I’ve struggled with this question. Evangelical Christianity on the whole is really messed up. But I’ve been to other types of churches… and found they’re pretty messed up, too, though in different ways. Many feel they alone have some special understanding of God or the Bible. Most are cautious around outsiders and unwilling to do anything that helps a visitor navigate their traditions, services, or hierarchy. And there’s only so far I can go in venturing away from the Evangelical, near Fundamentalist religious traditions I’ve known without being left with more confusion and frustration than faith.
You see, I can accept christening. But seeing a 15 year old having water poured on his head, that water making a large splat as it hits the floor… I sit wondering why, and there’s no one to explain. I find it funny, and know others will find my laughter sacrilegious. And I find it completely odd and unmeaningful. I might as well be sitting in a service conducted in Japanese… but at least then I might recognize some of the movements and motions. In that service I found nothing to connect to.
Similarly, I can find some joy in some creeds. But most of them were so adamantly taught against that I’m leery of them. I say them while hearing echoes of warning against the worldly Council of Nicea. There is no church history or tradition to connect me there, either.
The structures of church government are also confusing. Who should I go to if I have questions? The pastor or priest? Or is there a woman that the single women should go to? A lay person who has been designated? I don’t know. And no one tells me. The social club called ‘church’ doesn’t give people any documentation to tell them what to do or who to ask or what is acceptable… they all know but they don’t tell. It reminds me of a bad clique.
So what should I do? There’s a church I’ve been going to. I don’t like everything about it. I think their theology is way off. They’re too pushy with some things. I’m fairly certain they think I’ll burst into flames if I sing along to “Holy, Holy, Holy”… they know what I left. They have a definite “place” for women, and it’s not a place I can fit into very well. But I enjoy the preaching, which doesn’t tend to hit on those things. I don’t think I’ll find fellowship there. I don’t believe anyone will go out of their way to include me or even accept me. But it’s been a place with a bit of healing so far, and that was very needed.
Where will I go from here? Like so many other questions I have, there are no answers. Maybe the questions are enough.