I haven’t said a word about this online at all … but here goes what little I can get out.
At our church that we are members of, something happened a couple of years ago which really bothered me at first, and then as time went on the situation got worse, and it became what I view as a doctrinal difference that makes me unable to take Communion there.
I won’t be more clear than that, in this post, as I don’t feel free enough to write about it yet.
In any case, I have continued to go to church there all along, but not as frequently in the past year as before. Things have bothered me physically, for one, and that is in particular “allergies” which were really bad all Winter long, oddly, and it wasn’t just me … others in different areas of The South had similar things. For me, I had long before learned that “to go to church on Sunday” meant a cold beginning on Wednesday for sure almost, from Dec. to Feb., unless you were able to avoid contact with people physically, and the children did so too. Ha.
So with allergies, that means a lower immunity and yes, we stayed home a lot and just have been better off due to such non-activity. Winter flowed right into Spring, allergies just ramped up. They are still out there, bothering me more sometimes than others. I commented to my DH last year early on that I wasn’t happy about going to church for more than one reason, one big one being “I have to take drugs if I go”. I have to take preventative allergy/sinus meds or suffer more and take them afterwards. Their building has made me sick very often, and it’s gotten worse as time has gone on.
I have high sensitivities to mold and chemicals. Cleaning supplies, carpets, synthetic things … ick. The church was built new in 1997. It wasn’t great when it was new, due to being “NEW”, which is no fun for a sensitive person. Later it got even worse, and they found out that there were some a/c filters in an attic that had NEVER been changed, like two years of use. Once that was discovered and fixed, things did improve, but never enough to make me feel alright.
So add trouble to any of that, and it’s so much easier to just avoid it all.
It’s also a fact that I am who I am, my personality. I’ve seen things exploding in people size groups … it used to be a small cozy church, growing, but not exploding. Now it’s just too noisy, almost everyone is unfamiliar to me, core people have left, other core people are still there, but the masses in the morning crowd and swell and those folks are hard to see. Night time services on Sunday are much better. Less people, mostly those I know, and it’s just so much quieter. Morning has music with corporate singing. That music used to be, longer ago, a piano and a violin, sometimes a flute, that sort of thing. It’s way more than that now. We used to sit at the front, and it was bad enough there. With not being there for several weeks, we all went a week ago for the morning service and sat a few rows in front of the music players. I had sensory overload. I mean, a rock concert isn’t as horrid as that was.
I must state many of the things that bother me, the little things, are about church size, growth ideas, and style of preaching. It’s more “intellectual” there, and that was great the first few years. But we’ve missed an applicational style of preaching to the personal heart. I wanted to find another place to worship since before the “problem” that I can’t really write about occured. So it’s not a new thing for me, but only something that my DH was aware of. He disagreed, and so we stayed, and have encountered more and more and more, so much that finally this year he agrees that it’s not good to stay, not that we will surely leave, but we have found another place to go to, and will visit other places still. The place we have found is a wonderful congregation, small, meeting in the pastors house for now. They are part of the Free Church of Scot. con’t. and we love the preaching style, the people there are genuine and love God with all their heart, soul, and mind. The preaching is definitely to the heart. It’s the way of that denomination. Music is “exclusive Psalmody” so done without instruments, voices only. The Psalter they use is quite different from the Trinity Psalter that “our member church” uses. I don’t like that one, but love the Free Church’s … I hadn’t been in an “exclusive psalmist” service before, so couldn’t really agree or disagree with it, though before I tended to probably think I disagreed with it. We’ve been to four Sundays of going to Free Church, and that means, in our case, two times morning and afternoon, and two times afternoon only, and one time morning only — I think that is right. If so, that means four songs for each service, so up to 20+ Psalter songs … and each one is quite lovely, the actual words are so real, whereas Trinity’s seem watery (I’ve compared those to scripture time and again and came away disgusted …)
I’m a musical person, so go figure that I really love the very plain way of worship. I saw it in “our member church” in some way, when we first went to it, in the first couple of years. But it has changed. No way is it ‘modern’ like so many churches are going, it’s still quite conservative comparatively. Comparison to Free Church though is night and day. It’s loud and rushed at “our member church” in the mornings. At night it’s a cappella and songs are picked from the congregation, taking turns picking from each side of the aisle for several choices. It’s much nicer, therefore, at night.
