There’s a common saying: “the more you learn, the less you know.” But I would say “the more you learn, the more you need to unlearn.” Such is definitely the case with being a “church-ian.”
A “church-ian” is someone who’s acclimated the way he/she does church. Dressing up on Sunday, being nice, trying not to cause trouble, saying the right church-ian cliches (“praise the Lord”, “I’ll pray for you”, etc.), and resisting change and always doing things the way it’s been done before.
But there are so many things we need to unlearn and relearn, especially when we get older. It’s ok to have doubts about your faith. It’s ok to be unhappy but emotionally heathly as a follower of Christ. It’s ok to talk to the pastor and give honest feedback instead of hiding your opinions. It’s ok to challenge biblical interpretations that were passed down from generations ago but are now being seen in new light (for example, I hope people mis-interpreting Revelation 3:20 as a passage saying Jesus is coming into an unbeliever’s heart, or using Matthew 18:20 to mean that God’s presence is somehow summoned by a group of people praying). It’s ok to be new and be renewed.
Stability is good, but don’t fall in love with stability. Look for sensible change. Look for unanswered questions. Look for unasked questions. Look for unexplored possibilities. Look for new ways to know God. Look for new ways to express God’s character and God’s glory. Look for something you don’t know. Look for someone you thought you know but should reconsider and reknow it deeper.
We need to be thankful for opportunities in life when we get to be new and innocent and to start things over. For example, my church is about to have a semi-big startover: changing our Sunday schedule around to start at 9:30am instead of 10:45am, and adding a Sunday school/training session between worship service and luncheon. Some people respond to this saying “It’s too early for me!” or “Why such a big change?” But all I think of is: I’m thankful for change, because big changes don’t come often enough in life. In the process of change, we get to unlearn somethings we know about church and to unlearn somethings we know about ourselves.
Ultimately, I don’t want to be a church-ian.