I went to church this morning for the first time since April.
It felt so good. I felt really emotional during the service, which is generally a sign that there's something with which I need to deal. (Sigh.) Isn't there always something waiting to be dealt with, though?
I have a rocky history with religion. I'll sum it up in a short (no, really, I will) paragraph. The church I grew up in did not provide me (I feel) with much spiritual, moral, and religious guidance but it showed me what I didn't want in religion. Which, on second thought, kinda is guidance.
The hub-o-licious didn't grow up in a religious environment so he's a bit reluctant to jump in at this point. So really, if the fam goes to church it's going to up to me to prod them in that direction. Since I was so strongly prodded when I was younger, I am really reluctant to force religion on my family. At the same time, I want the kids to be exposed to different religions so that when they are old enough they can decide how involved they want to be in church going and all that. It's a dilemma.
So today, I just went by myself. T and hub-0-licious were sick and S was still asleep, so I just slipped out and went. There isn't a single negative thing I can say about going to church this morning. For me, that's pretty amazing.
But going to church started me thinking about lots of things and I can boil those down into two categories: faith and judgement. Specifically, why is so hard to find a church where the church goers aren't really judgemental? My experiences with church going people over the past few years haven't been very positive.
One of the first people I met in Germany flat out told me that she couldn't be friends with me unless we went to her church (they hadn't found one there yet) because she only socialized with people that went to the same church as she did. Ooooo-kay.
I went to a bible study class where one of the couples wouldn't speak to me when they saw me in public, and yes, I always said hello to them and yes, they heard and saw me.
I went to some MOPS meetings right after we first moved to Germany and the lady in charge of my group? Was the kind of person I didn't want to have anything to do with because she was....mean and awful and gossipy and bitchy. She was also heavily involved in the base chapel. So her mean and awful and gossipy and bitchy self had a wide and brutal reach, which is the story for another blog post.
Logically, I know that there are billions of people with strong spiritual lives who are not judgemental . I'm blessed with many people in my life who have strong faith and are not judgemental. So other than the horror of the religious experiences of my youth, I'm not sure why I automatically equate someone who is religious with someone who is overly judgemental.
What I do know is that going to church today? Felt a lot like going home. I'm going have faith and just see where this takes me. And also? I'm going to try not to be judgemental.