Today I did something I've been saying I would do for a year. I took my children to church. I had found this church via the internet a while ago. I had been saying we would go, and saying it. But I had one convenient excuse after another after another. Really, it was becuase the thought of walking into a new church caused me so much anxiety that I figured if just thinking about it was that bad, well, I'd probably pass out from nerves actually doing it.
Then my oldest for Awana, is supposed to try to go to Sunday school two weeks in a row (they did give her an alternate verse to learn if she didn't go since really that would be the parents fault) but I just figured it was time to finally step up and go.
So we did it today. And I was very nervous, but excited. I was sure this was going to be the church that we would eventually call "home."
Well first, let me say, that everyone was very nice and very friendly. And I should know becuase it is a very small church and I pretty much was introduced to everyone there. Not that there is anything wrong with a tiny church, but it really just felt too small (by small I mean a congregation of maybe 30?). Secondly, my children went to the childrens church. On the way home they informed me that they had eated 2 cupcakes, about 4 cookies, some candy, lots of juice and a few other snacks. Yeah ... at 10:45-11:45 am, that is what my kids apparently ate. Umm, not that it will kill them, but does that happen every week? Why did they get so many sweet/sugary things? I wasn't exactly impressed.
But here's the biggest thing ... I didn't know what the pastor's message was. He was kind of all over the place ... making a small point about this thing, and a small point about that thing, but yet, I couldn't figure out the unifying message of the overall theme. I felt parts of what he was saying were hard to follow and understand (I seriously wondered if he just started inserting random thoughts just for the heck of it). The other thing was that he made the comment that the more faith we have, the more God will reward us. That's when I felt like, okay, the other stuff I could deal with or maybe it's an off week, or whatever ... but that, well, I can't swallow that. I do not beleive God looks down, ranks the amount of faith we have and then blesses us based on that scale. I think you either have faith or you don't have faith. That's it: 2 options. It's there or it's not there. I don't believe in thinking John has more faith than Sue. but Sue has more faith than Fred. And I certainly don't believe we get things in life based on the amount of faith that we have.
I have a friend who advised trying a church 3 times before making a judgement about returning or not. I'll be honest ... I have no desire to go back next week. Honestly, I don't want to be a part of a church that is going to preach the more faith you have the more rewards you will recieve from God. I don't want to be a part of a church where my kids will get more sugar in one week than I have given them in the last few weeks. I don't want to be a part of a church that is that tiny honestly! Okay, I could get over the size if that was the only issue, but it isn't the only issue. I feel torn .. like I should go back next week just to see, but yet at the same time, I think the whole faith/reward issue is something that won't change for me or them and even if he gives the best sermon next week, it won't change the fact that I just can't agree with that point.
Regardless, I went to a church today. I didn't explode. I didn't have a panic attack that anyone had to dial 911 for! My kids did not self-destruct or have trouble. So, I guess, if I have to go somewhere else next week, I can do it without being quite so nervous.
But of course, that means, that I have to start looking for another church in the area to go to.