLS! Not to mention being costly. Churches almost always smell so wholesome, and just… so churchy, and church people are rarely shitfaced, glassy-eyed freaks! Church is far cheaper too, usually.
Do you live in a big city? Is your schedule jam-packed with excitement, and also nonstop work commitments? Are even your weekends eaten up by social commitments? Are your social commitments often indistinguishable from your work commitments? Is it all just SUCH A FUCKING CHORE??? My friend, church is the answer! Do yourself a favor and carve out an hour or two to go to a place where ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is required of you! Best of all, it’s cheaper than therapy.
Oh, and one more thing neither meth nor bars nor big city livin’ will offer you…
At some point you will almost certainly be offered coffee and donuts or other pastries. And they don’t even make you pay anything, like they do at Dunkin’ Donuts! Not only that, it’s all you can eat! This is a TOTALLY SWEET DEAL, and I know for some of you it will be the only thing you remember from this list. I don’t blame you! The thought of a warm cinnamon roll and a hot cup of joe… I can’t even remember what I was going to say next! Oh yeah! Only just about the MOST IMPORTANT REASON on this whole list!!!
Almost every single thing about church is designed to produce and amplify GOOD VIBES. From the moment you walk in, people are smiling at you, putting a friendly hand on your arm as they insist that you call them Helen, looking you deep in the eyes as they ask how you are, is it your first time here, etc. and showing you the way to the donuts.
What, you thought the donuts were just an amenity, like they have at the tire place? No, no friend! It’s all part of a church thing called FELLOWSHIP. That’s when two or more people get together under the assumption that no one is there to size up, judge or attack, but instead to listen, show interest in, and ask to know more. The donuts are just FELLOWSHIP BAIT!
Granted, it means the conversation will have to stay fairly tame — don’t go complaining to Helen about the damned Mexicans, or informing her that God’s cool with anal, for example (even though He totally is!).
But by the same token, no one is going to slyly ask you about the projects you’re working on, knowing you’re currently “between jobs”, forcing you into a panic response of defensive lies. Church is a social SAFE ZONE in other words, where everyone drops their guard, and the only assumption is that everyone around you is just swell! This is the single most important, beneficial, and I would say RELEVANT thing about church.
The main part of church is called the SERVICE. It usually occurs before donut time, for reasons you will soon see! Its purpose is to make everyone soft, malleable and vibrating on the same wavelength.
The CONGREGATION (people) gathers in the main area, called the SANCTUARY. Aren’t you already starting to feel safe and at ease? There will be some soothing organ music as everyone settles in, then the pastor/vicar/deacon/priest will kick things off with a warm greeting and a lofty sounding INVOCATION (prayer), followed by a number of HYMNS (songs), none of which will be all that intelligible, all of which being at least a century old and dealing with arcane religious themes.
DO NOT BE CONCERNED that you’re not getting what it means, or that the parts you are getting sound silly or illogical. It’s ALL ABOUT THE VIBE, MAN! Just relax and soak it in!!!
From here, the pastor/vicar will read some passage from the Bible, and then use that as a springboard for an uplifting SERMON (speech) designed to make everyone feel as good and as IN SYNC as humanly possible. This will be delivered in special language (LOTS of that in church world, as I’m sure you’ve noticed), with dramatic pauses and alternating soaring and plunging intonation. If you look around, you will sometimes see people’s heads moving up and down with the pastor’s voice, the way tennis spectators’ heads do from side to side. This is NOT MERE THEATRICS! It is designed to syncopate beta waves in each brain in the room. Most of SEMINARY (preacher college) is devoted to perfecting these techniques.
Yada yada, some arcane voodoo to close out the hour, and by this time the whole congregation has entered HIVE MIND, and is in need of sugary nutriment. That means it’s DONUT TIME!!! Fellowship pretty much takes care of itself from there.
That is the essence and awesomeness of church in a nutshell, but there is PLENTY MORE TO KNOW.
For kids only
Are you a child? Well I have great news for you, and it’s called SUNDAY SCHOOL. Wait, don’t run away! Sunday school is like real school without any of the hard, boring stuff. No math, history or science, just lots of playing, coloring and listening to fairytales! Plus, unlike real school it’s only like a hour MAX. Nice!
Unfortunately, the hour after Sunday school will be the longest hour of your life. It’s called the SERVICE, and it will make you wish you were in real school, taking a hour-long math test. You have to sit still and be quiet the whole time, while grownups drone on and on about a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. There will be some singing at first, but they somehow even manage to suck the life out of that.
You will want to be fully stocked up on snacks, drawing paper and comics if you hope to have any chance of getting through it. You will also want to make a friend or two as soon as possible. You are all in it together, and it will go by a LOT quicker if you have someone to giggle and horse around with! If worse comes to worst, just keep thinking about those donuts waiting for you after the service.
Are you a teen? I’m sorry to hear that. You are too old for the stuff that makes church fun for kids, and not yet old enough to need all the fellowship crap that adults depend on.
Many churches have a special program for teens. There may be a basketball hoop and some rap or heavy metal playing. However, it will be the Christian version. If you’ve never heard that, just imagine your favorite rapper or metal band singing about how much they like Elmo.
The “youth group” will be led by a young adult “youth pastor” named Kyle or Craig or Ken, who will try to relate to you by speaking in teen slang. But he will use it all wrong, or more likely he’ll use the slang from when he was a teenager, which will be three years out of date, making him sound like a TOTAL DORK.
Craig or whoever will try to get you to open up with discussions about sex or drugs, but he will skirt any real questions you have, like, How will I know if my girlfriend faked a orgasm? or, Is ketamine worse or better than pot? and steer the discussion back to two basic themes: say no to peer pressure, and don’t have sex till you’re married. With guidance like that, it’s no wonder so many of you are turning to drugs!
Teens, for you there is only one good thing about church besides the donuts, and that is OTHER TEENS. Almost all of you will agree that CHURCH SUX!!! and that will give you the emotional support you need to just get through it. Without them, church is hell.