Thursday, March 17, 2016

The One Where I Compare the Church to Sororities


When I went off to college I would have never dreamed of joining a sorority. I think my freshmen year I referred to sorority girls as "sorostitutes" a time or two (forgive me for my very anti-feminist way of thinking and putting down women I knew nothing about). But somehow I not only joined a sorority but I eventually became president.

My views on sororities slowly changed after getting to know the strong, funny, hardworking, passionate women that would become my sisters. But that's not why I stayed in my sorority. You put 40-something girls together from very different backgrounds and there is bound to be fights and disagreements. The kind where everyone is in tears, storming out of the house, and vowing never to talk to that sister again. 

So why did I stay? What united 40 different women enough that we chose everyday to work through our differences and continue to be part of this sorority? It was our ritual.

Every sorotity has a ritual that it is founded on; the thing that binds all of us together in spite of our differences and backgrounds. The special secret that is just shared with sisters. It is the everlasting foundation that our sorority is built on and what keeps a otherwise overly estrogen-filled house from crumbling down (figuratively speaking, except sometimes maybe literally after one to many beers). 

So how does all this sorority jargon relate to the church? Well I like to compare liturgy to the rituals of sororities. I did not grow up in a liturgical church and for the longest time I described liturgy as mildly "cultish" (again forgive my close-mindedness). I thought liturgy left no room for the holy-spirit to move during service. But you know what? I've learned there is no containing the Holy Spirit and that liturgy is a tradition that binds this otherwise crazy Christian family together. 

I would love to tell you after being initiated into my sorority and finding a passion for our ritual I suddenly became open to embracing liturgy, but that was not the case. It would take another 7 years for me to find my way back to the church and find hope for it's future. 

Books, blog posts, and news articles have all been written trying to decipher the reasons millennial are leaving the church. Rachel Held Evans has written one of my favorite books on the subject Searching for Sunday (my review here). And honestly she hits the nail on the head. Millennials are leaving because we tired of churches adding all frivolous things to service in hopes people will buy into Jesus. Y'all, Jesus can take care of himself! You know what is going to draw those gosh darn lost millennials back to the church? The Holy Eucharist, Baptism, the scripture, and prayers. That is the foundation of our faith. Those are the practices that bind together the Pentecostals with the Catholics, the Republican Christians with the Democratic Christians, the LGBT couple with a 70 year old widow. 

4 comments:

  1. I still haven't read Searching for Sunday yet, but I did get it for Christmas! I loved A Year of Biblical Womanhood, so I'm looking forward to this one.

    I can't speak for other Millennials, but I can say why I don't belong to a physical church at the moment. I finished school in 2009. Since then, I've lived in 10 apartments or houses in 8 cities in 3 countries. I can't possibly be the only mobile Millennial. Pre-kids (and pre-spouse) is the time to move around. And trying to find a new church to attend each time just doesn't feel worth it.

    I attend my home church when I visit my dad. While my membership still formally belongs there, I don't consider it "my" church because my theology differs with it greatly. But the people are good, so I enjoy seeing them several times a year.

    One of these days I'll find a local church to attend. It honestly just hasn't been a priority. Sometimes it's hard to worry about spiritual health when your physical, emotional, and mental health are struggling so much.

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    1. I completely agree with you that it is so hard to make your spiritual health a priority when you are struggling with your physical, emotional, and mental health. However, sometimes I feel like it is which cam first the chicken or the egg. When my spiritual health is out of whack it can wreck my physical, emotional, and mental health, but then it is so hard to find the energy to work on my spiritual health.

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  2. Girl, you so get it. I love this post. It is right on!

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