January 19, 2009

A Post About Church

When I was growing up, the Christians around me:
  • Either had no TV, used the TV to only watch movies, or just had antennae. My family was an oddity, as we had cable. We did have ABC, TBS, TNT, FOX, VH1, MTV, BET, and USA blocked, however.
  • The mom stayed at home, the dad went to work. I'm pretty sure that I only knew 1 kid who ever went to daycare.
  • The most committed Christian families homeschooled their kids. For those not up to the task, their kids went to private Christian school.
  • Most families went to no movies, although some went to see Disney movies. The Little Mermaid caused great controversy due to Ariel's outfit. This of course was before Disney was boycotted.
  • I didn't know any Christian who drank.
  • There were no divorces in the church. Divorced people who wish to remarry had to leave the church. Divorced people who had remarried prior to becoming saved could join the church, but couldn't become deacons or teach.
  • Slang words were just as bad as cuss words. I got in trouble for this one a lot at school.
  • It was widely accepted that Christians did not listen to secular music. Secular music was commonly burned in a bonfire when one became saved.
  • Christian music that had a fast drum beat or electric guitar was highly suspicious and not widely accepted.
  • Christian teenagers did not go to prom. This was made easier by the limited contact with public school kids.
  • Two-piece swimsuits were forbidden.
  • Dancing was forbidden, even at weddings.
  • There was no Santa, no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy, no trick-or-treating.
  • Almost everyone had a King James Bible. Long lectures were given concerning the inaccuracies of other translations.
  • Cheerleading was forbidden.
  • With the exception of The Lord's Prayer, there were no route prayers. I really don't remember saying The Lord's Prayer very often.
  • The Bible was interpreted and believed literally.
I should note that not all of these were true my entire childhood, but certainly for the first 10 years or so. Now that I am grown with a child of my own, I find myself looking for a church like the one I grew up in. I know a lot of people would look at this list and see all of the things that weren't approved of, or the people excluded. Conservative evangelicals do have a tendency to look more within than without. But I guess that unless someone has a startling revelation or a bad experience in a church, they tend to want things to stay the same.
How many of the things on the list are truly important for a body of believers? How many of these should determine what church to attend? While the list focuses on behavior of the people, I believe that by looking at this list you can get a glimpse of the people's moral character. They walked the walk. Looking at the list alone it might be easy to assume that they were judgmental, but I don't think they were. They formed their beliefs based on what they believed Scripture said. I don't know if this happens too much in churches nowadays. There is a line between loving everyone and condoning everyone's behavior. I think that some churches today have trouble establishing where that line falls.
I never really thought a home church was a problem until BB was born. I wasn't crazy about my church but I liked it well enough. I didn't begin to look at the church critically until I was faced with the fact that I was responsible for another person's spiritual development. I am not a fan of the mega church movement. I don't want to go to church to be entertained. As I read more on other blogs about other denominations, I see how things from other denominations add to the service and enrich the believer's life. The ideal church for me would be a la carte, combining different aspects from different denominations. But I have yet to hear of a non-denominational church that was not one extreme or the other.
This leaves me with the option to find a church that agrees the most with what I believe and has the fewest things that I object to. Dogmatically, a traditional Southern Baptist church fits the bill. However, SB leave out so many things that can enrich the worship service. I wonder at what point does adding things to a worship service truly contribute to the service? At what point do the extras diminish the service by relying on fickle emotions or limiting the ability of the service to be guided by the Spirit?
* I should point out that although I mention myself in this post, decisions about church are decisions made by DH and I. I don't make mention of him in posts like this because I don't want to put words in his mouth.


  1. If only the church we grew up in were still the church we grew up in... Minus the sad stuff, plus the current worship team and preacher;)--now that would be the perfect place to go. :)

  2. I struggle with this, too, Heather. We have been church searching for awhile with no luck!


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