I'm following this great blog. I have been for a few years now. She recently found out she has cancer. She's only a few years older than me and is seriously one of the most positive, joyous people.
Her post today was on going back to her church. She has felt in the past church was not her thing and that she was very religious regardless of her church attendance. That God was not "IN" church but in how she lives her life. I've followed her for awhile and I strongly believe that she is very religious and one of the best people I have ever heard of. She gives Heavenly Father all the credit for her life and she recognizes that even the hard parts of the journey are being orchestrated for her good. So much light and joy and well doing have come because of the way she leads her life.
It makes me sad though that so many feel that attending a church is restrictive. That they aren't being true to who they are if they follow the "restrictive" rules of an organized religion. Life is restrictive in general. Every action has a consequence, good or bad. Even outside of religion. Sure you can do what ever the heck you want and not follow ANY of the rules or guidelines, but your life will reflect that and there will be many consequences you chose that I doubt you'll be happy with.
It's your choice to spend the night outside in the snow. No one can FORCE you to seek a restrictive shelter.
If my children want dessert I'm going to require them to eat their dinner. Not because I am trying to control their life, or their behaviors but because I love them and I know they will be healthier and therefore happier if they don't skip the part that is still very important. EVEN though skipping dinner and going straight to dessert might make them feel happier in the moment.
I've always thought this way. It's not a chore. It's an opportunity. I don't have to go to church. It's my choice. I happen to like the consequences of going. A break from the negativity of the general contentions of the world. A renewal of my personal faith and spirituality, And a contentment that I am heading in the direction that will put me where I want to be in the future. A chance to learn more and be uplifted my other people's journeys. It's a good place to shut out the distractions and focus on important things.
Of course this is not the "popular" point of view. It's MUCH easier to say, "You don't need church to be religious." Of course you don't, but that's that same as saying you don't need dinner to live. You can stay alive by only eating dessert. Both statements are true. But it's easier to live a long, full healthy life if you eat a well balanced dinner. You DO need dinner to be healthy...to be the BEST you can be.
I guess that how I see it. Yes, you absolutely can be spiritual and in tune with God with out Church. But life is hard enough. Why try and do it on your own when there is SO much help offered?