This is a tough subject to breach and I had a hard time trying to decide whether to hash it out on the blog or not. I've decided to do it because I need an outlet. I need to get this off my chest.
For the past few months, perhaps even close to a year, Sarah and I have been feeling pretty dissatisfied with church. It's been a struggle to get up on Sunday and go. We actually took a couple of months off in the hopes that it would renew us. It did not. The only thing we missed about it was the people, our friends.
I'm not going to speak for Sarah. She has her problems and I have mine. I can only speak to mine. First and foremost, the biggest problem I have with church is me. Spiritually, I am dead inside. If there's any faith left, it's a small spark. Sarah says it's still alive in me but I don't sense it. God hasn't been real to me for a number of years now. I struggle. I have doubts. I swing back and forth. The bottom line is, I don't believe like I once did. I went thru a time when I was begging and pleading with God to return to me but I've gotten zilch. I am mourning the loss of my faith. I miss it. But I can't fake a belief that's not there anymore. So, going to church is hard for me in that respect. I can't participate in worship because, for me, there's nothing to worship. I'm sure I could continue in the vein but I think I've covered it. If you want details, you'll just have to call me so we can have a conversation.
Moving on. Another reason I don't enjoy church is because I've found no way to contribute, to be involved, that rings true. The loss of my faith makes it difficult to contribute but I have tried. I went back to leading worship for a time but I felt like a hypocrite so I stopped. Authenticity is important to me. I don't want to fake my thru it. I've seen too many people doing that and it makes me sick.
The other reason I find it hard to contribute is due to issues of quality and creativity. I've always had, compared to most people, radical ideas in regards to "doing church." For a while I actually felt like that was my call...to go against the flow, to challenge the status quo, to inject some life and creativity into church. Unfortunately, I've not had the benefit of being with a like-minded group of people. I've tried to lead but felt instead like I was dragging people behind me. That just weighs me down and wears me out. I can't do that anymore. So, trying to change things hasn't worked but being in a church where the quality and creativity I crave isn't valued is hard. Again, I could talk about this for ages but I'm going to move on.
I have enjoyed expressing my frustrations, doubts and spiritual questions thru my art. Unfortunately most people don't get what I do and don't know how to ask questions about it. In the past I've had people in my life who I could talk to about these things or groups of people who felt the same way I did about church. I felt like I had a "team" that I was moving forward with. I used to feel valued as a creative, spiritual being. I haven't had that in a long time. Frankly, I'm lonely. I feel like I'm creating in a void.
I know this is a disjointed mess of ideas that I've thrown out here. I'm sorry about that. I just felt like I had to get some of it out of my system so it wouldn't eat me up from the inside out. Honestly, we don't know what we're going to do. We don't enjoy going to church. And before you say, "But what have you put into it?" let me just say that we have tried to find our niches, our places of service, to no avail. We're at our wits end. But leaving is still a difficult choice because we have so many people that we care so much about. Seattle is a hard place to make friends. The thought of losing the few we have is terrifying. Some of you will say, "Well, why not try another church?" We have been to a ton of churches in the area and none fit the bill.
So, there are no easy answers. Do we stop going to church altogether? Do we stop going to services but continue attending lifegroup (which we do enjoy?). We're still trying to figure things out. Your patience, prayers, thoughtful conversations and positive thoughts would be greatly appreciated. And for those of you who find yourselves offended by this entry. Don't be. I am sharing my heart. If you want to talk with me about it, I'll be happy to do so. Don't take this personally. I am directing this at no one but myself. I am the one with the problem and I am trying my hardest to get over it but I'm running out of options.
Thanks for listening.