One of my favorite things to do is to learn about people’s perceptions of me. I think its because we all tend to think that we’re projecting a certain image and than we are startled when we find out that what people think of us could be very different from that. In the past, this would bother me but I’ve learned its just part of the beauty of human relationships. Our self-perceptions are always distorted – we might as well deal with it.
I was reminded of this recently when someone expressed surprised that I regularly attended church. As someone who often attends church multiple times a week it was amusing to have someone think that I was an infrequent attender. Their logic was that I probably would be frustrated by the politics and insincerity that plaques many church gatherings therefore my response would be to be someone who visits church rather than participate.
The truth is that there is a bunch of insincerity and politics that make going to church less than ideal. Church, in fact, has become a cultural ritual rather than a community of like-minded followers. And while I recognize this divergence from the model, I also recognize that they let me come to church and I have plenty of my own baggage that other people choose to deal with. It seems hypocritical of me not to be willing to deal with theirs.
The other truth is that, like many things in life, we derive the value out of attending church that we ascribe to it. The church is definitely made up of a bunch of sinners – but that’s what makes it great – we all stand equal in front of a Holy God. By investing in relationships, by worshiping corporately we learn more about what God’s intentions are. And while these might be different from our perceptions, at least we are then more fully prepared for our final Home.