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Old 08-25-2007, 04:32 PM   #1  
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Default I hope you guys don't mind me asking....

Hi. This is my first post here...I am kind of shy when it comes to religious matters for some reason. I consider myself a Christian, but I do not go to church any longer. I went until I was about 14 (alternating between Southern Baptist and Pentecostal)....when I started realizing the hipocracy I found in the church. There was endless gossiping, people having affairs..just general pettiness that I don't think Jesus taught anyone.
Then the kicker came when I was considering going back to church last year. The pastor of my last church had a wife with MS. She refused to get treatment because she firmly believed God would heal her. She had two children against doctor's orders, and after the second one she rapidly became little more than a vegetable in a wheelchair. She died last year at the age of 35, leaving behind two small, precious boys. This pastor, who I had always thought highly of, was dating and married again within 6 months..To me, that was just too much. He barely had her in the ground before he was dating this woman. I couldn't believe it.
I pray every night, and I try to be a good person. I was never Baptised because my mom decided to let me make the decision when I wanted to instead of making it for me, and I was already out of church by the time I decided I wanted to. I just hate to think I would go to **** over a technicality LOL. I also feel alot closer to God when I goto church. I can honestly feel the spirit move through me on the occasions I do go. But how do I find a church that is really a good church? I am currently a Nursery worker at a Baptist church, and I was seriously considering starting to go there, until last week. The lady who is the director of the Nursery (my boss), and a life long member of the church, came in after a 3 month hiatus (she had back surgery) and berated my coworker and me for about 2 hours straight because she said the Nursery was a mess (we had just cleaned it) and we hadn't been doing the Sunday school lessons (we hadn't had any kids for Sunday school) and not getting new supplies for the nursery (I had been there TWO weeks when she left, and she never told me what to do in the event we needed to restock supplies)....I was in tears over this! The way she talked to us I felt lower than a dog, and she didn't even give us a chance to explain. She fired the other girl on the spot, and basically told me I was the lesser of two evils until she found a replacement. My co-worker talked to the pastor, and it turns out she wasn't even supposed to be in the Nursery until she could produce a Doctor's excuse for her absence. She had no authority to fire either of us....it was up to a committee!

I am just very confused, and would like some advice from you lovely ladies. I feel like I can have a relationship with God WITHOUT going to church, but I just don't feel the same closeness...But I don't feel comfortable at church.. I always feel embarrassed because I feel like I am too old to get baptised. Most of my friends did it when they were pre-teen. And now I would be starting again at a church with a bunch of strangers LOL, so it doesn't help my fear. I also go through periods of questioning my faith...All kinds of scientific evidence points to disprove the existence of God, but in my heart, when I am listening to the choir sing hymns I can always feel the spirit...SIGGGGHH. I am a mess LOL.

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Old 08-25-2007, 04:53 PM   #2  
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Hey there sockmonkey!

Unfortunately, we Christians aren't perfect and we fall into sin the same as anyone else. Churches, also, are the same way. I have been to churches before where I've found out the pastor was having an affair, I've been to churches where the little old ladies who help you to find your seat told me flat out to move out of the aisle (I was taking pictures - I was hired to come in as a photographer and take pictures of this church) - she told me she couldn't see people coming down the aisle. FORTUNATELY, we have found a great church (Baptist) that we LOVE and have had nothing but good experiences there.
As for your incident goes in the nursery. If you like that church, if you like the pastor, the messages, and the other people you've met there - don't leave on account of one lady who likes to be in control. The Bible actually talks about people who sin against you (or people who make you feel like this lady made you feel). First, you should talk to her directly. Tell her what she did and how it made you feel. She may have not realized how she came across or how she made you feel. Or, she may realize it and not have the courage to come and apologize to you. Explain to her about the leaving and not explaining how to restock things, etc etc. If she is still cross about it and still in a bad mood - I would talk to the Pastor about it. I'm sure that as the "Shepherd" of his church, he probably wouldn't like that one of the "life-long" members has acted this way (especially acting this way IN church towards one of her fellow churchgoers!) and then HE may want to talk with her (especially if she's the one "in charge" of the nursery).
I agree wholeheartedly about Christians who don't act any better than someone who's never been in church. These are people who give the "good" Christians a bad name. Kind of like Jim Bakker, and that pastor who had a fling with men outside of his marriage...etc, etc. We aren't immune to bad feelings.
I do believe that you SHOULD be in church. That is also scriptural - to not forsake the assembling of yourself with others. But, it is hard to find a church that suits you. Pray about it, and I will pray for you as well. Try not to be discouraged. Just know for every 1 Christian who is like that nursery lady, there are about 100,000 "good" Christians.


