While I keep this blog mostly secular in nature, I am not a secular person. I call myself a Christian, but I also have some new-age beliefs.
Thomas has always had some version of a bible, from the children's bible and now he has one geared toward teens. He reads it on his own when he feels the need. He has read the child bible a few times.
Many, many times he has asked to start going to church.
I don't like organized religion. I guess I have nothing against it, but I've personally never had good experiences with it. Now knowing that I have an anxiety disorder, I look back and see that anxiety has always been on high when I was at church.
My mother taught me that my religions beliefs were just that, mine. She allowed me to go to church. I went to the Church of Christ as a younger child, which was my favorite. In elementary school years I attended The First Congregational Church. That was okay. In junior high, I went to a Baptist church with my friend. Until, that is, the preacher told me I would burn in hell unless I joined their church. Mom had to do some damage control after that. And I did not go to church again until I was an adult.
As an adult, after Bob and I married, we attended a WELS church. Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. As the judge I used to work for, who was the son of an Assembly of God minister, told me: the WELS is the strictest of all churches. He was right.
Bob and I attended for about a year. It wasn't very welcoming, well, the congregation wasn't. The pastor used to ring our doorbell at odd times, always unannounced. He came frequently. I found it highly annoying. I took classes to join the church.
In the midst of those classes, my Mom died. The pastor was an ass, and said some things to me that I have never been able to get over and forget. Bob and I agreed to quit going. And we did.
Thomas has been asking to go to church for several years. My mom had it right: she let ME choose. I'm not letting Thomas choose, though. I'm not being open minded.
He asked me again today if I would take him to church.
Last summer, after he'd been begging, I met the pastor of the local WELS church at the county fair, talked with him at length, told him my husband grew up in that church, attended that church's private high school 400 miles from his home. I neglected to tell him that Bob had some issues with his church. I wrote my name and number down. We talked at length, and I felt uneasy, but at least I knew Bob would go with us (to help me through my fear, because I'm really uncomfortable in churches.)
The pastor never contacted us. He said he would. I felt slighted. Now, I'm a big girl, I knew where the church was, and I darned well could have gone to a service. In fact, one morning Thomas and I staked out the church, 15 minutes before services started, and watched to see who went in. It's a very small congregation.
In my heart, though, I knew it wasn't the right church. They're anti-woman. (Okay, let me rephrase that: their interpretation of the bible is anti-woman.) No women pastors and the women in the congregation can't vote on church decisions.
Obviously, that wasn't the right choice.
So that leads me to today. I guess I wouldn't mind going to church, if I found the right one. They have to be true Christians, and not anti-this, anti-that and I don't want to be preached hate.
I have no idea where to look. I think the Methodist church might work or me, BUT...this is a small town and frankly, there are people there I DO NOT LIKE. Isn't that awful? Thomas and I went to a mom's group when he was 4 at the local Methodist church. The kids were awful. And because it's a small town, I have kept up with these kids, and I really don't want to be around them or have Thomas around them.
So, that's out.
Anything having to do with the Baptists is out.
There's no UU in our town.
The other Lutheran synods -- there's only one I would consider. I'm not a Lutheran, though, my husband is.
Big church? Small church? What kind? I don't know what half the churches believe. What is an Evangelical Covenant church? Episcopal? Apostolic Fellowship?
Which church would I have to do the least damage control with Thomas? I'd like him to be involved with youth groups. I'd like him to learn about the bible. That way, he can make an informed decision on his religious path. Just like Mom did for me.
I just don't want him coming home hating gays, liberals, rock 'n roll, women, etc.
Another thing that a church would provide is an opportunity for service. I was always very service orientated as a child. I volunteered a lot, and enjoyed it. Our town is so small, that there would be more opportunities for service projects through a church than individually volunteering.
So if any of my readers can make some suggestions, I'd appreciate it.
I hold my religion close. I don't like talking about it. You'll never find me quoting bible passages, except the one about worrying about someone else's splinter when you have a log in your own eye. lol I still want secular curriculum. I'll still gravitate toward the secular or heathen boards. I am and will still be the same as I've been here.
But I can do this for Thomas. I just don't know where to go, which would be less prejudiced and judgmental. Where I would feel comfortable, with my anxiety issues.