Sunday, September 09, 2007

church - life without it?

what do i really want to say about this? about church?
how can i say anything without it coming out wrong?
can i say anything without the fear of being misunderstood, judged?
no.
can i say anything without further turning people off who are already feeling that way?
that's not my intention. .
so respectfully i simply say that i'm confused and lost.
i can't seem to find my way.
i can say i am afraid to 'sign up' with any church.
i am afraid to trust.
once i had passion for the potential of a true church,
the love of God shared between everyone. . covering over all the imperfections and radiating and attracting people who were lonely, hungry for more that all the 'isms' life could offer.
authentic
genuine
forgiving
but i didn't find this.
or maybe i wasn't living this myself?
too harsh on others?
immature?
not giving God the key to my heart, but locking it up on my own. .
shooting from the lip after taking the hits. . .
was i able to forgive where forgiveness was not offered?
that's hard. no i haven't let myself.
stuck.

i bristle when i even think of routines, rituals, tradition for traditions' sake, 'packaging', regulations - the kinds of things people seem to want to impose on other people.
i was born into 'church' and i have left 'church'.
i'm furious with church but i'm empty for church
i want church , i don't want it
i've looked at church from both sides now. . .i really don't like church at all.
*liberties with Joni Mitchell lyric noted*

am i saying i don't like God?
am i saying i don't like other people?
am i saying i don't like myself?

no
well. . .
maybe this is it?

what gives me this jaundiced view of church?


them?
me?


yes
yes

now what?
and so what?
suck it up, buttercup. . get over yourself .. DO something

can i wear his grace like a garment and know the love of Christ as my foundation?
i want to.
its so simple and so difficult
i don't shun God, but i shun an institution, that whether i like it or not, represents him on this earth?
isn't that the same thing?
But the institution isn't doing a very good job!
But how can i say this if i'm not doing any better?
I am confused and lost.
hurt
wounded
skittish
angry
stuck

help me

9 comments:

J9 said...

Oh, Kathy! I share your frustrations! It's so hard to know what to do, when you want to do what's right, but you're frustrated by a church run by people who let their humanness get in the way. I'd like to think that our relationship with God does not depend on membership in an established "church", but then we are told not to forget to gather together with other believers. I guess it just depends on what form our "church" takes - as far as I'm concerned, a weekly bible study/gathering can be much more effective for worship and spiritual growth for many than going to a "church service" on Sunday morning and sitting in your assigned pew, singing the assigned songs, reading the assigned scripture reading... Traditional "church" may be the be-all-and-end-all for some, but in my mind, it's not for everyone. Personally, I don't feel right if I don't belong to a church. But that doesn't apply to all, how we worship is as individual as we are.

In my opinion, it's quite all right to be disillusioned with the way "church" is run in the established denominations (I'm disillusioned with my church, and the SA in general, on a pretty regular basis) -- but I just hope you're not isolating yourself from other Christians with whom you can have fellowship, and with whom you can worship Him, on a regular basis.

Have you ever read "And The Shofar Blew" by Francine Rivers? Great novel that really touches on the topic.

kathryn said...

Janine. . thank you for sharing your thoughts, hon. I totally get what you're saying and i think you're completely right.

i have been isolating myself. . i guess i've thought its easier. you get into the pattern and it becomes your new Sunday routine.

thanx also for the book recommendation. .

Tee said...

{{{{KATHRYN}}}}

You are *so* not alone. This post brought tears to my eyes. I haven't been to church for a month now and I feel extreme guilt... But is guilt and fear what should bring me to church?

No, I don't think so.

I know I need to get back to God - get closer, and be an example to the kids. The kids need to grow up in Sunday school, with a good foundation...

More guilt because I *STILL* don't *WANT* to go. Have I ever really liked church? ... No, I never have. Not even as a kid.

Every church I get involved with ends up having issues.

I'm tired of churches full of gossip, Pastors with wrong priorities, judgemental and uppity congregations. I'm tired of people being pushy. I'm tired of people acting like they have a fantastic relationship with God, when on the inside they're filled with doubt just like me.

I'm tired of my Pastor focusing on growing in numbers and evangelizing, while forgetting about the flock he already has who need guidance.

I'm tired of Pastors who tell me to vote Republican.

...... I could go on. Just know, you're not alone.

J9 said...

What was that famous quote by Ghandi?..."I would have followed Jesus Christ, if it weren't for the Christians"... I think the best thing you can do for yourself, is to gather with other Christians who are like-minded, and fellowship and worship with them on a regular basis. God knows we need to lean on others in our walk, we can't do it alone. That's why he wants us to gather together. Remember, "where two or three are gathered in My Name, there I will be also". There is so much to be found in scripture as to what a church is supposed to be, and what it is NOT supposed to be. And frankly, I don't think there's a single established formal "church" who's gotten it right!! Remember, the early "church" was simply impromptu gatherings held in people's houses. Do you think you could give that idea a try?

Drumstick said...

Kat, we need to get together for that coffee. I do hear your frustrations of hurt, woundedness, anger, etc.

As a result, we want to support you & Rob in any way we can.

I mean it - We are here for you!

Blessings!
Roland

kathryn said...

Tee. . . thank you for your kind words. I always appreciate them. You know, it helps to hear, or in this case see, that i'm not alone. I most often feel like i am. Thank you. I'll pray for you. Now my turn to remind you. . . you're not alone! ((BIG HUG))

kathryn said...

ah, Roland. . thank you too for your thoughtfulness. rob and i are having quite the struggle. different personalities deal with difficulty in their own way.*sigh*

Jonny & Julie Pollock said...

As a Christian who struggles with the idea of "church" i often found it hard to relate to people who I felt never lived in the real world. I really empathise with you as sometimes I feel just "grrr" with people in our church. My wife and I felt God's call to the mission field in Mexico, and our church was fully behind us in prayer. 7 weeks on, yeah they pray for us on a Sunday and at services....but the e-mails have stopped, the nice messages and stuff have stopped. But thankfully God doesn't stop, and sure people aren't perfect (we all know that - cos i'm on of them!) but church is a group of Christian's who you can laugh, cry, shout, let of steam, and just flounder with. You seem to have a lot of people in your church Kat! We're praying for you!

kathryn said...

Dear Jon and Julie:

Wow. . thank you for reading my thoughts on church and giving such an uplifting, lovely comment! I appreciate that so much. Its very nice to 'meet' you!!! I've added your blog to my favourites! I love that you're living in Mexico to help the people where you are. I'll keep you both in my prayers! My husband and i were in Mexico for our 25th anniversary, about a year and half ago. . we had won the trip in a contest and it was amazing to go there to such a beautiful resort. . however, we felt bad when we went into Chichen Itza. . the poverty. . it was so hard to see.

So sorry to hear of your own let downs with 'church'. . but you're right, people aren't perfect. . and God is and he doesn't let us down, ever!

I hope Jon is feeling all the way better now?! Food poisoning? eek!

take care of yourselves. . thank you for your kindness.