The bustle of church

Though he eventually seemed to soften a bit, there are definitely some things to affirm in Lewis’s initial impressions of the primary activities of the institutional church:

…thought I liked clergymen as I liked bears, I had as little wish to be in the Church as in the zoo.

It was, to being with, a kind of collective; a wearisome “get-together” affair. I couldn’t yet see how a concern of that sort should have anything to do with one’s spiritual life. To me, religion ought to have been a matter of good men praying alone and meeting by twos and threes to talk of spiritual matters. And then the fussy, time-wasting botheration of it all! the bells, the crowds, the umbrellas, the notices, the bustle, the perpetual arranging and organizing. Hymns were (and are) extremely disagreeable to me. Of all musical instruments I liked (and like) the organ least. Thus my churchgoing was a merely symbolical and provisional practice. If it in fact helped to move me in the Christian direction, I was and am unaware of this.

-C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, p.234

He then goes on to describe how the bulk of his spiritual growth came via his contact with one close mentor and at times a handful of close friends. Isn’t that where the most meaningful changes have happened in your life too?