Moms The Word

February 25, 2007

Musings

Filed under: Random Musings — mrslady @ 1:52 am

Recently I read a post about being real in Jeana’s blog that I really related to, and made me think a lot. I often find myself frustrated by other people’s insincerity, and can often be found writing off things, people, and entire institutions because I feel their expectations force me to be fake as well. Maybe it’s apart of being in my 20s. Or maybe (as my dad often chimes in) it’s my life-long need to NOT do what other people tell me to. I perfer to think that it’s because I find it morally offensive to tell other adults what to do and expect them to conform to your beliefs/expectations, especially when it requires them to be someone or something they are not. ( This is, in my mind, different than advice or sharing ideas, and obviously does not apply to children.)

Normally this does not cause me many issues, because while I don’t feel the need to conform to others’ expectations of falseness, I also do not expect others to conform to my need for things that are real and honest and we can get along pretty well with just polite non-participation from both sides.

I do however run into an issues when it comes to church. I really wish that I didn’t because it makes it very difficult for me. I am a Christian, and I think that the idea of church is a very important and noble idea. However, I have yet to find a church that I feel is honest and embodies what I believe church should be about. I am the first to admit that I have very little knowledge of God’s will. I pretty much leave that up to Him, pay close attention to the parts in the Bible that say “and Jesus said,”, and pray for guidance and understanding. Yet the parts that seem most important to me (and I’m no Bible scholar) seem to be missing from the churches I have been to.

The major issue I have with churches is that, in my experience, is they have a way of excluding “the sinners”. It’s hard for me to put into words. I guess I just mean that when I’ve gone to church, I have felt like I am being judged by the people around me. Like because I do not do this, or believe that, or join this group, or talk to this person, or run my life this way I am not worthy of being in their church, or they have to “fix” me in some way. This generally rubs me the wrong way, because I am a firm believer in “judge not” and that God is the only judge of us all. I think it is very interesting that a place that teaches what God says, can seem not to take it to heart very much-especially the part about loving the sinners as they are, and refraining from judging. (Yes, I realize by making this statement I too am judging. That is something I am working on-but for me it is hard not to judge people that judge people. It’s a vicious circle.)

I also feel like the people around me are judging everyone around them, while trying to maintain their own portrayal of piety. Not that they think they are perfect, just that they seem to think that it is their right to point out your flaws, while putting “make up” over their own.

Think about it. When people go to church, they do not go as they are. They go in their nicest clothes. They expect their children to be on their most excellent behavior. They say nice things to people they would never talk to, and may even talk disparagingly about them when they go home. They pretend. And I know that some people will say that this is because church is a place to be respectful because it is God’s house. I would say that this is a valid point, with the small exception of the fact that if you are a Christian the Holy Spirit is in you, and with you all the time. God is with you when you are at home, in your pajamas, when your children are screaming, and when you’re speaking badly about your neighbors. He does not have a magnifying glass on church (to the best of my knowledge) but watches over you always. So why pretend at church? The only reason I can come up with is for the other people around you-and to me that just seems fake.

I have also been to churches-no more than once a piece though, that’s for sure-that I feel are just outrageous. Churches that ask for money walking in, in the middle of service, and walking out. Churches that preach about giving money to the church. I just don’t think Jesus ever asked anyone for money that I ever read.

I think that that is my biggest frustrations with churches. The meaning of Christian is “Christ-like”. And while we are all far from the perfection of Jesus, I think that it is our job to emmulate Him. I guess I just don’t feel that most churches also aspire to that goal.

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8 Comments »

  1. Of course I agree with SO much of what you say.

    One question: what makes church an important and noble idea for you?

    And in response to why you would talk to people that you wouldn’t ordinarily – Matthew 5:47 says “And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” But, of course, this should be the case anytime, whether at church or at the grocery or the park or whatever!

    Okay, one more question: what is different about how church people treat you than giving advice or sharing ideas? Is it possible they believe because you are a Christian that they are being helpful?

    Comment by Rebecca — February 26, 2007 @ 11:27 am

  2. I believe that church is important because the idea is important-the idea of being with other Christians in an effort to learn about God and stregnthen your faith. It is a noble idea as well, to teach others about Jesus and to show people the meaning of Christianity. Both of those ideas are things that I value very much. Unfortunately, I feel that I have not yet found a church where that is happening for me.

    To answer your next question, I don’t think it is wrong for people to speak to others they don’t know. As you said, it is a very good idea. I just feel that most(not all) of the people I have come across in a church setting do so almost out of obligation or competition-who can talk to the most people.

    1 Peter 1:22 says “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” I think this is just one of many calls for sincerity in the Bible. In my opinion it is not what you do but why and how you do it, and the principal of speaking to others out of love is often missed in the execution.

