I was amazed to discover that far more Americans believe in angels than attend church regularly.
Posted on Sep 2, 2010
For many Americans, Sunday is just another day to sleep late or go to the mall. In fact, although 83 percent of adults identify themselves as Christians, only about 20 percent attend church on any given Sunday.
When the national interest in angels began to rise during the '90s, I was amazed to discover that far more Americans believe in angels than attend church regularly. This seems odd because a belief in angels would tend to challenge and stretch one’s faith—wouldn’t it?—while church membership, although currently sagging, seems pretty traditional and uncomplicated.
Are there more angel-believers than church-goers because angels don’t seem to require anything of us? Do some of us ignore the spiritual connection that our souls yearn for and settle for wearing an angel pin instead of making a commitment? Certainly there have been people wounded by “religious” authority figures, who simply cannot get past the bad feelings such behavior evoked, and who continue to avoid church membership.
A large segment of angel-believers also feel that community worship is simply not necessary—one can pray on the top of a mountain just as easily (perhaps more easily) than in a pew surrounded by strangers. This is called “what am I getting out of it” faith which tends to miss the point. Communing with God isn’t about us, it’s about Him and how He wants to guide us. And if we check the Bible (His road map), we see that angels are very much involved in helping, reassuring, loving and otherwise ministering to people. If we are their followers, it’s obvious that we too have to connect with people. And how do we do that on top of a mountain?
This is not meant to be critical—I am well aware that each of us searches for God at different times and in different ways. His invitation is individual, perfectly tailored to each of us. (Who would know us better than our Creator?) But it seems obvious that angels are only the gateway to a richer spiritual life, the messengers, not the Message, and getting involved with them calls us to continue growing.
You are an angel-lover or you wouldn’t be reading this. Are you also a regular church-goer? If so, why? If not, why not?