You may recall my leaving church because of it's non-relevance in my life back last summer/fall. I was sick of sermons that I'd heard a zillion times before, tired of being hit up to do things someone else decided were important that didn't matter to me, just so over the hate for gay people, transgendered, people that think differently and mostly just completely burned out of most things religious - especially the dramaz and gossiping that occurs at about 99.99% of all churches.
Recently I decided to go back. I'm no less over the gossip, the sermons, the triggering by hate and scriptures. However I miss worship too much. Worship is as essential as breathing to me. I cannot live happily without it. I no longer sing on worship team, but I still do flags and creative worship.
Another reason was that my poor husband just could not understand why I would walk away from his church, doesn't see that many there are treating it like a social club, the country club without a golf course. I got tired of constantly explaining myself to him.
But the biggest reason is that someone I know from my old church, Gina, a young lady that was one of my daughter Laura's best friends for many years, has been hired to lead worship. She started yesterday as the new worship leader. I know what an uphill battle she's facing there, the struggle to try and get people to do something different there amid a chorus of 'We've always done it like this!' I cannot leave her alone in this.
During Gina's adolescence we'd hauled her with us many times to conferences at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship and other places. I'd sometimes work with the youth group activities and youth worship team when she was on them. So yeah, there is a larger sense for me of helping and protecting someone that was close to us, almost another one of my kids for awhile.
Another aspect of this is that I feel pretty certain from what I've heard that there will be some folks from the old church coming to attend this church. People who once told me that they could have nothing to do with me for attending this church, filled in their minds with homosexual abortionist approving types, will be landing at our contemporary service. I feel like I'm needed, if for nothing else but to be helpful to the jarring sense of dislocation many will feel. It's not something I want to do, no, not at all. It's something I feel I need to do. It doesn't impact my faith or lack thereof.
Once the old church split happened a few years ago I've witnessed many old friends wandering from church to church, not finding a good fit at all. This contemporary service, which is currently the biggest and growing service in the county, is going to be a better place for most of them than some of the more wacky IFB churches they've drifted through.
One thing is going to be very difficult for me, putting up with the ignorant rolling out of the mouths of some of our old church members. What was it Queen Latifah said in "Hairspray"? 'A whole lotta ugly coming out of a never ending parade of ignorant'?
I've already experienced that. Last week one of the old members of the original church stopped Jim and I at the gym and excitedly babbled out that how happy she was that Gina had the worship team leader job and how Gina was going to bring "The Holy Spirit" and "God" to our church finally. This is someone I used to be good friends with who told me in the same health facility that she could no longer talk to me after I left 'The River' and started going to a dead dry church without the Holy Spirit. I wanted to smack her then and I was wanting to seriously smack her upside of the head now. How dare she judge what we were doing at this new church? Like I said earlier our service is the fastest growing one in the county, so we must be doing something right. With her words she dishonors the hours, the blood, sweat and tears, the work of creating a new service out of thin air, reducing it to something of a placeholder until Gina got there.
So it looks like this is a season in which I will have to keep my mouth shut to the parade of ignorance, keep a very short offense list and grant grace. I'm not necessarily good at any of those things in the natural and I don't want to be good at them. But I am focusing on the good things instead, like everyone from worship team embracing Gina and trying to help her navigate the very different theology and church culture here. I hope she succeeds.