I was reading a blog that talked about a challenge about faith. I thought I would take up that writing challenge. Write about how I started religion to where I sit on it this present day. This may be rather long.
My earliest memory of church was getting on the church bus with my mom and two sisters. I remember going a few times as a young child. Us, three girls, all received a bible. I still have that bible. It is a King James Version.
The only thing I remember about the church was attending sunday school in the basement. The basement was dark and scary. The adults were trying to place me in a different class from my older sister. I was too scared to be separated from her. I cried. As we went everywhere together. The adults finally took me to my sister’s class. I was calm. They would not allow me to attend Sunday school after that. As I refused to go in the class for my age. Instead I sat up in a pew with my mom. I was fine with that.
When my mom and dad divorced around the age of five. My dad married my stepmom. We started attending her church. It was a Lutheran church. I found Sunday school classes to be fun. Church not so much. I would fall asleep when the preacher was talking. I would get punished when I got home. Every Sunday, I started to dread going to church knowing I would get in trouble for falling asleep. I couldn’t help it.
Whenever I was with mom on the weekends, we would attend whatever church she was currently attending. We tried all kinds of different churches. As a child I experienced the Christian religion in many different forms. There was Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Jehovah Witness, Catholic, Seventh Day Advents, and more. I learned a lot about different religions within Christianity. Not all churches believed the same way, nor celebrated the same way.
By time I was in middle school, at my dad and stepmom’s church, my siblings and I were attending classes to be conformed to the church. I attended the first year and graduated it, the second year, my two sisters and I went to go live with our mom. Things happened.
A year later we were back living with my dad. Going back to church, the church said we had to start the classes all over again to be confirmed. Even though I stood in front of them and recited everything we were expected to memorize to graduate the first class. They didn’t care. They were not budging on the issue. That is when I stopped going to Sunday school classes. Instead I attended regular church, the early service. As soon as I was old enough. I stopped going altogether.
As a teenager, I tried a few churches on my own as I had a vehicle I could drive there. Any time I felt like I was being singled out or picked on by the adults I stopped going. I was falling further away from going to church. Not from God. I still have a strong faith in God. Some of those people can be so uptight and a busy body.
I didn’t start attending church again til I was living in Florida, where my ex sister-in-law invited me. I felt bad because I could not give money each week. As my husband did not believe in God or church. He refused to give me any money to place in the collection plate.
I liked the church and how it focused on helping keep kids off the street. On Wednesday evening, the church held classes and dinner for all who attended. teenagers played basketball, football, or attend classes. However, as teenagers they had a choice and wasn’t forced to attend classes. Some helped the younger kids. Some played games til they got the free dinner. It was a way to get kids off the street for a few hours. It worked.
The only issue I had with that church was the preacher’s wife. She was a nosey busybody. I got in an argument a few times with her. Once was over me using a cane. As I was shot in the leg. She tried to ask me all kinds of personal information in front of other people. She would not take no for an answer.
Another time, she was picking on my daughter and literally would not allow her to attend Sunday classes. She picked on her because she was special needs. I stopped going to church. My daughter begged to go back. However, I was not allowed to take her. I felt like a horrible mother.
My ex sister-in-law talked to some other people at the church about what happened and how my daughter really wants to come back. The preacher’s wife was overruled and my daughter was asked to go back. I attended that church but would never talk to the preacher’s wife. I avoided her. If I seen her coming, I turned and walked the other way.
I stopped attending when I moved back to Ohio. I heard over the grapevine that the preacher was asked to step down because of the actions of his wife. I was not the only person she had a run in with. People were tired of acting like she ran the church. That it was what she said goes or else. She was running people away from the church because of her behavior. I don’t know what a preacher wife role is in the church. However, I think she over stepped boundaries. I felt sorry for the preacher. As he was a great preacher. I loved hearing his sermons.
I tried a few different churches in Ohio. Still none felt right. One of them I attended almost four months with no one acknowledging me. Not one greeter said hello or put their hand out. When I tried putting hand out. I was looked at funny or the person reached around me to welcome someone else. Someone they knew. I tried to sign up for classes. However, the lady at the desk was happier talking to her friends and seemed upset when I asked a question. She was vague. I felt like I was invisible. I really wanted to do something crazy to see if someone would notice me. I decided against it and never attend again. I hear the church no longer has regular church services. If they treated other people like I felt. I can understand why.
Personally I am beginning to believe church isn’t for me. I still love God, I still believe in God. My boyfriend and kids help out a local food bank at a Spanish church. I have made some new friends. I am not ready to try another church. The ladies are nice and all. However, I can’t understand them half the time. As I only speak English. Once again making me feel excluded. That isn’t going to stop me from looking to attend another one some day in the future. I haven’t found the church for me.
Do you attend church? Have you had issues attending church and stopped?