I was going to try a new church in College Station for my second Sunday in the area but I was drawn back to Aldersgate this week. As you know, I was expecting to hear more of the Sermon on Mount but I went to 10:30 service instead of 9:00 service (Still understanding how Methodist churches work because the priest at my church did the same sermon no matter which service you went to).
The service was amazing. I wish there was video of the whole thing because it was that awesome. The pastor, Bruce Wood, is beyond words great. The sermon was basically a series of objections people make to not belong to an organized local church. He disproved each objection with a mixture of humor, passion, and caring.
I bought a book a few months ago called “UnChristian”. I really did try to read it but I couldn’t get through it because it was depressing. It was about the reputation of the Christian church with young people nowadays. It talked a lot about the people who believe they are “spiritual” but not “religious”.
Well, I almost wished that Pastor Bruce had collaborated on that book so he could have injected some of his light-heartedness and ease of communication.
Some of his best quotes from today:
- “We should have a sign on the way into church that says no perfect people .. and if you are we’ll try to hurt you.”
- “Some people don’t go to church because they say the church hurt them. One lady once told me when people tell her that she says ‘Take a number’. . . If someone in your family hurt you, would you stop going to family reunions”?
- “Some people don’t go to church because they say the church just wants their money. I’ve got news for you: that’s not all we want.”
- “Some people don’t go to church because they think it’s boring. . . maybe it is more boring than a Texas A&M football game.”
- “Does anyone know how to work a QR code? Does anyone not know and not care? . . C’mon you old people, this is the way of the future!”
- “When people tell me that they think people are basically good, I think they must be out of their minds. Show me one basically good person. You can’t.”
- “You wouldn’t believe some of the things people say to a pastor… and yet I keep coming back here every Sunday.”
- “Some people don’t go to church because they think they can be just as good a Christian all on their own. Let me just say, I doubt it.”
The past few weeks have been really rough for me. I’ve been really struggling. Like a lot of the people who he spoke about today, I have failed to attend church consistently in the past, partially because Catholic church is a lot of reading the Bible and only a little of interpreting it (and I can read it myself at home). I think that God definitely called me back to Aldersgate to hear that sermon at the perfect time.
With all my struggles, I’ve been wavering in my belief and trust in God. When I was praying in my car earlier this week I actually said out loud “I know you only give us what we can handle but I think you’re totally wrong. You gave me way too much this time.” I followed that with contemplating whether the notion of God giving us only as much as we can handle is even true at all. I now know that I can’t solve failures of faith like that by myself.
Church is a little intimidating. They challenge you to be loud and stand up in front of people in a “spirit box” and hug “prayer people” that you don’t know. I spend all week working on my MBA where they teach us to be carefully calculating our every move with coworkers, recruiters, executives, etc. It’s really difficult to then let go like so many people seemed to be doing.
Aldersgate very cutely tries to be modern. I do like that they’ve made giving electronic as I get uncomfortable with “giving envelope” practice. They are trying to use QR codes as an indication of how hip they are. In fact, QR codes are very outdated. They would be better served to just put the URL of the web-site they are trying to send us to up on their screen. If someone has a QR code reader app on their phone then they have a mobile browser and the QR code is just an unneeded extra step. Their web-site is unfortunately also a little outdated although it is clear that they try their best within the constraints they have. I really do wish that you could access today’s sermon by Pastor Bruce and see how awesome it was for yourself.
Although I am still struggling to be filled with faith, I count it as a small miracle that I was drawn to go back to Aldersgate today. There’s really no questioning whether God’s real and really working in our lives because the timing of the subject of the sermon was too perfect to be a coincidence.