Dear Chad: Your recent e-mail brought back rich memories of the long-ago days when you were my confirmand and I was your catechist. Your self-description and question moved me: “Does it take formal attendance at worship services to be religious?” You describe yourself as having paid your dues, as it were, by congregational membership, including in leadership roles. Now you are wearied by “the politics, the facades, the bickering, etc.” Spiritually drained. Not looking “for an indulgence or a Pass Go, Collect $200 salving of conscience.” But looking. Good!
The simple answer to your question is no. It’s hard to put into and get out of Christian faith all you can without attending worship. (You figured I’d say that, didn’t you?) For me it cannot be that one attends by force of command, God saying “you gotta” so “we gotta.” Rather, God says “you get to,” so “we get to.”