Julie
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Old 08-25-2007, 06:58 PM   #3  
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Hi Mary - I understand your frustration, completely. I just have a couple of things for you.

First, men are wired SO differently than women. The pastor who remarried wasn't really any quicker than MANY men who are widowed. Men tend to remarry fairly rapidly following their wife's death and it does NOT reflect on the love and devotion they felt for her. My stepfather was married to his first wife for over 30 years when she died. He married my mother within a year of her (his first wife's) death. He STILL loves her very much...but he has created a new life without her.

Secondly - a book recommendation which really could address your worries about hypocrisy in churches. "What's so Amazing About Grace?" by Phillip Yancey. Really, anything by Yancey is fabulous, but, if I remember correctly, this one ALSO deals with his childhood in an evangelical church that was much as you described your childhood. I HIGHLY recommend that you read it and then see what your thoughts are. Not that your mind will be changed by those people...but that maybe you can forgive them their faults and move past them to really get to know God. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss.

Take heart - you are NOT alone in your sadness about the state of today's church and "Christian" movement.

Edited to add one more thing: You CAN have a deep and meaningful relationship with God outside of a church. Jesus did. However, it isn't how it is intended ideally. When you find a church where you truly feel at home and welcomed by the members...and start developing those friendships...you will be AMAZED at what that does for you spiritually. I promise. And personally, I don't believe you'll go to **** if you aren't baptized but that's a theological discussion that could probably go on for days. But if you find a church where you fall in love with the people...then you will probably feel very comfortable being baptized. I'm sure it would be very meaningful for you. My dad was a pastor and he baptized people in nursing homes! You can't be too old.

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Old 08-25-2007, 07:16 PM   #4  
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People who go to church are just like people who do not go to church, some are good and some are bad. Try not to judge them, leave that up to God.Associate with the ones that you can see by their actions are true Christians.It is sad that sometimes pastors sin, too, but there are a lot of wonderful ones, too.Keep your eye on the Lord, it is OK to search around until you find a church where you will be comfortable. Pray about it.
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Old 08-25-2007, 07:23 PM   #5  
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Hi Mary,

Unfortunately people in the church are still just people. Hopefully they are there trying to become more like Jesus, but everyone is at a different place in their walk with God. I think it's much harder to deal with hypocrisy in church because the expectations are higher, but like Julie said God does want us in church - that is scriptural. My old pastor always said not to look for a perfect church because once you got there it wasn't perfect!

I grew up Baptist and now have been going to a Vineyard church for almost 15 years. I got baptized when I was like 8 yrs old just because my brother did it. I really met Jesus and got saved at 26. I got baptized again at 32 just because I knew it hadn't meant anything to me the first time. I know it may be hard, but you have to find a church you feel comfortable with so that you can grow in your relationship with God and fellowship with other believers. Don't be embarrassed to get baptized at your age. In the Vineyard church that I attend we have a lot of people that do it when they are older. Good luck and God bless you.

Sheryl
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:02 PM   #6  
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Ohh boy Sockmonkey.. I am so sorry that happened to you! But like someone said, there are people that go to church and still don't act appropriately. I had a bit of an similar experience myself once 3 1/2 years ago and we left that church also for other reasons, but the same thing was also a factor, pettiness and gossip and etc. The situation you described with your pastor is disturbing to me too but people mourn in a lot of different ways. For example, My mother met a man through a christian grief support group when my father died, she was divorced from my father due to him not being faithful to her but she went with me to the grief support group just for support and to be able to interpret for me (i'm deaf) and she met this man there and his wife had only been gone for 4 months and he immediately jumped into trying to date my mom after like the 3rd meeting and after about 2 months of him pressuring her my mom gave in and agreed to date him and then he immediately started talking about marriage. Needless to say I wasn't too thrilled about it because I felt like this man had used this support group for dating purposes and that's not what the support group was for. And he also did a lot of other rude things to ME, like he told me once when I hadn't even known him for 2 months that I was too old to be living with my mother and I was only 19 at the time and hadn't even been out of high school for a year and I was trying to get on my feet financially in order to have my own place and go to college but he had a 28 year old son at the time who he was paying for college, had bought a house for him, paid all of his bills monthly then his son quit college and went to NYC to "to try to get a career in music" and the man bought his son a condo up there and continued to pay all of his son's bills so he wasn't one to be giving advice to put it nicely. I've heard through the grapevine that this man is still supporting his son and has bought ANOTHER house here in Texas for him and his WIFE and foots all of their bills STILL since the son came to his senses and realized that it's tough to make a music career and he is back in college and Dad is paying for that as well and the son is now close to 33. LOL I find it very funny now and oh so hypocritcal. Thankfully my mother didn't marry him but I had to put up with him for 2 1/2 years since my mom and him got into some financial/legal troubles due to them being in a very bad motorcycle accident and they had to sue the person who hit them and they were stuck with each other due to that and he wasn't very nice to me at all. But I think men are different from women in that respect about grieving. I could be wrong and of course that doesn't apply to all men. I've known men that didn't get married for decades and I've seen men get married within a year.

