Those who find no humor in faith are probably those who find the church a refuge for their own black way of looking at life, although I think many of us find the church a refuge for a lot of our personality faults. Those of us, for example, who never learned to dance feel that the church is an ideal place for us if we can find a church that doesn't believe in dancing. Then we can get away with never having learned how to dance. You can carry this in all sorts of directions and see that the church is a refuge for what is really a 'flaw' in your own makeup.
I do not like a high-organized church. I think that as soon as the congregation reaches a level of one hundred or so people, it is time to build a new church. As soon as the congregation gets to the point where you are not on fairly intimate terms with every other person in that church, then you have become a theater where people can attend services. I do not think you can attend a church service. Service is not something which is there to be viewed as if it were a play or a movie.
I don't believe in school prayer. I think it's total nonsense.. Who is the teacher there that is going to have them pray? And is the teacher going to be Catholic or Mormon or Episcopalian or what? It just causes all sorts of problems. And what are the kids praying about anyway? Does it really matter, does praying in school.. What are you doing it for? The whole thing just opens up all sorts of elements of discussion. I think it's crazy.
I see no reason why church services have to be standard. I've discussed this with the man who used to be a pastor here at the Methodist Church in Sebastopol. I told him I saw no reason why, on a certain Sunday morning, if a minister has felt during the week the burden of a topic upon his heart and he knows that it is going to take more than the standard twenty minutes to discuss this thing, why he can't rise at the beginning of the service and say 'I have something of special importance this morning so let's sing just one song, and if you'll forgive me, I think I'm going to need about an hour to explain it to you.' I think the congregation would appreciate his candor and give him their attention. If, on the other hand, he does not feel that a definite message has been given him, why not admit it from the pulpit and say, 'This morning, I'm not going to try to make up something to fill the time. We'll sing a few extra hymns and go home!' Why do the services have to begin and end at the same time, and why does everything have to be so rigid?