Turns out the beach is a good place to catch up with people you no longer attend church with. We were in attendance at the beach (at Bird’s Hill Park) this past Friday evening and again this afternoon, being a long weekend in Canada. While there, we kept running into people who attend the church we no longer attend… or attend elsewhere, or not at all. It’s a genuine trend now. In one of these general categories, we ran into Paul & Tamara Vieira and chatted briefly. For those who know them, shoot them an email and bug them to blog more regularly… this was just one of our topics of conversation. For those who don’t, Paul & Tamara are part of a home church in Winnipeg, and have been doing the home church thing for some years now. Our nice but too-brief talk also included the observation that so many are leaving the institutional church… as Paul has written (more on that later), “Jesus has left the building.” It certainly makes sense to me that so many perceive this to be true… and are following him out the door. One person we spoke with had met someone a while back and had been asked “where they were attending.” “Nowhere,” was the response. Often this is met with something of a concerned look, but this time the comeback was, “neither are we.” The unexpected response our friend gave was, “Good for you!”

Other observations — this one by my wife — include the fact that the people we know who have stopped attending “church” regularly are much more laid back, less intense… even me. And all this in a good way. Long live the de-institutionalization of church.

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