"Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction"-Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ever feel like you just don't belong?

I've been feeling that way lately about having a church home. I desperately want Reagan to have the same upbringing that I did. In that, she's raised in a church that is a second family to her, she finds a deep faith in God and learns to help her community and world.

I love the church I grew up in. My church provided the foundation for many things in my life and allowed me to grow and interact with others in the same belief structure. It also allowed me to venture out and make mistakes and find my own way and always be welcomed back into the fold of a loving family.

Granted, as I've grown older, I see that my chuch was pretty rigid. Dress codes and no music and very very traditional. But it was the RIGHT church for me to grow up in and I'm very lucky to have been afforded that privelege. I learned that God is a compassionate, loving Father; and I learned what God expected of me in my life and how I would be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

That being said, Josh also grew up in a wonderful church...a church we were later married in. But he came from a much different background. I remember the first time I attended his church, I was absolutely appalled that people actually 'talked' back to the preacher during the service. And there was MUCH more pagentry than I was accustomed to--the preacher wearing robes and lighting of candles and organs and so forth and so on, but a much more relaxed atmosphere and much less traditional. Beautiful, but different. Still, I began to feel a little more at home there once I began to know the pastor there and trust and love him, and listened to his sermons.

Fast forward to today. Josh and I are looking for the right church for OUR little family. Unfortunately, neither of our childhood churches are close enough for us to attend regularly (his being 30 minutes away, and mine being, well, about 14 HOURS away!)

We both have different expectations. Josh expects a more relaxed atmosphere, where the people can wear jeans and have coffee in the sanctuary and there are bands playing Christian music that he can relate to and get into, and an atmosphere that lacks that judgemental feeling that some churches display, intentionally or unintentionally. I prefer more traditional settings, with women in dresses and the traditional hymns and sermons that really reach me.

Now, none of these things really matter at all..except in one respect--our comfort level. We both want to feel comfortable enough to let our guard down and become FAMILY with the people we worship with. And so, we continue our journey, both of us giving and taking a little with each visit to a new church.

But where can we really meet? Josh was convinced we had found the right church and I thought so too, until we continued to go. The more the bands played, the more I listed to the preacher, the less comfort I felt. I needed something that caught my heart and gave me a sense of peace and thankfulness.

So, today we'll try another church, and hope we BOTH feel at home.

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