It all started with a conversation at work with my friends Laura and Gina. Laura (my fellow blogger)and I had been talking about going back to church for some time. We both had grown up in the church, and felt the need to get back in the church going groove. I was raised southern baptist and had lived in the church every Sunday from am to pm from the time I was a a baby all through high school. I didn't know anything else....until I hit college! The belief in God never wavered, but church attendance came to a screeching halt (until I came home for breaks that is!). My one attempt to attend in college involved going to a Catholic church with a friend within walking distance of my dorm. Upon entering, I was asked if I wanted to present the gifts. Of course! I was so excited, envisioning myself handing out beautifully wrapped presents to church members. Only to find out later, in a very awkward moment, that was not what they meant......
So, that brings me to today...I have become one of THOSE people. The ones that only attend church on Easter and Christmas. The ones that sit in the back. The ones that hope their lack of church attendance will not be exposed!!! At least on Easter and Christmas when I am there...
Laura and I decided it would be one of our resolutions. Along with losing weight (my old stand by) we would try out different churches together in the hopes of finding one that connected. We told everyone at work. "You are going to get spiritual AND skinny?" our friend Sybil asked when we told her. Yes! Yes! It sounds so simple right? Start going to church. We know why it's important to go, why we want to go, and the real reason to go. But as I remembered a conversation from the break room last month, I knew it would not be that easy...it went something like this -
Me - I do not want to have to worry about parking. I don't want to have to take a shuttle or walk far.
Laura - I am not looking for companionship. I have enough friends! I just want to go to church and listen.
Me - agreed! I would like someone to notice I am new though. Maybe say a quick hello, welcome...but no more than that!
Laura - I do not want people talking to me during the service saying "peace" and shaking my hand. That makes me uncomfortable.
Me - me too! I do not like that! I am also not a fan of prayer benches. It is hard for me to cross my legs.
Laura - I also like a padded pew. I don't want to have to get up and take communion. I would like to remain seated and not share a cup.
Me - yes, and I need to be able to come in late without people giving me a dirty look. The sermon needs to be very interesting...otherwise I will daydream and write notes.
Laura - yes, don't just read scripture. Read it and then turn it into a story I can relate to. I want my hymns in a hymnal only. I do not want a program insert or loose paper. I need to see the notes.
Me - the sermon needs to be timely. An hour at the most.
Our friend Gina, who witnessed this whole convo, asked us if we were sure we were ready for church. "Sounds like God has his work cut out for him!". Some might think it sounds high maintenance, but we look at it as an important decision, and we might as well have some criteria going in. Of course, I know there is a bigger picture than all those small things...and if you find that, those little things won't matter, right?
Well, all except the padded pew ;)