Friday, April 30, 2010

Petulant child...

So, on a list i'm on, we were discussing church/babies/nurseries. And i wrote this:

Yeah- it's just been such a long stretch of always having to leave in the middle of worship/the sermon. Fourteen years solid.
I don't really like nurseries, either - i'm not comfortable nursing in front of strange men who might come in whenever they want, the change station is always kinda gross - other people's children have licked all the toys (and then mine do!) - and you can't hear anything in there...

T does most of the nursery duty, since he hurt his back and can't sit still that long either :) -

it's not that my littles are bad - it's just that the situation has been hard for a long time. they are all taking their turns being babies. But Anaia at 5 should be able to be a little better. And not, for example, pull up my skirt in the middle of worship ... just for instance :)... Now i only wear pants to church!

One thing i like is the "family feast" the last Sunday of the month - at first it was a pain to get a big meal made and brought to church, and then try to corral the children, but the more we do it, the more people know who we are, and the children are more comfortable and we kind of know where they are if they're not with us...

But the whole sit down shut up part is kind of lost on me most Sundays... Someone always has to go potty, or starts to cry, or wants to nurse, or is doing something naughty. It's not the end of the world, but it is the end of my concentration, and i'm one of those people that if i miss one point, i feel like there was no point listening to any of it...

So anyway, my friend told me i should adjust my attitude. And probably she's right.
What for?

What is the point of church? Is everyone there hating it as much as me? IF so, is there a way to do things differently? Or is this just one more case of grin and bear it and soon you'll be out of those pesky child bearing years?

Because that's what modern medicine tells me - i pretty much avoid all prescriptions, because nothing is safe for "pregnant or breastfeeding women" - which is what i've been for fifteen years solid. and i feel like the same can be said of church... Maybe most women don't care, because it's a two or three year span and then they are done?

Another friend wrote it was much easier when she let go the hope of being "spiritually fed" in church. Well, it's been decades since i have been - if i were going for spiritual food, i'd be dead by now.

But again, what is the point?

Is the family feast enough of a reason to go? Maybe it is.

If it's not the worship, it's not the message, maybe just the communal eating is the whole point of going. To get to know others? Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it's really not.

I don't find most people hugely encouraging in my strange-to-them calling in life. Christians are either repelled or scared if you have more than 2 children, and tend to judge your motives before you ever open your mouth. If you have a large brood, you are expected to have them all perfect and quiet all the time. Some people tell you that the children are good even when they're not - others glare at you the whole time. And the whole prolife issue - when i was a child, every Christian was pro life. Now, they would prefer not to talk about it, and i would venture a guess that if the majority is prolife, the biggest part of that majority is the silent type...

I'm sorry if it makes people uncomfortable, but i can't figure out what church is for.

sometimes i worry that it's sin, since i'm obviously just going because of the "fear of man" and "whatever is not of faith, is sin"

I'm not trying to kick at the church i'm going to, which i am getting used to... just trying to figure out why i hate this so much and everyone else loves it so much...


  1. We're at the 'why bother going' point too but I know it's (mostly) because of our attitude. Not saying that your attitude is bad...but I know ours is at times.
    We go because we feel we 'have' to. I've been going to the same church since I was a baby and lots of my family goes there so we feel expected to go there. We would like to go to another church but feel we would be labeled as the 'black sheep'. AND because the church we would want to go to is an hour away :(
    We're just entering the parenting part of church where 1/2 of the sermon is missed so I feel the same - why do I have to get up early, be rushed to get to church, sit through an hour of trying to get my child to play nice and not babble too loud...I totally get what you are saying.
    I'm not sure what my point is but you aren't alone in your thoughts. I need to think more on this too.

  2. I have to agree. You are not alone. For me the once a month potluck dinner is what gets me through a lot of months. I also use our junior church program. We now have a "class" for every one from age 1 to grade 5 or 6. And I say I USE it because I need to listen. I really should get my food at home or elsewhere because I don't always get a lot from the service, and I'm working on that, but I feel the need to go. The want to go. But we've gotten to the point where, we don't go if we don't feel like it either. And that may not be the best bet either. That's the wrong attitude. Sometimes the not wanting to go is the biggest reason we should go. I feel the same as you a lot of times. And my oldest is only 8. I guess I have a few more years of this issue ahead of me. I've been thinking about training for church at home, so that they learn how to sit for church more than once a week. But, my boy (3) is a tough one!

  3. Thanks, Ladonna...
    It honestly makes me feel better knowing i'm not the only one.
    And church today was really nice. My littles sang with their friend, who played piano (she's 8) - but i did miss the whole sermon and it was kind of complicated, what i did hear - i would like to figure out where he was going, but i feel stupid emailing and saying "what was that? i only heard half!" -
    Most of the time i go and smile and act as if, which honestly helps... your heart will sometimes obey your body...
    but the nights when i just feel futility set in, i wish there were a safe place to explore why it's like this, and will it ever change? (and should it?)

  4. I've had the same thoughts when banished to the nursery...

    Now that Isobel is able to go out to the Childrens' Church (and looks forward to it and making crafts, hearing Bible stories at her level and having a snack) it is easier... and, at 4.5 she is learning to sit still and that she's expected to be reasonably quiet. Some days she also goes to sit with her special friend Eva - a lady who has 4 kids and the youngest is about 16.

    Alisdair is now having to learn to sit through sermons as since he's in Grade 5, he can no longer go out for the Childrens' church portion. The pastor has started a new idea -- he makes question sheets based on the sermon for each week. These are handed out and people who wish are supposed to listen and write down the answers. The youth/kids can then hand these notes in to the Minister. When a child has given him 5 sermon notes filled out reasonably accurately, then he makes an official presentation to them in service. Yesterday two kids got books (not sure if it was Bible, devotional or what). Anyway, that inspired Alisdair to go and get a question sheet of his own and fill it out. Since I was trying to help him with that, I found I listened a lot more intently too. He was very excited to hand it in and to call Grandma when he got home to tell her what he'd done.

    Having been a church attender since babyhood and raised with "legalism" about it -- I have finally reached the point that if I need to, I can stay home and know that God won't strike me dead for deciding not to go. However, I honestly miss going so most weeks the kids and I are there in one pew or another. We don't always attend the same church and we need to "make more friends" as I know we'd benefit from more fellowship, but I feel it is important for my kids to learn about God and the importance of gathering for worship...

    Another avenue of that is Vacation Bible School. They love it... and, in fact, told their overseas Granny that they can't go away with her until the Saturday of the week she is planning to come in July because they would miss the last two nights of the VBS program. When church is "fun" like that, it gives an added enthusiasm and incentive for kids. And if kids are enjoying it, Mums and Dads do too!

    Just some thoughts...

    Blessings as you "work through" this...