Monday, August 18, 2008

Too much church?

This weekend was church-filled, or at least I spent more time within churches this weekend than in the last, oh, ever. I went to mass Friday night and Sunday morning, and then to another church (but not for a service) Sunday afternoon. If someone would have told me that I'd be doing this on a regular basis six months ago--or even two months ago--I'd have laughed at them. But I went. I learned some stuff, remembered some stuff, and am trying to forget a bit as well.

How I've changed since my senior year of high school in the Mennonite Church's youth group... oy! I'm just as headstrong, but I don't pick the same types of battles. I've learned that fighting about tiny bits of scripture isn't productive, nor is trying to convince someone about anything related to scripture worth my time. People will believe what they want. I'm not in the habit (nor have I ever been!) of forcing my beliefs on others when it comes to God, churches, or personal salvation. I think the biggest change I've made since high school regarding religion has been how I approach understanding things. I used to go around asking my friends what they believed. This has taught me little. Now, instead, I try to see things historically, like when and how things came about, and I try to figure out what the differences are between religions or denominations. Instead of trying to put a face to the church, I try to put a church to the major ideas of Christianity.

How I view the great idea that is "church" hasn't actually changed that much, though. Realizing this was an interesting development. The things I like about churches, and the way I picture or would want my church to feel is pretty much the same as it was when I was five years old when I hadn't been in many churches. Maybe it's the juvenile wishes or unspoiled dreams that never got washed away by the harsh reality that comes from being subjected to forced churching that keep some of the mystique in it for me. Maybe I just have an overactive imagination. How I view "church" hasn't changed much, unlike how I view my approaches to religion.

I guess that's a whole lot of rambling that boils down to the fact that I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed still. Oh, and I'm no more fond of preachy people now than I used to be. UGH!


MissKris said...

I sure wish I had a better way to respond to these types of entries than a comment box, hahaha! ;-) That said, I don't have the time to respond to this one like I wish to this morning because I'm too time-challenged. I'll try to come back later. BTW, I had no idea you'd been raised a Mennonite! I have another blog friend who was, too, then in her adult years she's been attending a Baptist church. I say whatever, wherever makes you the most comfortable spiritually -- go for it!!!! And there's never "too much church" if it's filling a void in you.

Jaggy said...

I was not raised in the Mennonite faith. I am not, nor have I ever considered myself a Mennonite. Though I attended a youth group with that church and a few of my friends are members, I am not Mennonite.

I have not formally been baptized as anything, so I am technically still a heathen according to so many branches of the Christian community.

I don't like labeling myself or branding myself as this or that. It's not that I don't have beliefs or that I am above titles, but the simple fact that not having a label pisses people off brings me such joy...

MissKris said...

Ooooooh, and, here again, you are so much like me! I hate labels, too, and don't even tell most people what church I go to because I'm not my "church"...I'm me!!! When I was working for the schools, one of my students asked me what kind of Christian I am and I told him, "Eric, I'm a CHRISTIAN Christian...that's what I am!" and that satisfied him just fine. If I struck a nerve with you, I apologize. I just assumed...which one never should do...that because you attended the Mennonite youth group, you'd been raised in a Mennonite home. My mistake.

Jaggy said...

Nope, no offense taken. I'm accustomed to people assuming or guessing or thinking that I'm this or that, and I will go out of my way to say that I do not label myself.

It's really hard to sound nice (and show sarcasm at times) with text, as I've found.

Plus, it's difficult to explain to people that I like the tradition and reverence of the Catholic Church, appreciate the Protestant beliefs, and still consider myself neither and both in the very same instant. I'm not "other." It's just hard to explain.

But thanks for [all] the comments!!!

Anonymous said...

You are still pretty young and have a long time to find your place in spirituality.

It takes a lot of work. Begins by being open to look deep into yourself. It is in there.

Try attending the Unitarian Universalist Church a few times. They accept teachings from all disciplines and help you to find where you best fit.