Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why Go To Church?

I received an email recently - one of those forwards, the subject of which was "why go to church." The body contained five little narrative jokes. To spoil them for you if you haven't heard them before, here are the punchlines only:
  1. His mother replied, "I'll give you two good reasons why you SHOULD go to church: (1) You're 59 years old, and (2) you're the pastor!"
  2. The priest tells the rabbi, "You don't know what you're missing. You just haven't lived until you've tried Mrs. Hall's prized Virginia Baked Ham. Tell me, Rabbi, when are you going to break down and try it?" The rabbi looked at the priest with a big grin, and said, "At your wedding."
  3. "Where would you like to sit?" he asked politely. "The front row, please," she answered. "You really don't want to do that," the usher said, "the pastor is really boring." "Do you happen to know who I am?" the woman inquired. "No," he said. "I'm the pastor's mother," she replied indignantly. [Not the final punchline but close enough.]
  4. The third student got in up front of the class and said, "My name is Tommy. I am Lutheran, and this is a casserole."
  5. The one dollar bill replies, "Oh, I've been to the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church." The twenty-dollar bill interrupts, "What's a church?"
Yes, I know the purpose of that email is just to be cute and humorous. I'm not so stuffy that I don't understand that. But there were two things that immediately came to mind when I saw the subject of the email before I opened it to read the body.

The first thing that came to mind was "Uh oh, it probably gives a Law answer" worded exactly as it was in the first punchline, in which the mother tells her son why he SHOULD go to church. So what is a good Gospel answer to the question "Why go to church?" That leads into the second thing that came to mind...

The second thing was a radio interview from Issues, Etc. back in February of 2003. Pastor Wilken interviewed Rev. Dr. Norman Nagel and the topic of that episode was the question "Why go to church?" Many months ago I downloaded that interview onto my iPod and it's one of my most listened to tracks. The interview is just forty minutes and you can access it here.

So no, I'm not saying it was a bad email or that it's the height of heresy or anything like that. I'm just using it as an excuse to plug one of my all time favorite podcasts, one which does an outstanding job of explaining why Christians "go to church."

[Monopoly card generator]