Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Here's the story of my church journey:

When we moved to NC from NY back in November of 1995, my husband and I were not church-goers at all.  We had both been raised Catholic but really did not go to church unless if was for wedding, funerals, etc.  So moving to the Bible belt meant finding a church and the only thing we knew was that we didn't want to go to a Catholic one.

The very first church we went to (we were invited by our neighbors) was a Baptist church and we loved it. I was saved within a month and participated in every women's bible study that was offered and had an amazing mentor who went through the bible with me in a year.  I volunteered in the children's ministry on Sunday mornings, I participated in pretty much every church event that was offered and did a lot of work with the MOPS ministry.

After 8 years, the church made some changes and instituted a new way of doing things that pretty much kept tags on you and where you were during both services and you had to be signed up for something during both services - either you were serving somewhere or you were in Sunday school.  I am not a huge fan of Sunday school mainly because there has never been anything offered that I was interested in or taught in a way that I was able to learn.  

So when I thought I would try serving where I knew my talents were, I was told there were no positions available and I'd have to serve in some other area.  Well, sorry, those other areas were not my strong suit and I believe that if you are going to serve it should be in areas where you are going to bless people and not curse them.  I know that I cannot lead a children's Sunday school class so why would you force me to teach one?  I mean, the kids wouldn't get anything from it and I know that I want someone teaching my children who actually KNOW something about what they are teaching!

I left the church.  I started going elsewhere and while one of my pastor's was shocked by my leaving (because I had been so actively involved) he never once contacted me.  He had OTHER people do it, but never himself.  This is the same guy who did not put out a prayer request when my nephew was diagnosed with cancer because HE had another "announcement" that he felt was more important - it was about a service we were holding a month later!

I went to a small church for about a year until they closed their doors and while there I led a womens bible study.  Then I went to a super-big church but never felt comfortable there and the preacher was really not very good.  And then I spent two years NOT going to church because I didn't know where to go.

During all of this, my relationship with GOD was fine - it was the church establishment that was the problem.  No one seems to get that.  It's like if you don't go to church, people assume that you are angry with God or that you have issues with your faith.  I don't.  I think what leaders in the church do ruin people's desire to want to be a part of the church!

So I end up back at my original church because a lot of my friends go there and really, it was comfortable.  I loved the head pastor and his teaching style and I thought all was well.  

But it's not.

It's the same old thing and it took me almost 2 years to figure it out but there it is.  I seem to continually be under the microscope for stuff that no one else is and believe me, I'm not doing anything that should draw attention to myself!  It's just church politics, man made rules and really, I'm just tired of them.  There are people that want to sit and pray with me to help me deal with this but really, there is nothing to deal with.  Clearly this just isn't the church I am supposed to be at.

So I guess it's time to start church hopping again and dealing with people trying to tell me that I am wrong to leave.  Again.

Good times...


Ruth said...

Maybe you just need a break from church life for a while? Some people don't go to church at all but they still have a spiritual life. I've often felt that organized religion is, in some part, man's way of trying to "control" a deeply personal relationship with one's internal belief system. From what you've written it sounds like you mostly started going because church was something everyone in your new neighborhood did. It's like you've got your neighbors/church family on your committee, as Loretta Laroche would say. If you miss the social aspect of it there are most likely other groups you can find that would fill that need, but if the church's rules make you uncomfortable that could be God's way of telling you you don't belong there.

I hope I haven't offended you, I know religion is a difficult subject to discuss sometimes.

Petula said...

Oh boy... this post is similar to my "so DONE church story." I haven't went to church in almost four years now. I was very active and had been a member since 1996. In 2007 while pregnant with my last kid my husband, at the time, and I separated. My oldest went into the hospital and although I called the outreach minister didn't come or send anyone. It was posted in the bulletin and I still didn't hear from anyone. I had the baby, people knew of my separation and on and on and on... I started at that church when it was small and was there when it grew into a cathedral.

The people that make up that church totally ruined what church really means to me. I'm not sure if my ex spread rumors about me or what, but even when I tried to go back I didn't even feel the spirit there. Unfortunately for me, my spiritual life suffered. Not only did my "Christian" husband betray my trust (no he didn't cheat), but my "Christian" family abandoned me.

Even when I reached out to talk to people. Even when they knew...

So I definitely understand how you feel. I haven't started the church search... the last time I did that was 1995ish... and I'm apprehensive to do so.