When my family stopped going to church a few years ago, quite a few Christians told me (with some Bible quotes thrown in for good measure) that Christians were supposed to spend time together. My family was supposed to go to church anyway regardless of whether it in my area fit my family, my belief system or my understanding of God.
But I had been going to “church anyway” for too long. The last church we attended upheld our social and political beliefs, but the congregation was small and not as child-friendly as we needed at the time. Before and after leaving there, we found churches that were filled with beautiful, hand-raising praise music and young families, but I did not want to put a dime in the basket because I could not let my money go to the ministries used to judge and hurt other human beings.
A year ago, we finally gave up on finding a church and began to officially home-church, but I think we have home-churched our children their entire lives. My kids don’t know to ignore homeless people or to not say hello to crack addicts. We have ministered to many people who are often overlook as Christianity has taught us. Sometimes we go as a family and other times my children watch my husband or I go out to help others.
More importantly, I don’t introduce those suffering or struggling as LOOK WHO WE ARE HELPING. We don’t mock them behind their backs with self-pitying looks or smug notions of our ability to live better. When my kids ask why we give a dollar or sandwich or a ride, I explain in broad terms that we all have struggles including our own family. We are helping those who need help now just as people have helped us and will help us again someday.
We should all have home-churches. I’m not advocating everyone walk out on their Sunday places of worship, but Monday through Saturday should be church days, too. I believe in ministering to the people who are here. I believe in living the compassion that is taught in the Bible. I believe that God is both personal and shared. Our homes must be our churches. Our neighborhoods. Our cities. Our countries. Our world.
I am no less a Christian, living a Christian life, because I am out caring for humanity on Sunday rather than sitting in a pew.
About the writer: Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in Philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, writer, and Christian liberal by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog except when it’s serious about life, parenting, marriage, culture, religion and politics. She has a muse of a husband, two young kids and a readership that gives her hope for humanity.