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Spiritual Struggle

I hesitate to write about this because I have no idea if anyone from my church has found my blog. I doubt it, but you never know…I decided to go ahead anyway, because I’m really struggling and I seem to do better if I write things out.

Mike and I started attending church a little over a year ago. The congregation accepted us with open arms and everyone has been incredibly nice. The kids love going and Maggie has loved playing in the nursery room since day one. Burke has just started to let us leave him down there, but he’s loving it now as well. Logan hates it when we rush out, but he enjoys playing as well. And all of the ‘Tweens who help out down there seem to really get a kick out of all 3 kids. (They even give me hugs – which is cool.)

Many of the adults in the church are much older than we are, but like I said – they welcome us with open arms. There are others there our age, with kids about the same age as our kids (mostly a little older though).  Not a LOT of kids in the church, but I’m fairly certain that that’s actually the norm in our area.

So what’s the struggle? I don’t love the minister. Talking with him one-on-one is okay – he’s grown on me over the past year. But listening to him preach takes a lot out of me. His messages are…well, preachy. (For example, the message I took away last week was “The World is Wrong.” Not really the best message – in my opinion.) And the entire service is so … down. I mean, I swear this guy finds the darkest passages and the darkest hymns and builds his sermons around them. I can understand “dark” every once in a while…but you really don’t have to look that hard to find uplifting passages and hymns. To top it off, most of the messages are pretty accusatory. (“If you have money in your pocket, you’re not doing the word of God.” And lots of “You must”s and “Never do”s … I guess I’m just not an absolutest.)

To be fair, I had two amazing ministers while growing up and it’s hard to not compare things to them. Both have incredible senses of humor – a must in my book. And their messages were almost always (if not entirely) uplifting. They never made me feel like I was being accused of doing – or not doing – something, but I “got” the messages they were sending. I suppose it helped that they were both close family friends as well…

I guess my point is, if you can get your messages across without all the doom and gloom, why do people still use it?

8 Responses

  1. Difficult one girl! We made the decision a few years ago to leave our congregation and move to a neighbouring one partly for the same reason. I have not been sorry once.

  2. I don’t see God as “doom and gloom” OR “absolutest” so like you, I get equally frustrated with that type of dispensed “message.” Many in my own family (not nuclear) are VERY, VERY black and white about things, and I’ve learned to bite my tongue, or just not voice my varied perspective to keep the peace. (It’s taken 44 years!) That said, my first thought was, I’d just not go to the services! Enjoy the Sunday School, the activities, etc., and don’t attend the worship service if it takes you further away from God than closer to Him.

    If the other aspects aren’t enough, then I’d likely look elsewhere….and certainly outside denomination if that is not an imperative for you.

    The church (and I discovered later, the denomination is notoriously narrow) of my earliest days was VERY much as you describe; so I’ve REALLY run the gamut of groups within my faith to discover one in which I feel we can openly and respectfully discuss our God-given differing beliefs, convictions and interpretations.

    I do believe it is so important/beneficial for kids to have a group outside family and school that reinforces that they are loved, and cared for, and that a behavioral expectation is important.

    Lawsy…rambling! Sorry! You struck an all too familiar chord. Best in your decision making process! It’s completely worth the effort. 🙂

  3. Hi Nancy,

    It is simply the Minister’s personality. Some folks see the glass as half full, others half empty. Your guy is a doom and gloomer, and he will not change. I would find another service. Why go to something as uplifting as church and get a downer as the message. Love ya, Pop Pop

  4. I was raised in doom and gloom, Brian was raised in everything is peachy. We’re still looking for a nice, middle ground area. I like to be told that I am not perfect once in awhile. As a Christian, we sometimes forget that we aren’t…that’s why we need Jesus! There CAN be a nice medium…but I’ve found the newer churches are the only ones that “get” that. We’ve been searching off and on for a new church for a year. I guess we’re pretty picky.

    I think that there is a church for everyone who wants to attend one. I’ve also found that preachers are gifted in certain areas. Some have the preaching, but no person to person skills. Some are incredible at Pastoral Care, but really are not orally talented. Some make you feel like family, while others really hold you at an arm’s length away. You need to know what’s most important for you and your family. (the lack of kids is a problem…especially later when they don’t want to be there!!) I wish you luck, in whatever you do.

  5. Interesting topic but I concur with most above. You have to be getting spiritually fed at your church and growing spiritually and with the doom and gloom, it doesn’t sound like that is happening. It is unfortunate due to the fact that the kids are comfortable but I think it is important that the entire family be comfortable. Do a little visiting around and see what you find.

  6. I’m sorry you aren’t that happy with your preacher. Do you think anyone else at the church is unhappy with the message he gives? Just wondering, if he would be around for a while. Sometimes if the rest of the church doesn’t like him, they’ll get rid of him sooner. Either way, I hope you find somewhere and some uplifting!

  7. You are right ! (Isn’t it great when I say that to you?!) You were spoiled by having grown up with 2 fabulous ministers as part of your spiritual life. I really miss being in their congregations and it has taken awhile each time we moved to find a church into which I fit. I agree with the folks above who suggest visiting several churches — in or out of the denomination — until you find one that fits you and your family. I also agree with Heather that I like to find a church that reminds me of my imperfections – what, I’m not perfect?? — and also puts forth a generally positive message about a loving God.

  8. hey there…we may have talked about this already, but if not…I was raised Catholic, and disagree w/ much of the Catholic Church “politics.” And, many of the parishes I attended, their message was “doom and gloom” and “we’re all sinners.” Not very uplifiting! Several years ago, I attended a Baptist Church with my BIL &SIL in LV, and I was overwhelmed with the positive energy and messages!! I attended a few more times when we visited and I decided to go “church shopping.” Although my mom isn’t thrilled that I”m not attending a Catholic Church, she is pleased that I have “discovered” God on my terms. I’ve been attending the Wilm. Methodist Church off-and-on for the past 6 mths. And my boys really enjoy it too! Positive energy, sermons that make you feel good and/or think about issues, welcoming atmosphere. Good Luck!

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