Monday, May 24, 2010

The Search for Truth

We’ve been looking for a church lately. Sort of. We don’t know where we’re going to be living, and looking for a good church is really hard work so we don’t want to put in a lot of effort just yet. We always have a hard time- Lloyd and I are both picky but about different things. He likes an old-fashioned type church with hymns instead of contemporary music, and he likes for the building to LOOK like a church. He will not set foot in a metal-sided building that calls itself a church, no matter what. And no overhead video screens; he hates that. I have to have a nice peaceful-feeling place with no yelling and not too much of that ‘greet your neighbor’ crap. I like sermons that teach things about the context of the time and place. And I’m not a fan of fancy rituals, so an Episcopal church is out no matter how much fun their parties are. We agree on only two criteria: the pastor has to be sincere, and we won’t go to a church with a weird name, like ‘Holy Redemption Water of Life’. The warning words are ‘Redemption’, ‘Harvest’, ‘Blood’, ‘Life’ and ‘Water’. Just so you know, if you see any of the red flag words, and the church is in a metal-sided building, stay clear for sure: There are definitely snakes in there. Maybe even more than one kind. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And of course, it has to have a good program for the kids. Usually we end up with a Baptist or United Methodist church.

Not wanting to try a bunch of new places, because I REALLY hate that, we have been going to the church we went to a long time ago when Lloyd was first stationed here. Some people love going to new churches and even do it for fun, but I loathe it. All that talking to new people who are ridiculously friendly, the not knowing when to sit and when to stand or where the bathroom is, and the worst of all: not having any idea when it’s going to be over. The old church is a pretty long drive, but the kids like it. Lloyd doesn’t like the music but I had no major complaints until this week. I know what to expect, the sermons are interesting, it’s always over on time and the part where you have to say good morning to your neighbor is mercifully short.

So, what’s the problem, right? It’s political. Twice during the service, I heard comments that were clearly meant to disparage any political views contrary to those of the church leadership. A Christian church is supposed to be for everyone, regardless of their political viewpoints. WWJD and all that. I lack the arrogance necessary to act like I know what God thinks, but I am snotty enough to put my opinion on my blog, so here goes: Taking a political position and ascribing it to God is like thinking he cares who wins the Super Bowl, or whether the cartoon is Tom and Jerry or Little Einsteins. GOD DOESN’T CARE, PEOPLE! He doesn’t care if you’re a capitalist or a socialist, a Libertarian, a Democrat or a Republican or anything in between. Capitalism and Democracy are no more sanctioned or directed by God than are the Dallas Cowboys. God doesn’t care about whatever puny systems we set up to govern ourselves. I guess Democracy and Capitalism are marginally better than some other systems that have come and gone, or that operate in other parts of the world, but they are nothing to write home about. We should be trying to create a system where there are no starving children or people dying because they can’t afford or don’t have access to medical care, and where millions of gallons of expensive poison don't destroy delicate and important ecosystems instead of trying to stamp out other ideas in the misguided name of God.

I can barely stop myself from going off on a tear about people who still think that our great white forefathers were destined by God to come to the new world and slaughter the natives in the name of manifest destiny, then exploit the natural resources and less fortunate labor pool in the name of a God-sanctioned political/economic system that fills their pockets. They were chosen by God to rule the world, didn’t you know? So anyone who thinks otherwise is going straight to Hades, and you better vote for the guy that’s going to cut the capital gains tax and those profit-cutting environmental and safety regulations, and then bomb the hell out of anyone who gets in their way, or else don’t come to their church anymore. OKAY BY ME! On second thought, maybe I should check out those nice Episcopalians again. I hear they have the best wine and they're generous with the portions.


Helen said...

As a card carrying Episcopalian (and lunatic), I'm feeling a little offended. I'm with Lloyd. No screens. Hymns, kneeling, standing, sitting, hymns, kneeling, standing, hymns....a must. Must looks like a church. All the greet your neighbor stuff is good to break up the monotony of the whole experience really.

...PS....glad to see you back. I've been living an uninspired life since you've been gone.

Melissa said...

We are in the same boat, looking for a church for a temporary time. It is not a fun position to be in, but it does give me the luxury of being painfully picky. I loathe being introduced as the visitors and having people accost me with handshakes and well wishes. I prefer they ignore me until I decide it is incredibly rude that they are not accosting me and I move onto a different church.

Lauren said...

I hate the what I call "Shakin' and grinnin' " I need a Xanax just thinking about it.
Yes for hymns - and I want it to look like a church too.
And for the record - totally think God is an Independent. Every 'side' has crap that doesn't follow Gods' expectations. Nobody's got it right!

Amanda Evans said...

Have you guys tried a calvary chapel in the area? Those are supposed to be "in the middle". We were very blessed to find a great old Baptist church in our neighborhood. The service is great, the people are friendly, and the kids LOVE the Sunday school and even go there for preschool a few times a week. I miss it ALOT since I've been TDY the last three months. Anyway, good luck finding a place. I'll say a little prayer for you:-)