It was far more of a struggle to actually go into that church today than it was last week. I actually drove past the church, down a residential street, into another one, etc etc etc while going through this ridiculous mind-game/war about church, pastors and the abuse of people in churches, in general.
I forced myself to pull into the parking lot, where I saw with the car idling and AC on, of course, for several minutes before I shut the thing off, got out and walked through the doors.
2 individuals were there, both greeted me warmly. My issue isn't about this church, it is about my history with church and the situation with my ex-wife and my now ex-pastor. It has toyed with my senses about this particular subject for years now.
This whole scenario may sound ridiculous for a reader with a totally unattached sense of view of the situation, but, so it is with all of us in different arenas of life experience: there are issues in all of our lives that we probably have foul memory of and possibly haven't actually passed through the dark tunnel to get to the light at the other end.
I'm somewhere in the darkness of the tunnel and frankly, I don't see the light at the end of it yet, but I figure somewhere along this 4 week commitment of going to church, I might at least see a faint glimpse of it.
Well, I entered the "sanctuary" what they simply refer to as the auditorium and quickly found a seat and sat down. Oh, I will freely admit I timed this out: the service was only a couple of minutes from starting before I got in there. Yet, fully 3 people approached me and called me by name, remembering my name from the week before, that was impressive to me. But I still felt and feel completely out of place and totally uncomfortable there. Which is none of their doings or fault, this is my own issue and I am trying to work through it.
An hour of worship and a bit over an hour of preaching and praying. A card given out to all the dads with a magnetic strip for your refrigerator and a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Okay, I sort of liked that. Did I give in the offering? I don't know that I have ever consciously decided to go into a church service without the intention of giving at least something. Last week, I had my offering out but I wasn't paying attention and they were done with it in less than 2 minutes. This week I did not let the opportunity pass by and I made sure it made it into the basket.
So, I left. The pastor stopped me on my way out. Wasn't really looking for that kind of interaction, either. We exchanged pleasantries and he said he recognized me from somewhere. I also recognized him during the last and this service but could only get a faint glimpse of where I had seen him: on a stage somewhere with a bunch of other pastors and other types of clergy, it was undoubtedly a conference. I haven't been to a conference in at least 7 years, though, so I don't know and he couldn't place it, either.
That was it. I will try and force myself back next week. I might even try to force myself there on Wednesday, when they are having some sort of special speaker in.
My mind was totally off of the Father's Day aspect after church and I had forgotten that I had planned to have a nice steak somewhere, instead coming home and making an open faced chicken platter with gravy. Tasty and didn't even think about the steak until I started writing this entry. No loss. Red meat isn't good for you, right? lol
I haven't heard from Caleb, a bit disappointing considering he's my only child and it is Father's Day. A 2 sentence paragraph in an email would be better than nothing. I called my dad at about 7:30 this morning and we had a nice conversation.
That's it. These last 2 Sunday's of church have been - unbelievably - such an inner, emotional turmoil that I find myself drained at the end of the day rather than rejuvenated after going to an uplifting church service. I'm going to have to get past this, somehow.........
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