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Randomness from a 2005 graduate of The Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University

 

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I went to church this morning. Now I used to go to church all the time. I was the somewhat unusual college student who went every single Sunday and then the twenty-something who did as well. Even when my friends mocked me. Even when I was hung over. Really hung over... I loved church. In particular, in college, I went to Central Avenue United Methodist Church in Athens, which was awesome. (If any OU student ever reads this, go there!) It had tons of students, but also plenty of members of the community. The service was extremely contemporary and everyone was always very engaged. It was part of the confessional movement and took faith very seriously, despite the laid back atmosphere. There were lots of opportunities for service that really did use whatever one's unique gifts happened to be. Before I found Central, I attended another (slightly crazy) church where I was baptized, then visited probably 15 other churches in Athens, and finally found the place that just felt like home. When I graduated, I lived in Columbus for three months and went to the Vineyard (west side, not the huge one) with a faithful friend who had always gently tried to tell me about Jesus, but had been infinitely patient with me. However, when I moved away, it was really scary to have to find a church all over again. After a few tries, I settled on the Vineyard in Seattle as well. It was a large, fun congregation of probably 90% college students because it was on the UW campus. But then I started dating the psycho ex, and he quickly made it clear that I shouldn't be going to church. In a broad sense, he supported me being a Christian because he was "Catholic" and did think I should believe. I think really he didn't want me to be part of a Christian community from which I could draw strength and which might help me figure out how destructive our relationship was. He alternated between telling me that he couldn't bear to be away from me on Sunday mornings because he worked so much and that was "our time," and telling me that if I did go, he would probably just go online and try to meet other girls, so if I didn't want him to do that, I should stay home. His manipulation combined with my quickly diminishing sense of self, and soon didn't even think I deserved to go to church. A few times while I was with him I did go for a week or two, but every time it would provoke a fight, and I would often come home to find he had gone to meet some other girl, so it never lasted. About a year after I finally broke away from him I started feeling like maybe I was good enough to go back to church. I don't mean good enough as in sin-free or somehow otherwise objectively good enough, but just not hating myself so much. So I started going to a very small Vineyard chuch in my neighborhood. In many ways, it was a good fit at the time. There was an immediate sense of community that I needed, very strong messages, and engaging music. But after a few months, I felt like I just didn't fit. One of the big things is that every single woman there either was in the midst of having babies or desperately wanting to be. I didn't fit their mold, and it made me feel like I couldn't be myself. I'm sure that was purely my perception, but I started longing for a more diverse group of people. Also, being a very small congregation, there was a lot of (perceived) pressure to be best friends with the entire group. That's not bad, but I realized I wanted a larger congregation, with people of all ages, and with different lifestyles. School had also recently started again and I was (and still am) absolutely exhausted. So it became my first priority to sleep on Sunday mornings when I had the opportunity, but I was also longing for a church home. Being me, I started researching churches online. I found the one I went to today that way. I had a nice time. Except their contemporary service is at 8:45am, and I could definitely stand for it to be slightly later. Actually, their idea of contemporary is kind of funny. It means no robes and bells, and the songs are led by four people in casual clothes rather than a choir. I'm sure they think it is a huge step towards the modern era though. I met two nice women this morning and it is likely I will go back. Other than the barely contemporary-ness of it, my only other concern is that it was about 80% over 50. So, if any readers know of churches within about a 15 minute drive of Grandview, with contemporary services, and fairly traditional, but open-minded, doctrine, let me know. Because everytime I go to church I remember how much I love it, and I would really like to find the right church for me in Columbus.

Sorry there were no paragraph breaks. I just couldn't figure out where to put them. |
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