I’ve been to a lot of churches. Last year alone, I attended 3. Which sadly isn’t an all time high. When my family first came to the state we currently are in, we attended a different church every week for about five months. Then we found a baptist church we liked and attended there for about 6 months. Then we left that church and attended a different baptist church for a year and a half. Then we spent three months at another church, eight months at the one after that. Then we quit going to church for about two years.
By that time I was 12. In March of 2011, we tried something different. A Non-Denominational church. We stayed at that church for 3 years and left in March of 2014. Then we attended a Methodist church till about November and now we’re at a Pentecostal church.
“Okay, so what’s your point, other than to get some pity? ” you’re probably asking right about now.
Well…. I’m not even fully sure. I just feel that something is missing from church and I think I’m finally starting to discover what. I was taught by the Baptists that the only thing worse than a sinner, is a sinner who isn’t at church every time the doors are open. But now, I think they’re wrong. I don’t like church anymore. I’m tired of people telling me who God is or isn’t. I’m tired of the whole show that churches give. I just want something real, for church to stop translating God.
Going to churches of several denominations has shown me that not one of them have it right. They each see God differently. They all simplify and box and confine God just so they can wrap their tiny minds around him.
To Baptists, God is unreachable. A wrath filled judge who is waiting to strike us with lightning if we so much as think of sinning. To the Non Denominational’s, God is a merely the father of their real hero: Jesus. They just focus on his forgiving son cause it’s a lot more comfortable. For Methodists, God is just a Father who gives you what you want and feeds you happy pills. Basically just one of the perks of being a Christian. They sing songs of praise to someone that they don’t even know and stay in the lines where it’s safe. And Pentecostals don’t even mention God or Jesus! They just focus on the Holy Spirit which is what they call that that wave of emotion they feel whenever someone says “praise God!”
Imagine you’re about to go out with someone who your best friend hooked you up with. Before you go, he or she hands you a huge binder. ” This is a little something I put together for you. In here is everything about who I hooked you up with, even down to how he thinks so you don’t end up messing up the relationship before it’s had a chance to blossom. Read it, learn it, love it!” As you stand there dumbfounded because 1) you can’t believe your friend wasted their time putting this together and; 2) they just ruined the entire point of talking to someone, you manage to mutter a “Thanks”. On your way to the restaurant, you flip through the book. Oh shoot, it says here that he has some anger issues…. Well maybe You can just over look that part…. What!? He doesn’t like country music!?
All the sudden you don’t want to meet him. What’s the point? Everything you need to know is right here! Why even bother actually establishing a relationship with this guy?!
That’s what churches do.
Baptists hand you a manual titled “God: Everything You Need To Know About Him So You Don’t Need To Get Know Him”.
And for Non Denominational’s: “Jesus: How He Behaved And Thought (so you can follow his lead!)”
And I’ll just stop there cause I really don’t feel like debating with half the country.
I’m also not a heathen or atheist so don’t regard what I’m about to say as blasphemy.
Here goes : we cannot understand God by reading about him or talking to him every once in awhile to ask him not to let our dog die. He is too complicated. The God of the Universe, who created laughter and black holes, the water you just drank , and quarks, gluons, tachyons and every atom that makes not only the air you breath, but the distant worlds you see as you gaze into the night sky. The God who made our very souls and our intricate minds. We can’t comprehend the complex system of stars and galaxies that we call our home with our equally complex minds that have confused scientists for a very long time. And yet, we have the audacity to simplify God! And that, my readers, is our problem.
We only focus on one aspect of him. We sing praise to someone we don’t even know. We take the perilous and mind opening adventure of getting to experience the life changing and by far the most complex relationship ever and what do we do? We simplify him like he’s a math problem. The interest many show is equal to that of trying to identify the mutated leftovers in our fridge. (Which, to be fair, can be a satisfying endeavor)
I want to know God for who he truly is, not for who the church has always told me he is. I’m not trying to emotionally manipulate anyone, I’m just trying to find something real and true. And if me writing about this adventure I’m embarking on offends anyone, well then just stop reading.
Well I can already hear the hate I’m going to get for voicing my thoughts…. This should be fun!