I've been having a hard time with church lately. I feel like by splitting our time between two churches, we aren't really engaged in either one, and now that there are two services at one of the churches, I feel even less engaged. Justin plays music at the 8am service both of the two Sundays that we attend that church (don't get me started on this...that's another point of drama entirely). No more than 10 people seem to attend the 8am service--all of the fellowship events are directly before or directly after the second service at 10:30am. Now, if one service was a traditional service and the other was a contemporary service, I wouldn't mind occasionally attending twice the same day just to get to participate in some of the fellowship. But I have absolutely no desire to sit through the exact same service twice in one day. I keep hearing to be patient, and that eventually more people will start coming to the early service, but honestly, they don't even have childcare for the first service, so I'm not sure how that's realistically going to happen.
So Justin played the first service today as usual, and I was frustrated by the whole situation as usual. Ryan and Renee were planning to attend service at a completely DIFFERENT church at 10am to talk to someone who was potentially interested in being a drummer for the band. Coincidentally, it's the same church that J and I have been going to (yes, that right...we're up to THREE churches that we're regularly involved with). It was a blessing to go--the church felt so full of LIFE. There were so many young people our age the service was very similar to the Lutheran church that I grew up in--they typically started with 30+ minutes of contemporary praise music, and then went into the order of service. Only, this was a fellowship church, so they just went into a study of the word, and didn't do the confession/absolution, creed, or any of that.
The only problem? While it was a great blessing for me, it really wasn't for J. Even though we both grew up Lutheran, our churches were so completely different (J's was very traditional, and mine was very contemporary), and we both really enjoyed the churches that we grew up in, and look for things that we grew up with in order to feel spiritually fed. For me, being spiritually fed comes mostly from the praise music, having people our age to be engaged in Bible Studies with, and the outreach ministries. For J, it comes mostly with the rituals--the pastor wearing robes, having an actual altar, and the complete order of service. A few years ago, I took a Sociology of Religion class, where part of the class was going around to various churches in the area--J's favorite was the catholic church, my favorite was the fellowship church. Because we're so different in terms of our history and what makes us feel connected, it seems like no matter what we do, one or the other of us isn't being fed spiritually.
When we have kids, I don't want to be jumping around back and forth between three different churches--I want to attend one. However, I just can't see us attending ANY of the churches that we're involved with exclusively and having both of us be happy in terms of our faith. I don't know what to do. Justin is adamant that he only wants to attend a Lutheran church, but also doesn't seem open to visiting any of the other Lutheran churches in the area. I don't know what that means for me, unless we go to church separately...which isn't something that I want either.