Sunday, June 12, 2011

Church

I went. I sat out in the parking lot for 10 minutes engaged in a mind battle as to whether I should actually go into the place or not.

But, I did. The foyer? 2 people greeted me, but, fantastically, they did not ask me to fill out a guest card. They all want your name and personal information. I don't necessarily want to give out that information right off the bat, what if I don't like and I don't WANT them contacting me?

It's in a large cluster of office buildings - so yes, this church is actually set up in an office setting. Where do I got? Lady pointed down a long hallway. Got there and there were quite a number of people there. I quickly found a seat and - sat. I was feeling very uncomfortable. Not because of the people, just being IN church.

Numerous people came up and introduced themselves. I knew that would happen, but I didn't really want the interaction. I know, I sound like a recluse, but this is something I want to ease back into, not go full throttle right off the bat. Of course, those people don't know that and besides, it's their "duty", so to speak. Nice people.

Worship starts - contemporary. A live band, something I greatly appreciate. I have been in many churches that play the music off of a CD, not appealing to me at all. Talented kids, too, they were into what they were doing and it showed.

That went on for an hour and a half, amazingly. Then the pastor got up. I further appreciated not being singled out as a "newbie". I don't want or need that recognition, which occurs at most churches I have been to, regardless of size, when I have been a first timer there. He went on for about an hour. It was a good discussion he gave, really, though the service waxed on for 2 and a half hours, I was good at an hour and a half. Well, he dismissed everyone but offered prayer and it was obvious social hour had also started. I am not going to say I want nothing to do with it, just that I was not prepared for 2-1/2 hours of a service and I quickly departed.

I was almost to the door when an older gentleman tapped/sorta grabbed me by the shoulder. "I hope you'll come back again next week". He had, apparently, chased me out of the auditorium. I appreciated the kindness, acknowledged it, thanked him and left.

I will go back, I think, next week. Unless something comes up, of course. I want to get back into the fellowship of believers, I just want to do it slowly.

As for other news, Caleb wrote me back yet again since I went to church. He had replied to my message to him from yesterday and I tried to give him a bit of advice without being push or know-it-all about it. It was concerning his preparation to give a daily devotional with the kids. I won't go into that, it was a private discussion and I think it best kept unsaid, just that thanked me for the advice. He sounds like he is doing well, which is what I was really wanting to hear, one way or the other. It was good to have some communication with him.

Home life? The family tenants apparently have found a place. I have had interest in the room, but no-one committing to come over and look at it yet.

I dunno, don't really want to go into too much else. I have some reflecting to do on the words that I heard today.

ben

Sunday 6/12/2011 Teetering On The Verge Of.......

...........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.

G'day.

ben

Hmm, well I started this yesterday and forgot about it, so post it in incomplete form, lol. And just like that, my credit score takes a 31...