I don’t like church.
I didn’t grow up in church and I always felt like I was missing out.
I wanted my kids to have more.
While I see numerous social media posts on Sundays and Wednesdays with all these images of church worship teams with all the lights and projector screens…the church your family has probably attended for generations and will for many more.
Our family bounces from church to church at a minimum of every three years.
It makes church time stressful. On top of all the other adjustments a military family faces, church should be a haven.
But it’s often not.
Most churches are friendly upfront, but soon their true colors shine and the smiles fade and we’re never invited to the inner circle, the home fellowship, the dinners. So, we go through the motions, attending the Sunday morning service and leaving immediately afterwards.
I often wonder if it’s because no one wants to get close since they know we’re transients.
Our last church was aloof for two years and we were finally feeling like we fit in the last year we were there.
Then we moved.
I’ve attended all different denominations and types: Church of God, Assembly of God, Presbyterian (Cumberland, PCUSA, and EPC), Lutheran (Missouri Synod), Catholic, nondenominational, Southern Baptist, Fundamental Independent Baptist.
While I understand that we’re none of us perfect, I have issue with some Sunday school teachers preaching one thing while living another. I have issues with brochures in the church lobby about how I should dress as a Christian, citing Scriptures out of context. That doesn’t make me feel welcome or loved.
Currently, we attend a service at the base chapel. There just aren’t very many English-speaking church services to choose from here off base.
Most Sundays, I pray to survive through the superficial “peace of Christ” greeting time so I can flip through the pew Bible, checking the chaplain’s 3-point monotonous sermon and reading tangents of interest. The traditional hymns are mostly just ok, nothing exciting but nothing no one knows. Better than some of the “Jesus is my boyfriend” music I’ve heard at some contemporary churches.
And too many churches are compromising to meet the desires of our society, backing down in fear of being sued over performing marriage ceremonies to same-sex couples. Looking the other way when leaders don’t have monogamous relationships or teachers cohabit with their significant others.
I don’t want to serve. I’ve served before. I’ve taught Sunday school and Wednesday night classes, watched toddlers in the nursery, planned events and dinners…and I’m tired and I just want a season to rest and worship. I feel guilty every time a request for volunteers is mentioned during announcements. I don’t want to fill out a background check form and have my whole life laid out on paper for strangers to wonder.
I don’t like AWANA. My kids participated on base one year and at a church another year and I just didn’t like the lack of organization and very little biblical teaching with an over-emphasis on competition and rewards. There was no purpose in it for us.
I see little point in most youth groups. I know what the local youth group was like when I was a teen because I attended just to have something to do on a Thursday night. Some groups are surely better than others, but most are for outreach to the lost and not so much a gathering place for educating Christian teens on Christian living. The few groups we saw before our eldest was of age were examples of what not to do as Christian teens. We’re not sure about the one on base right now, if it’s worth the time and effort to get my daughter there each Tuesday night, since it starts at dinnertime. We don’t really know the leaders well or what they teach. We feel Liz gets more leadership training at Civil Air Patrol. We prefer limiting our evening activities so we can eat family dinners together at least five times a week.
I don’t like women’s Bible studies. I really, really tried to participate in PWOC and it ended up just being not for me. I couldn’t keep up with the politics and I felt like I was neglecting my family. I don’t like Beth Moore or most of the other popular books that women’s groups seem to read. All the touchy feely, name it and claim it, and you’re really ok “Bible” studies that have so little of the actual Bible to back up anything that is said. For too many, it was social time and not learning time. It was a waste of my time.
Since I don’t feel we’re getting much out of church and it’s my responsibility anyway to make sure my children have biblical education, we supplement at home.
Before bed, we read a chapter of a classic literary novel and a story from The Golden Children’s Bible.
I also love to discuss creation and God on nature walks. It’s one of my favorite ways to worship.