Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Worldlianly Churchian

It’s quite a mystery how faith works. Every so often, the topic of church-ians and world-lians come up.

Churchians are those who “grew up” in the church. They were brought to church when they were young, most typically because their parents brought them. They grew up hearing all the Christianese in Sunday School classes, from the pulpit, and from the people who brought them to church. Most go through the confusion of thinking they were born Christian because their parents were Christians or because they go to church.

“Worldlians” is a word I made up just now for lack of another. I’ll use this word to distinguish those who did not grow up in the church but now attend from the Churchians. Worldlians did not grow up in the church. They were not versed in Christianese or in other Christian customs. When they came to know Christ personally, all of that was foreign to them and they had to become used to things like communion and the phrase “born again.” They usually come into their faith with a lot of experience in very worldly living and now have a strong conviction that Christianity is true.

A worldlian could be one who grew up in a Christian home but rebelled at an early age from going to church or from the faith all together, and then returned to the faith and church attendance some time in their adulthood. A worldlian could also have considered oneself a Christian for having a belief in God and/ or Jesus Christ but left their faith at that until coming to full-fledged faith in adulthood.

The main subject is the church attendance by Christians, or at least it is by what I’m trying to talk about here. I tried my best to explain my definitions of who is a churchian and who is a worldlian. I hope it was not offensive for any offense was unintended. Feel free to lend your thoughts on the matter.

So what I’ve been hearing is that being a churchian Christian is much more difficult than being a worldlian Christian.

I think it’s most often true, that it’s the standard when talking about a personal faith. The lines get blurred between a personal faith and a familial faith for the churchian. Churchians tend to think they know everything there is to know about Christianity. They might have great concern over whether or not they truly are Christians, if they wholeheartedly made the confession of faith/ repentance or if they did so merely because it was expected of them, because they thought it was the thing to do.

In my observation, the faith of the worldlian seems stronger in genuineness of heart. They are more assured of their faith, most likely because they hit bottom at some point in their life and turned to God. They know what it was like without God and what it is now like with God- they would have it no other way than to be with God. Things of the faith are fresh for them. They dig into all that they ought to know about the faith because of their love for God, and their revelation of God’s love for them. They attend church for that reason too.

Anyways, I won’t say what Friend told me. As usual, I’ll talk from my own experience.

In most respects, I should be a churchian. I “grew up” in the church. Mom brought me to church from when I was around 2 years old. I learned the Christianese. I heard the Bible stories. I observed Christian customs.

At the same time though, I feel closer to the worldlian. Somehow, I knew at a young age that I wasn’t a Christian; when I was about 7, I asked Mom if I was a Christian. She said no but then couldn’t answer the follow up question of how do I become one.

Mom brought me to church but sometimes Dad would pick me up after Sunday School so that Mom could attend service [and not have to worry about me tearing up the hymnals or carving into the pews]. If I didn’t want to go to church, I didn’t have to.

When I got to high school, I attended a Youth For Christ event of my own volition [or perhaps at a whispered suggestion from God]. My parents didn’t suggest/ urge/ bribe/ plead/ demand that I go to YFC stuff. I don’t believe they knew what YFC was before I started going.

Then it was through YFC that I met someone who led me to Christ. Even after that, Mom didn’t talk to me about the next steps and things like Baptism, though I’m sure she was hoping. No one talked to me about becoming baptized. It was something I asked about and did of my own choosing.

Anyways, I should be a churchian but I think my faith is more akin to the worldlian. My personality and struggles with depression have been major keys to the reality and personal conviction of my faith. I have a strong sense of what it is to be without God and definitely know the difference from being with God.

Maybe this is simply how God has made me and most likely for a specific purpose. Maybe I was always meant to be able to understand the churchian and the worldlian alike, that I may be some kind of bridge to help a churchian or to help a worldlian.


Are you a churchian or a worldlian? I suppose the real question is: do you own your faith?

The end.