Where do you go if church isn't 'you?'(22 Posts)
I went to church for years but drifted away as I felt it was reflecting my views and what I think Jesus' message was, less and less. I didn't get on that well with other Christians, I found them a bit uptight and false.
I see spirituality everywhere from all sorts regardless of religion, sexuality, race, etc etc.
Where do you go if you're very tolerant, fun, loving, not scared of questioning and don't want to hear negatives?
I miss praying and talking freely about god but I could really do without the 'shouldn't' aspect of religion.
Anyone have an experience to share?
I share you feeling and turned away from "traditional" religion when I was very young. For many reasons it did not and still does not appeal.
But I remain a "spiritual" person.
8 years ago I visited a spiritual church which really resonates with me. It's not all woo contacting spirits (although for me this aspect has been utterly enlightening) but an ethos of a way of living I agree with. I have met some lovely genuine people from all walks of life
Yes! Sorry - badly worded as typing from phone. I go at least once a month. It's a big part of my life.
Sounds interesting, does it follow a normal church service format then? What denomination is it? Sorry to ask so much!
Top of a big hill with a view and a gentle breeze (both when I was Catholic and still now as an aethiest).
There are quite a lot of churches that are more open and inviting.
I was going to say check out the quakers. They are a fairly young lot in our town and very open to exploring spiritualality rather than dictating it.
Hi Peacocklady. I'm sorry that your church isn't giving you what you're looking for.
Perhaps try a different church or a different denomination to see if you can find more joy and less 'thou shalt not...'! Or look for a large church that has a number of different services. For instance, we have just instigated a once-a-month Sunday evening
service event, that just allows people to be together (because the communal aspect seems important within Christianity, and is one of the things that makes church 'church', iykwim; which is not to disparage the spiritual experiences you can have on your own, in nature, or whatever - simply to say that gathering with other believers to pray and/or worship is something that seems quite important to me) in the church space, and to pray quietly, light a candle, move about the church, etc. It's very contemplative, in (what I understand to be) a quaker-ish way. This might be something that might appeal to you, if you can find something like that.
Good luck, anyway.
I live in the US so it's slightly different, but I have found a very great welcome from the Lutheran church. Grew up in the C of E, was agnostic for a number of years and then had parental guilt that I wasn't offering anything at all to my own children.
They all love going, although I limit it to twice a month, just because we only have 2 days a week with DH at home and I don't want to spend every single weekend wrapped around church.
As Tuo says you could try looking at other denominations and services. Faith is a journey and on a journey we need different companions at different stages.
Churches that are very boundaried and definate about faith and rules are great for people who are new to Christianity or have personalities that need everything cut and dried but not everyone is like this. Faith grows and changes so different services, churches and denominations will be right for different people at different stages of their faith journeys.
In your OP the bit about being tolerant and not afraid of questioning describes liberal Christianity. Great swathes of the C of E and Methodism come under this description. Or maybe look out for Fresh Expressions of Church which might be called something like cafe church in your area or if you like getting into the outdoors there is a very new movement called forest church http://www.mysticchrist.co.uk/forest_church. Or if it is near to you have a look at Contemplative Fire http://www.contemplativefire.org/
There is lots out there but it isn't always obvious - we need to do our marketing better!
I really love hearing what you are all saying. Faith is so important and I feel so frustrated by churches that don't truly reflect what it is no know God. I don't have any suggestions but I just want to encourage you to keep going but don't expect a perfect church. The beauty of life is often in hard times, broken people walking together on a journey.
OP if you are prepared to say what area you are in we might be able to suggest some 'alternative' forms of church there for you.
Thanks for the replies. Not sure what I'm looking for I guess that's the problem. I don't want to feel as disappointed as I did when I heard the vicar at the church I went to had written a letter to the bishop against gay marriage, so I'm reluctant to go back to church and risk being disappointed again. (there have been other things too)
I quite like the Quaker idea and the idea of a gospel church as I love singing but I don't think I'd fit in!
I'm in Sheffield.
According to this there are 4 welcoming/gay friendly churches in Sheffield.
Can I ask if you have had anything to do with Church Army in Sheffield. They are the Church of England Evangelists who start churches on housing estates and aim for a more welcoming approach to church.
I'm in the same position - but continue to go to church. I have no idea why - except that the book says 'don't neglect to meet together' . I find it intolerable most of the time - but I do enjoy (drink in!) the sermons. But I don't know what they're all going on about a lot of the time. Christians, that is.
I might try the Church Army. Good idea.
I think it would be fair to say I loathe religion. Really, really loathe it.
so if anything gets stilted or 'this is how it's done' I feel squashed and totally excluded. It feels so airless and dead to me. Awful.
I tried a housegroup last night. Evangelical church. The woman next to me was saying she was worried she wouldn't 'get the blessing' if she didn't do this or that. I said (new girl!) 'we don't want to get religious about it though, we're freed from all that' [wanted to say YOU'VE GOT THE BLESSING YOU DAFT BAT]. It didn't go down well. I should've kept my mouth shut. But I end up keeping my mouth shut the entire time.
I'm up there with Jesus, what he did, why he did it. Incredibly gorgeous message, incredibly gorgeous price he paid... for us to enjoy him and enjoy having a relationship with him.
Sorry for hijack and for going on.
I don't go to a specific place, such as a church. It's the beach, the forest, out across the fields when I can see the horizon and just the expanse of sky. That feeling of being tiny and immeasurable compared to the universe surrounding us. It's rather humbling and really makes me feel connected.
It depends if you want a male Christian God and a lot of rules, or just connection with the Divine and finding your own relationship with that Divine?
I also go outside or inside, I find the Divine all around, in everything. Have you looked at panentheism? (note the slightly different spelling to pantheism)
Springy, you know what, you really do rock I love your posts. I know you hate church and religion and yet still keep on trying in order to do what the BIble says, and then come across silly people talking about 'getting the blessing.' Oh dear. Sounds like hard work....keep on searching. I bet there is the right place for you somewhere.
OP, just to agree with the others, there are many churches who are broad, open and encourage questioning, as they should. I think church is important in the sense of meeting with other believers, encouraging each other etc, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a service in a building, iyswim. A group of people looking at some bible passages together, or talking through some theology in the pub. It all contributes.
I hope you find something right for you. Sometimes though I've found it's a case of knuckling down and making it what I'd like rather than thinking it should immediately satisfy me.
I'm sorry you have found other Christians a bit uptight. I know some like that too, but a vast majority who are just normal, nice people, fairly laid back and open to questions etc. All the best.
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