Can This Guy Only Talk About Jesus?!?


The kids and I went to a new church yesterday morning.  The kids and I.  This is actually kind of a big deal because, you see, I'm not exactly shy and I'm a pretty social person but I don't like doing things for the first time by myself.  Even if it's just things like shopping in a new store or checking out a new restaurant.  Oh, the restaurants!  Do I order at the counter?  Seat myself or wait to be seated?  Pay at the table?  Do they have a cashier?  See, if there's someone else with me then we BOTH stand the chance of looking a fool if we "do it wrong."  If I'm by myself, the fool card falls squarely on my shoulders.  Being foolish is so much easier in a group. 

Anyway, Eddie worked overnight Saturday morning so he was still snoozing away when we left for church.  And I wasn't going to let my resolution to get back into church more regularly go POOF the very first Sunday in January. So we went.  Just me and the kids.  Me - the only adult.  Out on a limb, all by myself.

I'm not exactly in love with where I live (I'm talking about Memphis here, y'all).  I mean, the location can't be beat.  I'm still in the south, I'm close to my family, and I'm fairly centrally located -- to the point that I can be in Dallas in seven hours, Atlanta in eight, and Chicago in nine.  Pretty cool.  However.  This town isn't friendly to transplants, it's full of ghetto fabulousness, and it's home to the mega church.

Ah, the mega church.

I grew up in small town Arkansas.  Growing up small town anywhere means you grow up in small town churches.  Churches that didn't have "music ministers" but rather a deacon that served double duty by leading the singing.  Churches that had potlucks and Sunday Night Sings and Ice Cream Socials.

The churches here are not like that, not at all.  And I've yet to decide if that's a good thing or not.  On the one hand, I want to go to a church where the pastor knows my name.  On the other, the anonymity of blending in with the crowd, of going to a church where everyone doesn't know all your business - that sounds kind of nice. 

The church we tried yesterday was on the smaller side, I suppose, for Memphis. They had two services but the church wasn't so large that they had to provide "campus maps" or anything crazy like that.  The lady who greeted us when we walked into the church was so amazingly friendly -- the kind of person who should always greet anyone who comes into any church anywhere.  She introduced us to the pastor, another huge plus in my mind.  Believe it or not, when "researching" churches I ran across one whose website included a FAQ section with the question "can I meet Pastor So-n-So?"  Wait, what?  They're kidding, right?  People actually have to ASK if they can meet the PREACHER of their CHURCH?  Yeah, thanks but I have no desire to worship any man's ego.  Next!

This church we went to didn't have a children's church during services.  BIG, HUGE, LARGE mark against it.  I understand that my children need to learn to sit still and listen during worship service.  I totally get that, understand it.  But at four and six (Karis was able to go to the nursery), my boys just are not ready for that.  Not even a little bit.  Jaidan was bored and, at one point, leaned over and whispered, "can this guy only talk about JESUS?"  I really enjoyed the service.  I liked the pastor.  The women working in the nursery were overly friendly and Karis - Little Miss Shy, Regina George, Doesn't Like People - didn't want to leave.  But I'm not sure if we can get past the absence of a children's church.

In addition to the mega church "problem," another issue with churches in this area is diversity.  Read: there is none.  At Jaidan's school, you will find children of every race.  In his little class of just over twenty kids, there is no "majority" race and children are black,white, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, biracial, and everything in between.  Churches though?  Notsomuch.  I saw one black face and a couple of Asian Indian families at this church we went to yesterday.  Other than that it was just a sea of white, white, and more white.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  I guess if the church "feels" right on every other aspect I can get over the lack of diversity.  But I don't want my kids to feel different or, if Eddie were to go with us one Sunday, I wouldn't want him to feel weird.

I know we're not going to find the perfect church for us right off the bat.  I also know that I can't let weird little "Brandi things" (i.e. being irritated because the church lists the hymn numbers in the weekly bulletin - that may or may not be confiscated by a four-year-old on a mission to draw Power Rangers - rather than having the music minister ask everyone to turn to hymn 360 while the organist fires up) in the way of finding the church that's right for us.  In the end, what matters is that we came home yesterday and it felt like the day went a little smoother than normal Sundays.  And I KNOW that's because we started off our morning in church.
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