Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Recovering Church Lady is Not Anti-Church (New title)


Nope, I'm not really on a magazine. Did I getcha?
It has come to my attention that the name of this blog, when combined with my recent “outing” of myself as a current non-church-goer, has led to the idea that I am anti-church. (To be clear: When I say “church” I mean the church as an organization or institution. The place we all go to every Sunday morning.) I am writing this with a smile because I know that nothing could be further from the truth. My life has been all about the church. It has been my epicenter, social circle, workplace and happy place for as long as I can remember. I have never dreaded Sunday, but always looked forward to a beautiful time with friends who love and adore God as much as I do.

If I could be accused of anything, it would be that I am guilty of loving the church too much. The evidence?.....

  • Began attending church while still in the womb.
  • Could be found in church every Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday night nearly all my life. Add in several week-long sessions of special meetings, conferences, Bible studies etc.
  • Began teaching Sunday school classes at age 14 years. Continued until about age 45.
  • Involved in Youth group until old enough to be a youth leader.
  • Moved from attending & teaching Sunday school to being a Sunday School Superintendent, appointed, trained and dismissed teachers.
  • Attended Church nursery, volunteered in church nursery, then was director of church nursery.
  • Youth Pastor’s wife – 2 or 3 yr
  • Singles Pastor’s wife – 2 yr
  • Young Marrieds Pastor’s wife – 2 yr
  • Head of Women’s Ministry – 10 yr
  • Children’s Pastor – 15 yr
  • Senior Home Ministry – 2 yr
  • Associate Pastor’s wife – 7 yr
  • Interim Pastor’s wife – 9 months
  • Senior Pastor’s wife – 10 yr
  • Church secretary, janitor, decorator – 10 yr
  • Church Outreach coordinator, Lambtown Booth & Nativity in the park & Parade floats – 10 yr
  • Mid-week Children’s ministry – 10 yr
  • Ministry School Overseer & Admin – 10 yr
  • Church Receptionist & Admin for a large church – 4 yr
  • (Looks like I had a lot of different husbands huh?)
Loved it!

Even after all of that…over 30 years in church ministry, I can honestly say that I love the church and I had very few moments when I did not look forward to the Sunday morning gathering. I know many ministry people who cannot say that.

The name of this blog is “Recovering Church Lady” and most of you know that it is a humorous reference to the Saturday Night Live character by Dana Carvey called The Church Lady. I explain her and my reason for choosing this name in the 2 INFO pages at the top of this blog here & here. The blog name has nothing to do with church or my current situation as a non-attender. I am not a wounded anti-church advocate. I am in between churches at the moment due to the ending of our staff position in the last church. Our former church was and is awesome with a capital “A”! I love the people there. (Hi gang!) I was ministered to and nurtured there in ways I will cherish forever. We continued attending for a year after our ministry job ended but it began to feel sad and awkward and I know that God was leading us out and into something new.

We still don’t know what the “new” is and that leads me to this question…….Is there any other way to be the church? I am not anti-church, but I do wonder if there is any other way. Can we be a community of believers without finding ourselves working to pay for the lights and air-conditioning of a building? I have no answers to the question nor any agenda by asking it. Just wondering and trying not to be afraid of the question.

Thanks for reading this unusually long post. I hate the idea that readers may see my blog name and make the wrong assumption. I’m not ready to change the name, but who knows what the future holds? Certainly not me, and today I am OK with that. :)

Always Worshipping,
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18 comments:

  1. loved reading your post I grew up in the same manner

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    1. Hi Angie, thanks for commenting. Growing up in church is kinda like growing up in a foreign country, when you meet someone from the same country it is easy to converse!

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  2. I thought perhaps you were recovering from an addiction of some type. Actually, in a way you were. But I am so glad you now know that God loves you unconditionally. The greatest love. Do as you are moved, not because you are trying to prove to God that you are good. You are awesome. He made you. He doesn't screw up. I see from reading your bio that you now realize this. I never doubted that you were a Christian. Peace and God's Blessings.
    As for a church? It doesn't have to be somewhere that costs money for utilities and such. It just needs to be somewhere large enough to hold however many people would be attending, be it a home or somewhere else.

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    1. Hi MC, glad you stopped by! Hearing we are loved unconditionally is easier than really believing it for some reason huh? My life message is to help others know it, believe it and figure out how to live it.