I understand your comments about feeling better and closer to God when you actually go to church and I've been experiencing that myself and trying to find a church in my area that I like which I have found one. And also don't be embarrassed to get baptized now, age doesn't matter. I find that the older you are then the more you realize and truly understand the importance of being baptized. I was 14 when I got baptized and I don't think I FULLY realized what it meant at the time. But Good luck! Like someone else said, go back and find a church that you like and you just have to find the "true'' christians at the church. In the bible it talks about wolves in sheep's clothing passing themselves off as christians at church even and that you have to be careful. Watch other people carefully and specifically their actions like someone else posted above! Good luck!
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:04 PM   #7  
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Mary ~Many people go to church every Sunday...but that is where the word of God stays when they leave. Many people go to church and have BAD DAYS...like we all do. We are all sinners in God's eyes.

I can't answer for your Pastor getting married right away...maybe he and his wife were "separate" even together...maybe neither of them was living as God intends in their marraige. We all fail and fall short of what He wants and chooses for us. remember that that Pastor is supposed to set the example...but...he is just another human being like you and I...as well as the director of the nursery.

God draws us closer to Him through His Word and the sacraments....we get this wonderful gift by placing ourselves in church.

We have such a wonderful blessing here in the United States of America to go to ANY church we want and worship....take advantage of that my dear...God is calling you...it is obvious by what you are "hearing" Him in your heart

I am going to church tonight with Angie, in a half hour actually...I will add you to my prayers! Please feel free to PM me anytime with any concerns or questions about christianity...

Heavenly Father, we ask today that you lead Mary to you, she hears your calling. May she find a church that provides the answers to the questions she is asking. You gave your Son to save us from our sins, it is in His name we pray Lord...Amen.

May God Bless you Mary ~ Gary
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:10 PM   #8  
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Thank you guys for understanding and not being mad at me for posting this here (it is a weightloss support group afterall!)
I think I will try to read the book Tricia suggested first. I think I need to get myself centered mentally and spiritually before I make the commitment to a church. (and even start looking for the right one!)
I think I also need to start reading my bible again. I am on and off with it LOL. My grandma has read it everyday for as long as she could read pretty much, so I have some catching up to do haha.
And don't get me wrong, I know even church goers and pastors are still only human!! I have just been disheartened in the past with the behavior I see from some members..I think we all can relate to that.
My favorite church I have ever been to was a small country baptist church, when my parents were together. I was kin to every person in the church except for the pastor LOL. I guess I am just intimidated about the unfamiliarity of a new church, and worrying if I will be accepted (though that should be one of the LAST places I should worry about that)..I guess I am just weird
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Old 08-25-2007, 08:40 PM   #9  
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Mary ~ when you go to a new grocery store you don't feel comfortable...nothing is where you are used to it being...but after a few weeks it is just like you have been there your entire life.

When you go to a new church and see people looking at you I can tell you many of them are "thinking"..."Oh a new person, I should go welcome her...if I just wasn't so shy..."

Don't ever be uncomfortable with asking questions over here....that is why it's here...there is much more to life than WEIGHT LOSS!

Now...off to church....bye
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Old 08-25-2007, 09:24 PM   #10  
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IT'S NOT GOD I HAVE A HARD TIME WITH, IT'S HIS FAN-CLUB.

I can relate to you completely.


