Organized religion and I have had a long and diverse relationship. If you drew it on a map, it would look like two paths that run roughly parallel, but sometimes come right together and sometimes diverge wildly in different directions. I've always felt like a deeply spiritual person, but churches have not always spoken to that spirituality. Part of that is that churches inevitably have to decide what side of issues they will come down on - whether to allow gay pastors or even women in the pulpit, whether to become involved in hunger relief agencies or more political causes (many churches when I was growing up were part of the original Nestle Boycott. So finding a church that
A) Aligns with my spiritual beliefs
B) Has an engaging pastor that gives me reason to think deeply on spiritual matters
C) Has a congregation that is welcoming and warm, and
D) Aligns with my personal beliefs
has sometimes been challenging. I was raised a Methodist, and then when (in the tradition of the Methodist church) our pastor was moved on after a few short years, for someone much less appealing to my family, we jumped ship to the Presbyterian church across the street. As a young adult, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I happened upon a lovely little brick Methodist church in the small town of Monroe, Washington. In true Methodist fashion, the minister that drew us in was also moved on, and by the time we got married in that church, we had another minister. She also moved on so by the time we moved away and left the church we were on our third minister there (I must say, as much as I love the Methodist church, and I'm sure this practice has it's reasons, it causes a lot of turmoil in a congregation to always have to adjust to someone new). Nevertheless, we loved the church and found it to be a wonderful spiritual community.
Since moving here, I haven't really found anything to replace it. I've gone to various churches and even sung in one choir but none of them have stuck. The kids have grown up with spirituality, but no church.
Fast--forward to this last week, when Asa suddenly decided she wanted to try going to church. Part of this is undoubtably motivated by the fact that many of our homeschooling friends are devoutly religious and are involved in very active churches with lots of youth activities. So she hears about that all the time. So this morning we're trying out a friend's church and we'll see how this goes. I have to admit that after so many years of lapsed church-going, I'm loathe to give up my Sunday mornings again. I guess I've come to the conclusion that God speaks to me more on the mountaintop than the sanctuary. More on the beach than in a building. My long runs, bike rides, hikes, and swims are times when I feel closest to the spirit of God. So we'll just have to see how this goes. When your child is asking for something like this, you definitely need to follow through. So off to church we go.