Thursday, June 05, 2008


We have not been making it to church too much lately. In fact, we have been twice since Easter. For those of you who do not remember when Easter was, it was a tad early this year, March 23rd. So yeah, we're not getting any attendance awards. Basically, our rash of non-attendance coincided with our church service being moved to 9am. And if you have a two-year-old you know that 1) you do not wake the two-year-old before the 2-year-old wants to awaken and that 2) you can not get anywhere in a hurry with a two-year-old. Our church is about 15 minutes away with no whammies. So if Stella sleeps past 7:45am, we ain't making it. Every time we have made it to church since they've been doing the transformation to Praise-y church, I've nearly fallen asleep and been really annoyed by the guilt that is heaped upon all of us. Tim tells me this is what the people want. They like to go to church on Sunday to cry and wail and hold their hands in the air and forget their miserable lives for an hour or two. Then they go back out into the world and yell at their kids and belittle their spouses before asking forgiveness again the next Sunday. This is not my idea of a grand time, as I do not find that my family makes me miserable and I don't really want to give up time I could be enjoying with them to seethe and feel resentful in a church pew each week. I'm also REALLY annoyed by the fact that they do not do a children's time in the early service and they do no edumacation at all during church, so Stella just goes to the nursery and plays with toys for an hour with the 2 other kids whose families come to the 9am service. Hardly a religious education. BUT after much discussion and a decision that we really did not want to make a decision about continuing to attend our church or not, it was decided that we would just make it if Stella woke up in time and if she didn't, we would not beat ourselves up about it. So Sunday she woke up at 7:30am and we went to church. I was facing it as the "make or break" service. If church sucked again this week, I was outie. To be a heathen or find another church, one of the two. So, of course, it was easily the best service in a while, although still not anywhere near as great as it used to be before we sold out to the "unchurched" or whatever the heck you'd call them. I was reminded of why I liked our church, mostly the people, who are awesome and like a second family, and I decided that I would just continue my haphazard church attendance until they pissed me off again.

Then we got a cheerful phone message from someone on the financial committee Tuesday night essentially asking for money, but as an afterthought also asking if we were happy with church and that she was "checking in." (I saw who it was and we were eating dinner, so I didn't answer). Both Tim and I did not return the message, but are both more than mildly annoyed with the fact that people from our church are now behaving like annoying telemarketers or our alma mater and calling us during dinner time for money.

We discussed the phone call a bit that night before forgetting about it entirely, decided that neither of us wanted to call them back, so I should send an email, but get Tim to give it the okay before I actually push the sent button. Tim is more allergic to church than I am, but he is kind enough to accompany me because it's something I consider important. But he also knows I have a habit of getting overworked and making big scenes when the church people piss me off. See, I have a lot of respect for our pastor and the others who run the church, but I don't think they have any more of a direct line to God than I do. In other words, I believe they can make mistakes that I can disagree with and I don't believe that they are infallible. In fact, I am wary of giving them money because I don't think they are good stewards of it and they are always running around saying "the sky is falling, the sky is falling, we're going to run out of money and close at the end of March if we don't get $80,000" and then nothing more is said and it is 2 months later and they're still open. So I have been drafting the email in my head for the past couple of days and I go back and forth between a long honest one or a "sorry, can't give right now" one. I sort of prefer the second option because I believe the first one might tip my hand and I'll be forced to stop going there and will have to find a new to at least Baptize my future children. While I want them to know how I REALLY feel, I know that it doesn't really matter because I've sent emails and discussed my concerns before and have basically been told, "sorry, we're dying, we've got to do whatever we can to get more sinners in so we can survive."

Hmm, I just re-read this post and it's starting to become apparent to me that just having nice people is not a good reason to continue going to a church. Stella's waking up, so I guess I'll have to hold that thought for another day. I'd appreciate any advice anyone has though!


Sarah said...

You are not a heathen because you don't go to church. So many organized religiions have moved so far away from what they were originally intended for, that I think you're a better person for NOT going and standing up for what you believe in. Maybe as a CEO Catholic (Chirstmas & Easter Only), I don't have a lot of room to talk...but I love my religion and what it means to me, but I have a strong dislike for the church and how it's corrupted those beliefs. I would much rather find God by taking a walk through a park on a Sunday morning, then listening to someone beat me over the head about how I donate enough money. And I think the God I know and love would understand.

Kate said...

Churches and money make my head hurt. Luckily, our church has enough money that they don't have to harass us that often. It's really hard to find a good balance of the message you want/need, people you like and who challenge you, lack of annoying things like pushing you to donate time, money, etc. constantly. We're having some trouble with choir now and it's driving us NUTS. So, I feel your pain.

And you're not a heathen for not going to church.