People are fearful of church.
As Christians we forget that the overwhelming sense of gratitude, love and forgiveness we enjoy and take part in when we gather on a Sunday outweighs any sense of moral obligation, or moral limitation, or moral judgement.
But to an outsider, the unspoken yet assumed moral standards can feel judgmental, old fashioned, maybe even repulsive, no matter how great the music is, or how nice the people are. "The rafters would fall on me!".
Sunday school for young children might be acceptable, but the Ten Commandments for adults, in combination with weird, unnatural Jesus language and happy-clappy smiley faces can be simply uncomfortable and off putting.
Thinking back to my own experience when I was un-churched, firstly you are confronted by your own lack of "Christianity", then you remember how normal and acceptable your own non-hypocritical, non-judgmental, non-church-going-but-still-believing and praying-when-it-counts type of life is, and that you don't want to pretend you are in love with Jesus when you're not, or impose your beliefs on somebody else, after all it's private isn't it?, and lastly, you are reminded of all your bad childhood experiences of church and "religious" people and how you prefer to do other things on a Sunday, so why give up precious rest time for something you don't really fully agree with?
So until a crisis of conscience comes, church is really for those who "need a crutch".
But for those of us who have had a crisis of conscience, who have seen something of the ugliness of sin (evil stuff) manifesting itself in our lives, and have had a deep desire to be made whole, knowing that there has to be a way to be free from the weight of guilt we feel as we remember the ways we have failed, time and again, failed to love, failed to not be selfish, failed to control our lusts, failed to control anger and violent behaviour, (sometimes we only feel our sin when we see an example of love, self control, self giving, in contrast to our own behaviour) suddenly we realize how much we lack, how inhuman we have become, and we are awestruck by the beauty of someone else's example of holiness.
In that moment God is whispering to us, "This is how you were meant to be, come to me and I will fix you up. Come and be my servant. "
And as we turn, Our Father guides us, the Holy Spirit guides us, Jesus guides us. He guides us to relationships with people who help us come into that amazing forgiveness and new life.
Church then becomes our meeting place where the overwhelming sense of gratitude, love and forgiveness we enjoy and
take part in outweighs any sense of moral
obligation, or moral limitation, or moral judgement.