Letter: Seeking meaning outside church’s walls

From: Jon Templeman


I am searching for answers. I write this on a Sunday morning, as many people are at places of worship. Some polls show that just as many, if not more, stay at home like me. That wasn’t always how it was though. I was born again in a church building in Nineveh after leaving the Marine Corps. I professed my faith publicly and was baptized down the road in Lake Sweetwater. I met my wife in that church when she was hired as the music director. I recognize the value and central role that building, but more importantly, the body of believers that inhabited it played in my coming to faith. And yet, I now find myself orphaned from that structure of corporate worship a decade later.

As a man with a profound faith, and as a father of two young children, I feel a deep need to live out that faith in a very real way, both as an honor to God and as an example to our children. Just like my children are constantly going through developmental changes, I feel like my faith is as well. Like a newborn baby, I experienced much growth and many new experiences at a rapid rate as a new Christian. I recognize, though, that as my faith has grown; I have entered into a “spiritual adolescence” the past few years.

I find myself desperately wanting to follow the edicts of corporate worship, but I question why that can’t be done outside the confines of four walls on a Sunday morning. I wonder how things evolved from those early followers of Jesus, who met in each other’s homes and were truly his hands and feet, to the multiple divisive denominations and confined bodies of believers we have now. I read a statement once that said, “The early disciples were fishers of men, while modern disciples are often little more than aquarium keepers.” It is a scathing statement that many will likely disagree with and find offensive; however, I find myself agreeing with it to some degree.

This letter isn’t an indictment of modern churches, and it really isn’t addressed to those who attend them regularly. I am reaching out to those, like me, who find themselves wanting to step out into the ocean and do some fishing and leave the aquariums behind.

There is so much hate and division and suffering going on in our world, and I desperately want to share the love I have received from my Lord to help others. I find myself having more questions than answers as I write this, but I am hoping that I can find fellow spiritual adolescents who are willing to help counter all the suffering and hate that’s going on with some love. I look forward to seeing others’ opinions on this matter in The Republic.