Saturday, December 09, 2006
Where don't you go?
Lots of people don't go to church, but:
"Even those Southerners who don't go to church at least know the one they're not going to." -- sociologist John Shelton Reed, in Charles Reagan Wilson and Mark Silk, eds. Religion & Public Life in the South: In the Evangelical Mode (Religion by Region Series), AltaMira Press, 2005, p. 39.
I go to Mayflower Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) in Oklahoma City. (History and Covenent here). It's a mainline church in the liberal tradition.
Where don't I go?
I don't go to the Southern Baptist church I grew up in, only partly because I moved away. The Southern Baptist Convention started leaving me in 1979. By 2000, it was gone. Gone fundy. Gone righty. Gone creedal, which is so unBaptist.
I don't go to the United Methodist church I attended semi-regularly for 10 years in Texas. I moved. Fine church. I learned that architecture could be an expression of praise and worship, something you do *not* get in a Baptist church.
I don't go to the Bible church I attended for a short while in the town where I live now. All the preacher talked about -- and writes about -- is End Times. Fiddlesticks and fie on that. Present Times are more important.
Someone accused me here of being a church hopper. Ah, no. Three churches in 20-something years. And I've actually been a member of exactly TWO. :-)
Where do you go to church? More interesting, though: Where don't you go to church? How come?
P.S. Nothing much to report on Mama ER. She's still recovering. We'll go see her after awhile.
Many of us who left early on went to the the Disciples of Christ denomination.
As I moved across country and back and forth I've had several different memberships. Only once did I leave a church for "Cause" other than just moving away.
That was the Church where I was a young member of their "property committee" when they decided one Wednesday evening to shut off the hot water in the nursery on Sunday morning because there was only one baby in there anyway. I sat there too stunned to say a word, even though the baby was my own two month old son.
It was only a few years later that the Church dissolved and turned it assets in to the district office (they seem to have lost most of them by that time).
One other fiasco with a patholigical lier and thief who was the pastor of my church at the time,and who lost 60% of the members, will go undiscussed.
Since I refuse to be a member of any creedal denomination, I attended a Presbyterian church for nearly four years (in the worship band, even) without actually joining.
The only other denomination I can claim any affiliation with is Disciples of Christ. My family joined one of their more theologically liberal churches while I was in high school. I went along with it more to please my mother than for any other reason, but I also had a lot of respect for the pastor, who was a very thoughtful and learned man.
If I could find someone now who preached nearly as well as Paul did, I'd attend their church just for the intellectual stimulation.
But they never liked me bringing up the fact that the Baptist Church was founded upon local autonomy. I used to have a lot of fun doing stuff like that to make Sunday School go by faster.
But I DO know my Bible.
I still have friends and family therein, and visit occasionally, but at those times, it's more of a sociological/anthropological visit. I'll sit in on those services and think, "wow," how interesting... and praise God for my church home (Jeff Street "Baptist" - a nominally Baptist church kicked out of the SBC for having a woman pastor and being welcoming and affirming of our gay brothers and sisters).
For the most part, on those few occasions when I go to a "normal" church, I'm not as often offended by what I consider bad theology (although that happens) but mostly I'm amazed at the lack of anything remotely interesting from a Christian viewpoint.
And so I generally don't go there.
I've been a fairly faithful non-attender at those sort of churches for over ten years, now. Thank God.
This past few months I've seen her at the crack of dawn with a couple of pots and a bag of brown beans in front of her on the table. She had high hopes of cooking beans, taters, and greens and cornbread, but after a couple of hours she headed for the recliner and rested up to put things back in storge.
She never could make 1 pie or 1 cake. If she was going to make a mess anyway she'd cook all day long.
A couple of months ago she cooked 2 punkin pies and was wasted the rest of the day. So I know what she has in mind for "things to do". Dr. ER and ER has earned quite a few jewles for their crown when they go to their reward.