Growing up, I was a witness to my parents bickering about religion.
My dad, a Methodist, and my mom, a Baptist, argued about every conceivable part of Christianity. And often, Dad made glib comments about Baptists in general just to get Mom fired up. (I think it amused him.)
My mom was involved, at one time, with the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. There was a branch of it in the town we lived in and that’s where I got “saved” when I was roughly five years old. The pastor started preaching against the government and really getting radical (in a completely uber-conservative way) and Dad told Mom that her involvement with that church had to end. Later, we moved from that town and settled an hour east. There, we went to a little nondenominational country church for several years, but once a month, Dad would drop us off and then drive a quarter-mile down the narrow road to the Methodist church, where he’d attend services instead. The one thing they still have in common when it comes to religion is that both of them are convinced that the other one has terrible taste in churches…
As I’ve blogged about multiple times before, I’ve had a rocky road when it comes to faith. I’ve volleyed from Protestantism to Catholicism and back again, and now I’m in this present state of limbo. And let me just tell you – this is the worst state to be in. Things I rejected last week are calling to me again, and things I thought would make me happy last week are only making me more confused. My heart and mind like warring factions. (Truthfully, I feel like the Roman Catholic Church and the LDS Church are like the Jets and the Sharks right now. And I’m Maria.) (My brain is sometimes a scary place.)
The only thing I know is that whatever path I take, I’m not walking it alone. This brings me to the entire point of this post – I want to worship with my husband. I don’t want to be one of those women who goes to church by herself and tries to live a life of faith while her husband sits at home, scratching at his groin and watching TV and ignoring her whenever she tries to talk about Pastor Bob’s moving sermon.
I’m the first to admit that, in our eight years of marriage, we’ve never had a strong faith life. (What I mean by “faith life” is regular prayer and scripture study and an open dialogue within the home about these things.) For a few years, right after I converted to Catholicism, I was filled with that all-consuming zeal that only belongs in the hearts of converts, and I think we lived as close to what I envision as a “life of faith” as we could during that intervening period. Then we left Louisville, and later we left the Catholic Church, and since then, any flame of intense passion I felt for building a home on a foundation of faith disappeared. When you pray and pray for years and, despite your pleading, the situations that took you to your knees only get worse instead of better, you have a tendency to stop praying. I’m still fighting those demons, but so much of me craves a life of faith. As much as I love our pastor in the United Methodist Church, and I’ve noticed this with a lot of Protestant faiths, what’s heard and said on Sunday rarely carries through the rest of the week. I need the kind of faith that carries me. I need edification and strength and peace, and I’m one of those people that believes you have to have a faith community to help you get there.
So all of my rambling basically leads to the fact that I’m still struggling and searching. Tim and I have agreed to discuss things once I get through this most exhausting time at work and, once my 68 hour weeks end, we will sit down and figure out what 2014 holds for us in matters of our spiritual growth. There’s so much I don’t know right now (Do we stay with the UMC? Do we return to the RCC? Do we explore the LDS? What about the Community of Christ?), but if I make one new year’s resolution at all, it’s to figure this all out. My soul is frazzled.