Monday, February 21, 2011

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

These U2 lyrics keep playing over and over in my head when thinking about church. This blog has developed into a detailed account of my issues with church. The issues still persist.

I admit, I haven't actively been looking for a church recently, beyond visiting the local Episcopal church. I probably shouldn't generalize from one visit to one church, but I am inclined to say I am not Episcopalian.

I have looked a lot at websites of local churches. I check out their staff, leadership, belief statements, newsletters (to see what is going on in the life of the church), etc. The number of progressive churches within Lake County, Illinois is seriously lacking.  The number of churches that are--if I can say this--worth my time investing in the community, are seriously lacking. In turn, that leaves us in limbo, and without a church community. I don't like that for several reasons, too tiresome to explain right now.

There are two more churches in the area that I would like to check out. One is a Presbyterian church. However, when checking out their website, I noticed that participate in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. I cannot stand Dave Ramsey and the hype that surrounds him. His "disciples" tend to be a bit nutty, from my experience, and usually it's a more conservative camp that subscribes to his teachings on finances. So, seeing his name on the website put a bit of reluctance in my mind and heart.  The second church is a United Church of Christ/United Methodist church in the area--"United Protestant Church." They recently had Tony Campolo come speak (which I missed, since I didn't find out til the day of, boo!). That, alone, seems promising. I have no idea how big the church is, the age of the people in it, etc. But if they are open to thinking about social justice and the type of things Tony Campolo pushes people to think about, then that seems encouraging.

Life was so much easier as a child when you just went to church--every Sunday without fail--because that's just what you did. Of course, then, my faith wasn't critical. I was very naive, and I had no idea of the dark side of the church or the Christian tradition.  I don't think I want to go back to that innocence, but it did make things so much easier. Ignorance is bliss?


  1. Heather, ignorance is not bliss. I would think that a person who is working on a Ph.D. in theology would have tried the obvious first step--prayer. But you didn't mention that at all.

    Instead of looking for a church that meets your personal criteria for size, entertainment value, demographics, church policies, and political views, why don't you look for a church that meets God's criteria? Pray sincerely and ask Him to lead you to a church that helps people come unto Christ, and through Him find peace in this life and salvation in the next. Many people forget to rely on God when choosing a church home, and instead make the decision based on the quality of the music, how many different types of services they offer, and who their paid guest speakers are.

    And if a group of members of a congregation are into Dave Ramsey, that does not necessarily mean they are nutty. In my opinion that is unfair, and even judgmental. Those who follow Ramsey's plan to get out of debt are being proactive about their problems, which is more than can be said for many debt-laden churches. Individuals and couples who are working on the goal of being debt-free are also are putting themselves in the position to be more charitable to their church and the causes they believe in. In fact, Ramsey encourages his students to tithe to their churches and generous in giving.

    Believing that most churches in your area aren't good enough for you might mean you are a church snob,and that's a danger signal. Keep looking even in less obvious places and above all, give prayer a try. You just might be surprised to find yourself a member of a church that had been praying that you would find them. Good luck, and may God bless you.

  2. on the contrary to anon above, i believe you absolutely must find the church that fits you. otherwise you wouldn't want to go to church - this is the issue i'm dealing with currently.
    so yes, prayer is an answer, but i would disregard the above post. sounds rather sanctimonious to me, anyway.