Most of us want to be good Christians, or Jews, or Muslims, or Hindu. No matter what we call our God, we want to make Him happy by worshipping Him to the best of our ability. And for many of us, that means going to church, temple, synagogue, mosque or Mass.
While the building of worship is generally younger than the faith in which many of us are believers (the first Christian church buildings, for example, didn’t show up on the horizon until at least a century after Jesus’ ascension), they have become a central point of worship in many religions and religious denominations.
However, while many of us want to be good for God and feel a certain duty or obligation to attend church, some of us feel a certain level of discomfort with attending church. Maybe it’s the church itself, or maybe it’s the belief system, or maybe it’s just the seating.
Maybe it’s a combination of several factors. But if we all believe that God (or Allah or Jehovah) is the one who created us and is thus our Father, and we should worship Him, why is it that being in church can be so uncomfortable? Let us explore five possible reasons for this.
Lack of community.
While many churches have multiple congregations in a larger urban area (like, a church is a neighborhood “community center” of sorts), the congregation of that church may not be very social. Often, talking with other churchgoers inside the sanctuary is frowned upon, and some congregations do not hold social events or encourage socializing or home visits for Bible study.
When a congregation feels like just that – people congregating – instead of a community where everyone wants to be together at least once a week, that could make some people feel more comfortable staying at home and watching football.
Lots of judgment, very little love.
In the Bible it says, God is love. By extension, it should be the theory that to properly worship God means to express love for our fellow man. However, some churches preach the Ten Commandments and essentially pin love for others as conditional to adherence to the Commandments.
Some who have violated one or more of the commandments in a given week may feel uncomfortable at church if it is a congregation of people who judge others based on their living and actions, rather than loving everyone as a brother or sister. Does anyone ever feel comfortable in any setting in which he or she feels like eyes of condemnation or scorn are fixed upon them? And would it not be natural to want to get out of that environment posthaste? Comfort is all about acceptance in these instances.
Admittedly, often when one thinks about being uncomfortable at church, the first thought is the physical discomfort of sitting on long, stiff wooden benches that have very little padding and are not ergonomic. Many churches have renovated their sanctuaries to add comfort, but many have not, and the idea of sitting on a stiff bench for an hour or more can be a bit uncomfortable, and certainly distracting for a churchgoer who actually may want to listen to the sermon.
Yes, there actually are a few people like that. Rumors, anyway. Technology and improvement in construction techniques have improved pews in many churches, but certainly those with original seating and not from Pews.com will tend to still have that discomfort.
The religious construct.
God was not made by man, but the religions by which we learn and study and pray about and for Him, are man-made. Our spiritual selves, those which yearn for universal acceptance and love from all, can feel starved if they are not nourished by a connection with God. But as might be the case in some religious, the orthodoxy of rituals, dogma and creeds can obfuscate the spiritual relationship with God through materialism.
When the spirit craves affection and attention and only gets materiality, that can led to an uncomfortable emptiness.
The bottom line.
There are some people who go to church for the idea of having a deep spiritual relationship with God. And while many understand the needs of the church through offerings and tithes, some people get very uncomfortable when the pastor, minister or leader of the church comes right out and advertises a “need” for money or “contributions” to the latest initiative.
This can often sour some people on church; that it is just a way for organizations to make a bunch of tax-free money and “force” their religious beliefs on a community, a region or an entire country (such as what may be perceived from those “megachurches.”) People who go to church to worship God are met with calls to worship the holy dollar? That can certainly be uncomfortable.
David Woodburn has been working in the church for many years and has some insight into the church.