I've been hearing a lot lately about what a chore it is to go to church. How it doesn't feel right for one reason or another, or it makes people uncomfortable, or they go there and they hear people being put down by the preacher or other members. It shouldn't be that way. Sometimes it is.Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
I think the trick is figuring out why it doesn't feel right. Is because someone is making unreasonable demands? Did you have a falling out with a fellow member? Is the pastor a total dick? (This is always a possibility.) Do you know you're supposed to be somewhere else?
A long time ago, high school-ish, I did what teenagers do and let a friend of mine convince me to visit his church. I think they were going to give him pizza or something if he brought the most people. My friend either didn't know or didn't admit to being gay. Skinny, ginger, sweet, 17 but looked 12. At this point in our lives he's around 30 and looks 24 so I guess that was a mixed curse. He conned me into it, and I hopped into his father's huge mini-van and rode out to Meno.
I should point out that I am uptight, white, and absolutely not a demonstrative person during worship. More so then than now. I like/d the scriptedness of Episcopal Church for a reason. It matches my personality. I'm not touchy, I'm not feely, when I'm huggy it's learned freaking behavior. That's just me. So when I wandered into a non-denominational church, you can say it was because my friend was persuasive.
Entirely because he was persuasive. The church was/is a converted high school. There are stairs everywhere. The second I walked through the doors, I got an eerie feeling. Stupid me, I just assumed it was because the building was probably haunted. My church is haunted. Lots of churches are haunted. I tried to dismiss it as a cranky spook. The kids had talked about being drunk on the Holy Spirit like some kids talked about drinking everclear. (Not exaggerating) We went up some stairs and down some stairs (Salvador Dali painting?) and into the 'youth room'. There was a lovely painting of Jesus on the wall that another friend of mine had done. We sat down and listed to youth pastor preach. He talked about David and Bathsheba, totally threw poor Bathsheba under the bus and made David sound like an innocent victim of her being a female who dared to take a bath. I got really pretty pissed at him and wanted to mouth off but I didn't want to embarrass my friends. Their parents went there, they had to live with this asshole. Then he tells the entire room that he wasn't a virgin when they got married but his wife was, *wink* wink* and I wanted to punch him in the face.
Believe it or not, this wasn't the moment I knew for sure that God didn't want me there. No, no, it wasn't. It wasn't until they began doing something they called a concert of prayer that this moment came. A 'concert of prayer'is when everybody prays at once but doesn't pray the same thing. From what I was hearing, it was more a cacophony of prayer. I was standing there, feeling uptight and white and like I was being lame. I decided I was going to try this and I started to get on my knees in an attempt to participate.. Then it happened. My friend passed out at my feet. Right at the spot where I was going to kneel. His pale ginger ass was lying on the floor 'slain in the Spirit' as they say. The Lord had given me a sign!!! I was supposed to lie low until I could get the hell out of there.
Church shouldn't feel like that. You shouldn't feel assaulted and abused. You should be able to be quiet if you want to without feeling like a jackass. The pastor/priest should probably talk about Jesus and not about David's huge creeper psycho moment that everyone, including God, blamed him for like it was the poor girl's fault. He probably shouldn't talk about his relationship with his wife like a dirty old man either. Worship should feel like something bigger than the moment in which it takes place. It should BE bigger than that moment. It should be about something other us and something other the preacher.
It should be about entering his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise.
Not about some dick with a huge ego. Just sayin'. The Episcopal Church: Where even a dick with a huge ego can't hijack the entire Eucharist because well, this isn't about him. He only gets fifteen minutes of extemporaneous time, and the rest of it is out of his hands.