Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NoT youR uSuaL MaNiC PoST

Searching for a new church home reminds me much of the fairy tale Goldilocks and the three bears. Our family is Goldilocks, and I guess there are no bears in this story, but the churches become the bowls of porridge, the chairs and the lumpy beds. It’s very hard to find one that is just right for our family.

There are no bears.

We had a great church back home. We all loved going there. We weren’t hodunk involved like going to small groups or doing major volunteering, but I do feel that as far as the average family goes, ours is pretty religious and that I can honestly say I feel good about how Mr. Manic and I are raising our children to grow up to have some belief in a family faith. And that’s important to us. I was really sad to leave Trinity. The pastor was awesome; his messages made an impact on all of us; my kids would mention his sermons weeks later, they would TAKE something from the lessons, and that means something, when a kid can sit and listen in church and GET something out of it. To me, that means something important.

The music is a big part for our family too. Since Ajers plays guitar, and Tukey plays the piano, they are all interested in a band-led worship. No offense to anyone reading, but I want to worship my God with great music and loud noise. I always, always look in amazement at those people who are brave enough and God-loving enough who can raise their arms in praise while singing. I look at them and wonder what has taken hold of them to give them that kind of security and sense of freedom to just do that and not care what others think? Why can’t I be like that? I would look ridiculous. What do I care? I don’t know. Does admitting this make me look ridiculous? I wonder.

So, when we moved here, we started our church search. Hey, that’s an interesting rhyme. I found one right away that looked good on the outside. We went. It was too small. People were kind. But man, it was small, and I guess the word is rudimentary. The altar looked as if it was fashioned from a preschool playtime, and it shocked both Mr. Manic and me when during communion the pastor gave BABIES communion. WHAT? That is just not right. Even for someone as open and liberal as me, that really freaked me out. And it takes a LOT to freak me out. Right? This was a church that we all silently wished we could have walked out during the service. Had it been a bad movie, we would have walked out. But we couldn’t disrespect God and walk out of his place, even though none of us felt it was a place for us.

The next church we went to was, well, it was too … I’m not sure … OK, it was a bit too formal for us. It claimed to be contemporary, and the music was almost on track, but the pastor was in robes, and the place was really big. It had a Catholic feel to it, and before you yell, “What’s wrong with Catholicism?” NOTHING! I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school for 11 years. But this place also didn’t feel exactly right for us. We actually went to this church twice, and while we liked it, I felt like there might be a better place for us. We ventured out again.

Next, we went to the Sam’s Club of churches. This one wasn’t a Lutheran Church, it had a huge band, and was too immense for us. The place was an estate, and I felt immediately displaced, like I would never find my place there, like I would be just another fish in the huge ocean of fish there. The ‘church’ was an auditorium. Not happening.

And then, we found a church that upon entering, we felt like it might work out. It wasn’t too big, it wasn’t too small. The music was nice, the pastor’s lesson was meaningful without being over-the-top, and he didn’t drone on and on. My kids didn’t sit there and fidget or roll their eyes, or kick each other while they waited for it to end, or ask me how much longer till it was over. They also had just opened another campus called MegaLife that was more music-based and so we went there to check it out last week and really, really liked it. Great music, great lesson, that ALL three of my kids talked freely about in the car on our way home. We spoke with some members on our way out, and it just gave us a really good feeling.

It takes a while for a church to feel like a home, but I think we’re going to give this one a chance. Just like it’s taken a while for our home here to feel like a home. But at five months in now, we’re given it a chance, and it’s finally feeling like home. I think God does have a plan for all of us, and He’s led us to the place we’re supposed to be, spiritually and physically. Maybe I do feel a bit like Goldilocks afterall.

PeaCe uP

5 comments:

Kate said...

Finding a church home is so tricky. I hope that this is the right fit for you all!

Melissa said...

I can relate on the shul side of things. Of course, the way my family and I do things, we have to find the shul before we find a house because we need to be within walking distance and we want to be happy in the shul community. Thankfully, we found that "just right" shul and community. :) It was a long and difficult search though! We went to shuls where the main population was all elderly and shuls with people our age who had no interest in us because we weren't rich.
I'm glad you found a church you like. It's so important, especially for the kids, to like where you are practicing your religion on a weekly basis. :)

Heidiopia said...

So much to love about this post, MM! It is indeed a journey to find the right fit in a church. God is so good, though, He's lighting the way for you. :)

Anonymous said...

Sand in my eyes again! Very nice! 1-4-3

Kim Rossi Stagliano said...

Good luck. We have 3 Catholic churches in our town. Our has had several changes of priests - our favorite is coming for dinner tonight in fact (I feel like Carmella Soprano cooking for the priest!) He's the priest in the photo in my book. Fr. Dunn. The tone of the Church makes a difference, even when the Mass is the same everywhere. The tone comes from the folks on the altar and in the pews too. We've been welcomed and my GIRLS have been welcomed - that's what hooked us and brought us back to weekly Mass.