In some ways, writing this blog has opened my eyes in ways I could never have believed.
What am I truly looking for in a church?
What does this kind of search do for a person?
And oh, the Bible verses I've learned!
However, in other ways, this search and this blog have been uncomfortable ones for me.
Am I, after all, just "The Church Critic"? Should I give a service 3 "alleluia's", or a church, 5 "steeples"?
Where do I get off, anyway?
When I'm sitting in an unfamiliar church, or even a church where I know people but have not been asked to sit next to them (sometimes because they have duties elsewhere in the church), and I'm feeling a little lost or a little lonely, sometimes I really struggle with whether I can or should keep on with it.
The young preacher who sounds and gestures just like a young Matthew Broderick, making me feel like I'm watching "Ferris Bueller's Day of Rest."
The sermon that has one Bible verse, and the rest has nothing to do with the Bible at all. In fact, that whole sermon seems to be about other churches.
And yes, the little whispering doubts that tell me I'm no seminary student...what nerve I have, to even think I have something to say about churches! Or pastors!
And then, thankfully, the darkness of doubt backs away.
You see, I know why I'm doing this. I've always had an interest in churches and why they do the things they do. I've had an interest in the holiness, and the contradiction, inherent in human beings seeking God. I have always been curious about the differences between churches and pastors and denominations. Overall, this has been fun.
More importantly, I feel closer to God than I have ever felt before. I have been involved with a wonderful group of women in a Bible Study (remember Family?), that helps keep me grounded in God and refreshed in spirit. And I have learned oh, so much.
As I go each week to a different church, driving around town is a different thing. "I've been to that one," and it was a glorious day. "Oh, I wonder what that little one is like," and I make a note. As I attend all of these churches, little by little I am learning about my neighbors. Church by church, stitch by stitch, this search is sewing a blanket of community around me that I never could have imagined.
See you next Sunday!