The Twenty #10 – Why Church is Irrelevant for Me

I’ve gone back and forth on this post for several weeks. Written. Rewritten. Completely started over. Something about saying that church is irrelevant just hasn’t sat quite right with me.

But then I realized that perhaps it was the reasons I had claimed church was irrelevant that weren’t sitting quite right with me. A conviction that the reasons I had written about shouldn’t make church irrelevant.

Thinking back on the last 5 years of my life I finally admitted to myself that church is irrelevant for me because oftentimes it seems to brush aside pain. It wants to overlook our weakness in suffering. Yes, it’s tempting to preach a Gospel that will cure all pain & suffering but it’s false.

Pain & suffering are a fact of life. In fact God makes it pretty clear in Scripture that we will experience them here on earth. Sure they seem to set up camp more in the lives of some than others, but they leave a mark on every single one of our lives in some way. Yet despite that, something in our human nature wants to hide them…to pretend they don’t exist.

And when a church tries to claim that faith will take away all pain that’s when it becomes irrelevant for me. Because I know otherwise. I’ve experienced otherwise. It took years of physical pain & suffering to really drive this home for me but I get it now…at least a little bit. I know that talking about pain and weakness is uncomfortable. I know it can hurt to see others in pain. But my prayer is that as a Church we can get past that. Because if we don’t I think there’s a lot of hurting people in the world that are going to see church as irrelevant for their lives.

What, if anything, makes church irrelevant for you?

Photo Credit: Sarah Jensen

With courage, Katie


  1. HA! What if church was what caused you so much pain. There's another blog post…

    I don't want easy answers. I don't want a theme of the day and then everything is tied up in a neat bow by the end of the hour.

    Where is the mystery? The unknown. The complex. The unknowable? The majesty? The power.

    Aw. that's one thing.

    Perhaps I should start my own blog…

    I don't want church to be easy.

  2. My church is a satellite of a bigger church location. At that location there's a "Celebrate Recovery" ministry that has a pretty sizable worship service on Thursdays. That ministry is all about acknowledging pain, suffering, and your problems; and then getting over it together in community.

    Maybe you should find a place like that in Nashville and go to it, even if you don't have an "official" reason to be there. Maybe that's where the church gets relevant for you.

    The issue you're talking about makes me think of the concept of a "seeker-friendly" worship service. You don't want too much pain there, because that's not friendly. Kind of like what Stacy is saying, I think once we're past seeking, we're looking for something that's not easy, not friendly, but just real.

  3. I have noticed a marked increase in Church "recovery" groups in the past decade. This is understandable and no doubt needed. But does the formation of these groups in some way marginalize a central theme in the Christian message – identification with Christ's suffering? And it seems that when the church addresses issues of pain and suffering, they have a ready answer, or as the first comment states, "everything is tied up in a neat bow." Yet, everyday I am surrounded by people whose lives are painful. Perhaps honest talk about the paradox of God and suffering is just too complex for a 20 minute sermon.

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