Sunday, February 1, 2009

The mighty church dilemma

(I posted some new pictures of Camille so you can have something entertaining to look at while you read me rantings...)

I am having a terrible dilemma with trying to decide what to do about church. The dilemma is multifaceted...Since moving back to Texas in August we have been going to the church that I grew up in. This church is a blessing because there is automatic, built in community where we are surrounded by people who love us, and that we love. I would trust my life (read Camille) with any of these people in a heartbeat. I know that the leadership is sound, that the church is focused on Christ and attempting to be a Christian light in an un-Christian world. The preaching is Bible based and occasionally one might learn something, but it is usually slightly fluffy. Not too fluffy, there is good stuff there, lets call the preaching fuzzy, which is less than fluffy, but not quite steel. 
There are several couples there that have young children, some of them I have known forever, some of them are new. All of them seem to be totally not our type....more on this later. The church does an excellent small group ministry on Sunday nights, which I like but have not yet plugged into. There is reported to be an excellent class on Sunday mornings, which I have not yet attended. They have attempted to get us to get involved with the youth group...but we have flaked on that too...I think writing this is really helping me to see an obvious pattern. 
Okay, so here is the, this is more like journalling than blogging, because I am totally-kind-of  solving it in my head as I type along...the problem is that the main reason I want to go to church is to form a social network for Matt and myself, and eventually for Camille. Today, Camille was really fussy, so I took her up to the nursery where she slept and I was able to observe the crowd in my over-head perch. There were four couples that I noted that are ideal friend candidates, meaning they are roughly our same age and have kids in the pre-school or under age group. Two of the four couples I know pretty well, and we are nothing alike. The other two I do not know at all, and they both seem to be cool,  not LeTourneau cool, but okay. 
The problem is Matt and I are REEEEAAAALLLY picky, and would rather spend time together in our home alone than hanging out with people that we do not click with. This has been what we have been doing for the past five almost six months. I could go on that way for a long time, but I just do not think it is a good idea. Something is driving me to reach out and make a social network, and I cannot ignore that impulse, as much as I would like to at times. 
Another conundrum is that I have major issues with organized religion in general, it just makes me want to heave. This could be satan at work in my spirit, making me shun community and there by robbing me of the power of being in fellowship with other believers. I am trying to come to grips with my issues. Matt just thinks that we (I) should just pick a church already and stop stressing over it and plug in and get with the program. Ooh that life in my mind could be so simple. 
Back to the original dilemma...the question is: do we stay at this church that has so many obviously good aspects, or do we look for a church that offers more in the way of young married people with babies, because four couples does not seem like many options to me.  Would the 'selection' be better somewhere else, and is it worth the effort and risk involved in finding another church? Is church more than just a place to meet and gather with believers? Am I just an unsettled person in general, and therefore would feel the same way regardless of what church we went to?  Is any of this about church at all, or just a veiled way to express that I am having a hard time plugging in and making friends. 
Making friends sucks, it is just a fact of (my) life. If there were 300 couples to choose from that would be equally bad, because who wants to weed through all those people just to find the 4 cool ones. Why are there no organic eating Birkenstock wearing kokopelli painting science teachers in Temple???? Why is making friends so hard, and making good friends a once in a life time event? Why does Sunday, in particular send me into such a tailspin that I spend the first half of the next week recovering? 
Tonight we went to the youth group super bowl party. It was the first thing that we had done to make an effort to plug into this church as a couple. We had a pretty good time, although if Matt would have let me I would have totally weenied out at the last minute. The youth group is much bigger than I thought it was, and the youth minister and his wife seem to be pretty okay people. There is definitely a need/opening for Matt and I to serve with this group of kids. While we were there the homeowner mentioned that he needed some roof work done (SCORE!) and hired Matt on the spot...that is another big bonus. When we left Matt said that we should just get plugged in and be okay...that is the closest he has ever come to having an opinion about the church issue, so I guess that should settle it in my mind. Should my mind ever be settled. 


