I hate when people are so called Christians, but they have no tolerance for others and the rights of others. I can't stand when churches get involved in politics. Hello? Separation of church and state, anyone? If you don't pay taxes, you don't get political input. And I can't stand people that only get jiggy with God on Sundays--trying to look good and showing everyone how religious they are, but turn around the rest of the week and do all the unchristian things you can think of. I'm not saying you can't have a good time, drinking and carousing. I'm talking about those that are mean to others, talk behind their backs, treat others inhumanely, basically those that talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. I'm not saying I'm perfect…far from it. But, I truly try to be a good person all the time. I slip and make mistakes. I sometimes talk about others badly. I sometimes am not a nice person. And I pray to make myself a better person every time that happens.
The church thing hasn't been a big deal for me, because I am a spiritual person. (It's organized religion that irritates me most of the time.) I talk to God, I pray, I try to be good, and I try to treat others well. I try to instill these qualities in my son too. I believe that you can have a good relationship with God without going to church. However, I think that you need the fellowship of like minded people to be fully complete within yourself.
I was born and raised Catholic and will always consider myself Catholic. If I can find a good Catholic church, I'll be in seventh heaven . . . Pardon the pun. The problem is I haven't found one yet. I grew up with a really great church and I'm searching for that "feeling" again. Even though I balked at going back then, I secretly enjoyed it and if I knew then how hard it would be to find it again, I would have gone willingly then. Of course, I was a teenager and I knew everything. (Insert snarkyness here.) I love the pomp and circumstance of the mass. I love the consistency--when I go, it will be the same thing each time, same order, same words, same songs. Although, when I went recently, they changed some of the words. LOL!
What I've found at the Catholic churches I've tried so far is not what I'm looking for. I stayed with a couple for awhile, but they didn't work out. At one, I was trying to get married and the priest tried to impose different standards on me than the other couples as far as the prerequisites. (Looking back, he may have had a point about that, but still.) At another, the priest embarrassed my son in front of the entire congregation at communion time. Apparently, he thought my son was being a smart ass when the priest spoke to him in Spanish. The problem is that my son doesn't speak Spanish and had no idea what the priest said. I had tried another one years back that didn't want the congregation to sing, because it was a showcase for their choir. Grrr . . . . I did go to one fairly recently that seems ok, but it wasn't really welcoming. I think that when you're at a new church, you should be greeted and shown "the ropes." I don’t want you in my face, but help me out here.
I put out a call for help to a friend of mine that travels around teaching churches how to be welcoming. I figured since that's her gig, she would be able to help me. Plus she knows me and knows how I think, so she won't suggest some stick-in-the-mud type place, but not some hippie commune either. She, in turn, reached out to folks here (oh yeah . . . She lives in Indiana) for suggestions. They came up with four of them and I've checked out the websites for each. All of them seem very welcoming. In fact, their websites say that I can expect to be greeted warmly but not to be overwhelmed. This makes my heart happy.
So, starting in February (this coming Sunday), I'm going to start exploring these churches. I'm hoping to find one that fits.
Until next time, much peace and love.