I know that you don't know me from Adam, but I found your blog while searching for tips on flying with kids. We will be moving in a few months and my husband is going a couple of weeks before me, which means I will be flying with my four children.....alone. When I saw your "church" tag I was curious. I guess my question is, do you not believe there is one true church. A church where, you know it is the one God has set up on the earth to be His church and that even if there are doctrines you don't "agree" with, maybe that is something you have to overcome and be teachable in that? And if you truely believe that doctrine is wrong, why would you go to that church?First of all, no offense taken. I think it's an interesting question.
I just can't image liking this church because it looks like a church, but liking this other one because you get paged during the service because your kids need you. I'm not trying to be rude, I'm truely curious.
I guess the short answer is "no" - I don't believe that there's one true church. I think that if I were to think that the church I belonged to were the One True Church, I would be claiming more of a knowledge of God and His mind than I'm comfortable with claiming. There are so many different divisions of Christianity, and the differences between some of them are so minor. I am not qualified to decide that these groups are right and these groups are wrong. All I can do is follow my heart and my gut and make a decision that works for me and for my family. I figure that's why God gave me a heart and a gut!
I mean, don't you think it's a little arrogant to think that of all the billions of people in the world, and all the hundreds of different religions and different sects, you just happened to pick the "right" one?
I think there are a lot of paths, in other words, and that God probably doesn't get all hung up on the details (like pagers and music and what the church looks like!).
I was raised Methodist, for the most part, and my husband was raised Presbyterian. We went to the Pres. church for a while when I was a kid, too. The differences between the two are not hugely significant. It's not like one believes in Jesus and the other believes in Xenu. The main thing, for me, is that the Methodist church is more accepting of homosexuals, while the Presbyterian church isn't as accepting. It's not a binary difference, either - it isn't black and white. The M's are more accepting than the P's. It's not like the P's are out protesting at gay peoples' funerals or anything. It's a small doctrinal difference, not something that would affect our everyday life in the church.
I think there's enough hate and nastiness in the world, and no one should create further hate and nastiness against two people who love each other, regardless of those peoples' genders. Perhaps I need to be "teachable" in that regard, I don't know. I can't imagine one day deciding to be less accepting than I am today of any group - whether they're gay, or they're a different race, or whatever. So, perhaps God and I are going to have to have a serious talk about my attitude toward gays one day. Let's assume that I'm wrong, that God thinks gays are bad bad bad, and that I shouldn't be accepting of them. So, here's how I imagine that conversation going:
God: Amy, you really screwed up on the gay thing. I am not amused.Would I choose a church that required me to go out and preach against gays? No, because that would be in direct violation of my own beliefs, and the greater belief that I believe is at the core of Christianity, and that is Love. But can I deal with a church that may have a slightly different opinion on gays than I do, considering that I am not personally gay, so long as other aspects of that church are comfortable and in line with my own personal beliefs and interpretation of the Bible. Sure.
Amy: Well, God, I did the best I could. I never hurt anybody. I wasn't gay myself. I didn't "promote" being gay in any way (unless you count watching Queer Eye). I just tried to love the people in my path as best I could, regardless of whether or not they were gay, and I'm sorry if that offends You.
God: Oh, whatever. Let's go get some ice cream.
As for the appearance of the church, the music, etc. being important, you have to remember that we're choosing between two extremely similar churches, doctrinally. If churches were colors, it's not as though we're choosing between black and white, we're choosing between two very similar shades of gray. For both my husband and I, the "feel" of a church is important to us. We don't feel "churchy" in a big steel building with visible i-beams and rock and roll music. We don't feel like we've been to church in an atmosphere like that. You have to understand, these new buildings they're building around here are UGLY. They're built cheaply, and poorly. At the Methodist church we went to there's something wrong with the ceiling and it kept making noises throughout the service. It's very distracting, and it's hard to get into a reverent and spiritual frame of mind, for me, when I'm afraid the ceiling's going to cave in on my head. Although, it does give me something to pray about. "Please God, if the ceiling caves in, let me get out of here with my family!"
As for the preschool situation, the number of young families that belong, and other considerations I mentioned... You have to understand that the primary reason we're going to church is because of our kids. Both my husband and I believe in God, Jesus, and the whole Christian thing, but we've never regularly attended church on our own. The fact is that we've always had other stuff to do. (If I'm going to hell, it's probably for that more than the gay thing!!) However, we both feel that it's important to raise our kids with religion. For one thing, studies show that kids with a belief in a higher power who cares about them do better in life (resist peer pressure, don't do drugs, don't get pregnant at 14, etc.) than kids who don't believe in a caring higher power. For another, it gives them a group of peers outside of the group of peers at school - which may become important for them when they're older. Popularity in school matters less if you have a dozen close friends at church. I also want to get them into preschool, and I'm excited about the Pres. preschool program. The Methodist church doesn't have a preschool.
Maybe going to church for my kids will strengthen my own beliefs. I hope so. I'm kind of a Christmas/Easter Christian now (actually, the last few years I haven't even made those services regularly!).
So, I hope that answers your questions. Next time leave an e-mail! ;)
As for traveling with four kids - oh wow. That's beyond my area of expertise. I hope you found my post on traveling with a baby useful. You should talk to a teacher about how to handle field trips! I think that would be more similar to your situation than our trip with one!