Confessions of a Church Avoider

Confessions of a Church Avoider via @blestbutstrestI tried to explain to someone the other day why I prefer Thursday nights at a twitter party to regular church attendance. I’m afraid I just sounded sacrilegious. I didn’t mean to sound that way at all.

My rationale goes something like this. Over the past year I’ve participated in a flash mob of writers that meets on Thursday nights for “Five Minute Fridays” (I like the quirkiness of that).

We wait for the leader (when I first started participating, it was Lisa Jo Baker, the originator of the Five Minute Friday idea, but she’s passed on the baton to Kate Motaung) to post a prompt, and then we all write for five minutes, vomiting words all over the page, composing in our heads so that we don’t backspace or self-edit (too much), and then we hit the post button.

The writing exercise provides practice in writing and getting over our second-guessing-what-if-nobody-likes-this-stuff attitude. After all, we visit each other’s posts and leave encouraging comments (we all play by the rules).

But the real meat happens during the twitter party. For me, it’s like meeting with my friends in the church lobby after the service (or maybe before). We serve each other ‘virtual’ coffee, cookies and brownies (all calorie-free). We know about each other’s woes and hand off prayer requests—sometimes to the entire group, some times as messages.

But we know, without a doubt, that we have dear friends who pray for us. (tweet this) They fist pump our victories and hug us when we feel blue…or devastated.

In doing a quick search for Bible verses with the word ‘dear’ in them (this week’s prompt), I discovered that Paul sends a lot of greetings to ‘dear’ friends who are flung all over the Roman Empire. If Paul lived today, would he tweet things like:

#Dear Eutychus is alive! #MaybeIpreachedtoolong.
Visiting dear friends in #Tyre. Headed to #Jerusalem.
Mobbed outside of temple. #NoGreekswithme.
#Arrested. Dear Friends, please pray.

Due to technology, friendship crosses boundaries it never crossed before. (tweet this)

I can find women (sometimes ones who live on the other side of the world) who understand me and my wacky sense of humor. My dear blogging friends make me laugh, think and sometimes even cry (mostly when I read the beautiful words they write). It’s like knowing the pastor’s heart before he preaches the sermon—their words just mean so much more because we’ve chatted and prayed for each other before hand.

And so, yes. I prefer Thursday nights to midweek services or actual church. Call me a heretic if you must, but my dear friends get me. One day, I hope to meet more of them in real life.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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