Sherry Caffey said...

pretend you are a teenager and your mom is telling you to pick up the phone and call someone. You might end up with friends like Holly and Amber. That would be a blessing. If you continue to work at it, although time probably will not permit it, you might end up with friends like Rachel and Kim. Either way you are not alone/friendless in a place that the Lord has choosen for you and Matt to be. In whatever/where ever (Temple, TX) situation I have learned to be content. So there are your actions. STRIVE to be content. REACH OUT to others and be blessed. Do I sound like soneone's mom? I love the post and the pics. Thanks

Kim said...

Just a thought...God is the only reason I can think of that the 3 of us became best friends. We came from different backgrounds, had different interests, looked different, wanted different things out of life...and somehow we ended up with a bond that has remained despite time and distance. If you could see me today I don't know that you'd automatically think I'm someone you'd want to be friends with...and you'd be wrong! :) Try not to judge the other couples so quickly. Maybe you're right about them and maybe you aren't. Oh geez...I sound like a mom now too.

Momma Smith said...

Listen to your mother and BFF.

I know just how you feel. We had the *perfect* community of believers back in Wheaton. Actually, I thought of you, Kim and Rachel often as I knew you'd love the place... Anglican, full of the Spirit, organic, artistic, focused on what's important - Jesus, loving our neighbor, loving the broken, etc, etc, etc...

anyway, we left and moved and have been 'church shopping' since. It STINKS. Seriously. I never knew I had so many hang-ups about what I thought church should be like. What people in church should be like. Ugh. I'm getting a better look at myself and how much I judge others. They just aren't like me... or Wheaton... or LU... or anything I'm used to.

So I hear you, totally. But you, my friend, are a jewel and it is a CRIME that you're hiding in your home and not letting anyone get to know you. So put yourself out there and blow 'em away.

Just remind me to follow my own advice in a few months... 'kay?

J Coneby said...

I felt like I was going back in time about 20 years when I read your note. That is exactly what happened to me when we moved to Houston. I decided that it was too hard to leave my friends in Austin and so I wasn't going to make any friends. That way it wouldn't hurt! I lived liked that for several years and was soooo lonely. Then it hit me...I needed friends that were close (in proximity) to me. So a search began just like yours! Keith had to MAKE me go to a small group at church. I left the first one saying..."I don't have ANYTHING in common with ANY of these people (especially the wives) and I'm not going back! Somehow I must have decided go back (maybe I was in the "I must follow the submissive wife rule" mode! To make a long story short...I STILL have contact with those friends from small group. The Lord bonded us through our kids at first, but even though some have moved to other states, I still keep up. One of them is Jenny Flannery! God is faithful...don't write any one off. Follow the Lord's prompting and listen to Matt! You may never find any friendship as deep as you have with Kim and Rachel, but it will be what you need and what you can give (with children in your life). You are in another phase....but it is a great phase. Embrace and enjoy it!
Love you so much...wish you were HERE!

Sarah Jo said...

Maybe they need cool people like you to introduce them to birkenstocks.

:-) It's tough - no doubt - Matt and I have the same conundrum here in dallas (fun that my man's name is MATT also! :-) and we're learning to just trust God to give us the fellowship we need. Darn it! I was going to try and refrain from advice giving. but I failed :(

Williams Family said...

I can identify with your post completely! I want Mike and I to get plugged into a church where we can meet new people.
For me, once I became a mom finding friends became harder and harder. I have 2 really great friends that I love but slowly they are moving on to other places in life. Daria, moved to Tennessee and Stacy is in Austin. By the way; how Stacy and I click is beyond me she is 24 and kid-less! But we do! She now wants to move out of state next year and here I am left in Temple with no friends. Mike on the other hand just goes out to the golf course and finds new friends all the time. I question why is it so hard for women to find friends? I have several people here at work that I could be friends with but I, like you, just don't find them interesting past a working relationship.
I know that I am just your cousin, I don't wear birkenstocks, and I may not be all that interesting to you but you know you can always hang out with us.

Rachel said...

you're pretty much just whining. People are work and you are lazy. Get over it.
I love you.

Carmen said...

I love ALL of you!

tonya_german said...

Hi Kelly! It's your cuz from Kansas! We moved here about eleven years ago. It has taken us awhile to get plugged into a church and to find a group of friends. My best advice is to get invovled. That is the fastest way to get connected and make your own roots! It is very hard at first but will pay off in the end.