Last night I saw some of my family as we casually gathered for a birthday. The discussion turned to a lady in the neighborhood that had recently passed away. She and her husband came here from another country many years ago, and at first they were both active in the LDS church, but then she was offended (the discussion was that maybe it had to do with people asking her to repeat herself because of her accent) and stopped going.
Apparently before she passed away, she called both her home teachers and some catholic priests to give her blessings. Someone commented with a smile that she must have wanted to make sure she was covered.
A comment I've heard many times from my parents was said again, "If everyone that gets offended at church stops going, there would be no one there." To which someone else responded, "I've heard that if someone stops going because they are offended, they were really just looking for a reason to stop going."
I wondered if the discussion purposely went on as it did for Scott and my sake, or if they even thought about that element in the room.
I don't know about Scott, but I definitely was not looking for a reason to stop going to church. I've been offended at church before, and it has never stopped me. But this one is too big, too encompassing, too personal. Yes, it is offense by a few individuals at church, but it is also offense by the hypocrisy of the church in general, the "love one another" and "become more like Christ" words that conflict with the impossible "love the sinner but hate the sin" attitude.
If anything, I am desperately looking for a reason to want to be at church, to keep it from being anxiety-ridden drudgery.
My daughter is at a church-organized girls camp this week, one similar to the one I worked at when I was 19. I am jealous of the experience I know she is having, of being entirely surrounded by God's creations and His spirit. I long to have another experience like that, to renew me and help me remember my testimony and how strong it was at that time in my life. Will I ever be able to have that again?
There is a staff reunion for the camp I worked at coming up at the end of the month. I am hoping that I will feel up to going, at least for one afternoon, maybe. My life was in such a different place 5 years ago when I attended the last one. I had a new baby then, too, and he came with me to enjoy the day, strapped in a front-pack. I met a girl that was one of my "campers" and had since been on the staff. She was delighted to see me and remember how I had helped her to have a wonderful and spiritual experience when she was 12. What a great feeling it was to sing the songs again and remember the great times.
One of the staff members I worked with that summer long ago is also one of the reunion organizers. She read my blog for a while, but she sent me an email a few months ago to let me know she would no longer be my friend on facebook or read my blog because of my church-conflicting views on gay marriage. Does that mean that this camp, that is everything to me that is God and good and beautiful, will now become a place that is uncomfortable and guilt-ridden for me, just like my church building? Will it be painful to go to the reunion, or will it be just what I need? Will it give me a reason to continue my efforts with regards to church attendance?
Hopefully I will be able to go and find out!
5 weeks ago