With a little caveat on semantics or terminology, I render my take on this post, and the post by which it is instigated.
But first just so it does not sound like I am on the outside looking in, note that I have pastored in a lay capacity off and on for many years (since 1990), and in midst of all of my service to Jesus Christ served as a volunteer chaplain (while a Finance professor) in a university for almost 2 years (2013 through 2014). I say this to emphasize I have gotten involved, gotten my hands dirty providing service in church since about 1990 when I got to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. I also emphasize that as is evident on my Medium profile page, my faith in Jesus Christ remains active and strong.
So then my take?
If the body of Christ is only about meeting once a week, sitting by each other, listening to the inner circle of the local church sing, teach, preach, then shaking of hands and leaving the church auditorium until the following week, what that amounts to is, ‘social congregating that involves mention of Jesus’ not church fellowship.
It is impossible for people who have no desire to know one another, who do not have opportunity for getting to know one another to truly fellowship together.
The church is the church (a truism yes, but hear me out) even when believers are in their homes, at work, at school, at play etc.
So long as we love one another in the practical things of life, there does not exist any hatred of one another in church.
The real reason for congregating together is rendering of loving of one another in practical matters of life easier because then we are in close proximity to one another, are more able to sense needs, pain, and joys.
When a person is cast as having repudiated Christ because he or she does not find love in local church congregations, a critique of the decision reveals lack of the understanding that congregating in one place for fellowship does not create church, rather is a meeting together of the church. But if a person does not find meaningful fellowship in a congregation, why would anyone insist they continue to go merely as ritual?
When Christians are so suspicious of one another that, with exception of the inner circle who always somehow had known each other, no one is able to make true friends in church, church congregations are pointless exercises in liturgy.
I grew up in a church organization that was very evangelical, that prided itself on conversion of other Christians. As a young child, I saw those converted into the church organization, people who were celebrated upon their decision to join the church organization, befriend one another in other to feel they belonged.
When you are converted, but only can befriend those converted alongside you, not those who converted you, what exactly did they seek you out for in the first place? Just to prove a superior argument?
Growing up I thought this was an aberration. I since have realized I was wrong. Most church organizations or local churches are exactly the picture I just portrayed.
So then, how exactly can people pray together, study together, sing together, yet lack capacity for true friendship with one another? If you run a survey to discover how many people who attend church services regularly, who are not part of the inner circle of a local church have made meaningful friendships in context of church fellowship, you probably would be surprised at the low count.
If people are supposed to be like minded, yet cannot befriend one another, is there not something wrong with the picture?
Yes, the world has become impersonal, but if the church becomes like the world, how exactly does gathering together impersonally help make things better?
The point of the matter is, ‘social congregating of the church for fellowship’, but with congregating impersonal and incapable of developing true meaning in peoples’ lives renders such congregating obsolete and perhaps damaging to spiritual sensibilities.
If you are in a local church and it works for you, good for you. If in spite of your desire to be with other Christians in fellowship, you yet are unable to find a place where you can find love, as such are not congregating in a local church, good for you.
The most important thing is to be true to what Jesus already has revealed to you as truth, and to worship in spirit, which means to walk in love towards oneself and others always.
I advise, however, that is not wise to abandon Jesus merely because the system that bears His name is more apostate than true. Last I checked, while church organizations have failed people a plenty, Jesus Himself never has, never will, always keeps His promises whenever we remain faithful to Him.
No truly educated person stops putting their money in a bank because banks have been known to fail in the past. Regardless of failings of any one bank, banking in of itself remains a sound principle.
Failure of a local church body or church organization does not nullify the sound principle that is faith in Jesus Christ.
I hope you remain fully in the love of Jesus Christ no matter the good stuff or the challenges that come your way. Like the great leader Joshua of the Israelites would say, “I plan to remain in the love of Jesus Christ as He continues to send good stuff and positive, meaningful challenges my way.”
In Jesus Name. Amen.