God is not angry at you. God is not mean. God does not want you to be a doormat.
NO you do not have to go to "church" to be a good christian and honestly, it took me years to go back to a church and when I did I questioned everything until I got the answers I needed to feel safe and to make sure I was on my OWN path with GOD and not some jerks power trip.

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Old 08-25-2007, 10:05 PM   #11  
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I haven't had time to read all of the replies, so this is probably a repeat, but ask our Lord to lead you to the church that he wants you at and then listen. You'll notice someone who especially radiates God's love or who talks about life and God in a way that draws you in. Or perhaps he will lead you directly himself in a secret way in your soul. Regardless of how he leads you, don't let others influence your relationship with Him. We have a fallen nature and the sins of one or many don't reflect on the truths of Christ's teachings.
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Old 08-25-2007, 10:11 PM   #12  
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Mary, several months ago I had an injury that made it impossible to get to the church where I am a member, now by a "odd" coincidence I live within walking distance to another church. My neighbor invited me to church there and I started attending. I did not know one soul there except my neighbor and I only knew her slightly. These people from the pastor on down made me feel so welcome I intend to keep going. Don't let the fact that you don't know anybody hold you back. Let them know that you are new and I hope you get the same warm welcome thar I did.



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Old 08-30-2007, 09:12 PM   #13  
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Hey sockmonkey,

Sorry to jump in late--although I'm not a Christian, I still wanted to confirm what others have already said, more or less: No matter what religion, people are people. Some will always be doing better than others, and many will continue to struggle with what it means to follow the teachings--and will get it wrong. This is true no matter what church, temple, etc. you belong to!

So please keep looking for the church that suits you. Don't let people separate you from your spirituality.

Jay
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Old 09-03-2007, 09:08 PM   #14  
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I just wanted to confirm what everyone else has been saying, and add a little of my own perspective.

It can be hard to get into a new church. I grew up in a mishmash of different churches (assemblies of God, full gospel, bible, etc) and rotated between going to my mom's church of choice and my dad's church of choice every other week for most of my childhood. By the time I was a Junior in high school, a friend invited me to visit her church (Baptist). I started out going to the youth services on Tuesday nights, and eventually started going Sundays as well. Then, a few years after high school I moved 1,200 miles away and started going to church with my then boyfriend, now fiance, and there's not many people my age, but I am not letting that stop me, because I really feel at home in this church and I feel like the Word of God is really being preached without apology. I got re-baptized and rededicated my life to the Lord... and I was 20 years old. I think baptism is important but I don't believe it affects your salvation -- it's just an outward expression of an inward change & commitment. That said, once you join a church, you should talk to the pastor about your faith, and discuss baptism.

But before you join any church, you should make sure that their beliefs line up with your beliefs. I would recommend talking to the pastor about a new member class or for their doctrinal statement to see what their core beliefs are. Since there are SO many different variations out there it's good to at least know what the church you are considering believes, and if you feel as though it is sound, then you should consider joining.

Also, I hate to say it but not everyone who attends church are even saved. And while it's not proper to question everyone on this, it is important to keep in mind inasmuch as to not let others discourage you from what you need to accomplish.

AND lastly, I've never read the book by Yancy, but you can always look in your bible for more information on Salvation & Grace -- Romans deals a great bit with this. You mentioned that you were unsure if you were really saved -- the great news is that the bible teaches us that we CAN know that we are saved. Not to say doubt will never play on our minds as that we are only human and either our own thoughts or Satan will prey upon our beliefs and cause us to waiver. So it is good to get in the habit of thinking about it every day, praying reading your bible. And believe me, you are NOT the only one who struggles with this... in fact, so do I. We can never be perfect, but we can constantly pursue a life like Christ, and be confident in the fact that THROUGH Christ's sacrifice on the cross and resurrection, we perfect in God's eyes. And THAT is the beauty of GRACE.

Like EZMONEY, I would be happy to discuss these things with you if you want! I can't say I know everything but I do have some resources in my grasp that I can use if you have any questions.
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Old 09-08-2007, 08:38 PM   #15  
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I will keep you in prayer ,I attend a Baptist Church, when I was younger I went to a Catholic church and a Methodist church then decided when I got older not to attend. I started attending again about 7 years ago we went to a small family run church ,but we were looking for modern day worship and thats when we found the church we attend now it's not perfect ,neither am I, but it is where the Lord lead us,I attend for the fellowship and to learn more of God's word.May God lead you. And may He bless you.
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