Are you there God? It’s me, Jeanette.

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.

4 Responses to “Are you there God? It’s me, Jeanette.”

  • shannon♠ says:

    Bleh @ church. My friends try and get me into their groups and ministry meetings all the time — telling me I’ll be renewed and live so much happier.

    Say what? I’m straight. I mean, if the donations hat is going to my house then maybe.. and God are fine at my house — chillin’ and chattin’ under my roof. Hey!

  • Honey B. says:

    i never really knew much about jehovah’s witnesses either…still don’t. i agree with you though. some churches bore me to tears. there’s one in my area that i really love, but so does every other 20-30 year old. The church is fabulous and the pastor is too, but the patrons kind of make it into a highschool fashion show or something. i hear people talkin’ ’bout folks in the next row and all that. add that to the fact that it’s always overcrowded. i’m good staying home. it feels good to go sometimes though.

  • suga says:

    I must admit, that as a faithful church goer, I initially thought I’d be offended by whatever you said, but you kept it real and I like that.

    I grew up in the church and my mom was a sunday school teacher so you know i was involved in EVERYTHING. The thing is, my church was fun. We (the youth) went on trips every year, and met monthly and got to do whatever. They gave us a lot of freedom and I was even the youth president 2 years b4 i went off to college. But these people were my family, in a way, since Id’ been with them since birth, so it was kinda like a family reunion every sunday lol

    College had me missing out on church. I mean, I loved church, but I love sleep on sunday morning too lol

    When i moved back home, my home church was crumbling due to the new pastor and craziness was going on so I stayed away.

    After a few years, i went through a really really bad period in my life. Eventually, I decided to visit a church because I felt maybe just being in that type of environment could help me get through my rough patch. That even if I couldn’t find solace in the Lawd (lol) I could at least be distracted by having to get up and do something every Sunday morning.

    It helped tremendously. I eventually joined a church where the pastor doesn’t scream and holler at you lol He’s actually pretty young (early 40s) and is one of those leaders who invests a lot into the youth and young adults in the congregation, so our get togethers are usually cracking. I used to have people who NEVER go to church, calling me asking if they cold tag along. It’s also very progressive so you have alot of college educated, goal oriented young folks there…I love being around that.

    Funny how you mention Jehovah Witnesses. My boo grew up as one and was eventually disfellowshipped as a young adult.

    When we first started dating 3 years ago, we were in Walgreens once and he said some church members were in line ahead of us, but because of him being kicked out, they couldn’t even say hi to him. I could tell he saddened him. He compared it to having a family member ignore you because of what someone else told them to do.

    He has recently gone back and he talks to me about it ALOT. He invited me to come with him but I was nervous, mainly because the circumstances surrounding him being disfellowshipped sounded kinda cruel, but he promises me that everything would go well and I’d be treated kind.

    We’ll see.

  • Assertive Wit says:

    I was raised a Jehovah Witness and baptized as one when I was 9 years old. I am not currently practicing my religion wholeheartedly because…well, that’s a sit down type conversation to have, not really a blog or blog comment for that matter. While I do believe in most of what I was taught, I feel that at 9 years old, you have so much more to life to learn that will influence your own personal views and beliefs on life.

    I don’t feel anyone should adopt a religion simply because it was fed to them all their life. It should be something they believe in because it is their own; not because it is a family “heirloom”.

    As for the “rules and regulations” that many people view as unnecessary and ridiculous, well, I respect those because it is no different in ANY religion. All religions have guidelines and traditions they expect their followers to follow and if they choose not too, they will be treated differently from those who do follow them. That’s why it’s called organized religion 🙂

    I would never talk bad on my religion, or anyone elses for that matter. I don’t agree with some of the things that were taught to me but I also have to take into consideration that just because men “run” the congregation, it is God’s spirit that is supposed to guide you and your beliefs.

    Good blog though…I hope you find what makes you comfortable enough to put faith in 🙂

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