On Church

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I went online the other day with the intent of finding us the perfect church in Utah.  There is something about knowing we will be surrounded by Mormons that makes me want to find our own community of believers as soon as possible.  I apologize if you are Mormon, I don't mean to offend.  I'm sure Mormons feel the same way here in Virginia. 

So I asked on a Facebook military wives group in the area about finding a church.  Huge mistake I know.  My question went something like this. 

 I'm looking for an open minded, accepting of all church that has an emphasis on community and social justice, small not too large and a place for the kids to grow spiritually along with us. Nothing too weird like Universalism, still Jesus centered.

The responses I got were so crazy.  I don't think anyone actually read my question. I think they just saw the word church and felt the need to comment.  I got a lot of responses saying I should check out the big non denominational type churches.  And I did check out their churches pages with an open mind but I knew instantly I couldn't do that sort of church anymore.  They all have the same sort of websites.  Words like real, raw, authentic are used to describe their churches.  They all have similar sounding sermon series and big worship bands that play the latest K-Love songs I'm sure.  Lights, smoke machines, coffee shops, comftable seating....I just can't do it anymore.  

My favorite answer was from, God bless her soul, a young lady that recommended her Assemblies of God church that she has been attending for three whole weeks. I got into a polite discussion with her about why I didn't think I would fit in there and how it wasn't exactly what I was looking for.  Funny enough in Italy we attended an Assemblies of God church, speaking in tongues and all.  There were only a handful of choices for Protestant churches overseas and yes we stood out, especially me.  I was going through a hardcore Shane Claiborne phase.  But I always felt we belonged there and that we were loved.  I could not ever go back to that sort of church again though.

 She was pretty offended and couldn't understand exactly what I was looking for and why I didn't see it in her church. She then accused me of trying to find a church that wasn't biblical. She said no churches are open minded and what I described didn't exist.  I thought about spewing some deep theological answer on her but in the end I just said I have been to a church like what I described and it was beautiful. If your ever out in Abilene, Texas check it out. http://www.missionabilene.com/ 

What struck me most about this casual but not so casual internet conversation was how this young lady was so convinced her church was not only the right church for her, but also for me.  I got a lot of responses like that.  Why are people so determined to get you to go to their church? 

I might seem like I'm being too critical of churches and maybe I sound like a whiny, ungrateful American.  I'm thankful those kinds of churches exist.  They serve their place.  I would not be a Christian if it wasn't for a huge mega-church that I first attended.  But as I get older and hopefully wiser I know for myself personally I have to go in a new direction or else I'm almost to the point where I am ready to call it quits on church all together. 

Finally after posting on a "crunchy" wives page for the area, should of thought of that first, I did get one church that looks promising.  It's Methodist and has a woman pastor. Pretty much the complete opposite of any church I have ever gone to.  They are active in the community and social justice issues.  But what struck me most was that they have a giving garden and they share the food with the community.  I have dreamed about being part of something like that.  Oh, and they keep bees and give the honey out too.  I know most people when checking out church websites dont look for giving gardens high on their list of must haves.  But this is a new season of life.  I'm taking stock of every aspect of my life and trying to figure out which way to go.  

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