Why do we go to church?

Published: May 2, 2014

Ian BussellOn the morning school run recently the following conversation occurred in our car…

‘Why do we go to church, Fynn?’

‘To understand Mister God more.’


‘Less what?’

‘To understand Mister God less.’

‘Wait a minute. You’re flipped!’

‘No, I’m not.’

‘You most certainly are.’

‘No. You go to church to make Mister God really really big. When you make Mister God really really really big, then you really really don’t understand Mister God – then you do.’

Not me and my children, I’m afraid, would that we were awake enough at 8am to have such theological discussions, but the ‘Mister God, this is Anna’ audio book which we’ve all got hooked on. I first read it in my early twenties and to be honest, my own reflections don’t get any wiser than this.

There was a time when I read the Bible for answers –  I studied hard to work out what, on earth, God was doing. But the Bible wouldn’t give me answers, just more questions. The world around us is obsessed by answers. What caused the Korean ferry disaster? Who was responsible? Where was God? So it is frankly a relief to go to church where my questions do not have to be answered, and my uncertainties are not seen as weaknesses and it is OK not to be OK – because in church God is really really big and God can cope. Everyday life seems to become more and more cramped so I need the church to be spacious, resilient, and safe. If my soul has room to breathe, I don’t need to understand in order to be fully alive in Christ.

Ian Bussell, Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Curate Training

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