"As I reflected on my pilgrimage, I can see that several barriers kept me away from church. First was hypocrisy. The atheistic philosopher Friedrich Nietzche was once asked what made him so negative toward Christians. He replied, 'I would believe in their salvation if they looked a little more like people who have been saved.'"
"The next hurdle to overcome was cultural in nature. I identified with one of Flannery O'Connor's inlaws, who started attending church because the service was 'so horrible, he knew there must be something else there to make the people come.'"
"O' Connor also said that she took care to be at her writing desk each morning so that, if an idea came, she would be there to receive it...Nancy Mairs writes...that she returned to church in somewhat the same way. Even while uncertain about belief in God, she began attending Mass again to prepare 'a space into which belief could flood.' She learned that one does not always go to church with belief in hand. Rather, one goes with open hands, and sometimes church fills them."
"My identity in Christ is more important than my identity as an American or as a Coloradan or as a white male or as a Protestant. Church is the place where I celebrate that new identity and work it out in the midst of people who have many differences but share this one thing in common."
"The church is composed of equal parts mystery and mess."
"The church is like manure. Pile it together and it stinks up the neighborhood; spread it out and it enriches the world." (summarizing evangelist Luis Palau)
Source: Church: Why Bother? by Philip Yancey