First Church of Sarah Moon


It’s 1:11 pm on a Sunday and I’m still in bed. My first thought when I looked at the time was, “Hey, I’m ‘lazin’ on a Sunday afternoon!’ My life is like a Queen song!” My second thought was a little bit of forced guilt for “sleeping through” church.

I say “sleeping through” in quotes because, let’s be honest, I didn’t set an alarm.  And I say “forced guilt” because every time I realize that I’ve missed church, my knee-jerk reaction is overwhelming relief.

Sometimes I tell myself that if church were different, I’d actually go. If they didn’t do “this” and had a bit more of “that” then I’d be churchin’ it up every Sunday.

So, I started wondering what  church would be like if it catered to only me. How would things go down at the First Church of Sarah Moon?

1. The First Church of Sarah Moon would be introvert sensitive: That’s right- no small talk allowed. No “stand up and greet the folks around you.” Instead, it would be “stand up and form a meaningful relationship and have a deep conversation with ONE person around you.” Yeah, that’d be great.

Also, the church would be wired for social media use. That way, if I wanted to make a friend but was too shy to make the first move, I could simply “like” his/her Facebook status to get things moving. Community would mean that we all followed one another on Twitter. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about the fact that I am a failure at face-to-face communication.

2. The First Church of Sarah Moon would start at 3 pm: No more of this “waking up early” nonsense. It’s the weekend, damn it, and I am going to sleep in.

3.  The First Church of Sarah Moon would have a “BS button” in every pew: Today on twitter, @NSFChurch tweeted, “Every church chair should have a BS button. One-way conversations are useless.”

I love that idea. Using verses as “proof texts” while ignoring the historical and textual context? BS button! Trying to support an important and controversial point using a verse from The Message? BS button! Preaching out of judgement rather than love? BS button! Singing Michael W. Smith? BS button.

4. The First Church of Sarah Moon would play Queen instead of contemporary worship songs: I am not a fan of worship songs. They’re mind-numbingly simple and repetitive.

So instead of Chris Tomlin and Hillsong, how about we play some quality rock music? Queen anyone? I mean, “You’re My Best Friend” could probably be about Jesus. “Can anybody find me somebody to love?” Jesus! “Fat Bottom Girls?” uh…I’m sure we could find Jesus somewhere in that song.

5. At the First Church of Sarah Moon, communion is more than a stale cracker and a shot of cheap wine: Can pizza count as the body of Christ? I’m pretty sure that if there were pizza back then, Jesus and his disciples would have ordered it for the Last Supper. So can we eat that instead of the stale crackers?

And instead of that little tiny glass of cheap wine (or grape juice for those who think all alcohol is of Satan), how about rum and Coke? Do they make grape rum? I’d settle for Faygo grape pop.

Is this blasphemous? Probably.

It’s also very selfish. Church isn’t about me. These lists for the “perfect church” that I come up with in my head show a lot about me. A lot of negative.

Truth is, I know of a pretty good church that I could go to. They love Jesus, give to the poor, accept gay people, and let women preach.

But I’m selfish, so that’s not enough for me. In my quest for the perfect church, I find myself avoiding a church that’s actually got it right. I find myself avoiding a church that’s actually being The Church because I’m looking for a church that’s being Sarah Moon instead.

I need to change.

And even if I hadn’t found such a great church, I’d still need to change. Because as bad of a taste as some churches leave in my mouth, I still need The Church. I still need to commune with the Body of Christ. I still need to worship with others.

As Shane Claiborne quotes in his book The Irresistible Revolution, “The Church is like Noah’s Ark. It stinks, but if you get out of it, you’ll drown.”

I need The Church.

But it’s not about me.


18 thoughts on “First Church of Sarah Moon

  1. I find myself avoiding a lot of topics in church to get along. Evolution anyone? But over all it is a really good church with a strong sense of community and they are there for us when we need them. I just have to find out ahead of time when a certain elder is preaching. If he is I wont go for health reason.

  2. This is a really good point. What denomination church do you attend? Or non-denom? (just curious). My other question is, as an introvert, my natural response is to leave after the service and escape the awkward “coffee hours” that follow at a lot of churches. How do you deal with that or does your church not have those? I usually go because I feel like I’m being rude and not trying to be part of the community if I just want to go home after service or I make some lame excuse which makes me feel even worse. Anyway, this feels relevant right now because I’m looking for a new church.

    • I grew up in a Fundamental Baptist church, but I recently started looking for a new church to attend. The church I talked about in this post was Presbyterian. I also recently attended a United Methodist church that I may go back to. I’m not sure if I subscribe to any specific denomination. I’m open to just about anywhere as long as it’s a loving and welcoming church.

      And as for the coffee hours- I always try to escape those too, but whenever I’m new to a church I pretty much get followed to the door and dragged to them. It’s scary. haha! But I don’t really like them either. Just not an ideal setting for me to get to know people.

