Friday, May 15, 2009

Random Survey

So it's Friday afternoon and I'm sitting here (mildly sleep deprived) and thinking about the disappointment in "The Church" that I mentioned in my last post.  I have read different surveys that various organizations have done about church life and thought that I would do a mini survey of my own. 

I know that readers to Out of My Hat are quite varied in background and culture.  I know that you range from atheists to professional clergy.  I know that this is in no way a scientific gathering of data.  And I know that I'll be lucky to get even a few responses.

The thing is this...I'm really interested to know why people go or don't go to church.  I want to know what people expect of a church in the way of worship, ministry, service, community involvement, etc.  I want to know what it is that attracts you to a church and what it is that makes you want to stay away from church.  

So here is what I'm asking of you.  Please look over the questions and give me your honest answers.  If you don't mind if they're published, you can just respond in the comments section.  If you would rather not have them published, you can email them to me.  Or if you want to remain completely anonymous, just respond in the comments and say that you don't want your answers published.

Are you now a regular church attender or member of a local church?

If yes, what kind (denomination) church do you attend?

Have you ever been a regular attender at a church?

Again, if yes, what kind?

Please tell me the number one reason that you have for attending or not attending church.

Have you ever felt hurt or rejected by a church or some of its members to the point of completely turning you away from God or the idea of organized religion?

If yes, please summarized your experience.

Do you believe that there is any value to being a member of a local church?

Explain.

If you could design your own church, what would it look like?  Tell me about the music, worship, ministry, sermons, demographics...anything you can think of.  It's your church.

Please tell me a little about yourself...married, single, divorced, kids, age, profession, etc.

Please invite your friends to drop by and answer these few questions.  I don't know that I'll ever use the answers for anything more than satisfying some personal curiousity, but hopefully it will help me to grow as a witness and defender of my own beliefs. 
(Please note that I'm interested in organized religion.  I did mention God in one question, but it was in conjuction with organized religion.  I would lke everybody to feel that they can participate in this survey.)

Thanks for your time.

John <><

10 comments:

Pat S. said...

What kind (denomination) church do you attend?
Church of God


Have you ever been a regular attender at a church?
Yes.

Again, if yes, what kind?
Catholic, Southern Baptist and now Church of God.

Please tell me the number one reason that you have for attending or not attending church.
I need the worship experience which includes praise and worship as a body but also I need to be fed the Word.

Have you ever felt hurt or rejected by a church or some of its members to the point of completely turning you away from God or the idea of organized religion?
I have been hurt and disappointed by other church members who are too judgemental but never to the point where I would turn away from God or organized religion.

If yes, please summarized your experience.


Do you believe that there is any value to being a member of a local church?
Yes.

Explain.
Fellowship and for me a church should be like a hospital. We are all sinners saved by grace. I can't imagine life without a church family.


If you could design your own church, what would it look like? Tell me about the music, worship, ministry, sermons, demographics...anything you can think of. It's your church.
My church would include people of all races and nationalities. It would include everyone (i.e., from the poorest to the richest and the worst sinner to the best saint). I would want all kinds of music and worship. Again, it is not about me but putting God first. My church would try to satisfy everyones needs as much as possible. Yeah, I know what I like but I'm not the only one. My church would strive to improve all of our personal RELATIONSHIPS with Jesus Christ. No judging but just loving one another like Jesus loves us. I want to be like Jesus!

Please tell me a little about yourself...married, single, divorced, kids, age, profession, etc.
Married, 3 grown kids (ages 25, 23 and 22). I'm 49. Sr. Director of Human Resources with a MS degree in Human Relations and a BS in Business Administration.

Pat S.

Mike said...

Will we get paid for completing this sruvey?

John said...

Pat, thanks for your time and thoughts.

Mike, (because I know it will take a bribe) Ted Drewe's, May 28th about 3 pm.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I love old countrey churches rather than brick, modern ones.

The Magic Utopian said...

Q. Are you now a regular church attender or member of a local church?
A. Not now

Q. If yes, what kind (denomination) church do you attend?
A. none

Q. Have you ever been a regular attender at a church?
A. Yes

Q. Again, if yes, what kind?
A. Roman Catholic, Pentecostal Christian, Zen Buddhism

Q. Please tell me the number one reason that you have for attending or not attending church.
A. I never fit in with the Christian crowd

Q. Have you ever felt hurt or rejected by a church or some of its members to the point of completely turning you away from God or the idea of organized religion?
A. Yes

Q. If yes, please summarized your experience.
A. Yes. In the Catholic Church, they did not like the way I wore my hair as it was in a Mohawk fashion and they never appreciated that. I also wore a lot of black clothing and they associated that with Satan, even through the priest always wore black. The Pentecostals didn’t like me because I didn’t speak in tongues and I asked too many questions. They also didn’t like that I performed magic tricks as they believe magic is the work of the devil. After these experiences I performed my own critical analysis of Christianity and found it to be incompatible with my own ideas of the Universe, ultimate reality, and the nature of humanity. The Buddhists were very nice people and I moved away from their temple and that’s the only reason why I stopped going there.

Q. Do you believe that there is any value to being a member of a local church?
A. Yes

Q. Explain.
A. I believe that, as humans, we have a need for belonging and community. Church’s Religious Organizations, and Secular Societies serve that need.

Q. If you could design your own church, what would it look like? Tell me about the music, worship, ministry, sermons, demographics...anything you can think of. It's your church.
A. See my blog http://magicutopia.blogspot.com

Q. Please tell me a little about yourself...married, single, divorced, kids, age, profession, etc.
A. Married; no children; mid 30’s; Information Industry; part-time magician; cat owner; vegetarian; book collector; Democrat; B.A. degree in psychology, religion, and art history.

Note: You can publish this on your blog if you like.

Bilbo said...

John,

Interesting survey. I will reply to you via e-mail when I finally get caught up from the last week away from home.

Bilbo

Anonymous said...

To Magic Utopian,
My understanding of a Roman Catholic priest wearing black, is to present a living witness of being, "dead to the world" and all its attachments, in the material sense. The white collar that is seen represents the light of Christ.
It is unfortunate that you were not received with the fraternal charity you were searching for.
The Catholic Church is Christocentric...meaning Jesus Christ is the center of the faith. In the world, human beings are entrusted to the work of Jesus Christ, and at times fall short. Judas sat with Jesus and betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver. Human weakness has been involved in organized religion since the beginning of time. Let us keep searching for truth no matter what. Remember as our human condition stumbles often, Jesus Christ will never fail you. He is the same; yesterday, today and tomorrow.
God bless and keep you in your searching !

John said...

Anonymous,

I rarely allow comments to be specifically addressed reader to reader. I published yours because I agree that God should not be judged by the shortcomings of man.

However, the Catholic Church has gone far beyond being Christ centered. There is much more emphasis on the traditions of the church than on the teachings of the Bible...Catholicism over Christianity. While the symbolism and pageantry of the Mass is beautiful, it is no substitution for a personal relationship with God through Jesus, His Son.

My relationship with God is alive today. It took some time before my parents accepted that I didn't leave God. Rather, in leaving the Catholic church, I found God.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

John <><

Anonymous said...

Thank you John,
i am thankful and delighted you found and live well a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
I happen to have found Him in the Catholic Church despite your opinion on what she represents.
I love her dearly and will always stand for her (the Catholic Church) in and out of season.
God bless us, everyone !

Anonymous said...

hello John !
i noticed your time stamp is the hour of Divine Mercy at 3pm, when Our Dear Lord died on the cross...

i do want to share a scripture with you, if i may....

Jn 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
"I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them."


God bless you, John !