Art Views · Church Views · On Being Christian

worship at the church of Getty

Since I was laid off my job at a church last June, people frequently ask me, “so where are you going to church now?” My short answer is that I’m taking a break from church. The longer answer is that I’m taking some time off from church in order to focus on my relationship with God.

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So yesterday I went to The Getty with some friends. We specifically went to see the Rembrandt exhibit. We also wandered around the Impressionists, and had lunch on the outdoor patio overlooking the ocean. It was a spectacularly beautiful Sunday morning, following a Saturday rain storm.

getty2Depending on your personality, growing your relationship with God may not mean more Bible reading and prayer time. If you’re a creative type, it may look more like going to the theater, an art museum, the beach. If you’re a techie, it may mean going to the U2 concert and admiring all the lights, speakers, media screens and stage effects. The point is, you can connect with God in places that feed your soul.

In some ways, church has become a disseminator of information. They’re great at explaining how you can grow your relationship with God IF… if you join a small group, if you go on a missions trip, if you serve in a ministry, if you read your Bible every day. And those things are all true. But sometimes to actually connect with God – spiritually, personally, to hear him speak – church is not the best place, simply because there are so many other people talking.

I’m not advocating skipping church to go to the beach every Sunday. We also need to connect and encourage one another in the body of Christ. But for a season – those spiritual deserts or valleys of shadow – give yourself permission to explore experiences that connect with God differently.

7 thoughts on “worship at the church of Getty

  1. Interesting, and there’s something in what you say. But wouldn’t we be better off attending things that we don’t do ordinarily, or that don’t especially appeal to us, or relate to our job (if we have one)? That is, a non-reader perhaps might go to the library, or a person with no appreciation for art to the Getty.

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    1. Hmm… that’s an interesting point. It may also be good to do something that’s almost “foreign” to you to get an entirely new experience. I do think there’s something about engaging in something you love – God placed that attribute in your heart – that provides a medium of communion, if that makes sense.

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  2. I liked this because it’s all about grace and not being under the law. Freedom in Christ. -no legalism. For some, church can become a place to “hide” and not have to connect with God but just go and do their duty and make their flesh feel good. It’s all a matter of the heart. I have been in mega churches where I had a unique connection with the Holy Spirit in the midst of thousands of people.
    But I know how to connect with the Lord outside of the “church building.” And what is the church but the people, not the building? I think it’s wise to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not be in fear, if we have a heart for Him, He will lead us into all truth!
    I like what Joyce Meyer said…at one time in her life she was so afraid of missing God, and God said to her” Joyce, if you miss me I’ll find you! What I got out of this was that God is faithful to lead and guide us and keep us. We have to be mature and confident in our trust in Him to to know it’s OK to go to an art gallery on a Sunday and skip church!

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  3. Thanks for your thoughtful comments here. Too often I see extremes on both sides (“I am an artist and I see God in nature and that is all the church I need” or “You must be in church every Sunday or you are sinning.”)

    My worship at the Getty has come in the gardens….swoon……

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  4. Ow wow, I’d love to see that exhibit!

    And I am totally with you on what you say about feeding our souls. We must live as the people we are, not follow some formulaic, robotic approach just because some “authority” says we “should.” I’m not dissing authority, or church, or any other aspect of the Christian life. But God has made us each to learn and blossom in our own way, and that’s who we should be :-).

    Our lives have various seasons, some short, some long, but life is never static. Things come & go, ebb and flow, and if we follow our instincts with wisdom and wholesome curiosity, we can’t go too far wrong. This is the authentic, fearless, joyful way of life.

    (I’ve been growing more confident in this myself, even in the mundane areas of life as well as areas of main responsibility…it’s not always easy, but it is freeing!)

    Thanks for this post!

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  5. I certainly understand the reasons why you’re having a break (even just the weekly “Have you got a job yet? would be extremely wearing I’m sure), but I would caution you to be careful – not going to church can become a habit. And then it just doesn’t seem important anymore, or can just get in the way of everything else.

    I speak from experience – my husband and I no longer felt included at the church we were going to a number of years ago so we just sort of stopped going. Then we woke up to ourselves (or maybe the Holy Spirit woke us up) and we went searching for somewhere else – and found somewhere.

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