Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

I am thinking about a new career - a church killer.

I am sure that there would be some demented people who would pay for services like that. I don't work quickly but I do work. My biggest problem is that although I have that job, I hate it. Here is my resume:

Church number one was an old church in Cleveland. With the flight of most families to the suburbs the decline began. I stayed there as it was the only church I ever knew til almost the bitter end. If it were just me, I would have stayed, but I had kids to think about so I moved on.

The next church I will call church one and a half. It was the church I attended while I was in college. I was still a member of church number one but I did attend just about every Sunday I was in college for 4 years. That church was fortunate as I wasn't there long enough to completely kill it. But it did have a very nasty split that may have finished the job since I have gone.

Church number two was the one I joined 10 years ago and closed just a year ago starting me on this odyssey. I believe that church will be my church home in my heart for the rest of my life. So much happened there that even though I only spent 9 years there they were the most intense and spiritually growing years in my life. To this day when someone says "church" that is the one of which I think.

There is a church 2 and a half too. I never "officially" attended there but my kids do participate in the Awana program there. I guess that is close enough for my kiss of death - or almost. About 6 years ago that church split as well. (I am not even going to start in with how many different Awana Commanders I have seen come and go.) The church is still going but it is no way the same church it was before the split.

For the past year we have been searching for a new church and for all the details you can read this blog. One thing that had helped us in this search is that we had was some stability was that although any given Sunday morning was a toss up we were able to attend a Saturday night service. This church was small and struggling. Because of that we know that it was not where we could stay. They were just missing some of the things we were looking for namely a place for our teens. It may not have been perfect but it was at least something like home. Until my ability strikes again.

They are closing the Saturday night service. I feel it so deeply that I am almost numb. I want a church home any family to but that is the problem - I have no where to go. I know that this is just another attack of my enemy but I don't' mind saying that it hurts and I am tired of it.

So I am off and looking again. I am tired of the search, but I am truly afraid that if I do find another church that I will have to keep doing this again and again. However the Lord is too important to really believe that I cause these problems. I know that there is somewhere he wants all of us and we will keep looking til we find it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Called by name

I remember the first time it happened. It was a Sunday morning. I was in my devotional time with the Lord. He spoke to me and called me by name. There was no other experience like it - the Creator of everything knows my name. It was humbling and exhilarating at the same time.

It was wonderful when the Lord did it. It is wonderful when my friends or family does it. But I don't think that it should be done from the pulpit during a sermon.

We visited a church. There were quite a few things we liked about it. There were a few things that we weren't quite comfortable with but nothing that was too objectionable - until about half way through the sermon. It was at that point that the minister actually called by name one of his congregants whom he has obviously counseled.

" Look and Mary (Not her real name - I don't even remember what it was) and all the problems that she has", he said.

I couldn't believe it. I have been to different ministers for issues. If any of them had even mentioned me I would have wanted to sink into the floor. But then I thought that maybe there had been some sort of arrangement - even though "Mary" didn't look like it. I was almost ready to say that I was being too sensitive.

Then he said, "Look at John (once again not his real name). Can you believe the sins he has committed?"

Twice in one service he called out specific people and basically aired their dirty laundry. I felt so shocked I didn't know what to do. But one thing I do know, I am never going to give them a chance to call my name out as a poor example of Christian living. I can assure anyone who asks that I will never be stepping into that church again.