Thursday, October 09, 2014

Church woes

Church. Struggling. Is that enough of a post? That seems to sum up how I am feeling about it lately. And when I say lately, I mean the past two years. I blame myself for much of my angst, as I feel my sporadic church attendance does nothing to help my conflicted feelings. I can't help but think when I am listening to sermons, "Is this what Jesus wants me to focus on?" I packed up the kids last Sunday and headed to church. Full disclosure insists I must admit it was mostly because Jeff had an all day hockey commitment and they were driving me nuts. The idea of having an hour break and meeting God seemed like a win win. But, as I sat there, listening to a sermon that I didn't really agree with, I thought, "What is going on?" It also happened to be communion. As I sat waiting for the my little cup of grape juice and bread, I thought about my Episcopalian roots. I miss weekly communion. I think there is healing and transformation that comes with partaking in the weekly sacrament of communion. Confessing my sins before partaking in the body and blood of Christ. It has always bothered me that the churches Jeff and I have gone to over the last thirteen years do not have weekly communion.I left church feeling more restless than ever.
The girls go to the Wednesday night programming at our church. They have a a family style pizza dinner available before hand. Last night, I sat with the girls and some "important" people in the church. I had the opportunity to observe their conversation about their opinions on people who don't go to our church. I said nothing. I simply listened and honestly, I couldn't have been more dismayed. There was a man also sitting at the table, who I did have a conversation with who once he found out I was a social worker at Bronson, disclosed that he used to a be a "regular".  He went on to say that he has struggled with substance abuse for some years but had recently found sobriety and God. We had a brief conversation but I made sure to praise him for coming this far with his substance abuse struggles. I know all too well from my work how hard it is to find your way out of the hallway of the Bronson ER. As the "religious people" discussed things around us, I couldn't help but find myself watch this man. He seemed uncomfortable with the words he was hearing. Maybe I am being too critical but I felt like much of what was going on at the table seemed very judgmental. Redemption can happen to anyone, anywhere. God can meet his people wherever he wants. It might happen at our church, it could happen at a Catholic church, a college dorm, a hospital hallway. If I had said something I think it would have been, "I wonder if God cares about the particulars?" I feel, more than ever, that God wants us to meet people where they are at. God wants us to help the least of these, the "hallway people". I think God wants us to meet with him weekly but I am not convinced he cares where it is. I realize I am contradicting myself in many ways as I spoke of my longing for a more traditional church experience earlier in this post. The longing for tradition but also identifying with the values of a particular faith. I guess that's where I am at. Conflicted. I have been making time daily to pray for my faith, my family, my marriage. Prayer always brings me closer to God and reconciliation. I am not sure where to go from here? I am hesitant to make a big change because my children do love our church and their programming. In many ways I feel that trumps my struggles. Where do I go from here? I am not sure. But, certainly seeking God daily can't hurt anything.

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