Tim and I have 90% of our conversations about religion in the car. Not sure why it happens that way, but when we’re heading somewhere is when, inevitably, the conversation turns to religion. On the way to dinner during one of our early dates was when he told me that he was Catholic and any children he had would have to be Catholic as well. I was driving home from work the day I called him on my mobile to let him know that I’d decided to convert to Catholicism. It was during a trip across town four years ago that we agreed it was time to leave the Catholic Church and explore what the world of Protestantism had to offer. And it was yesterday when we were driving down to Tractor Supply Co. (oh, how I love that store!) that we ended up on the subject again. I was telling him about what was going on at the church we belong to, which we’ve been unable to attend because their service times don’t align with my schedule, and how things are rapidly changing there. We discussed my frustrations with being unable to find the denomination that I felt was right for us, and I admitted that I missed praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Tim told me that I was welcome to return to the Catholic Church, and I asked him if he wanted to. His response was telling. “I want to go somewhere that doesn’t bore me. I don’t want a seven minute lecture about pro-life stuff and then 50 minutes of the same stuff as every other week. I want sermons. I want biblical history. I want to feel like that world connects with our world.”
That’s probably the most passionate I’ve heard him be when it comes to his faith. His eyes were opened when we joined the UMC and he was blessed to hear sermons by truly gifted pastors. I still don’t know why I’m hesitant to dive back into the church we belong to. Twelve years ago, I was so passionate about that particular church. It brought me back to Christ. Then again, I was a wholly different person twelve years ago than I am now. My spiritual journey was just beginning, and I was standing on a tiny dirt path that led out of some very dark woods. I barely recognize the young woman that I was, and maybe that’s why I’m not shoehorning myself into being “that girl” who just blindly attends that church now.
Tim and I continued to discuss this for a while and I learned a few more interesting tidbits. Tim believes his infant baptism is valid and he’s absolutely not interested in joining any church that requires another baptism. I wasn’t baptized until I became Catholic, so I’m more of a “believer’s baptism” kinda gal, but part of finding the right denomination for us as a couple is talking about what we believe (and reject) and finding something that works for both of us. I believe that these conversations will continue in the coming weeks and, in the meantime, I will continue my exploration of denominations. I’ve been listening to sermons from the Nazarene church lately and I’m really enjoying those.
This whole spiritual journey thing is challenging. Every time I settle on something, I get that burning in my chest that seems to say, “Keep moving, kid.” So then I start exploring again. I hate that my sleep schedule prevents my ability to roll out of bed every Sunday morning and try a different church. Others I know that work on the night shift have no problem modifying their schedules to “normal” on the weekends. My body won’t agree to let me alter my sleep hours. If I go to bed early, I will lie wide awake until the time arrives that I normally would have gone to bed, and then and only then will I drift to sleep. This means that a 9am Sunday morning service is very hard to make when I’ve only fallen asleep three hours before. Still, the exploration continues. I want to make sense of it all and find that place that feels like “home.” Until then, it’s just me and my Bible and a plethora of podcasts and prayer.
3 thoughts on “If the spiritual journey is like a winding road, I’m stuck on a bypass…”
I commented on another of your religious posts, so I thought I’d comment on this one. This is just my two cents…
In one of the several churches I’ve tried, there was a whole sermon about how our lives are this journey to understand God better and become better ourselves. We’ll never fully get there (otherwise we’d be God) and that’s why we need Jesus, but the journey is important.
Perhaps for churches it’s a similar thing. All of these churches give me (and hopefully you too) a different flavor and experience. I haven’t settled on one and don’t know if I ever will, but the fact that I’m trying to listen to what God has to say to me means something to Him. And the fact that you’re listening to your heart means something too.
In matters of politics, religion, etc. I always tell my mom “Don’t you think if there was one way that was clearly superior to the rest we would’ve arrived at it by now?” Basically, politics, religion, etc. are personal things that many people from many different vantage points will have differing views on. I think it’s a myth that there’s one right way. Are there wrong ways? Absolutely, but I’m not sure that the one and only way exists. And the thing that irks me the most about churches and an easy way to guarantee I won’t ever come back is the “holier than thou”, “my way or the highway” attitude some churches/individuals have.
Sorry for the rant, but yet again, your post really stirred something in me.
I struggle with this whole idea of believing in Christ, not believing in a church. I need a church to help with my spiritual development, ya know? And I just can’t find what I’m looking for. OR I think I’ve found it but can’t reconcile myself with some of the beliefs so I have to step away from it. It’s confusing and frustrating and everyone believes that their church is “the way.” I’m tired of being so frustrated with it all, but I just don’t know what to do anymore. 😦
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