Ever taken a multi-vitamin on an empty stomach? Don’t. Sickness happens. And frankly, most of the vitamins can’t be absorbed anyway. Why? Because there’s nothing in the stomach to take on those extra vitamins, or help the process along. In other words: pointlessness in a pill.
Ever tried to participate in faith without a community? Don’t. That’s right: I said “don’t.” See above paragraph. Why do something which results in nothing? It’s the same as doing nothing anyway, so put the effort somewhere else.
Faith communities are such that they fulfill us. I’m not going to drop cheesy comparisons or inclusions of the phrase “bread of life” here, but people of a faith also need the other people of that faith in order to practice it. Beliefs, one can hold individually; faith, by definition, means those beliefs which are shared. I imagine some of us will think, “I’m not going to Such-And-Such Church; you’re overstepping your bounds, sir.” And that would be correct, because that isn’t quite what I’m saying.
If we feel unfulfilled at “Such-And-Such Church,” then we probably aren’t meant to be there. But that doesn’t mean we’re not meant to be anywhere. And it also doesn’t mean we’re meant to take church “in doses” and go; community means a group of people we *gasp* really feel connected to for more than a visit at a time. If meeting with people out of resented obligation doesn’t feel right: congratulatory times. If meeting with people who share our beliefs leaves us wanting more time with them over the long-haul (which does mean giving the visits a reasonable amount of time for us to know that): celebratory times.
Now if there’s a point here, but you’re not sure what to do with it, at least try something like quizzing yourself to see where you really line up with other people. A healthy alternative to that (and probably more accurate) might be to discuss beliefs with someone you already trust not to pigeonhole you. I’d be more than happy to be one of those people.
The bottom line is that the world and everyone in it misses out unless those people are being charitably authentic. Let’s at least be charitable to each other and find out where each of us can enjoy the most good times.