I've always been a firm believer of the mantra "Going to church makes you as much of a Christian as going to a garage makes you an automobile", but obviously church serves a purpose.
When I was little, my mom hauled my sister and I to church every single Sunday. My dad stayed home and did whatever it was he did when my mom was off toting us from one commitment to another...
It was a smaller church, but not too small. I can vividly picture the sanctuary and it's high wooden beam ceiling, the green carpet and the communion alter. I'd be able to pick out the play kitchen without quibble in a line-up of hundreds. I still remember the smell.
When I was a little older, around 10 probably, I remember it being my turn as an Acolyte and I was over the moon. I got to play a special part. I got to wear a special robe. I got to LIGHT A CANDLE!
A lot of my fonder memories as a young child stem from that church - the gym and dodge ball, my first Pre-K "performance" program (I was Summer (maybe Spring, mom?), we did the seasons - and my mom searched for DAYS for the perfect little outfit. It was a pink and white stripped dress).
I wandered around one day and discovered the church had a library! EEK! Nerd Alert: I scanned those shelves for what seemed to be an eternity.
My point here is, as I've said before, that church was home. People knew me and my family, I was comfortable, I was involved and it was a place to learn about the Lord.
Many of you pointed out in my Church of Amanda post that you feel similar to how I feel about finding and being comfortable in a church. If you aren't comfortable or if you are pressured then picking a church becomes much more difficult... and it feels impossible.
Should I attend some place every Sunday with my kids (and husband) in tow just because it's the right action? I don't believe so.
When Michael and I became engaged, we started going to church again and he left a church on 280 (in Birmingham) that he enjoyed but was more contemporary, and I'm an old-school gal. It wasn't a problem for him because the church we were switching to was the church he grew up in (Mountain Brook Baptist) and the Senior Pastor was such an amazing man.
So, we were baptized to join (my first actual baptismal as I had been Christened as a baby (Methodist). That was the first time I felt at "home" again in a church. The pastor was an amazing man, and still plays a major role in our lives as well as the boys (both boys have been "presented" to the church, and in a private ceremony, this BAPTIST minister CHRISTENED my boys... he's that amazing).
I never thought I could feel the same way I felt about my first church at another place - but this church sure fit the bill. No, it was the denomination of my choosing, but in the right church that doesn't matter. This place put very little (to no...) emphasis on the "baptist" part and more effort into being just a place to openly worship the Lord.
I found it so comforting.
And then, we moved here. As I mentioned in the Church of Amanda post, I have accepted the idea that we won't be going to a building with other people worshipping simultaneously, but rather attempting to raise the boys in a Christian atmosphere in our home.
It's just... so dang hard. I fear that the boys will not know of amazing Sunday School teachers and stories from the Bible (as they tell them). They won't practically pass out when they get a part in the church play or a job passing the offering plate. There's no hallways to explore or libraries to find. Yes, God is here in our home, but it's not the same... in some ways.
The Grandparents, both sets, keep bringing up that the "boys need to be in church". My question though is "why?". Because you want them to be involved? Well, Conner goes to school there and in a year, so will Chase. Because it's the "right thing to do" ? What if we aren't comfortable? THEN is it the right thing to do?
The best reason: Because you want to make sure they have a relationship with God? THAT I get - and agree completely.
In parenting, the fears are innumerable, but the fear of my children growing up without a Church Home definitely carries a lot of weight.
I'm praying that we find some balance.
I'm praying that we can raise the boys to the best of our abilities.
And to be completely honest? I'm praying we get to go back home sometime soon.
(And on a lighter note: Make sure and enter the Pitter Pat House giveaway hosted by The Mom Job... just click the image in the top of the left sidebar - maximum 4 entries per person and it ends this Friday!!)