When we moved home we stayed with friends Will knew from Bible College. Yea, Bible College – a lifetime ago he was on a path that lead to preaching. That didn’t happen for various reasons and here we are. When we met he wasn’t overly religious, in fact I was shocked to find out where he went to school. I am not anti-religion but I am not someone who enjoys being around people who preach all day every day. I grew up going to church every Sunday and spent my summers at a campground owned but the Episcopal Church, I made my confirmation in 8th grade and generally lived my life trying to remember to pray for the people who asked for prayers and doing my best to stay out of hell.
I really liked the Episcopal Church, we welcomed everyone (it’s even our motto!) and while we did the whole standup-sit down-kneel-sit down-dosey do routine that the Catholic Church is laughed at for I didn’t mind the services. It was the same every week, a loud organ, hymns by the choir, follow along to the prayer book, sermon, Eucharist (bread and wine), toss in the Lord’s Prayer & Nicene Creed and peace out. My church was made of stone and well over 100 years old. The church room itself was all wood and stain glass. Behind the ornate alter was a huge cross, the alter itself was dressed in fine linens and lined with candles. If you don’t know too much about the Episcopal Church the best way to describe it is as my dad did “diet Catholic”. When you walked it the smell of the wood and the burning candles would surround you, it was a smell I've only smelled in my church. If I smelled it today it would bring me right back to my childhood.
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It has never been my desire to change religions, but I don’t really have a desire for religion at the moment. I love God, god loves me – we’re good. I have always been supportive of Will going to church, I even tried to go with him when we moved home but I just can’t buy into his church. I am not trying to talk down about it but worship music is just cheesy to me and calling out in the middle of a sermon seems rude but that’s just me. Joining a church was never even a topic of conversation; we just felt fine in our spiritual relationships and never perused it. Since moving home he’s gone to church a few times without me, he brought the kids a few times, brought just one a few weeks ago…it’s something he enjoys. He doesn’t like that the church he goes to is 40 minutes away, I guess that’s the main reason he doesn’t go more.
Why am I telling you all of this? I needed to set up why what happened on Sunday is really bothering me. I went with him to church, he wanted me to meet someone so I went. I have to be really honest, not only do I not buy into it I feel really awkward being there as an outsider. The wife of Will’s pastor friend, who I really enjoy, came over and decided we were going to skip the service and go get breakfast. It was at breakfast that she confessed that as part of their mission she and her husband were praying for me to join their church. I looked right at her and told her “good luck, I am Episcopalian and if I was looking to join a church or even attend one semi regularly I wouldn’t be changing religions.” She told me that was alright but they would keep praying.
Seriously, really? What she really did was ensure that I will never go back to that church unless absolutely necessary (read: wedding/funeral). Will can go all he wants, please go, take the kids I would kill for some alone time in the house! But what I really got from my conversation with Mrs. Pastor is that my religion is the wrong religion and I am not even practicing so my soul is up for grabs. It makes me feel very icky and kind of angry. Will said I am over reacting but he wasn’t there. She doesn’t just want me in the church to fill seats but as a born again baptized finally seeing the errors of my ways member.
It’s a little weird Mrs. Pastor, if you want to keep praying can you also toss in a few prayers about winning the lottery? That would be more useful because you can mark my words – me joining your church is NEVER going to happen. EVER.