I was browsing some past drafts that I’ve started and never finished. So here’s one that i think is worth a share. I honestly can’t remember where I was going with this one. Maybe a venting session. Maybe I was actually working up to a point. Who knows.
Well a lot has happened since my initially beginning this blog. I got a new job, things were great, wife is amazing, son is my world, and then it happened. Nicole got laid off in April. Sparing boring details, I’ve been dormant for five months. In my faith, relationships, everything.
It wasn’t really even the layoff itself. It was just the cherry on top. The main root of my discontent was church. Not Jesus. Church.
I’ve gone to church since I was in the second grade, when my dad met my step-mom. I’m thankful everyday that they met, but for my own selfish reasons. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have met Jesus. It was a CHARISMATIC church, but it was the only church I had been to regularly. Speaking in tongues from the pulpit, dancing down the isles, waving banners, people passing out in the congregation, rock music is of the devil, Yaga brand clothes were satanic. But this was church, this was all I knew. For me, this was Christianity.
Now I’m not starting a theological debate, well I guess I am. But I’m not going to debate speaking in tongues. Read the Bible on that one. I’m not here to decide what is or isn’t “Biblical”.
We stopped going to that church, don’t really remember why. We went on down the road to a Baptist church. It was so weird, people acted kinda normal at this church. Not everything was so over the top. Now is this a good or bad thing, well that’s kinda where I’m at in my road in life. But we’ll get back to this.
I met people that weren’t sheltered. I met people that didn’t scoff at me for liking The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Bush, Puff Daddy, The Offspring. I could still be a Christian and like rock music? But how can it be? I thought it was satanic? I got in trouble for wearing a Hard Rock Cafe shirt to my old church, does this mean my new church likes Hard Rock Cafe?
Our church moved cities and we stuck with it. I was in high school at this point and started to actually read the Bible and start thinking for myself on Christianity. Something now, even though pastors would say otherwise, I’m noticing most churches don’t want you to do. Not that I’m calling out any pastor, youth pastor, children’s pastor that I’ve ever met or gone to church with.
My main problem was that I had the “I go to church and I’m better than everyone else” syndrome in high school. I missed out on so many opportunities, so many relationships, because they didn’t go to church so I couldn’t possibly be friends with them. I also had the “I go to church but I don’t really want to tell anyone else about it because I might not keep all my friends syndrome”. Little did I know I would not really keep in close touch with hardly anyone from high school. Huge opportunity missed.
I was very involved with the youth group and really didn’t have any complaints with my life. It was really ok with me that I spent most of my time at church, but I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to get others into church. It seems to me that so many churches suffer from this. It’s all about me. All about MY salvation. All about MY church. I don’t want anyone new at MY church because I’m comfortable. But I was in the in crowd so it was all good.
I then went off to college. Had the freedom of not having to go to church. Not that I didn’t like going, but sometimes you just don’t feel like waking up. That’s where Campus Crusades for Christ came in. I could go to church on Thursday night and be good for the week. Well sorta. I soon realized…after a year…that I needed a church. I went to Grace Bible church in Nacogdoches and got a taste of something I never had before. A church that didn’t push a religion. It just taught the Bible and taught you how to read and break down the Bible. It was amazing. I was actually reading the Bible and learning about my faith, my God, my Savior. And guess what else. I actually made genuine relationships with people. I did have a few from my youth group, but they never reached the level as the ones at Grace did.
I know what you’re thinking. I want to know where I was heading with this too. We left our church a little over a year ago and I think that had a lot to do with this post. The main thing was that when we left we had to start looking for a new church. I’ve always overly invested myself in my church but was never putting enough back into me. So, over the past few years I’ve admittedly become jaded with the church. I guess time and time again people and churches have let me down. Or did they? My entire life I’ve always placed my church relationships on a pedestal. It’s taken me up until these past few years to realize that everyone at a church is a human. Shocking, I know. But I’ve had pastors that have deeply disappointed me. But when they did, I treated it like it was God that was letting me down. Though pastors have a greater responsibility for their church, they’re still sinners. They still screw up. But why is that so hard to accept? Still don’t have the answer to that one. But I think knowing this helps me with my church relationships. Nothing bothers me more than for people to be something they’re not at church. All my life everyone at church puts on those smiling faces and speaks only of their perfect lives. Never of their problems or struggles. So no wonder I think that everyone at a church has to be flawless. For a few years in college I was able to experience the true relationships at church. But that was it. I constantly feel judged at church. I feel as though if I’m not involved with something I’m just not a good Christian. I’ve never just gone to church. I’ve never just been a regular attendee. I’ve always taught Sunday school, bible study, small groups, played in the worship team, helped set up chairs, interned, taught kids church…but I’ve never just gone to church. So, that’s what I’m doing now. I’m just going to church. I’m not saying that I’ll never to any of aforementioned things again.
So for now, it’s me and God time. I’m being selfish and I know it.