05 July 2009

Church of Amanda Issues Its First Newsletter

It's Sunday again, and I'm not in church.

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!!)

8 comments:

  1. I so feel you all over that blog! I'll pray that you get to come home soon and if it's not His plan that you return soon i pray that the right church 'falls into your lap' . :-)

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  2. It really is hard, especially when you've known a true church family in the past, and now can't find one. I totally get it.

    I hope the guilt isn't there though. I mean, guilt just doesn't serve much of a purpose other than making things worse than they really are. You can have God and church at home, you really can. Hopefully you'll find a regular church to fill the void, but in the meantime...NO guilt :)

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  3. Jeff and I left our previous church (we were lifelong Baptists at that point) in 2005. We were broken and battered and in need of a new church home. God took us straight to the door of a place that was so outside our comfort zone that it was almost funny (we went from a church of less than 200 to a MEGA church). He has proven over and over that this is where he wants us to be and to serve. The best part? Great kids' Sunday school (or Saturday - love it!).

    At our church, there is only Sunday school for the kids while there are small groups (that meet during the week in people's homes) for the adults. GASP - no Sunday school for adults? Our parents still have issues with that one. (and the 8000 weekly attendees...and the music...and the screens...and the attire...and it's not Baptist)

    My point...do what works for you! The early church didn't have Sunday school or programs for children. I think the most important part of "church" is the fellowship with other believers - which can be done inside or outside of a designated church building. True worship can take place anywhere and can only be between you and God (or you and 300 people you don't really know).

    At least you are trying to find the answers (or a way back to Birmingham)!

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  4. I see how that can be difficult... I was raised in a Christian home and had my childhood church that I felt at home in. Now I have yet to find thee church for my son and I. (the fiance is strongly non religous) I have lived in Victoria for 2 years and found a church that I like, but then we moved half an hour away.

    In relaize the importance of having a church home myself and my son so that i can raise him with the foundations he needs to be a man of God. on the otherhand I feel uncomfortble attneding church as his father and are not married and feel that I will be judged.

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  5. Church is not simply "you should go b-c 'it's the right thing to do'". It IS the right thing to do, but more importantly, as Christians...followers of Jesus Christ, The Bible tells us we should go...Hebrews 10:25 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." There are more verses that talk about us (Christians) being a part of the body of Christ and if we, as His body, do not do His will, then the body suffers...1 Corinthians 12:14-23.

    I encourage you and your family to join a church, there are MANY great, loving churches in town that I am sure you would LOVE. I will definitely be praying for that.

    There is definitely NOTHING wrong with "church at home"...but you are more able to receive accountability from a church family that you may/may not receive at home. And THAT is very important! (Accountability from elders, deacons, pastors, and even Sunday School teachers!)

    Anyways....Like I said, I will definitely be praying that you guys find a good church home where all of you feel comfortable and loved by EVERYONE! :o)

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  6. @HeatheroftheEO - NO GUILT or... at least I am struggling with that one, but you are right, it serves no purpose.

    @Blondie - Why is it so dang hard? Ok, well.. I kinda get it. I mean, it's CHURCH and we are supposed to LIKE most of the people, so I get WHY it's hard, I just wish it weren't... blah blah blah

    @Siera - Oh! I can imagine your dilema! That's part of my problem, in that, some (if not most, sadly) of the churches we've been to here ACT nice, but are all judgey-judgey people behind your back. That's NOT what church is supposed to be about!

    I hope you can find a place that won't judge you, no matter what, and that you are comfortable in. Being a un-wed mother is a difficult social issue and you need a place that will stop the judging and START supporting you and your child!

    Would they rather you marry quickly and possibly end in divorce, just to appease them or take your time in developing your relationship with your fiance?

    And thanks for commenting!

    @Rachel - Thank you for that first scripture! It really does emphasize, to me, how important it is to find a church for our family - whether that be on the "long run" or if something "falls in our laps". You are right, too, about praying to either find a place here or whether this is a sign from God that this isn't the place for us.

    I sometimes feel that He has already shown us that Montgomery is temporary in other signs, but that He wants us here for now. One point being that in Montgomery, Michael gets WAY more hours with the boys and with them being so young, that time is priceless.

    Once they are older, I could see where we might out grow Montgomery and need the larger schools, athletics and our Church Home (oh! and FRIENDS! They'll need those!).

    Thanks for keeping us in your prayers! I'm praying for the Hunt family's new adventures too!

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  7. Thank you so much Amanda!! :o)

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  8. I struggle with this sometimes, too. I get so frustrated at the politics of churches, etc. and even though we've found a great small group at our church, we're not comfortable with their overall church experience. I know that if we decide to educate our kids by homeschool, though (which I struggle w/ but we can't afford the private school we always wanted to put them in - where we went)then the social atmosphere at church is going to be our kids' biggest social outlet. Sigh. Once you're a parent, it becomes even more complicated, doesn't it? :S

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