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  3. Ya know...I love you. Look at that resume! I did not even realize you did not currently go to a church...so glad He meets us where we are. Hmmm...interesting I wrote about the Tabernacle tonight. The church is us, not the building...and why am I preaching to the choir? Oh that must be my inner pharisee rearing it's ugly little head! ;)
    I know you and hubs will figure out how best to worship Him in Spirit and Truth...and already do. I am curious to see what God will do with you both next...in the sense of adventure? Or I don't know? But He does. ANd it's good. Am I making any sense tonight? I am scaring myself with all my words....Love and hugs!

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    1. Yah, I actually was afraid that I would lose readers if I told on myself. I would have judged someone harshly in the past for not going to church. That's how I know that others may not understand our situation. No idea what the future holds......

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  4. what a great post. i didn't realize you aren't currently attending church. i know you will find the right fit for you eventually, be it in a building or not! xo

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    1. Hi Anna, thank you. Its an odd time of quiet and I am trying to figure out how to savor it rather than resent it.

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  5. My dear, dear Susie and "ex" pastor's wife twin...(we both have shared so many of the same life experiences, including this one) I totally, perfectly understand, and have asked the same questions many times. We have only recently, after a long dry spell of non-attendance,due to similar circumstances, started back to church regularly. I can tell you it has been a difficult transition for us. When you are so used to being the ones "in charge" of all that happens in a church (under the direction of the Holy Spirit of course)it is difficult to become a "spectator". We are still very reserved in our participation, which I know frustrates some who would like us to become more involved. But we are taking it slowly, seeking God's face and direction each step of the way. We long to have some type of ministry in our home, but not a traditional church. In His time, God will show us the plan and way. He will do the same for you. Be patient. He is using you right now through your writings and your sweet spirit. God knows best. (Kind of like "Father Knows Best", from our childhood). It's all about TRUST. You have been a blessing to me in so many ways. Just keep being YOU> That's all God asks...He will do the rest.

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    1. Thank you Pam, I knew you would get it. Your words mean so much, thank you.

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  6. Well, I personally never really thought about whether you go to Church or not. I just LOVED the title of your blog the very first time I read it - actually, it was the title that I found so intriguing and brought me here.

    I felt a kinship with you, and felt that you had opened my mind to a new dimension of my past behaviour at Church and away from Church. I printed your thoughts on the Recovery Church Lady and pasted them in my journal.

    I sense in you such a tender and caring heart - that's what brings me here - and keeps me coming back.

    Thanks for being honest Susie.

    Hugs

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    1. Thank you Mary. It is an odd time for us. After so many years practically living at church, now for the last 3 or 4 months I have not attended. My week feels messed up with out the marker of Sunday. Ha! Have to check a calendar to see what day of the week it is because I work at home and have little outside contact other than online. Very weird and hopefully temporary way to live.

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  7. nice post and blog thanks for sharing found you thrue other bloggers..blessings

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    1. Thank you for coming by! I went to your blog and was so excited to see you are from the Netherlands and it was all in Dutch! I am thankful for Google Translate!
      Susie

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  8. hi friend thank you so much if you check on my profile i have started my inglish blog again MY SIMPLE REFLECTIONS...is better for my american friend ...thanks is nice to share the word of God..blessings

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  9. We stepped out of a bricks and mortar (actually a wood and stucco : ) ) church building a little over a year ago. We did not however step away from the Lord or our faith. In fact this has been a time of going back to "our first love" and really moving away from more religious obligations and back into relationship. It's become a time of really hearing from Him and now a preperation time for a literal move that will in a few months take us to another State. In time He will probably lead us to a place where fellowship with others who want the same closeness with Him will happen. For now I love the freedom and intimacy I've found as He fulfills Jer. 29:13 "If you seek Me, you'll find Me if you seek Me with all your heart". What I do find sad is the attitude that because I'm not parked in a church building on Sunday, that I've somehow "left the faith" - sad really, nothing could be further from the truth or our reality.
    Continue to draw close in this season and as we're finding He doesn't disappoint, but continually surprises! All the best to you.

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    1. Lynda, this comment states the reality for so many today. Beautifully explained with love & humility. I feel like our situation has forced me to strip my God=church relationship down to the naked frame and what I have found is a very good, solid faith in my God. The freedom of loving Him without outside obligation is actually kinda scary and exhilarating at the same time.
      Bless you in your new move and I pray the love-bonds will happen naturally with others around you.
      Thank you for this comment.
      Susie

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  10. Wow! It must have been stressful keeping up with all those husbands! :-)

    My husband and I are in a very similar situation, although we were not in the ministry as long as you were. Thank you for following my blog, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    Marsha

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All comments are good comments!

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