I have noticed that at Free Church my children are paying more attention to the sermon. I can say absolutely it means much more to me that this is true, it means much to me, the sermons do, and they are also speaking to my children. My DD 7 asked me some things yesterday, things about God, which prompted me to tell her the story from Garden of Eden to Jesus’ Ascension. She listened intently to every word and had many interesting comments. I’m seeing the Lord work deeply in her heart moreso lately, like the past year in evidence, but the last month, wow!
My boys are 10 and 5, and they are listening too, still not quite as opened to some issues, but inroads are obvious.
Finding another church, thus far, has been a boon for us in ways so hard to describe, just let me say, such blessings.
The people there are the main ones (almost the only ones) who aided us in our home repairs during the time we needed help the other week. We knew some of them from our church before, but they had left to go to Free Church a couple of years ago. The others we had only met once, and they so graciously aided us and worked long, hard hours of labour with DH. What a blessing they were to us.
The fellowship there is great. The Sundays are arranged such as the morning service begins at 11am, then everyone has lunch together, “potluck”, and then at about 2pm the afternoon service, then afterwards dessert and more fellowship. Then onward homebound we all are. In the case of a full day of Free Church, we get home between 5pm and 6:30pm depending on how much talking we and the others do.
THAT is a Sabbath I have longed for, so long I’ve longed for it.
“Our member church” is 10:30am and 6:00pm … once a month “dinner” after the morning service, but that has been something that for us isn’t worth it for a long time, and so we have avoided it mostly. I would like it, but no matter what we bring, others bring such things that there is little to no choice beyond salad or something else maybe nicer, but mostly not much. I used to make 3lbs. of beef meatballs, they were so good and you know, if we got three of those meatballs between our whole family it was a miracle. Didn’t matter where in the line we were. Well, that’s only a little thing, there are things about it that are hard to say, but this I will say, in finding a seat, often we’d sit down with our stuff and others still hadn’t sat down mostly, some tables were full, most empty, so we’d picked a table that was empty, and most every time no one would sit with us. We sat down in order to allow others to sit with us, left room for them. We didn’t sit with anyone since there weren’t open spaces for our family as such. It never went well. Atimes we’d find someone to talk to, but usually not. It was just a mess, and I’d always go home hungry. At home it’s frustrating on any Sunday when going to “our member church” due to having to make a meal, and then rush back to night service.
It’s so much nicer to just get something ready on Saturday to take to church. Go to church in the AM with your stuff, and eat lunch between services and have as much fellowship as any Christian could want for after each service. I don’t know if they’ll continue this pattern when they find a building, the Free Church that I’m talking about that we do attend now when we can. I will make sure to find out if this is their intent, or what it is. It is such a delight to worship like that. Soaking it up as much as I can.
Someday I might feel free enough to write more on what’s the ‘big deal’ that bothers me at “our member church”. Right now it’s not something I can publish, it’s something that should be dealt with, but might not have any resolving on either side — which seems most likely to me. My views are not taken kindly by them, but I see my views as being in the right, with church polity being important, and some others angles of it as are connected being superbly only what scripture teaches most simply, which is the common-ist position any could take, and that is trouble when they don’t see that at all.
For now DH is having us go to Free Church for morning service, and lunch, then home to rest and ready ourselves, and then go to “our member church” at 6:00pm. We did that this past Sunday. The Sunday before we did “our member church” in the morning and then went to Free Church for their afternoon service. We got stuck talking to some after the morning service, so missed being able to get to Free Church before lunch was over. We got something to eat afterwards, they were kind enough to get things out for us. That day was a bad one for me though, I truly had a horrid time from the morning service. This past Sunday was much better, but my body goes nuts when getting ready for something unliked, and I was miserable at home until we went. I had to lie abed resting trying to get myself from falling apart. It wasn’t so very bad, but wasn’t as kinful feeling, as Free Church folk are to us, if that makes any sense at all.
I do like some of the people as “our member church” so it’s not about them. It’s about the whole building and what their plans for the future building are, and how the service goes in the morning and the issue that I can’t speak of fully …
As I said earlier, I am soaking up the environs of Free Church as much as I can, and it’s so very healing. There are things about it that make it so we feel we won’t be able to join this church officially, but we are great friends to them inspite of that and would love to keep going there until we find somewhere else, though DH is allowing us to say we aren’t necessarily leaving “our member church” but it does seem the ultimate way it will go, unless everything else out there is just so bad … but then that leaves me in a tizzy situation of not being able to take Communion forever, amen. 🙁