I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
I believe that God puts certain desires in us that are neither good nor bad… they are just a part of who we are. They are the little quirks that make us special. We each learn the good and bad sides of them, and try to praise Him while using our special gifts.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked to stand out. As a matter of fact, my “area of giftedness”, which was diagnosed very early, includes the fact that I don’t like to do things the way everyone else does. I am far from uncomfortable if people are looking at me, or confused by me, or intrigued by me. I really love it, actually. In high school I was a bit of a freak. I just liked to be strange in dress, in actions, in beliefs… DH jokes that he didn’t realize what he was getting when we met in college, but there was no bait-and-switch here. I was the only punk, electric guitar playing, skateboarding, vegetarian, spiked hair, football loving, computer major around, lol.
Now as an adult, I still like to look different. I like to be different and make people think. We live a pretty typical (upper-?) middle-class kind of life. We parent differently though. We don’t really fit in completely with the secular world or with Christians.
I noticed today that I was getting frustrated about not finding a church that agrees with me. I’m not sure why I have been so bothered by this fact. The truth is that I think I’m probably pushing too hard and asking for something unreasonable. Are there really that many AP-friendly, egalitarian, not-too-liberal-but-not-too-conservative, free thinking, Biblically based, Jew-friendly, environmental, “buy local”, give-back-to-the-community, Protestant churches out there? Um, probably not.
I really feel like God has been nudging me to consider that I might need to go to a church that is not quite out-there, but not totally conservative, and just accept that this is another area where I am different. The things I disagree on are not essentials of the faith. Still I find it so hard to accept a church that disagrees about the way that I am a mother and a woman. Those do happen to be my two biggest roles, y’know?
For any other weirdos out there, how have you found a church to call home? Do you search until you find one that you completely agree with or do you try to go change one with beliefs that you think are inaccurate? Is there some third option? All of my spiritual gifts are ones that are traditionally masculine, so I want to lead. I want to teach. I want to make a difference. I can’t imagine anything else. It wouldn’t feel like I was an active member of the body if not.
Hmm, I guess I have a lot to think about. Why can’t there be a church of GCM? 😀 Crystal could be the pastor! Ahh, that sounds dreamy 🙂
Oh well.Â Have a great night, everyone 🙂
I think lots of emerging churches would fit your description. At least have of our church consciously APs. Probably half are democrats. We have a huge downtown focus (we meet at the literal center of the city) in mercy and justice to the poor. The vegetarian hfs is a block away, etc.
I belong to a specific conservative evangelical tradition because I think they teach the most truth, Do they have everything right? No one does. But I need the church to support me, especially in the lives of my kids. And they do a great job of that.
Even if I couldn’t go to my church, I’d go to the best I could find and serve and love there, because that’s what God called us to, community. That’s why the church is the body of Christ and not families or people. I get tired of people who give up on the church. It’s not perfect, it’s got some crazy uncles and some skeletons in the closets, but it’s the best we’ve got.
Thanks for the response, Kristen 🙂
Last night I was reminded of an emergent church that meets downtown. I went to their website and was very encouraged. 🙂 I talked to dh and he thought it sounded good too (it is super hard for us to agree on a church!) Even though this church is emergent, they have backing from three conservative churches, so that seems like a pretty good sign. They said in an article that the majority of people were anti-war and anti-Bush, lol, and they have a huge focus on the poor and the homeless. I don’t necessarily need an anti-Bush/anti-war church, but it is a good sign that they aren’t afraid to break the mold of modern Evangelicals and the “conservative Christian right.” I also saw a picture of a veggie burger at one of the events, lol. I am very hopeful. =D
I am with you about giving up. I can’t give up, and I am so sad when other people give up. I long for a new church home now that we’ve moved. The kids want to have a church that is “ours” so badly. We’ve only been here a month, but it is so hard without a church (we have been visiting, just haven’t found a good fit.) Our church family is what made our last city really feel like home.
Thanks for the encouragement. You really confirmed that this church I found could be a good fit ((hugs))
That’s great! Sounds like it must be just the place for y’all. A lot of emerging churches (e.g. ours) have solid ties to denominations/established churches with sound doctrine and that seems right to me. Good boundaries?
Our church is having a cookout tomorrow and they are totally serving veggie burgers (and real burgers for the meat eaters among us.) And they aren’t just serving them, they put it on the fliers. You have hope!
We have had such a hard time with that!!! We had found a church that is “hip” in every way…except AP. Which was doable until we got a lecture from one of the elders about our parenting!! Grrr. After about 2 years I think we have finally found a church that we can belong to. We really aren’t looking for perfection – but it’s so hard to “be in community” which people who really do not value many of the same things. Sigh. I hope you can find a place to call home!!
You know, we had a similar experience at our last church. It actually looked pretty AP on the outside (lots of breastfeeding and babywearing moms in the service, a big focus on grace), but then we found out that there was a HUGE undercurrent of Ezzo followers, including the leadership. The one good thing about a lot of the churches around here is that at least they are up-front about their devotion to Ezzo. I’d rather know before I waste my time =P
Your last church experience is similar to my own. “To Train up a Child” seminars and pearl followers amidst a very ‘young’ and ‘hip’ non-denom church. I also would like to have my kids with me at church without getting tons of stares when the baby says goo-goo ga ga. In fact our current church has a no-kid policy in the sanctuary; but at least they have a family room for parents and kids that can see thru the glass window. I really dislike the check-your-kids-at-the-door attitude of churches. But I don’t think I am ever going to find an AP church thats protestant. I hear about family-friendly Catholic churches and mormon churches, but not protestant it seems.
What is church anyway? I have finally come to the conclusion that “church” for me means gathering together with others with whom I connect spiritually, whatever that may look like–even just having coffee and talking God stuff together. If you are not finding what you are wanting or needing in a church as you currently define it, perhaps you could either:
1) consider other definitions (in the physical rather than semantic sense)
2) create whatever you are looking for.
Just a thought.
Want to go have coffee sometime? 🙂
Have you taken the Beliefnet quiz?
It’s not perfect, but it’ll point you in the right direction, I think.