Thursday, June 24, 2010

On my mind...

I was up until 2 a.m. last night with a heavy heart and alot on my mind.  It seems sometimes if Darryl falls asleep before me,I have troubles going to sleep myself.  Plus, the boys weren't feeling well and just earlier I had read of a little girl here in Charlotte that had just lost her battle with cancer.  So, needless to say, I just couldn't sleep because of worry, sadness, and I just needed some quiet time to pray and figure some things out.
One big thing that has been on my mind lately is denomination.  Specifically, Christian denominations....
I'm really struggling internally with where God wants to place us as a family.  I really struggle with whether denomination matters to God at all.  Is he up there just shaking his head at all of us?  If we all are Christians, does it really matter if one worships God one way and another worships him a different way?  On the other hand, I wonder if God is upset with the way the Christian church has headed.  From someone that has grown up with an Orthodox Christian/ Catholic liturgical style background, it sometimes causes me to pause and wonder how God sees the modern church.  Bear with me here while I rabbit trail a bit...
Yesterday on the news was a story about a teacher in Florida getting fired from a Christian school because she had gotten pregnant and was unmarried.  The school has a policy against such things and fired her...Now, I'm personally not fit to judge the situation but I know many news anchors and t.v. personalities were up in arms about this.  Kathi Lee, from whatever morning show she was on, said that they should have extended grace to her, that God is all about grace and mercy, not condemnation.  They were appalled that this would be happening in 2010.  Now, this got me thinking that many years ago, this would have been shocking to most people.  That getting pregnant out of wedlock would have been a serious offense(Please dear reade,r don't think I have a certain opinion about this either way-I will not and can not judge this situation myself because, I myself, am a sinner and have no right to judge ANYONE).  But, it did get me thinking about church.  And how, it seems, to me at least, that churches are kindof like that.  Their M.O. is's all about grace.  I get that, am really so thankful for that..but what about......repentance?
This is a scary word to was to me...
So, back around the other side of the rabbit trail, it gets me thinking about church again. Is the fancy churches with the exciting Kids programs, the coffee bars, the hip pastor that can talk about anything and is part comedian/part actor/part preacher the way?   Does God think that, like the instance with the pregnant teacher, we have changed church to suit us and our standards of what is acceptable and not?  Has church just become a place to go get our fill?  It seems it's more about us and what we get than him...we are there for us, not to worship...really... I mean ,we sing a couple of cool worship songs and maybe shed a tear or two if they really touch us but is that what he wants?   What does he want from me? Does he approve of the *fun* church?
 Or, is it that I just don't want to *suffer* in a *boring* church?  If, I'm really being true to myself and honest, I don't want to go to *boring* church. I don't want to fast!  I don't get sitting somewhere chanting the same things over and over and over again.   Yes, I get that this is the time to worship God, not my time..but is this what He wants?
But, notice how many *I*'s in those's not what *I* want to do...but what does God want me to do?
I have struggled with this for YEARS.  Literally, YEARS...and I'm weary from it.  I don't know what God wants and don't pretend to know the answers.  I will say that I had an amazing experience last year going back to my childhood religion.  I met a wonderful priest and he met me on a Saturday to talk and do confession.  As much as I don't want to admit it, I was soooo scared to go to confession but really felt like God wanted me to do this...I really was petrified...but God was there in that church in N.J. and as I laid it all out and confessed my most awful sins, I was forgiven.  I had asked for forgiveness before for all these sins but still felt the need to do it this way...why?    Does God care if I go to church?  If we read the Bible at home, pray, study and that enough?   Can I still have the close relationship with him without the church experience?  Does church matter if you have faith and if you are immersing yourself in the Bible, studying, praying and living toward him?
 So, that's what was on my mind last night.  I emailed an Orthodox priest here in Charlotte that I've talked to from time to time.  He must think I'm a wacko because I'll email him and then not talk to him for months.  It was almost 2am when I emailed him so I'm sure it sounded crazy...I just hope he can give me some answers....
What do you think about all this?  I'd love to hear your opinion.


  1. Tanya,
    Our backgrounds are so similar and my family has been going through this very same "Where does God want us to be" struggle. I believe that God is saddened by all the fracture in the body of Christ. Denominations often cause more separation and the goal should be unity. Christians will fight against each other over trivial detail differences in their denominations rather than banning together and being the unified Body of Christ and a light to this world.

    My whole family is Catholic from NY and last November, I went to a funeral for my cousin who lost her battle with Muscular Dystrophe. It was a Catholic funeral and I have to say, I knew the Lord was there and that Noelle had a real relationship with Him as do most of my family. It was wonderful to have that unity with them and to experience God in a different way than what I am used to. There was something so solemn and beautiful about being in the liturgical church again.

    Since moving to NC in 2000, we have been attending a "fun" church and I have experienced all the same emotions you described. I don't know what the answer is either but, in March we decided to go to a smaller, more traditional church. I felt like things were getting too commercial and less personal . . . more business and less about Him. We are looking into the organic church movement as well.

    Know you are not alone in feeling the way you do. God will lead you to where He wants you and your family to be. Just listen for His voice.

  2. We are not to forsake the gathering of the brethren. Going to church is important, being entertained is not. We attend a small church, no denomination, not non denominational, as even that is a denomination. I would like to personally invite you to visit sometime. Showers of Blessings off of Sunderland (the street where all the lawnmowers are parked in the yard for sale) off of 601 close to the 601/Cabarrus Ave intersection. You can even listen online at as well but would love for you to visit. We have Sunday service at 10am and Wednesdays at 6:30pm. The Sunday services are for the entire family - the kids dont go off to do their own thing. On Wednesdays we have small groups that meet at the church that allow for a more intimate and personal time of fellowship. The kids do have their own groups as well on Wednesdays. The church as a whole is striving to please the Lord in ALL we do, always working to improve our walk with the Lord.