Sunday, November 2, 2008


We've had a fantastic weekend. Trick or treating on Friday. My husband took our son and a friend all around the "spooky" neighborhood. My son was a vampire and he was so excited about it because it was the first time he had ever been something "scary."

Saturday we all slept in and later in the afternoon went to the roller skating rink. My son is having a birthday party (belated because of baseball schedule) at the skating rink in a couple of weeks and he wants to spend some time brushing up on his technique, so he can spend more time skating and less time on his bottom during his party. The skating rink also offers laser tag, so it will be a lot of fun.

With all the excitement of the weekend, I guess I was just on a positive high and I got us all out of bed this morning to go to church.

And now I'm kind of wishing I hadn't.

You wouldn't think going to church would be an unusual activity in a Christian's life, but it is out of the ordinary for us. We have shied away from "church life" for about a year now because of our experience at our previous church.

Lest you think that we are church hoppers, let me say that our previous church was the ONLY church we have ever attended as a family. My son was baptized there, as was my husband. If you had asked me when we started if I thought we'd end up leaving that church I would have said a big no. Several incidents and a few years later and it became more than apparent that it was not the church for us.

Our decision to leave was not taken well by the leaders of the church and they let us know in no uncertain terms that they did not agree with our decision. We have been basically shunned by our church family since then (except for 2 families we still talk to). My son lost his best friend. It was a bad experience and one that we do not want to repeat.

So, going back into a church situation is not very enticing to us. I'm trying to go into it with a different attitude, but it's really hard to leave the bitterness behind. Really hard.

We've visited some churches and that is a rough experience. Everyone is nice. People are welcoming, but you see that they want to hear your "story." They want to figure you out. They want to know what your deal is.

I don't want to tell them my deal. Right now I just want a place to worship and, frankly, sometimes I just want a place to go, so I can feel like I've worshipped and my corporate worship duty is done for the week. Believe me, I know I gotta work on my attitude about it.

Today we went back to a church we have visited a few times. It's non-denominational, which is appealing to us. It's relatively small. That's cool too. They have at least one other homeschooling family and I personally know 2 women there. One is Evan's former preschool teacher (and she's a homeschooling mom) another is a very nice lady I used to work with several years ago when I was a preschool teacher. I really like her too.

The problem is we've been burned. I don't want to get burned again. I'm seriously having to pray about opening myself up to people again. I don't feel ready, but I also feel like I can't put it off any longer.

So all these thoughts are racing through my head as we are at the church --- and I know that's a no win situation for any church member trying to "welcome" us. My husband, whose parents are/were believers, but were not churchgoers, is especially wary of the whole church situation these days. After service is over, some men start moving tables in from a fall festival they had yesterday and we are kind of stuck in the vestibule area and unable to run for the door. My son is off running around with a boy he always pals around with when we visit that church. All of this leaves my husband and I kind of like sitting ducks and people start to circle.

I'm not trying to be funny. That's really what it felt like.

One of the elders (this church doesn't have a full-time pastor, they have 4 elders) comes over and asks where we live, are we just visiting, are we looking for a home church. He's trying to coax our story out of us.

I tell him we are looking for a home church and as soon as the words are out of my mouth I try to wish them back in. Big surprise. It doesn't work.

Well, I know this guy is in a no win situation because of my wariness, but the next words out of his mouth really annoy me. I guess they've been getting some guests in. People are probably flocking to church because of the economic crisis/presidential elections, etc. But once he realized we were obviously "searching" for something he sarcastically says "Well, church does have all the answers."

Here's the reasons this bothers me:

People do come to church looking for answers. Is that a bad thing? I don't think I said anything to him before this about being a believer. What if I hadn't been a believer? This sarcastic comment would have really set me to thinking maybe there are no answers.

Churches are supposed to be a light to people, right? Why would a church leader be annoyed that people are trying to find the one light that might be shining through the darkness?

Another reason it bothers me is because I am a believer. I'm learning (and I admit this wasn't always the case) that church isn't the answer. It is a help, it does offer encouragement, but it is definitely not the answer.

I wasn't rude in my response to him. Gold star moment for me. I did point to the Bibles my husband was holding and say something about how we have the answers already.

My husband and I talked this evening about all of this. We are going to make this church our church home. We're not joining the church, but it will be the one we attend on a regular basis.

We are tired of looking for a church. We are tired of the hunt. We just want a place to go, that might help us in our growth. And, as much as I try to deny it, I do need the fellowship of Christian moms. I just do.

If this had been our only experience at that church, I wouldn't go back. But we've been before and there are more positives than negatives. One thing my old church experience definitely taught me is that you really can't put your faith in people. They're all human and they WILL let you down. I let people down too.

But I'm going to just put my faith in God on this one. He knows my heart about this and He has been unfailingly generous and patient with me. I am going to have to pray about opening myself up to people there. That's going to be hard.

So. I guess we found a church.


Pardon the sarcasm. I learned it today at church.

1 comment:

A. said...

Yuck! I'm sorry. I speak from experience. We have not been in Church in 8 years. 8. We have done our share of visiting and searching for a home Church as well. It really stinks to be a visitor. You always feel like you're in someone's seat!

You are so right, everyone wants your story. It seems like once they find out you are a Christian and just "displaced" you are safe enough. You don't require any work from them.

It's hard. We've recently found a Church we really like. We haven't had much interaction yet, though. It's a large Church so we're able to go and worship and shake hands with the people around us and scoot out. We're joining a "small group" though. I hope it will continue to be positive. But, my son loves to go and I consider that a huge hurdle. Also, there are about 20 homeschool families and we are planning a picnic. We'll see how it goes.

Isn't it awful when the "Christians" in a Church are often what keeps you out the door?

Luckily for us, we love the messages. Our pastor is very good getting the point across and I always feel refreshed after the sermon.

P.S. WV was beautiful this weekend but it really was good to come back here and be home. That's progress for me!