I really miss church BUT

(34 Posts)
Mitchy1nge Tue 28-May-13 21:39:49

it feels like it and God are a complete load of shit at the moment (the people at church itself are nice I mean The Church)

is there some way of reconciling these slightly opposing impulses?

KatherineLacey Tue 28-May-13 21:41:36

Which church, out of interest?

By God being shit, do you mean non-existent?

Mitchy1nge Tue 28-May-13 21:52:04

my parish rc church

I don't know, it doesn't make sense and I'm sure it used to

my sister was being all helpful about the benefits of faith etc but I couldn't help thinking how shit it is - what is the point of a God who only intervenes now and then if it suits Him?

maybe I need some other solace

KatherineLacey Tue 28-May-13 21:58:51

I know what you mean. I believe that philosophically there is a high likelihood that God exists, and that being omniscient and omnipotent we can't be expected to understand how it all works because we are not omniscient.

I am also convinced of the benefits to me of living a Christian life, even if God doesn't actually exist (i.e. I would still be like this if there was no God and no heaven etc.)

But I'm not sure how people can be so certain about particular things. Also, the church (Anglican for me) seems mostly obsessed about unimportant things and can be quite internecine and navel-gazey, rather than taking action on important things (although I did think it was good that the AB of C criticised the govt's policies re vulnerable people from a Christian perspective).

So yes, know how you feel. Not sure how much faith I have in the whole structure.

Mitchy1nge Tue 28-May-13 22:06:52

well at least I am not going through it alone

except if there is a God am struggling to see the point of praying to Him - if He can heal and do amazing wonderful things why not just do them? I don't see how He can be the sort of loving father they said he was, disinterested at best

want to go back to the '

KatherineLacey Tue 28-May-13 22:25:34

I don't know, I don't really see praying as being in order to 'get' something if that makes sense, and I don't really believe that if you pray to God he will make stuff happen. It just doesn't seem to be born out by the facts.

In fact I'm not really sure how to pray. At that bit in church my mind just sort of goes blank.

I thin prayer is more about talking to God, involving him in our lives. I do ask for stuff like healing but I also just tell God things.

My faith has gone through some changes of late and feels sometimes challenging, not always as certain as it once did. Yet when i am happy and when I am sad, God is more real and more meaningful than most other things. He makes things better and even in the hard times he helps.

Sometimes church helps too, but not always. I think church is just a bunch of people, and at times they let you down and at times they help you out. they are really very like family because you can't always choose them!

I think a retreat away might give you some peace and help you find what God means to you. It could be a weekend or just a day. There are some very good books like Joyce Hugget's 'Listening to God' which can help you be still with God, or Julian of Norwich books.

Good luck, I feel more than anything it is worth it to find God and hold onto him. I say this really as someone who does not have all the answers!

Bless you.

PS I go to a free church but I was Anglican for most of the last 30 years, plus have been to URC church and Baptist churches, so I am pretty ecumenical!

Tuo Tue 28-May-13 23:58:34

Hi Mitchy. I am not Catholic, but I was agnostic for many years before finding faith again a few years ago, so I do know what it's like to be both drawn to God and to find it all slightly off-putting at one and the same time.

It sounds as if there are two slightly different things going on with you... Frustration with the Church as an institution, and frustration with God.

I can understand frustration with the Church as an institution, but I try to remember that the Church is all of us, its members, and not just its leadership. If we want the Church - or our respective churches - to change, then it's up to us to make that happen. I guess that if there are specific things about your Church's doctrine that you struggle with, then you could look at other denominations... But you say that you like and miss the people, so you may not want to just go somewhere else.

In relation to prayer, I agree with KatherineLacey that it's not about 'getting stuff back', but about bringing what's on your mind to God and asking God to be with you (or your friends or whoever you're praying for) in whatever is going on in your/their lives. I believe that God is the kind of loving Father who lets you gallop that pony bareback across the field, or ride your bike down the steep stony hill in the full knowledge that there's a chance in both cases that you'll fall off and break a bone, and who, if the worst happens, picks you up and takes you to A&E. In other words, God doesn't make the bad stuff in life happen, but He's in it with us and is always there for us to turn to Him if we need Him. Freedom is such a strange gift - wonderful and terrible and terrifying at one and the same time. But I believe that it is a gift nonetheless.

That may make no sense at all, of course! Sending you good wishes anyway.

StuffezLaYoni Wed 29-May-13 00:01:47

My view might not be helpful to you, but why don't you spend some time focussing on being a loving, helpful, kindly human being. These aren't qualities exclusive to any church or religion, but are qualities to be admired and desired. Just an idea.
X

mikkii Wed 29-May-13 00:03:46

Mitchy, I think Tuo really has similar ideas to me. Do you have a parish sister you can talk to? Ours is fantastic, and also really understands the pressures of family life having been a surrogate mum to her niece and nephew.

When I was having a hard time with prayer; moving from a shopping list prayers of my childhood to a relationship with the divine then I found 'God in all Things' by Gerald Hughes very helpful.

There is something called stages of faith theory which shed some light. If you want to go back it implies that you are moving through one of the stages which makes sense if faith is a journey. One way to describe it is like the life cycle of a butterfly. We start our faith journeys like catapillars eating up the stuff around us and happy to stay within the boundaries of our leaves. As we grow we start to question and this is going into the chrysalis stage. Everything feels like it is going to mush. This has been called the 'Dark Night of the Soul.' Eventually the butterfly emerges able to fly being comfortable with mystery and paradox. Many people reject faith as they come out of the catapillar stage but there are other more mature forms of faith out there. James Fowler and Scott Peck are the more academic writers on this but Alan Jamieson wrote a book 'Chrysalis' a few years ago which chimed with my experience.

