Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sunday Sunday

As Sunday approaches each week I feel excitement and a need for nourishment. Of course, one can converse with God and find their spirituality any day of the week, any time. But I desire and need community. It's which community that's always in question. For the past few years I've been a frequent church hopper. I always have thought I'd know my spiritual "home" when I found it...that I'd feel intrinsically at home in the right place. The problem is, I feel comfortable to a degree in many places, but never completely at peace in any one place.

I've been to Sunday services at mainline Protestant churches - Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Congregational, United Church of Christ...and I've visited the Roman Catholic parish in my community (perhaps it is here that I've attended the most). I've participated in services at several non-demonimational Christian churches. They've varied from mega churches to small "house church" style communities, more traditional services to modern rock concert versions of "church." And I attended my first LDS service a few weeks ago (that will be another post).

Here are a few of the issues I've encountered (and they are mainly things I likely need to resolve within myself):
1. I find myself (for the most part) a Democrat. While this, of course, does not necessarily have anything to do with finding a church home, in a way it does. I feel a pull towards social justice, helping the poor, providing support for a community, believing what Jesus taught was radical at the time and called for social change and peace. Many of the churches I've attended - especially the non-denominational churches - are conservative politically and socially. I do have moral values and stances that are conservative, but my social/political bent has generally been more liberal. Where does that place me if I attend a church that preaches extremely conservatively? Does it matter if I'm finding spiritual community there? Or will I feel alienated there forever? I love and support diversity, but I'm also looking for structure and guidance. I don't want to feel like I'm floating out alone at sea with no spiritual raft or direction. I like structure. I like some guidelines. I like to have a moral framework I can live my life in accordance with. I believe everyone needs to find their own direction spiritually and what may feel right for me may not feel right for others. But I want to find that path. I crave direction.

2. This may sound superficial, but I want to look around my spiritual community and see myself represented. I don't want to be the only person under 40 in attendance on Sunday. I want a flourishing children's ministry. On the other hand, I do not want to feel like the oldest person in attendance. I'm not looking for a college church.

3. I'm not sure what kind of service style feels the best. I grew up in a traditional church service style of hymns and sermon. Visiting contemporary style services feels awkward for me a lot of times. I really appreciate the effort to have the church grow and be relevant with the congregation. I've felt a lack of connection between many sermons and my life, believe me. But all of the Christian rock songs and everyone's hands waving high in the air to Heaven feel more like a concert or a trip to the mall rather than a spiritual experience. Maybe it's just not what I'm used to, as I'm sure those people are definitely feeling the Spirit. I've been attracted to the ritual and spirit I find during Catholic mass. But having not been a cradle Catholic, even it feels like I'm trying to fit into someone else's skin at times.

I realize no church service will be perfect, but I am just hoping at some point I'll feel at home somewhere. So I continue to church hop, and this Sunday I think I'll be heading back to my local Catholic parish. But still searching...

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