I am not religious, I’m spiritual. That’s my copout for not going to church. I’m one of the most faithful members of Bedside Baptist. The real truth of the matter is while I do “get” parts of the Bible, I don’t “get” other parts. I have no desire to sit in a church for hours while someone yells at me about how much of a sinner I am and how to be redeemed. Honestly, I know all of that, thanks to the years of unwilling participation in the church system. It would be terribly unfair for me to dis all organized religions, but I have to say that I am not a big fan of most.
I’ve been to a lot of different religious services. When I was younger, my mother wasn’t exactly clear about which sect she wanted to belong to, so we went to both Baptist and Methodist churches. Sunday school @ 9, Service @ 11 (and quite possibly another service at 3 if it’s the Pastor’s Anniversary or some other such occasion). Bible Study every Wednesday night. Youth Group on Friday nights. *rolls eyes* While I loved going to Sunday School and Youth Group because it meant time spent with non-school friends, I dreaded having to sit through the pastor’s sermon on Sunday mornings. For some inexplicable reason, no matter what church I went to, it seemed that the pastor believed in the LOUD REPEAT system. Meaning, the more he wanted you to anchor onto his point, the more times he repeated himself and got increasingly louder. It got to the point where, I’d have to plug my ears. A bit ridiculous. The only part I loved was the singing. Whenever the choir got ready to sing a selection, I’d perk up instantly. There’s no denying that Gospel music will get you moving!
So, I got a little older and decided to try out the other half of my religious heritage. My father’s family is Catholic. I decided to try parochial school instead of entering my local public junior high. Yeah…I lasted there a good month before I wanted to transfer. I love God as much as the next person, but we prayed entirely too much, for too long. There’s no such thing as too much prayer, you may say? Well you weren’t in those hallowed halls of St. Simeon with me. Believe me when I say, sometimes it can be overkill. LOL Also, something about reciting a prayer rubs me the wrong way. Color me sacrilegious, but saying the Hail Mary three times in a row or however many was horror in my eyes. Then there was Mass. While I loved it for clocking in at 60 minutes consistently every week, it bored me to tears. I couldn’t understand most of it because it was in Latin. Also, no CWAIAH…there was a choir that sang hymns, but I needed a CWAIAH that was SANGIN’ songs that resonated.
For a few years after that I was a wanderer. I didn’t commit to any one religion. I went to church with folks because they asked me to or it was expected of me, not because I had any deep desire to become closer to God. Then, when I was 15, I met one of my best friends. I probably would have met her sooner had I not avoided her every Saturday morning of my youth, haha! She and her family are Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t know how much you know about the faith, but before meeting them my impression was that they were weirdoes who knocked on doors and didn’t celebrate Christmas. Nothing I wanted to get mixed up in, certainly! The more time I spent with them though, I got to see another side. I had been taught to shun them for so long that I thought they were religious freaks.
I won’t lie. I learned the most about Christ and the Bible through my time spent studying with Witnesses. A lot of people think that they don’t believe in Christ (false), are freakazoids (mostly false), and punish their members too harshly for the most minor infractions (mostly true). I can honestly say that while I was aligned with them, I never felt so much love, acceptance, and general fuzziness that comes from being surrounded by people who genuinely care about your wellbeing. They gave me a lot of the things that I was seeking from everyone in my life at the time. They helped me build my character, learn who Jeanette really was, and most importantly, allowed me to really take a look at my spiritual state and decide just how I wanted to go about this whole getting closer to God thing.
Honestly, if I didn’t love my family and fornication so much, I’d probably still be a Jehovah’s Witness. Actually, I probably wouldn’t be in such a tizzy about the fornication issue as I’d probably be married and birthing somebody’s bebes right about . . . now. The major part that kept me from committing to them fully was my family. Witnesses do not associate with people who are non-Witnesses, family included. Anyone who knows me knows that as crazy as they make me, my family is my world. Needless to say once I learned about that little caveat, my journey in Jehovahland ceased.
So now we get to where I am now. Which is . . . I really don’t know. I’m not really into organized religion. I don’t have the best relationship with God, in my eyes, but I’m working on it. Most of our conversations usually begin with me beseeching Him and end with me berating Him. Also, there are lots of tears. On my end, naturally. Although He may be crying on His end as well. I do some things that are tear inducing at times.
I’m working on it though. I’m trying to have better conversations with God. I’m trying to live a life that is more in accord with how He wants me to live. I’m learning to not blame Him so much for MY shortcomings. I’ve even been thinking about going to church, but then I get hives when I think about stepping foot in a church. Mainly because I’m afraid I’ll be transported back to my youth when I sat in church for hours, not feeling like I had gained anything.
I’ve asked a few people about the churches they belong to, but I’ve just been too damned lazy to get up and check out one of them. My senior at work is VERY religious, but I think I’m scared to ask her anything about church, lol. She’s one of those uber-zealot Christian folks. The last thing I need is for her to begin working her ministry on me. Mi amiga cheetah, C-squared, gave me some info about her church before, but like I said before, I was just too lazy to actually check it out. I think I will soon though.