I don't know if any of that helped so prayers anyway.

acorntree Wed 29-May-13 10:55:08

I think it is normal to feel like this from time to time – we need to make a conscious decision whether or not we want to believe. Sometimes it is really hard because we don’t know where we are going, or if we are going anywhere or just following shadows. In the process of making that decision and remaking it, and reviewing it, there are bound to be periods of doubt.

Personally, I think of it a bit like climbing a mountain (something I do in my spare time) - often the peak of the mountain is hidden from view behind intermediate crests, and all you can see is steep up hill slog with no end in sight, sometimes the fog comes in and you can’t see where you are going at all. Sometimes it hails, and the water gets in your boots. Why are you spending your holidays doing this ? When I am really walking up soggy wet mountains in Wales, I keep going because I know that there will be times when the cloud clears, and the sun shines, and there is a fantastic view, and I know the sense of achievement when I reach the top is worth it. When I really lose sight of why I believe in God or when I am struggling with the institutional nature of Church, I have to make a similar decision to keep going and wait for a feeling of faith to return. I just have to believe it is worth while even when it seems empty and sterile. I tell myself that the fog of doubt will lift eventually. Then I pray a lot. But I have to make a conscious decision that that is what I want to do. It would be easy to decide to walk away.

wigglesrock Germany Wed 29-May-13 13:52:56

I go to mass and the chapel because I like the building, I like the parishioners, I feel at home there and I like a bit of a chat with God. The church itself as an organisation can go whistle. I don't believe or support vast swathes of the Catholic church's teachings but I have no issue with reconciling going to mass with being unsupportive. The church in its proper form is made up of people. People who struggle, try, forgive and generally do the best they can.

That's who I bother with. That probably makes much more sense in my head than it reads smile

springytate Fri 07-Jun-13 22:15:52

Just wondering - have you talked to God about your doubts/frustration etc? I always find that helps so much. The great, great thing about it is .. that he can take it smile (I wouldn't think much of him if he couldn't tbh).

I don't want to sound blingy/rude etc but I do enjoy having it out with God. It is so refreshing to be absolutely honest. Such a relief. imo, nothing is barred when you have it out with God. ime the most productive times have been when I am angry/frustrated/confused with and about God.

I personally find church very difficult a lot of the time a bit religious! . I don't get where people are coming from half the time, which is a bit desolate. I wasn't brought up in a structured church and don't understand most of what goes on; the traditions, culture, behaviour. I often find it all very weird. That's just my experience - prayers welcomed if anyone feels so inclined!

I see prayer as talking to God. If I read the bible too, I can say 'you say here that you will always be with me, you will never leave me = thanks/that's great/I don't feel that/thanks for being with so-and-so/please do something about Syria' etc. it leads on iyswim. YOu start talking about one thing and you sort of move along.

imo, God is amazingly gorgeous, the church erm.. not so [LOL]. But then, I'm the church, so I have to take my place in the not so part..

springytate Fri 07-Jun-13 22:17:58

I didn't really answer your q there, sorry.

springytate Fri 07-Jun-13 22:22:59

(sorry to take an age to wind up here..)

to answer eg this bit: how shit it is - what is the point of a God who only intervenes now and then if it suits Him?

this is precisely what I'd say to him - what is the point of you if you only intervene now and then if it suits you? (see? it's so good to get it out there!). Where were you when such-and-such happened? You say you're this and that - i can't see it.... etc etc.

You don't have to be rude but you can certainly be honest - totally honest. There's not much point talking to him if you're not honest, really.

springytate Fri 07-Jun-13 22:23:57

and I have certainly been rude on occasion

Mitchy1nge Fri 07-Jun-13 22:39:56

thanks, it's nice of you (all) to take the time to reply flowers

it doesn't make any sense, even though it sort of did before, I suppose I'm losing my faith (such as it was) and it's starting to feel good - exactly like giving up smoking

springytate Sat 08-Jun-13 00:40:29

You might be losing your religion. Which, imo, is a good thing.

EllieArroway Sat 08-Jun-13 08:54:22

it doesn't make any sense, even though it sort of did before, I suppose I'm losing my faith (such as it was) and it's starting to feel good - exactly like giving up smoking

Good for you, Mitchy1nge smile

And yes, the smoking analogy is good. You suddenly realise that you can live quite happily without something you thought you needed.

Welcome to reality.

springytate Sat 08-Jun-13 22:16:03

Reality? It may be 'reality' to you Ellie, but I'm not sure anyone is the authority on 'reality'. Do I recognise your name as someone who trawls this board to encourage people to drop their faith? You may have an axe to grind about religion - in which case, I'm with you on that.

I should clarify that I didn't specifically mean losing catholicism when I said 'you might be losing your religion' (above). I'm not taking a pop at eg catholicism. I'm not a fan of religion - and neither was Jesus, if you think about it. People mix God and religion up, which is where people get the idea that God is cold and vile - when he's the opposite.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 08-Jun-13 22:25:53

Mitchy if you feel better away from your church. Just do it. If you are losing/have lost your faith and it feels as good as *giving up smoking*[wow] grab it with both hands. That kind of happiness and peace and relief(?) is not to be sneezed at.

Accept it and move on to a happier, more fulfilled life.smile

springytate Sat 08-Jun-13 22:28:25

Baby/bathwater then!

All that palaver - 2000 years at least - hasn't come from nowhere. Don't chuck God out as well?

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 08-Jun-13 22:41:10

No Springy, I'm not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Mitchy has said that it's not just the church she's having problems with. She is having problems with the whole concept of god. She describes the loss of her faith, not religion as feeling as good as giving up smoking.

That sounds great and she'd be mad to deny it and spend her time trying to force herself to believe something that she doesn't.

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