...........going to church this morning.
I can't believe I'm even actually, seriously considering it.
Well,I consider it every week, but I don't do anything about it. There is a church just a few miles away that, at least in print, has the same type of beliefs and outlook that I have on the church, the Bible, God, etc etc etc.
Which doesn't mean it's heaven on earth. I have had that reality shoved in my face on more than one occasion.
One trepidation that I have in going to a new church, especially a smaller one, is that I will see someone there from the past that I know from other churches. I don't want to know anyone there. I want every single face there to be a complete and total stranger to me.
If I'm going to go and I get a good feel about it, I want to go to it for at least 4 services in a row - 4 Sundays - and find out if they really practice what they preach. I am not trying to judge them before I even go in there or set it up in my mind for failure before I even walk through the door, just that I've been there, done that.
Humans are not, of course, perfect. But, we use this excuse all to often to bypass short-comings in an organization that should not have such types of short comings in a prevalent posture. It's the leadership of the church that I am interested in scrutinizing. I know that sounds bad, but I have been burned too many times, I don't trust anyone in the church at this point and I have no reason to. Trust is, as most of us know, earned, not given away like door prizes at a newly opened convenience store. And I can say, unfortunately, that it would take a lot to earn my trust in looking at a church organization and reviewing my past in being shunned by a church and it's pastor.
Of course, pointing the finger at me, I have a lot of personal issues. But, so does everyone. This isn't something cataclysmic in volume. It's a statement that I am willing to try to get out of my box and enter a bigger one as long as the effort goes both ways. I have no intention of going into a church and dumping my history and problems on everyone or anyone, at all. My sole intention, above all of it, is to worship the Lord. I'm sure there will be the "fake" smiles of people acting genuinely interested that you came that day, shake your hand and that's it.
As I said, I've been there and done that. I have been in leadership in the church. The difference is, when I shook a person's hand and they wanted to release it all, I would not only stand there and listen, I would also offer to pray about it with them and if they came back the next week, I would ask them how they are doing. I am not in leadership in any church right now, obviously and further: I have absolutely zero desire to do so, at least at this point. I don't need anyone's pity, I just want to be together with genuine Christians, people who truly love the Lord. That's really all there is to it. I have this feeling that there will be someone there that I know. So, I am planning it the way I want a first encounter at a church to go: show up right when the service is starting, find a seat and blend in. When the service is over, get out of there.
Why? Just because I haven't been in church in a long time now and I don't really feel comfortable with it anymore. At one point in my life, I was spending up to 8 hours or even more in church on Sunday. Now, 7 or 8 years later, I don't even remember the last time I was in a church. No, I do remember now, well I don't know for sure. I think it was that big church I had started to go to just before my house burned down in 2007. I asked them for help - actually I wasn't going to ask them but someone on one of my blogs encouraged me to do so, so I did. They gave me a bit of a heave about it, too, saying they didn't have any record of me ever being there before. I thought that shallow, very shallow. I HAD been there several times and had filled out the card with my information on it on my first visit.
Well, they weren't shallow when one particular lady got involved, I do give that church credit that they really did help me out to some extent with some furniture and food. But it's a giant church, thousands of members, I have never really felt that a big, huge church is my type of thing. You can easily get lost in a place like that. Going to service every Sunday, you could come and go and no-one would ever know who you are. At the same time, at least right now, I am feeling very uncomfortable with a small church.
Shut up, Ben, just go take a shower, get dressed and get ready to go.
Hmmm, good idea.
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