I am aware that you have come from an evangelical background. There is much to be said about what you've written, and I've gone through a similar experience myself. I moved to an area for school that--while full of churches--never had what I was looking for. So I didn't really go.

Similarly to you, COVID only confirmed my absence from church for a long time.

And I agree with your conclusion to some extent, but I'll offer my differences here:

I would argue church attendance is essential for spiritual health. But this does not mean every church is essentiial–or even any good at all–for spiritual health. Churches can be full of toxic misrepresentations of Christ that can do serious damage to an individual. Less dangerously, a church can just be plain boring, offering some community but very little in terms of our spiritual "daily bread."

However, there are churches that make you simply want to go. There are churches where I cannot wait for the next Sunday to roll around, because I get to go again! And these are not churches that offer awesome concerts with a "worship" label on them. These are churches that consistently dish out the good news every Sunday: you are forgiven.

Churches that offer the gospel every Sunday (or Saturday, or whatever day of the week) along with the Sacraments where Christ may dwell among us, unite us, and do the work of forgiveness is, honestly, addictive. It constantly reminds you of the whole reason we all gather in the first place! Because God sent his Son, who died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, and rose on the third day to sit at the right hand of the father.

Something that important never gets old. Personally, I need to be reminded every single day, not just on Sundays.

One caveat is this: not attending church is WAY better than attending a church that doesn't offer this or, worse, offers damaging theology and spiritual toxicity. Leave that place immediately and don't look back. But if you can attend a church that offers the above--and there are a few around, believe me--then give it a go. You won't look back.

My spiritual health is at its height when I am reminded that it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Not my spirit, but the Holy Spirit in me and working through me. And working through you, too.

There should be no guilt when you don't go to church, and I'm sorry that that was your experience growing up, (along with so many others' experience.) It shouldn't be that way, Christ doesn't want it that way. I pray for your continued adventures on life's way.

The truth is a trap … you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. — Søren Kierkegaard, Journals.

The truth is a trap … you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. — Søren Kierkegaard, Journals.