If most people asked me whether or not I was religious, I'd be likely to answer them with a resounding 'No.' A bad experience with a politically-minded church whose leadership was more focused on spreading their agenda than sheparding their flock closer to living God's principles shook me to the core. Also, my heritage traces Judaic and I love and embrace a lot of it. Problem? They believe Christ was a 'good guy;' I believe he IS God. Little bit of a difference and it knocks me out of the club. But, growing up, many of the churches I attended treated Judaism as 'the competition,' slamming that religion and it just felt wrong. So, eventually, religion and I parted ways.
Faith and I? Did not. Over the years, I've flirted with the idea of committing to another church that was a reflection of the Faith I still held inside of me. I "dated" different churches, only to be let down in one way or another. Typically, it's a lack of substance that does me in - not altogether dissimilar from the typical issue with the men I date. Our core 'substances' don't match. I had almost resolved to singularly existing in a wierd world of 'coexistance' (1) in studying and practicing this hybrid between Judaism and Christianity (2). And then? I found the church I think I'm ready to get into a Long-Term Relationship with.I met my new relationship through, ironically enough, a guy. We were talking about faith on what could have been a date (3) and he started telling me about the church he went to. "You'd like my church," he said, "You should check it out." I murmured something about maybe doing so and we went back to looking at Christmas Lights. (4) A few weeks later, it came up again. I told him that I might stop by and check it out. And I did; he just didn't know it. Still doesn't actually; as I think I'd like to keep those two "relationships" seperate for some reason. I think it has something to do with purpose and intent. I'm there to worship and learn about my God; not get hooked-up.
It was awesome. It was informal and engaging and just felt like home. Like that easy first date where you meet and just can't stop talking to each other; completely in synch. I went again and still loved it. Stepped into the commitment pool a little further; checked into what they call 'cell groups' (their version of Sunday school/bible studies). Wanted to see how long it'd take to get a return phone call. Or if, you know, they were just 'texters' without real, discernable interest. Was this going to be a casual date or a potential long-term boyfriend?? Not 24 hours later, I got my answer - with a phone number and a request to call. I'm smitten. *Sigh*
So, there's the precursor to reason for straying from the typical relationship stuff that I normally write about. Just like when you finally find "that special someone" and you want to tell all of your friends about it; I'm pretty psyched about finding a Church that engages and challenges me - that I feel like I'm learning something from and can connect with. If it's not your thing, no big deal - just don't read it. ;) Now, I'm going to write a seperate blog about the concepts in the sermon that got me so geeked up and what I took from them... Enjoy!
1. Ok, some people see coexistance as just that; the tolerance of faiths that are divergent from your own. However, there are others that are actually viewing coexistance as their own religion; the embracement of all religions, culminating in what? The highest path or the greatest insurance policy? I don't know...
2. Yes, I know there's a religion called "Messianic Judaism," but it's not for me. Haven't found one that really didn't feel like an insurance policy.
3. I really couldn't tell with him. We went and did stuff several times, talked a ton and while I really like him - the whole time we were doing whatever, I couldn't figure out if I was on a date or out with a friend or just found my new business partner. He is a GREAT guy; It just shouldn't be that hard to read. Tragic, I know... but, he's not 'out of the club' and I'm convinced everyone comes into your life for a reason - maybe his reason was to point me to this Church??
4. As an aside, might have been one of the best outings I had that season; it was really a good time.