  3. I resonate with so much in this post! The not wanting to go to church, the skipping of church pretty much every week, the forced guilt after sleeping in on Sunday… And your church sounds a lot like what my church would be like. I hate waking up early (I have seriously done searches for churches in my area [other than the ones I already know about] that have evening services), the BS button sounds awesome, and I love me some Queen. But you are right on with church not being about you or me, and this is hard for me. I want to find a place where I fit in, but I don’t want to be too self-centered in my search. I feel like there must be some sort of balance between who I am as a person and what type of community I need to be a part of (for the benefit of everyone, not just me) and giving up my selfishness and personal comforts in order to be a part of something bigger. I’m still working on figuring it all out. I very much want to be a part of a church community again, but it’s a struggle for me.

    • Definitely know the feeling of longing for that balance in a search for church community. I haven’t quite figured out what that balance is yet.

  4. The most spiritual experience I ever had was at an Anglican church where the young priest, who had a congregation of twelve people over the age of 60, decided to hold his services in the evening, ask local garage bands to play the music, put on a BBQ, and then invite the community along. I lit a candle and said a prayer to The Foo Fighters performed by a group of teenagers who had no idea where they were, but were getting into it anyway. It was the best!

    • That sounds pretty awesome! I think the most spiritual experiences I had took place in a dorm hall. It’s funny where and how God can meet people.

  5. I am so with you on this whole church thing. I actually skipped today too! although really it wasn’t skipping since church was cancelled. I live in South Jersey so thanks to hurricane Irene I got to sleep in!

    I had a great church that I went to while I was in college and ever since I’ve been back home it’s been hard to find another church. I say hard but really I’m just being super picky and kind of lazy. I totally identify with everything you’ve said. I know I need to be in church…I just really don’t want to go sometimes!

  6. Sarah,

    Did you see this post earlier today I don’t know why exactly but somehow your post and the comments are kinda linked in my weird mind.

  7. Great post!

    I love the bullshit button idea (might actually keep me from shouting it out for all to hear…no I’m dreamin’).

    Not sure anyone can fault you on your initial response to missing church, I can’t.

    Prophet’s Song from Night at the Opera, I’ve played it in pre-service a few years back. But then I’m the guy that uses Korn in his sermons.

  8. The sad reality is that many, many people who call themselves Christians try to make Christianity and the Bible say and be what they want it to say and be.

    This often comes out when people who profess to be Christians actually show quite a bit of ignorance when it comes to core, orthodox doctrines and Biblical passages. Or worse, when asked if they’re a Christian, the quick, simple response is, “Yeah, I believe in God.”

    The devils believe in God. There are differences. Very important ones. Like homage, worship, submission.

    It’s cliche’, but Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven, and while every Christian’s walk is going to be a little different, there is only one path, One Way. Because of this, there are certain things that one must believe and do to be a Christian and things that you cannot believe and do. God is objective and absolute. He is a God of mercy and grace, but also justice.

    For many years I was what would be considered a backsliden Christian. Even after I turned back to God, I did things that did not honor him or my professed faith.

    You know, faith without works is dead (James). We are to exude Christ. We are his witnesses here on earth. If people aren’t sure about who we are and profess to be, perhaps we really need some introspection and repentance.

    Anyhow, for many years I didn’t attend church because I wanted to revel in the world, to do my own thing. I still considered myself a Christian, but on my terms. Quite selfish. Quite prideful. There were however lines I weren’t willing to cross; and, I told myself that I would go back to church when I wanted to go – that is, felt it like a burning desire.

    One day that happened. That was just over ten years ago. God had previously tried to wake me up and it took a second wake up call after I began attending church again to repent, and more importantly realign my perspectives and priorities. I had to get down off of my throne and submit it to Christ.

    Walking with Christ, growing in Christ is learning every day. We do that not only by reading His Word and praying, but also fellowshipping with believers – face to face. Iron sharpens iron. Believers bolster each other up and they reprove each other.

    There are many people who profess to be Christians who’re spouting heresy and they don’t even know it. Some things are open for debate, but many things are not. It behooves us as Christians to make sure that we’re hammering out our faith, not only so we can declare our faith and witness of it, but to grow.

    These falsehoods find their way into every spectrum, facet and camp of the body of Christ, whether liberal or conservative, Catholic, Protestant or Sectarian.

    You will likely never find the perfect church or even one you’re almost completely satisfied with… never give up trying though. However, don’t spend your time continually church hopping. Eventually it’s time to just settle down and realize what is important. Getting fed and worshiping God.

    Personally, I prefer old hymns to contemporary worship music, but I’m an old school Gen X’r who left prior to the church finding the Emergent movement and returned to find a very different world, much to my chagrin.

  9. This is a pretty good post. Thanks for making me puzzle, smile and then tricking me with a clever insight at the end. Claiborne’s book is a puzzler too, but thats a solid quote. Thanks

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