Defining the intersection between listening and living

Dancing with the Devil

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And go to Sunday service, and being in church singin’
Ain’t been to church in awhile
But it ain’t just about how you just praise him in the building
It’s about how you praisin’ him while you out
You taught me to remember that when I get set back
Been through the worst times to get the best back
-Big Sean, Sunday Morning Jetpack

Do you ever question your faith? Your beliefs? Maybe not. I have questioned aspects of what I believe and what that means many times. Maybe because it has been quite a long time since I have had a church to call home. A community that I have felt supported and direction. Choosing a church home is very personal. The decision is one that is quintessential to your development of community and support. Why I struggle so much with this is because I have had a tumultuous relationship with churches. To understand let me tell you a little about my past.

I say I was catholic for the first 9 years of my life. This being I attended a catholic school until 8th grade. I was highly engaged in the beliefs and the system. It provided me with my first sense of what it meant to be Christian. Who god was. The most appropriate ways to praise. While my Sundays were split between attending Catholic services, Baptist services at a closer neighborhood church with friends and the Methodist church that my grandmother belonged to. I experienced a rich and fluid upbringing with a strong church community. So when I entered high school and had a choice I chose to explore. I explored what it meant to be a Christian. What other churches had to offer. By chance, I found a Nazarene church and was captivated by the congregation, the acceptance, the community, but things changed. I changed. I became jaded from seeing the hypocrisy. I’m not one to be split, I now understand this need but back then I was who, I was. Monday through Sunday, I cursed like a sailor, was loud and fairly opinionated. I felt like,

Only pure beginnings followed by years of sinning and fake repentance
The preacher say we were made in image of Lord
To which I replied: “Are you sure?
Even a murderer? Even a whore?
Even a nigga running through bitches on tour?”
-J. Cole, Runaway

Yeah, that rang true for me. If a church was a community that spoke of forgiveness and acceptance. Why was I one of the last places that I could find these? For me, it became a very hostile environment. A place where I committed to worship and fellowship with friends but also offered severe hostility. When I reached the next transition in my life college I made a choice to step away from a little from what I deemed organized religion not that I did not worship or read but I felt like Big Sean in the opening quote. I praised him daily through my actions. I attended a quaker school so religion was still in the background ever present and aware.
Then transitioning to an adult it never really mattered. On an occasion, I would attend church but not any regular frequency. I was still searching for the community that I felt I belonged to. When asked what l loved. I loved the evangelical, hell fire and brimstone sermons. I loved the king James version of the bible. I longed for those days. I’ve since attended some of those new-aged churches that speak to current experiences and life. I just am not into that type of sermon. I know I am being picky but a church is a person choice. I stepped away exactly, for this reason, it was hard for me to relate to the congregation that lived more and more like a rap song than a Christian.

Now that I have a daughter though I feel bad. There are times that I want to take her to church but I’m unsure where I want to go. What type of experience I want her to have. Some place that is a shelter from the harsh realities of the world. The church is a haven so finding one that is accepting of a biracial child is also what I’ve been thinking of. My other concern is finding like minded individuals. Parents in their 30’s in healthy relationships. You wouldn’t think that was hard but it is. There are not many of us. Most are just married without children, divorced or in what they call complicated situations. Relating is what I am missing. The church was a place that I could relate so I want the same for my daughter. I want her to have a foundation from the church that she can grow and learn. Church and worship should be a place of harmony, beginnings, and security.A place that offers her an environment that nourishes her soul but supports our human need for community.

Dancing with the devil, I’ve been doing that for a while living my life outside of a community, a support system. Only recently have I thought that I need to really look for one, not only for myself but my family as well. We each have danced with the devil whenever we face trials and tribulations. I’ve had my fair share but I think I am in a midst of a transition. Looking for a community, that fellowship that I have been yearning for, for myself, my family and my daughter. I want to say that,

But I got church in the mornin’, church in the mornin’
-Bj the Chicago kid, Church

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