Thank you to regular reader Bernadette for requesting this topic.
At one time, I’d thought being a good Christian meant I needed to attend church every Sunday. But when I fell devastatingly ill with chronic fatigue syndrome and post-viral neurasthenia in 1989, I became too weak to attend services. As a result, I increased my personal studies of the Bible. I went to church from time to time, but not regularly.
After spending months reconciling my paranormal experiences in the Goldfield Hotel with my Christianity, I stopped going to church entirely. Why?
- The teachings of one church I’d belonged to in the 1980s resulted in personal consternation and grief for me during and immediately following my overnight stay at the Goldfield Hotel. I don’t want anyone telling me what I have to believe anymore.
- I feel closer to God than ever and realize I don’t need to belong to a specific group of people to worship my Lord.
- I don’t want to belong to a congregation where people judge me, especially since I believe God’s heavenly emissaries guided me through my Goldfield experience, leading me to the subsequent blossoming of my faith.
- I felt no congregation would accept—or, more importantly, respect—my beliefs. That is, until last November, when another regular reader told me about the Methodist church he belongs to in Fallon, Nev. He said they regularly discuss various views on the paranormal and other spiritual topics in a respectful way. If I were to attend another church, it would have to be like this one.
Should people attend church?
The right congregation offers emotional support, spiritual serenity and growth, guidance and an uplifting environment. As we are all unique beings, each of us must determine what helps us find and stay on our spiritual path.
I have access to spiritual resources that church once provided me
I’m fortunate to have theologically educated friends, including a retired Episcopal priest, whom I can engage when I have faith-related questions or need guidance. I have built a spiritual community around me where I can commune with friends who nurture my growth.
Even though I don’t belong to a specific denomination, I visit sanctuaries
I love the tradition of churches. The energy. The connection with all of those who’ve sat there before. Historical sanctuaries hand-crafted in loving reverence. In Sedona, Arizona I visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross—an amazing place fostering spiritual meditation even though I’m not Catholic.
Follow your heart
Do you belong to a congregation that feeds your soul and fuels your spiritual growth? If not, you may want to find a group that better suits your needs. Or perhaps you can create your own environment with a hand-picked spiritual support network to help you thrive. This is your journey and only you can determine what you need to grow closer to God.