3 Reasons Why the Attractional, Commuter Church is Dualistic and Boring

by Mark Votava


When I first learned about spirituality at a young age, all I could see of the church was an attractional, commuter expression of a gathering of people who sing songs and listen to someone preaching intellectual ideas about God.  Over the years I have thought, “This is the body of Christ?  This is the good news?  It seems pretty boring, disengaged and disembodied to me.”  I have become so bored with this expression of Christianity in North America where I live in the Pacific Northwest.  Can I actually be honest and say that I am bored with the Christianity that I have been taught without that being a bad thing?

This expression of Christianity is teaching me a dualism that is not healthy.  It is actually destructive to my spirituality.  I cannot make sense of it anymore and have given up on it for good.  You may think that this is a bad thing, but it has brought me to a place of greater authenticity, freedom and liberation.

Here are 3 reasons why I find the attractional, commuter church dualistic and boring:

1. There is little engagement with the local community.  When we are not present in our local community and just go to church somewhere else, the medium suggests that spirituality has nothing to do with life.  Shared life, community, relationship, common work, loving our neighbors together, listening, hospitality and embodied practice is virtually nonexistent.

2. It requires nothing in everyday life together.  This idea of going to church is narcissistic and  consumeristic a lot of the time.  I think this is the case because it is impossible to engage in everyday life together when we do not live in any sense of proximity to one another or to a particular place.  When there is no everyday life together, we end up using God for our own agenda and faith becomes a product we consume to our liking.

3. It is individualistic and colonial.  The attractional, commuter church promotes individualism because there is no body to be a part of in everyday life together.  It is colonial because there is no embodied practice together Monday through Saturday.  All we will have to rely on is church growth, evangelism disconnected from hospitality, an overreliance on preaching with very little sense of love and relationship with our neighbors.

The idea of parish could bring us back to a place of engagement with our world, culture and neighbors.  It would do us good to stop “going to church” for the well being of our souls and start engaging in becoming a part of the local community we live in together with others.  This is much less dualistic and could bring us some joy instead of boredom in everyday life to the body of Christ in the twenty-first century of our crazy, fragmented world.

How can we stop going to church and become engaged in our local community?