    And to your last question-I’m sure that some people are giving me advice and mean nothing else by it. I can usually tell those people because they will mention things in the context of a conversation, and not become irritated or stand-offish when I say something they don’t agree with. People that are giving advice and constructive criticism will have a discussion with you. People that are juding you will often repeat the same admonition over and over again with no point, or say something out of context to point out your flaws.

    I am always open for a good conversation, advice, and sharing ideas. I think that is an excellent way to learn, even if I don’t always agree with what other people are saying. I do not, however, enjoy being the subject of a judgemental lecture-and more so do not think that is what church is for.

    As an example-I went to a church once in the city where I used to live. I went there to seek advice from the pastor during some hardships, and to see if he could direct me both spiritually and in more direct ways. The response I got from him was an hours long lecture about what a terrible person I am, being an unwed mother, about how my son is a bastard (in the literal sense) and will not get into heavan because of it, about how because I was sinning God would not help me, and in fact everything that had happened to me was God’s punishement for my sins.

    This is one of the more outrageous examples, but I have been treated with similar distain in other churches for those reasons and others. I just feel that it is fake, and uncalled for, when churches “make examples” of or have distain for people who sin. Everyone sins, and a sin is a sin in the eyes of God because any and all sins separate us from Him.

    So what person has the authority to say that my sins are greater than theirs? Who decides that my sin of being in a co-habitating relationship is a “worse” sin than say, anger (which is the same as murder in the eyes of God)? Or that having a child out of wedlock is worse than stealing a piece of gum when you were five?(Besides, it was God who blessed me with my son, and I have faith it’s for the best-God causes all things to be good for those who trust Him.)

    I have had people tell me ‘Well that’s different. Your sin is a perpetual sin, and it’s worse because you don’t fix it by getting married. So you choose to sin and that’s worse.’ To those people I can only say, do we not ALL perpetually sin? How many times a week do you lie? Stretch the truth? Omit details? So you are a perpetual liar (so am I). And you don’t fix it. You certainly haven’t stopped lying,and yet every time you lie it is because you CHOOSE to do so. And so, while you may not perpetually choose the same sin that I do, you certainly have your own version. Everyone has their own.

    In the end, I’m not angry because of it. Everyone has their own hang ups, and it is absolutely the right of every church’s leadership to decide how to run their church. I respect that very much, and would never intrude on anyone else’s spirtual decisions. I think it is sad, that so many people are turned away because of actions like those I have experienced in some churches. And I also think it’s sad that I have yet to find a church where I feel comfortable. However I am greatful to be able to serve Him and praise Him in any way I can, whether it be inside a building or out.

    Comment by mrslady — February 27, 2007 @ 1:36 am

  3. Well, you know, (tongue in cheek) there are the socially acceptable sins and then those that are not so much …

    Comment by Rebecca — February 27, 2007 @ 4:43 pm

  4. I just wanted to comment. These are just my views and things I have been told since I was little. Here is why I wear my best for church. Yes god is always with me but I believe he set one day aside for rest and to come before him and worship. Yes he sees me at my worst and I have to pray and ask forgiveness for those things. When you go to church you do so to bring yourself before GOD not others. I want for him to see the best in me and so I wear my best clothes. I believe it would be wrong to go before my maker in anything less then the best things I have. I’m sorry I don’t have any scriptures to back this up but I do believe some where it says to come before God in your best. I could be totally wrong. Also in our church we only take offerings four times a year. We keep the holy days as described in the old testament and take an offering with each new season of holy days. The church new asks for money and We all save tithes and each person offers their tithes at these appointed times.

    Comment by Jasmine — March 1, 2007 @ 1:50 pm

  5. Thanks for your comment, Jasmine. It sounds like your church meets your needs well. I apologize if I sounded like I was criticizing ALL churches or ALL people. I try very hard not to do that.

    And I do understand your reasonings behind why you dress up. I just think that everyone feels differently about things like that, not good or bad or anything-just different. My logic behind why I don’t like to dress up is purely my own, and I think that if others like yourself want to dress up for the reasons that you do, that’s great. I was just pointing out that there are people that I know that dress up so that they can look better than someone else while at church, and that I think church is not about competition with other people.

    Thanks for all of your comments-I really enjoy your insight!

    Comment by mrslady — March 1, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

  6. Sorry in my last post I meant to type the church never not the church new!

    Comment by Jasmine — March 1, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

  7. I completely understand 🙂 Don’t worry-I don’t red marker all over this thing. Grammar/spelling issues and typos are totally ok!

    Comment by mrslady — March 1, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

  8. Hi there – thanks for visiting my blog…this party rocks. I’ve been perusing your blog and it’s great. This post really moved me because I love Jesus and want to follow him, but sometimes church or churchiness makes that so hard to do. Soooo nice to meet you!

    Comment by karen — March 2, 2007 @ 6:15 pm


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