Now, I know what the Sunday School answer to the question is, I know what I'm supposed to say. It's some combination of, "I go to worship God" or "I go to fellowship with other Christians." But after attending church for a lifetime, what keeps me going back besides habit and tradition? For me I have recently discovered the answer...I go to church to be confronted by and comforted by...the truth.
I can sit through the most insipid, juvenile music. I can tolerate poor acoustics, boring announcements and ugly buildings. I can put up with modern translations of the Bible which strip it of its lyrical beauty. But if I hear the truth, communicated by an honest, authentic voice, I'll always come back. I'm not interested in book reviews, politics, social commentary, or bad poetry. But if a man...or women...of God stands up and delivers the unsanitized truth to me, then I've been to church. I don't want to be told how great I am. I'm not interested in learning all about how much God wants me to be insanely rich. I want to be confronted with the reality of my condition as a flawed man and the incredible miracle that is grace and forgiveness. I want someone to challenge me to be better, to live better. I want someone to expose my selfishness, to challenge me to care for the least of these. I want to hear about the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son because even after 50 years as a Christian, I'm still bad at the former and too often feel like the latter. I don't want some phony poseur telling me about how persecuted I am for my beliefs. I'm not interested in some self promoter whose only goals are building monuments to his own vanity. I want a preacher who isn't afraid to look me in the eye and tell me the truth, even if he knows it might make me angry or uncomfortable.
So, I'll sit through 7/11 lyrics, somber, minor key ballads which drone on and on about nothing. I'll tolerate all the corny church stuff for the chance to hear an authentic presentation of God's Word. If church doesn't offer that...I'd rather sleep late and go for a drive in the country.