I went to church today.
It’s been a minute.
But I woke up even earlier than I normally wake for church, got the boys fed and dressed, and delivered us to the church for the early service. We’ve only ever made it to the early service three other times, so to make it after some time away from church as a whole seems a true miracle.
It’s always fun to choose a different service than you usually attend when returning to church. Seriously, it was my best idea ever. When the old ladies approached us after service with the, “Are you new here?,” I simply replied, “Oh, no. We’re members. We’ve just been attending the later service.” Which isn’t a lie. We have been. You know. Previously. Like in May.
And nothing makes you think about all the reasons and non-reasons and in-between-sons as to why you haven’t been attending church for the past three months more than sitting in a pew in the church where you feel most comfortable.
I mean, summer. We traveled a lot this summer. We went all the places and undertook so many adventures. But, honestly, we were in town and available to roll ourselves out of bed on one Sunday per month in June, July, and August. We legitimately could have made it to the later service with no problem each of the three Sundays we were here. We could have sat in our normal pew during our normal service and said hello to our normal people and been all kinds of normal.
1) Oh hey, when you’ve been traveling non-stop all summer and are offered the choice to sleep in—in your very own bed—the temptation to stay between the covers often wins out. Yes, I’m weak. Tired and weak. Especially when you’ve been spending all of your time with your kids, forcing them out of bed since they decided this was the first summer to sleep in at all seems… like a losing deal. A lazy morning in pajamas with no rushing and slow coffee and minimal whining.
2) Christians suck.
It’s been a rough summer to identify as a Christian. Not because of why the martyr-types think. No, not because we’re in jail for not doing our job. Not because the sanctity of marriage. But because, oh my GOD, literally, Christians SUCK.
The hatred I’ve seen and heard spewed forth by Christians makes me so tired, so angry, so defeated, so apathetic all in the same breath. I feel like it’s too much work for some middle class white mom from Ohio to fight the good fight against the racists and homophobic and anti-government assistance and hate hate hate. I’m so angry, I almost don’t care anymore.
I stopped going to church because I didn’t want to associate myself with the title of Christian. I didn’t want my children raised with a propensity toward hate. I was scared. And a little bit lazy. And just really tired of all of it.
But I didn’t stop thinking about the issues at hand.
On Sundays, and other random days, I listened to praise music to feel a little closer to a God that humanity keeps trying to push away from me. I read a number of books which featured—and questioned—faith. I still visited blogs talking about the issues of faith and human rights, maybe more than normal. I didn’t share a lot of articles for awhile, but I read them and considered them carefully as I asked God many questions.
I don’t have any answers yet.
But I know I’m not the only one questioning the whys of how we ended up here. Other smart Christians are asking the same questions, feeling the same mix of confusion and fear and meh, screw it. But instead of hiding and avoiding, they’re sharing their truth. They’re asking questions of the Church, big C, and society as a whole. They’re showing up and doing the work and pushing forward, even when it feels like two steps back for every successful move.
I kinda want to be one of those Christians.
And I definitely want to model that kind of faith for my sons. I want them to see me actively asking questions of the Church, of society, of Christians, of humanity, of God. I want them to know that it’s okay to disagree with one or all of those establishments, even their family. I want my sons to learn how to be a part of something bigger than themselves, to be a part of positive change.
And they can’t learn that if I’m too bitter and angry and scared to show up on Sundays.
I’m thankful we currently have a church in which I feel (mostly) okay to feel this way. I may not tell the little ladies in the Who Are You Again brigade that I am having a Big Time Argument with God, but I’ll continue to seek answers and fellowship when and where I can. If our church ever becomes a place in which asking and seeking no longer feels safe, I will ask my family to help seek out a new place of worship.
For now, we’re going to try to roll out of bed even earlier on Sunday mornings to give thanks, seek those answers, ask our questions, and remain a part of the change that is so desperately needed within our Church.