I don't want it to be just a collection of rambling vents.
But WHERE to start! I've got here through a huge number of tiny, twisting trails, each of them leaving me with a lesson, a principle, a hurt.
But instead of compiling a list of who has hurt me and how they were so wrong, i want to just describe where i'm at with church, and maybe get to the bottom of it all. Find a way i can make peace with a religion that sometimes seems to hate me, and what i stand for. So... here i go.
Sunday morning worship.
I remember being a little girl, and my dad had a music tape with a song with these lyrics "Walkin' to church on a Sunday mornin'... walkin' and hearing the church bells ring..."... the chorus continued "Oh, it's so good to be here, praising the Lord again. When i hear how Jesus loves me, I take heart to live for Him."
And as a little girl, that is just how i felt.
I knew He loved me, and I loved him. I wanted to be a church, because i saw the church as my brothers and sisters, even if i was not always treated as a full sister (for example, when i wanted to be baptized, out of obedience to what i read in my Bible, but i wasn't allowed to for *years* until i was "old enough")
But going to church was a happy thing. And i think for my children, it still is. They look forward to getting out of the house, to the "candy lady" who always has a bag of candy to dole out to the children. To seeing their friends again, even if i am so mean i don't let them go to Sunday School. To sit at the potluck dinners, and sing along, and color in the pews while listening to the sermon.
For me, Sunday this week meant getting music a couple of days before, practicing, then on Sunday morning helping dh get seven children up, fed, hair brushed, clean clothes on, a big bag filled with tricks to entice the children to not feel too bad for not being allowed to be at Sunday school, fill the diaper bag, and grab my bag of music.
To clarify - i do love helping with worship. It's the one part of church that feels right to me, even if it were all songs i don't like... There is something not ruined by the corporate singing/worship, no matter how tuneful or tuneless... Something exuberant. It's the one way all the pew people actually participate for the whole service.
So i get there, and there are the nice ladies who invite my children to Sunday School. I need to be more forceful about this, i guess. Thing is, the Bible is very clear about who is responsible to teach children. And it's parents. One reason i homeschool. One reason i don't ask strangers to teach my children about spiritual things when i have no idea of their spiritual background.
(also, i have heard some of the weird things they have been taught. Also, if the church were actually any different from the "world", their abortion rate would be lower, and there probably wouldn't be any divorce among Christians, right?)
So i sit there with my children, and they are good today. I dole out m&ms to keep baby happy, pass out magnetic trays with pictures and little magnets on them, coloring pages, and trucks and dollies. All to keep the children quiet.
If it had been a perfect Sunday, we would have stayed for the potluck, but dh didn't want to.
It was as good as it gets.
But that was all it was. Getting ready, keeping children quiet (some piano playing), then going home.
I guess what i mean is - is that all there is?
People always say "what about fellowship!?!" if you say you didn't go to church that week. But really, let's talk about fellowship. Where? How?
Yes, if we had stayed for the potluck, we would most likely have talked to more people. And i did have a chance to talk to some of the nice people there - but it wasn't sharing life, it was small talk.
It seems mostly church just means going to a building, being quiet, and going home.
I have a hard time seeing how this contributes to my spiritual life, but i'm hoping it does contribute in some way to my children's. But i don't know how. They are learning to sit still. And that's good, but hardly enough to help them lead a holy life.