06 February 2009


That's a nifty word. I first read it over at Stephanie's blog, and I like it. She said she didn't make it up, I don't know who did, but I am stealing it.

I have been having deep thoughts (remember that guy on Saturday Night Live that used to do Deep Thoughts..........), I am so easily distracted!

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot lately about my "Christianity". I grew up Catholic. I went to church, I received most of my sacraments. I believed in God, Jesus, the Holy spirit. I prayed. But I didn't go around making sure everyone knew I was a Christian, I didn't feel like everything I did had to be based on being a Christian and I didn't feel like a sinner if I did something un-Christian.

I became a "born-again" Christian in 2000. I fell hook, line and sinker for the life of a Christian. I stopped listening to anything but Christian music. I stopped hanging out with non-Christian friends. I censored everything my girls watched on tv. I even made my girls stop Halloween for a few years. Looking back, I almost feel like I was sucked into a cult. In the summer of 2002, I was seriously burned by a woman in my church whom I worked for at her pre-school. (Long story, I'll tell it at another time). That was the beginning of my realization that maybe this "Christian" way of living isn't really all it's cracked up to be. Then in June of 2004 my mother died. This Christian church, where I was supposed to be part of a family, virtually ignored me and my family while I was dealing with the grief of losing my mom. (Another long story, for another time). My sister, who is not a Christian, was treated better by her "secular" friends than I was by my 'Church family". So that just added to the discontent I was feeling.

It took me another 3 years of just feeling like I didn't belong before I seriously began looking at my situation. Finally I went to my last service in December of 2007. My girls were the ones who asked to stop going. Seems this Christian church we went to was very cliquey. My girls could see favoritism all around them, and girls who certainly did not show a Christian heart to others. I wasn't happy, they weren't happy, none of us were getting anything but misery from going, so we stopped. And I am not sorry we did.

So I have been thinking a lot about church and Christianity for the last year. Trying to decide if I need to find another church. Is that what God wants? All of us in a church, pretending to be things we aren't to please man? That's what I felt like in church. That I had to pretend to be something I wasn't. Everyone would tell me that once I accepted Jesus as my savior, my life would be transformed, I would be a new creation, I wouldn't want to be like my old self. Well, didn't God make my old self? I had believed in him since I was a child. I had gone to church and prayed to him all my life. Why did I need to be a new creation? Was he mad at the old one? Then why did he make me that way? Does it really make me sinner to say sh**? Or even the F word? Am I sinner if I like Heavy Metal music and listen to Ozzy Osbourne? Does God really grieve if I have a beer or two? I was convinced for a while to believe everything I did was wrong. I don't buy it anymore.

I still love God and believe Jesus died for me as much as I ever did. But I don't think everything I do grieves him. I don't believe it is wrong to associate with non-Christians. And sadly enough, I am usually treated better by non-Christians than I am by Christians. So called "Christians" are so caught up in their self-righteousness they no longer show a joyful heart. It's all about who is doing what wrong, and what they need to do to prove themselves worthy before the Lord. They are all about judgment and worry and really, disappointment and anger. The more I hang around with Christians, the more unhappiness I see. And I don't think it is because they are Christians. I still consider myself to be one, even though I can find no where in the Bible where God calls us to become "Christians". We are called to followed Jesus, not become something with a name. I think the unhappiness stems from the churches. From the rules and regulations and restrictions that churches (man) seem to think we all need to follow to be "saved".

Which is why I like the term "Churchianity". I think that is what Christianity has become. It's not about following Jesus and focusing on others and spreading the good news. It's about policing members lives and calling people out for their sins and making everyone feel bad. We were never called by God to go to a church. The church is the people of God. It was never meant to be a place or another institution like it has become. It has become a place for man to elevate himself and put himself in a position over others, when in reality we are all equal before the Lord.

I could go on and on about this. I have really put a lot of thought into it. But I am not done yet. I feel God talking to me (not literally, I'm not a loon), but I do get the sense that dropping out of my church was fine with him. I am figuring out my relationship to him on my own terms. And I think he's ok with that.


Stephanie said...

Deep thoughts by Jack Handy!
I'm pretty sure I have a blogpost titled that.

Sounds like we are in the same dang boat.

I seriously don't think I'm a christian anymore though. Only if it simply means that I believe in Christ.

A believer, yes.
A praying person, yes.
A person of faith, yes.

Deanna said...

A lot of what you describe is precisely why we do not attend the type of church I grew up in. I know some of our family members cannot understand why we attend a *liberal* PCUSA church but it is largely due the fact that no one judges anyone else or their *Christian walk*.

No one cares if you drink (and most probably at least have an occasional beer or glass of wine) or cuss or decide to go to the lake on an occasional Sunday morning. We accept each other and love one another exactly as we are. And you know what? These are some of the most "Christian" people I know. They may not have their car radios tuned to the local Christian station but they are serving others through work at the Salvation Army, annual medical mission trips to South America, finding resources for the homeless, and many other tangible expressions of the life we are called to lead. They inspire me to reach out in love to a hurting world instead of worrying about what the person in the pew next to me drank with his dinner the night before.

There are far too many Christians out there who are turning off others with their judgmental attitudes but there are other churches where people are far more loving and accepting. Unfortunately it seems that the more cult-like evangelical churches are the ones which are growing while the moderate, mainline churches such as ours are declining in membership. Too many people seem to want to be part of a group which will tell them what to think and how to live.

unschoolermom said...

I went to church throughout most of my childhood. Then, in my preteen years, we stopped going. We didn't go all the way through my teenage years. It was definitely something that I missed - something that I felt I should be doing (based upon how I felt God was calling me). I finally went back when I was in my twenties. Going to church is something I definitely enjoy. I have attended many different churches since I went back to church. Some were good, just not meant for me. Others were not so good. I enjoy the church I attend now. Taliesin and Nathanael enjoy it. I do not agree with them on everything, but I'm glad we go. It's definitely for us. But each of us are different. Whether to go to church or not is something that is between the believer and God.