Thursday, June 25, 2015
in spite of spite
Sometimes I wonder if that is how God is working in my life right now. I have not watered, pruned or fertilized my faith in quite awhile. That is to say, I have not been going to church. Nor have I been reading my Bible. Nor have I been praying. But still, God has been watering, pruning and feeding me....in spite of me.
I've been reading Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans. She's a writer who grew up in the evangelical church, stopped going to church, and found the church again in a way she did not expect. It resonates with me, but not in a way that has made me take any action. Yet.
Church has always been a part of my life. I liked going as a child. I liked going as a teenager. I liked going as a young adult. Now that I am 39, I'm not liking it so much. I don't mean to say I don't like God or believe in God anymore. I do. I am just tired of church in the way that I have experienced it. Sunday morning. Sunday night. Wednesday night. Picnics. Meetings. Softball games. Weddings. Funerals. It feels more like a social club than a living body.
I know I need the church. I just don't know if I need church.
I don't need to fill in the blanks of a 5 point sermon. I need my soul filled by God's spirit.
I don't need to give my tithe in the offering plate. I need to offer my life and everything I have to God.
I don't need to wear my best dress and heels to show my respect in God's house. I need my soul to kick off it's shoes in the presence of God who is holy.
You get what I'm saying. I'm at a place where I'm just tired of bullshit. I can't sit in a pew surrounded by it and pretend it doesn't stink. I just don't have the poker face for it anymore. So I've moved my seat. Out of church. (If you are offended because I just said bullshit, sorry. Sorry you are more worried about that than you are about lots of other way more important things.)
Have I made the wrong decision? Probably.
I know I need to be a part of the body. I'm not sure what part I am. Probably an index finger. I'm pretty good at pointing. I might be an eyelid or a toenail or something, but whatever I am, I know I cannot stand alone.
Seeing that rhododendron today made me think maybe it's time to come out of my dormancy and bloom. We'll see. Until then, I'll trust that God will provide rain and sun for me.....in spite of me.
Post script: I wrote this post a few weeks ago, when my rhododendron was actually blooming. I hesitated to actually publish the post because....well, just because.
I changed my mind tonight because I wanted to add this to it:
VBS is this week. I asked Superfrykid if she wanted to go and she said no, she was too old for VBS. I said fine, secretly grateful that I would not have to drive her every night and even more grateful that I wouldn't have to face the dear ones at my old church who would most certainly ask, "Have you found another church?"
The wind changed and Superfrykid asked to go. So I took her. The first 2 nights I spent chatting with my friends, avoiding the questions (mostly), and pretending to help in the kitchen. The third night, I went to visit my grandmother aka "The Don", who lives pretty much right next door to the church. Tonight, I accompanied my daughter as her own personal chaperone to each station as punishment for misbehaving and generally acting a fool the night before.
It sounded like a good punishment at the time, but I quickly realized that I had signed myself up to attend VBS. Since I have been avoiding church in general and specifically avoiding my "old" church, this was particularly prickly to me. But I told Superfrykid this was her punishment, and so I went.
The first station was the Bible Story. The lady who teaches at this station is a woman who could talk the socks off of any person on the face of the earth. We'll call her "Miss Cathy" after Chatty Cathy. Miss Cathy had things for the kids to touch and hear and see and they all listened to her as she told them the greatest story ever told. At the end, she ran out of time and, as the kids left, she told them, "Miss Cathy loves you". The kids were already half way out the door, I don't know how many of them heard her.
As the night went on, that's all I could think about. "Miss Cathy loves you."
You see, after the first couple nights, I asked Superfrykid and one of her friends which VBS station they liked best. They both said the Bible Story. I thought it was odd. What kid says the Bible Story is their favorite? I figured they'd say snack or games. Both of them, independently of the other, said emphatically, Bible Story. After tonight, I realized why. I asked Superfrykid if the reason she liked Bible Story was because Miss Cathy told them she loved them. Her eyes crinkled and she nodded. I could tell that I had hit the nail on the head.
I'm not saying this will make me return to my old pew this Sunday. But it was a little drop of much needed water to this old rhododendron with curled up leaves.