Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Sunday Situation

We've recently begun going to a new church, which is helping--a bit--with some of the tensions and ambivalence I've had toward church for a long time. Still, there are Sundays when what I really need is space, when the thought of stepping into a church building and facing church people is more than I can bring myself to tackle.

A couple of Sundays ago was like that, and Scott graciously took the girls himself. He came back chuckling, saying that when the pastor asked about my whereabouts, he (Scott) had told him I was staying home, that I was Emily Dickinson. "Oh, we all have days like that," the pastor replied.

"I didn't even try to explain," said my husband. "What could I have said? 'No, you don't understand; her nickname among her college professors was Emily Plath. She really is Emily Dickinson...on a good day.'"

Great Scott also tells me that the pastor was making noises about coming out to visit. Maybe I can stay upstairs and send down little scrappets of cryptic poetry until he leaves.


Veggiefry said...

I've been looking for a church too! I have a friend named Katilynn who lives in that area of Missouri, is it nice? My mother is anti-organized religion. *rolls eyes* We have SO much in common. I'm a writer too!! Are you published or do you just write for yourself? I'm so glad to find someone like me! The beauty of Blogger!

Michael said...

Not wanting to make light of your feelings and all, I am none the less amused by this post. No I feel like I chould go to the corner and repent. Ugh... guilt.

Fieldfleur said...

Ah, the preacher visits. Thankfully our pastor rarely speaks to us (and 1200 others who go to our church), so we have no fears or expectations of hospitality. He's there if we need him, though, I reckon.
I'm glad to hear that you're positive on the poet identification swab, though. :)I'm reading a book about Emily right now (called "Afternoons with Emily").
Hope you have a lovely day,

Paul said...

Cindy, Feel free not to respond or answer but, what specifically do you feel about church and why?

You wrote "the thought of stepping into a church building and facing church people is more than I can bring myself to tackle." It seems the issue is with the people and not the "theory".

I've heard that Ghandi say he would have become a christian if he ever met one. My reaction has been the opposite. I've met christians and don't want to be identified with them.

After pastoring for about 20 years I haven't been to church except for weddings and funerals in 15 years. I'm interested in your experience.

Wishing you the best.

Cindy said...

Veggiefry--We do have a lot of interests in common, don't we? You and my 13 year-old daughter would be dangerous together if you ever met! I've published a little, AND I write just for me. It's nice to meet you!

Michael--Oh, go ahead; I make light of them. :) The post was intended to be amusing (and was taken largely out of my journal). It's therapy.

Teri--I think Great Scott and I will like this preacher quite a bit if/when we get to know him, actually. My bone isn't with him personally so much as with what seems to me the church's attitude of entitlement toward it's members. No other social entity that I know of--save the government--would consider itself to have a right to send round an uninvited representative, expect to have him welcomed with open arms and enthusiasm and reserve for itself the right to condemn you on the grounds of inhospitality if you squawk. No, not even the government does that, come to think of it... (You may begin to see the Emily parallels, I am afraid.)

Paul--Yes, my issues are with Church People more than theory, at least the theory of Chrisitanity as I understand it, which is not always (or perhaps even often) the same as the theory of Christianity as most Church People seem to understand it. ::wry smile:::

I would be very interested in exchanging experiences, if you're willing to talk about yours, too. If you would like specifics, though it will need to be via email. There are people who would not be able to understand and who would be hurt if they were to read my explanation here, and I would not want to cause unnecessary pain for them. I believe they were doing the best they could with what they had, a statement that is not so much damning as simply unfortunate in its truth.

Veggiefry said...

It's nice to meet you too!! I write for me, obviously, since I'm the same age as your daughter. Does she write as well?

alaiyo said...

Just thought I'd pop in to say I love you, Miss Emily . . . :) (I think you should try the poetry fragments out the window . . .)

Lauren said...

Cindy, just remember that a church is just a building and people are just people. And people are far from the perfection of their creator. You are spiritual enough and wise enough to know your own faith and beliefs.

Sometimes you just need a vacation from other people's views on what the church means to them. Just focus on your own relationship with your Creator and let the world views go as they will. ::hugs::

Take your vacation and take a walk with your Creator around the the woods once in a while. I think He might hear you better without all the clatter and throng of other people to distract you.

Cindy said...

You know, Lauren, I've not been walking lately, and while I doubt that would affect His ability to hear me at all, I'm pretty sure it has quite a lot to do with my ability to hear Him. :) Thanks for the kick in the backside and the hug, too.

predictablepoet said...

I like Lauren's thoughts about vacationing from other people's views on church and religion. My family's church was becoming stifling for me because what I was hearing was not God's word but others' interpretations of His word or theologians'. Finding a place where practical application of God's word and practice of works of love and charity were stressed more than theology refreshed my hope in the church as a congregation of redeemed sinner saints.

GrumpyTeacher1 said...

Predictable poet,
I like that distinction

Alexa the Bookworm said...

Wish I could do that!

predictablepoet said...

My experiences with Bible Study the last two weeks reminded me of this post. One of the older ladies cornered me (literally) and wouldn't take no for an answer, so now I am $5 poorer and a lot more nervous. Women's Bible studies scare me. Why do you think that is?

alaiyo said...

Just to say - I put a letter in the mail yesterday! (Only took a month . . . :-) )