Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Feel at Home in Church


Yesterday marked the I-don't-know-how-many-eth Sunday in our quest for a church home.  We've been to tiny churches and mega churches.   Expository vs. Topical.  Take communion in your seat or in the back-- corporately or  as individuals.  Worship with full bands or one guy with a guitar.  Some have been missionally oriented while others are quite insular.  Kids come in or sometimes they aren't allowed at all.  Almost always, they are certainly not there for the duration of church.  Goodness, who could possibly expect them to sit through an entire service?
It's feeling like a long, long road.

Did I mention, we're not looking for perfection?  We really aren't.  Everyone says that.... 'there's no perfect church.'  We say it and we mean it.  Our years are earning us something in regard to the wisdom  inherent in that admission:  There is no perfect church.  This isn't our first rodeo.  Greg and I have learned that what many regard as glittery is often not made of gold.  Usually it's more rather like an epoxy surface that once scratched chips off into plastic-y slivers all over an otherwise perfectly clean floor.

And there are these places of weak, synthetic reinforcement in all churches.  Places where the gold ran out and they're trying to cover it.  It won't last and it eventually wears away, exposing the lack underneath.  This is, I've come to believe, inevitable on this side of eternity.  The prideful human spirit cannot withstand the divulgence of it's own great poverty.   And so it is with churches, making right all of those naysayers who warn that our churches are filled with hypocrites.  It is true.  Perhaps it takes a hypocrite to know it is true.

So with all of this, thank God our hope is in Jesus.  Thank Him that we can and should choose to assemble together despite the imperfection of it all.  Thank Him that it's possible to get our medicine still from such a dirty cup.  Thank Him that he shows us that even on our first day, somewhere new, we really do fit in as each congregant wears the same matching garment of filthy rags.

Thank Him that despite our misgivings and judgements,  reality prescribes we really do feel at home in church.

counting more blessings:

getting the Nod to write again
the lick-my-lips excitement I feel about this

the help of a woman I've never met to do things I've never done well

school that is hard, where we learn much

libraries like candy stores

living adventure through my dear Sweet T

*cancer surgery (it can be removed!!)
a Mama that is trusting Him
a sister that will be there
another sister bridging the gap
the way they and we love

him and me in unity

 the sight of my boy riding his bike down the road to buy his own lunch

forget what they say:  there are plenty of Christians in Portland
His church is dirty and messed up,  but alive and kicking

holding onto my kids for a full church service
knowing how right that was

* Please be praying for my mama.  Her cancer surgery is this Wed., Sept. 12th 11:45am EST.


  1. Hi Kara! I found your blog from Multitudes on Mondays - I'm #69 and hope you'll visit me, too. We were "church shopping" many years ago when it was time for us to make a change. It is challenging, especially with children. God will lead you to a community where you can feel at home. Sometimes it takes alittle time to feel at home. Praying healing for your Mama! Blessings!

  2. Dear Favored One ~ I'm visiting you back just now, smiling that your "about" section could be mine. First, leaving God's community is always so much more than about leaving the town behind and putting your face towards the West. Our family is military and we have left our hearts in many places, the ones closer than family in a desert, and four years later we still grieve for them. But we have also been given the pure joy of witnessing how our love of Christ and the church has multiplied. We just spent two very long years in Germany with no church home except online with our church here in DC. There were plenty of churches to worship at, and being ministry-minded people we don't consider ourselves "shoppers." We just were called for those two years to draw inward to the center of our family to worship Him. It was the most beautiful, lonely, time we have yet to experience, but the healing and wisdom ~ the awareness of our stiff-necked ways ~ wouldn't trade the days of longing for community and needing to have no distractions even by that which is good. I'm praying for you and your family, that you God first in whatever community He calls you to, and then that you trust Him for putting brothers and sisters around you. I know from just this first visit I'd love to do life with you! And me, here in VA! : ) I am praying for your family and your Mama as well. Love in Christ. (Sorry again for the length!)

    1. Tobi,

      What wise, wise words from someone who has BTDT far longer and many times more over than I have. It's hard to be transplanted. But God is good, so good and He has shown us so many things that perhaps we needed to 'go away' to see? Not that we really had to go away, but that what you said is true: we are stiff-necked, and leaving everything/everyone we know and love has certainly gotten our attention in ways the 'comfortable' life back in the South just wasn't.
      Anyway, thank you for taking this precious time to share from your heart and your experience. In reading your last post I, too, thought, "I LIKE this girl!!" :)

      Many Blessings,

  3. Me again! I'm trying to connect with you via fb or email. I've nominated you for the Liebster Award and thought I should let you know! : ) I know I just met you, but I chose a few new people who I think have God's words to share. You can send your contact info to me @, fb: tobi armstrong benton, or just check out my blog ... because you're listed on it! : ) Hope this is a blessing.

    1. Wow! What fun! I'll send you my contact info. :)

  4. Beautiful list of grace gifts!
    Visiting for the first time from Ann's Place.
    Have a wonderful Tuesday...

  5. i just found your blog and didn't even look at the date. felt for you without a church home and knew that most of the churches in our group of churches honor parents who want to keep children in church with them even tho' some will still offer a nursery as an option. then i saw that this was from a year ago so decided not to pass on the church i found. made me want to visit it:) teeming with kids too:)

    by now your mom has been through surgery and treatment for her cancer and who knows what has happened over the past year. it may have been a difficult one. i hope you found a church home for support. sincerely, martha from