When Humility Feels like Drowning
Reading: Ghouls of the Miskatonic
Audible: The Golden Compass - Phillip Pullmen
Smoking: Frog Mortons Cellar
Drinking: Bulleit Rye Whiskey
Creating: Fan made scenario for Arkham Horror the Card Game
Throughout my life I've attended a lot of churches. I'm not talking about just walking in the door one week to check it out and then never showing up again. If I counted those, well, I wouldn't be able to that's for sure. I was apart of three churches in my home town because my friend group spanned three churches. A Conservative Baptist church that my family attended and the congregation was 10 years older than God. A First Assemblies of God church that was basically the same thing but they were Armenian leaning and the baptist church leaned more Calvinist. And the third church was a crazy non denominational church that had fits of "Holy Laughter", banner waving, speaking in tongues, and people falling over and writhing on the ground (yeah it freaked me out then and it freaks me out now but there was a girl i was interested in that went to the church lol.) When I began attending Cedarville University in Ohio I first attended Mercy HIll Church which was a church plant at the time and shut down 4 months into attending. I followed the pastor of that church to Veritas Community Church in Columbus Ohio and was going there for a bit but the drive was too long. I then began volunteering and helping to run the youth group of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Xenia Ohio. This was almost essentially a separate entity from the church itself as we had all of the kids that had been kicked out of the other youth groups in town and weren't exactly "welcome" in church on Sunday. I lived with the youth pastor for a summer and learned much from his years of humility and expertise serving those kids. Not being able to really agree with anything the church was doing on Sunday mornings and a dramatic increase in my school work had me wind up at Soma. This was a church meeting in the gym of the local YMCA in Springfield Ohio. I continued at that church until all hell broke loose and my life fell apart and I found myself transferring to Azusa Pacific University in LA. In LA I started going to a church weirdly also called Soma located in Burbank. (Found out there's a network of churches called the Soma Network. But also pastors think its cool to use the Greek word for body to name their church. Its not in case you were wondering.) At Soma I met a guy who was trying to start a church in Silver Lake. I apprenticed under him for a couple of months until I realized that he wasnt stable. (Shortly after leaving that environment his wife took the dog and their newly born child and ran away. He's now attempting to become an actor and is an extra in tv shows and things which seems fitting.) Another dramatic life change now found me in Auburn CA with a wife and living with the in laws for a little while. We first attended Redemption Church and that lasted until our small group we were apart of imploded and the guy whose house we met at kicked us out and eventually left the church. After another failed attempt of attending another church in town called Upper Room my wife and myself now find ourselves at a small Episcopal Church in town called St. Lukes.
Through all of that it becomes almost painfully obvious that from church to church there really isnt much difference. I would find myself pushing back against the same issues, asking leaders the same questions and attempting to encourage the same changes in every church. When every person you meet at every church you attend across the entire country is stuck in the generally the same wide rut that they can't seem to get out of a couple of things occur. You become jaded, you become prideful, and you start losing faith in the expression of the church. Or at least I did. I've heard it all before. I know all of the lingo and what was and wasn't acceptable or expected. Which leads me to St. Lukes.
I assumed it wouldn't be too different from all of the protestant evangelical churches I've attended. Essentially the same thing with some liturgy sprinkled on top. What I wasn't prepared for was the feeling of stepping into an ocean of unknown and being unable to find a foothold on which to stand. Okay maybe that's a little dramatic but I needed a good title. I realized this feeling is the feeling of being humbled by a congregation and a tradition that not only was I unfamiliar with but also extremely ignorant of. The same problems I had seen and encountered in other church most likely exist here as well but they approach them from a perspective that is fresh to me. They appeal to theologians and traditions that I haven't read and am unfamiliar with. The liturgy is unknown and has depths that will take a while to learn. Instead of finding myself in a place of judging the church I am attending, I find myself in a place of humility and learning.
Final random thoughts for the week
Maybe we're all inside of our own echo chambers, some are just larger or smaller than others.
This post feels sappy and phoned in.