My brother always jokes about how Ethan and I moved to the “godless” North. It more references the liberal leanings of the North than lack of religion. There are a lot of extremely religious people in the area and even out in the suburbs there are a plethora of beliefs. But while there are churches, mosques, synagogues, etc everywhere in the area, Ethan and I struggled to find one that fit both of us.
I grew up in only Southern Baptist churches. Some more traditional than others, though I only remember two. When I met Ethan he was going to a SBC (southern baptist convention) church which was the church my family joined. He stayed there even when his parents left the church and would come back at holidays. Neither of us fit the SBC “mold” 100% but at our church back home in Longview, that was okay. We both are thinker and like to question things and that was okay. Neither of us got to know the pastor that just came to the church in 2012 but from holidays and summers both of us knew that we didn’t exactly agree with him on everything. I always felt like he did do a good job of giving us his interpretation and how the Holy Spirit moved him and left room for your own interpretation. Our sunday school teacher who was also a deacon loved when people had their own ideas and expressed their own thoughts and created discourse about passages.
But even so when we moved we set out to find a new denomination or independent church that fit closer to our own opinions. The first church we visisted was great when it came to teaching and theology. It had a very young pastor and had a must more “progressive” view on the Bible (I use the word progressive in a light way, not in the super liberal political way). We fit with the teachings, but the church so progressive in dress, music style, decor and atmosphere, I struggled to stay engaged. I know that this isn’t the best reason to dismiss a church, but it was difficult for me to worship and study in the environment. It was like I walked into a hipster photo shoot that happened to have a band playing too. It was too much.
For the next couple of weeks we ran into the “oh my gosh this church feels so fake” issue. Uber contemporary, Uber all about me not God during worship (the congregations being mic’d and etc). We had some very uncomfortable Sundays.
Mixed in with all these awkward Sundays, we found two churches. One in the town we were living in and one about 20 minutes away. We decided for our sake and getting into the groove of going to church every Sunday, we needed to pick. By this time I am already tired of my 1 hour drive to work so we already decided to move closer come May. This lead us to decide on the church that was farther away until we heard something that we couldn’t compromise on or if we didn’t feel lead to the church. Regardless we needed to try to get plugged in somewhere.
Now that we have been going for about 6 weeks or so, I am trying to get plugged into the women’s ministry. We’ll see how things go. We haven’t been to Sunday school yet, but that will come when Ethan isn’t as busy. This church though seems likea good place to be. Its non denominational but holds true to some of the more important “traditional” beliefs that we have but doesn’t have some of the more rule like beliefs that most SBC churches have. It is smaller than what we came from but I think it will be nice to grow along side a growing congregation.