Sunday, March 1, 2009

Open the doors, see all the people...

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.


  1. As you know, this is the exact same thing we are struggling with. I, too, would love to attend a more fellowship type service/church whereas my husband, is almost turned away with that kind of worship. I also don't want to be a multiple church family and it is so important to me that we worship and grow spiritually together. I just don't know what to do! If you ever come up with a solution, please share. I'll be praying for you guys!

  2. I really understand what you are going through.

    My husband grew up in a traditional Methodist church, and I grew up in a contemporary Presbyterian church. Like you, worship music is what really makes me feel connected and like I am learning something. John doesn't particularly care what type of music is at the service, but is content with hymnals and 5 minute sermons.. I just can't settle for that.

    We have been searching for a church, but it is SO hard. We recently decided to hold off and look again when we buy a house and are more settled. Ugh.

  3. Here's my bizarre perspective. As an atheist, I suppose you might expect I'd like as contemporary a bit as possible, but, having grown up Catholic, I'm not so much a fan of all the fellowship stuff. I'm much more entertained by a somber, ritualistic experience; I like the historical stuff at play.

    I'm equally frustrated with finding a therapist, though, so I sympathize. For some reason, the similarities seem to pop up to me.

  4. I read your post this morning and I was obviously in my typical morning stupor because it wasn't until I revisited it later that I realized how creative your title was! ;) I haven't thought about that for a long time...maybe you and J should just start your own church, right from your own little fingers.

  5. Also, do you think gender might have something to do with what kind of service people are attracted to? How does that play out in your family?


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