Sunday, March 14, 2010

narthex confessions, or "The Church of I Suck"

I wish I was privy to all the random thoughts in people's minds during church service.

Here is a small sampling of mine:

I wonder if that guy is married. He's pretty cute. Oh good, his wife's here. A guy who looks like that should not be alone in church of all places. Wait, she's sitting down 2 seats away. Maybe they can get together.

The back-up singers always look like they're under 25. It's American Idol in here. They must've been short this week and pulled that one from the senior choir.

I think the pastor just saw me pass the collection plate without putting anything in it!

I hope the people behind me can't see my buttcrack when I sit down. The chairs have backs, stop worrying!

These socks look kind-of raggedy hanging out the back of my clogs. That woman next to me has much nicer socks. I like the pattern. I wonder where she got them from.

Haven't people ever heard of staying home when you're sick? They're hacking all around me. God's not going to be mad if you don't show up one week!

I confess that I purposely arrive late just to avoid "fellowship" time.

I once stood next to a woman who coughed up a bucket of phlegm and blew out last night's snot prior to shaking my hand. The entire service was ruined for me. I couldn't even touch my hair after that. I high-tailed it out of there and straight to the bathroom before the doxology was finished.

I was busy scrubbing up to my arms when I glanced in the mirror and saw the very same woman enter right behind me. Her face had this look of utter disbelief, like I was some sort-of germaphobe. As if!

I am consistently amazed by those who seem to "get into the spirit" by lifting their hands while singing. This is a foreign concept to me. I was raised in a church where you couldn't even suffer an involuntary tic without a glare from someone in the pew behind you. The whole scene is more distracting than anything. I spend much of the song trying to analyze the sincerity of the movement rather than worship God. I've tried to raise my hands, but it doesn't feel natural. And my arms get tired, so I'm not thinking about God then either, I'm thinking about my arms.

But I don't like stone-faced stoic people either. I'm not easily satisfied.

I belong in a monastery. My own.

I also don't want to clap to the rhythm (it's awkward when the clapping dies off and you don't know when to nonchalantly stop). I think to myself, are people just doing this for show to look good?

Basically, I belong in the Church of I Suck. I don't go to be seen. I don't go to make friends, because I know what those friendships would be all about. I go mostly for my kids' sake, so that someday they will take their kids, and so on, so on, and learn how to sing "Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man" like Claire did today.

The mystique and joy of church left me when I found out that two of the deacons in my childhood had drinking problems, and one decided to leave his wife and 5 kids for a girlfriend and a motorcycle when he was bald and 75 pounds overweight.

When my pastor was hospitalized for depression and his daughter tried to kill herself.

When there was more silence than support after my dad died.

I really lost interest in church when I gained a little wisdom and realized that everyone who goes there is human, but many of them want people to believe they're above humanity, which in turn makes me feel less than human. There seems to be a lack of authenticity that you don't see in real life.

I'm not blaming the people who go to church. Really. I'm blaming my disillusionment on my own misconceptions.

I find myself thinking about inane things during the service, forcing myself back to the present, only to start twitching and dozing off during the final prayer.

I love God, but I don't know. This just isn't God to me. And honestly, I don't think that God cares whether I go or not. But I do think he cares if my kids don't know about him. And I have good memories of church and Wednesday night Bible groups as a child. So I go. Because I'm a little on the lazy side when it comes to whipping out the Bible and drumming up worthy life lessons.

Luckily I'm living here in Franklin, the home of Steven Curtis Chapman and countless other "professional Christians," as I've heard them coined, so maybe their knowledge of all things biblical will rub off by osmosis or divine intervention. Because I'm certainly not going to guilt them into it.

In the long run, I hope that my kids will notice that I strove to be the best person I could be, despite my qualms and aversions and frequent failures. They'll see that I tried to be a godly woman, and they will want to be like me. But I sure have a long way to go. Lord, do I.


Anonymous said...


Clementine Moonflower said...

Yep, Anonymous, you got it :-)

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