Thursday, May 10, 2007

i don't know what i'm really trying to say

I've been thinking a lot about Christianity these days.

I believe in God. I've worked in two churches. I'm techincally a licensed minister although these days I'm not sure exactly what that means and if it means anything in Texas since that all happened in California. I do have a lovely frame for the certificate and also for the little bulletin from the service. And it was a pretty cool time in my life.

I went to a Christian college and that is mostly what did me in as far as turning me off to church for the past few years. Maybe I wasn't around the right group of people or didn't plug into the right church (except the one I did try very hard to get involved in has tons of people who rave about how awesome it is, so I don't know. And when I say I tried very hard, I really mean it. I volunteered in a bunch of different roles and met with pastors and had coffee with people and it just didn't take for some reason), but most of the Christians around me made me miserable. It was embarassing to hear the questions my classmates asked guest speakers in my behavioral science classes about why they didn't impose their beliefs on patients and clients. I was mortified to hear people praising God they don't live in awful parts of the world. It was frustrating to be around students who knew nothing of what was going on in the rest of the city, different parts of the state, and much less the world. I quickly found that even when it came to mundane things I needed help with, like getting a ride to the airport, it was a much better bet to ask someone from Starbucks than it was to ask someone from church or school. I could count on the people from Starbucks to follow through ridiculously more than I could count on the Christian friends I had.

This isn't true of all Christians or even of all Christians I know. I have two friends in particular that I've known for ages and ages that have strong beliefs in God that they display even when no one is paying attention. They are great examples to me of faith and commitment and each have strong marriages and beautiful babies. I have another more recent friend that is a Christian and one of the very best friends I've had. I can talk to her about anything without fear of judgement and I know she's there for me in all senses of the phrase.

I've noticed that the people who are vocal about being Christians at work are all fairly obnoxious. One is probably the biggest complainer I know. I've never seen this person having a good day. Another has their heart in the right place but is often so abrasive and weird about counting on Jesus for everything that no one takes them seriously unless they are talking about the Spurs. Another is just kind of dumb and rude and a different person is nice enough but doesn't really stop talking long enough to let anyone really connect with them.

And here I am. I don't go around telling people I'm a Christian because I know that at this point in my life that would probably do more harm than good. I have struggles and I drink and my boyfriend doesn't go to church and I have a kind of potty mouth and I don't display any kind of serious hope or calmness or inner peace. I believe in God but haven't talked to Him in awhile really and I haven't been to church in a year or so. Some things have happened that left me questioning where God really is. Things in the rest of the world, but also events in my own life.

I listen to KLOVE on a fairly regular basis because I do like some of the music on the station. It's the only Christian radio station I know about in this area. I have my own fairly extensive collection but my iPod being broken for so long kind of killed my habit of listening to it in my truck. I also used to have to drive a lot further to get to and from home and it doesn't seem worth the hassle to pick an artist and get it all set up and listen to my iPod for ten minutes and then put it all away. Anyway, KLOVE is one of my presets but I never listen to it if someone else is in the car because it embarasses me. Not that I listen to it, but the cheesiness of some of the djs and the ridiculousness of the pledge drive commentaries. People calling in and winning a contest and then saying prayer really does work and the proof is they were the 9th caller this time annoy the shit out of me. But I still listen because every so often, there's a good Superchic[k] or Jars of Clay song that comes in and brightens my day. I don't want to be one of the Christians that I hear on that radio station though.

I've been thinking about church and that I want to go back to the one I went to for awhile here because it was pretty cool. I haven't made that a priority over sleep with the overnight shifts I've been working since January but now I don't have that to keep me from going or to use it as an excuse. My mom told me last weekend I needed to start going to church again. She's right. She wants me to have a group of Christian women friends I can talk to and hang out with and learn from and share life with. I do too. I don't have many friends actually in San Antonio and church is a good place to work on that. There are times when I think I am seriously going crazy and if I had some more spiritual development going on I think it would curb at least a healthy portion of those times.

K's dad took off when he was a little kid. He's still around here and there but hasn't been any kind of a real part of K's life in several years. I'm not entirely clear on all the details, but there was a church involved in K's dad meeting another woman who he eventually left K's mom for. Despite this though, K has no problem with me going to church and a Bible study. He will even go with me once I've found a church home. My parents had an agreement when they got married that my mom would never force my dad to go with her as long as he never kept her from going to church and that seems like a very good deal to me. I never meant to start dating someone who didn't have the same set of core beliefs that I do. I don't think K is that far off though. I think he believes in God but that's about it and quite honestly, that's where I've been at for the past few years.

I need to find a place that has Christians who are real people and admit they are struggling (I don't necessarily need to know the struggles, but just that they aren't perfect) and working towards being better people. A group working to be better examples of Christ's love without speaking a different language or expecting all Christians to only listen to Christian music or get their books only at Christian book stores. I want to be involved in politics and just generally try to make the world a better place to be alive in and I want to do that with Christians. And I want to laugh and cry and offer support and recieve help and have female friends I can hang out with here and there.

So that's what I'm looking for, starting this weekend. I haven't decided what service I'm going to, but I am going to the church I went to last year and seeing if that's going to be a good fit. If you're so inclined, pray for me. And for K to follow through on that conversation we had several months ago that he'd come with me sooner rather than later.


Julie said...

I will definitely be praying for you in that search for the right church. I know that "fake Christianity" is the biggest turn off to the world and that it is hard to find people who are real about their struggles. But we all have them! And church is the last place we should be trying to fool others into thinking we aren't broken!!! Your post was an interesting read. Let me know if you find a good fit... :)

m3li558 said...

Thanks Julie. :)