Monday, July 25, 2011

A New Kind of Church

So first I have to share that I'm typing this blog entry while utilizing Mommy Skill #437 that I've learned in my rapid on-the-job training: typing WHILE holding the sleeping baby. She's on my chest/shoulder which has freed up both hands - wahoo! I should just put her down but it's our evening "storm" time, as I've coined it where she typically screams & cries without a whole lot that can be done until she decides to stop...fortunately tonight's episode only lasted about 10 minutes before she crashed and I'm not taking any chances. Well...except the chance I took when I went to grab the laptop and she kinda rolled into the crevice between the recliner and my leg but it was a quick recovery and aside from making a little face, she seemed none the wiser.

Actually, I'm on here because I had some thoughts while in church Sunday that I wanted to get down. We currently don't have a home church. I went to a bible college and was once a youth pastor's wife so this not-going-to-church thing is kinda big for me. But it's where I need to be right now. I've had such an overhaul of the way that I think about religion and church that I need some time to sort out what I believe before diving into a congregation. Because of my experiences in various churches, I know that in many ways they are all the same: there are some really amazing, God-loving people that will help you sort these things out and there are some really hurtful, self-righteous people that will do everything they can to get in the way of that. Unfortunately, sometimes you get burnt in the process of figuring out which one is which and I don't need to try to sort that out on top of everything else.

I know what God is stirring in my heart but I also know that it doesn't jive with a lot of the current conservative evangelical way of thinking. I have finally figured out that I am a post-modern wonder I really gravitated toward reaching out to "those" people when I was in the church - I WAS one of those people!! Conservative evangelicals see postmoderns as people who see a lot of gray area...too much gray area. They enjoy their black & white rules where "God said this. Jesus said that. End of story." But I found that in being in that type of an environment for years left me feeling trapped, empty and without real relationship with God. It was all just a bunch of follow the rules, you're a great person. The end. Not to say that we shouldn't follow God's teachings or that I wasn't authentic in my's just that it became rote. Predictable. It left me thinking, "is this really all God had to offer?! Emptiness? Sadness? Predictability?!? How big of a God could he be if he could be predictable like these black & white rules suggest?!"

No. I knew there had to be more and so I sought it out. In leaving the black & white theology behind, I have found the "freedom in Christ" that I'd heard people talk of a million times before but never really understood it. Yet this whole going to church issue is still obviously a somewhat black & white thought in my mind because I question it every time I walk into a church. Am I doing the right thing? Should I be seeking out a church now? Should I wait? I'm still working some stuff out. Should I find an alternative like a small group? Actually, I really like that idea but where? So many questions...and then, there's an infant in the mix which brings me to the thoughts of Sunday.

We're sitting there with my family. My dad was singing that morning and we showed up to surprise him. I tried to listen to the various pieces of the service...I truly did. But this amazing little bundle took much of my attention. In an effort to keep her from distrupting everyone else, I was completely preoccupied with her. Finally at one point I just caved and stared and smiled and made eye contact with her, thanking God for the millionth time for putting her in my life. And then it hit me...

I'd been in church a lot recently. Every day, in fact.

It's not what many would classify as "church" but I sure do. Every time I look at that beautiful little angel, I replay the miracle that she is to me. The joy of a promise that God kept even though I'd given up on it. The healing the last several years have brought to my soul. She is the culmination of stepping out to do what I felt I needed to and what I felt that God needed me to do. God and I commune every time I gaze at her and ask him yet again, "is she really mine?! Thank. YOU."

So while I'm still trying to figure out just what church will look like for me and my family on the other side of sorting through my post-modern thoughts, I know that in the meantime, I'll be okay. It's not as important that all of the "rules" are followed as it is that you commune with God in your journey to please him. If I'm taking time to figure things out, that's just fine. All that matters is that I'm looking for him in the process. Seeking him out. Showing his love. Talking to him and about him to my kids. And most importantly, that I'm finding him. Even in... no... especially in the smile of a beautiful baby girl.

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