Sunday, November 23, 2008


Wow, what a weekend. Friday night we swam... Saturday we watched the Northwestern game until we were interrupted by someone who wanted to come see our house. So we went to the gym and ran 4.5 miles (less than was on the schedule this weekend, but I haven't run the last 2 weeks due to illness).

Today we wrestled through some of the issues I've been struggling with. For the last several months (at least, maybe longer), I have been struggling with some potential theological differences with our church. I don't ever expect to have 100% the same theology as any church, but there are some things I can live with and some that are just absolute dealbreakers. Some of the differences that I knew I had were tolerable... but there was one issue that I didn't know where I stood, but I knew where the church stood. I realized it was time to draw the line - make a decision one way or the other, and if I disagreed with the church I couldn't continue to go there (not so much a matter of going there, but really making it my church home was not going to work out). Geoff knew where he stood on the issue but didn't really know the church's stance on it. Part of this came to light at my children's ministry training last week - although it's been coming up for a long time before that, and is perhaps part of the reason we haven't really made this church our own. Me committing to the children's ministry is a commitment to the church and we need to decide before that. We've talked about it a lot the last couple of weeks and yesterday decided to at least try a different church today. This sounds dramatic and uncharacteristic of me, but what can I say, I'm struggling. And it was a big deal.

The church we decided to go to today had a 6 PM service that we chose, so we had the morning to ourselves, which was weird. We went to his mom's house for lunch (which was fun, we talked through some of these issues a little bit, had some chili, and discussed Thanksgiving and wine tasting). Then Geoff and I decided it was deal or no deal time. Or something like that. Anyway, we decided to work through my issues so that we could make a decision about church. We talked and prayed and poured over Scripture and struggled. Well, I struggled. Geoff was trying to make his point - which isn't to say that he necessarily wanted me to believe what he believed, but wanted to show me why he believes what he believes. I eventually agreed with him - which really is best anyway, because even with one of us having what is to us a very strong theological difference with the church, we really shouldn't be calling it our church.

We tried the new church tonight (not really new... we have been before and weren't huge fans). It was perfect. NOT that the church was perfect... but that the worship experience was perfect for our day today. It was a perfect feeling of freedom and peace saying "yes". I don't know for sure that it was "yes" this is the right church for us but it was definitely "yes" that we are to find a new church home. Everything about the entire experience... from music to preaching to communion to community... spoke volumes to me and Geoff and met us where we are in life.

What a struggle being in Oregon has been for me... my whole childhood I went to the local Methodist church, simple as that. My parents do that to this day... wherever they move, they find the Methodist church and that is that. I did that my freshman and sophomore years of college... and then I changed to a church that many members of my campus fellowship went to. An AMAZING new experience for me... culturally and Biblically and musically and in many other ways. I would never again be content to find the local Methodist church (which is not to say there is anything wrong with that!). When I first moved here I searched for a church and after a few very failed tries, a coworker recommended her church to me. I went and there was an Asian woman leading worship... I thought YES!!!! A culturally diverse church, this is what I need! I don't know why I didn't take a look around that room, that church is classic white suburban. :) And unfortunately, that's pretty much what you get in Portland... I miss Chicago. But at any rate... I called that my church home from my internship through the first several years I was here. I was involved with the young adults ministry, I was a member of a women's small group and on the leadership team for the young adults. That church is in fact where I met Geoff. But at the time we met, he was not in a place where he could have called that his church home (ironically, he probably could now, but there are other reasons we won't go back to that church). So we started looking for other churches... but it was hard because he worked most Sundays. When he changed jobs this winter, we fully dedicated ourselves to finding a church together. I had been mostly attending the church we've been going to together most of the year for most of 2007. In February, his parents asked us if we wanted to find a church together with them. So we spent several months trying out churches and just after Easter ended up in this most recent church - which I (and Geoff when he could) have been basically going to since December of 2006. There's a lot to love - loud, powerful worship, great preaching, Biblical conviction. God is doing great things there, and bringing people (especially young people) en masse. God is DEFINITELY using that church. It's sad and hard and difficult to leave (I would like to pause here to acknowledge that I know that's not correct to say X and Y and Z, that I should say X, Y, and Z. But I do the X and Y and Z sometimes because I think it emphasizes each word. Maybe not, but it's my blog. Writer's privilege or prerogative or whatever it's called). But Geoff's parents recently felt called back to what had been their church home for many years, and in a way, that gave us a freedom to make a choice as well.

So it's the end of an era I guess... I was sad most of today realizing this, but like I said above, felt a strong peace about it tonight, so I'm no longer sad. I pray that we would finally have a church home... I haven't felt like I have since college, and maybe before. I long for a church where we go to worship on Sundays and say hello to our friends and welcome new people. I long for a place where I can work in the nursery and know the parents and know the babies and just love on all of them. I long for a church where I can be a part of a strong women's group and learn how to be a better wife and sister and daughter and friend. I long for a place where I can find somewhere to use my strongest gifts - leadership and administration. I long for a place where I can serve others. I long for a place where I can meet a group of couples who are in the season of life my husband and I are in... where we can challenge each other and fellowship with each other and encourage each other. I long for a place that I can call a pastor and ask him a theological or Biblical question. I long for a home... it's been a long time, and I pray it's coming soon.

End of heavy blog. (Geoff and Momlie were making fun of me today for saying things like this all the time - like "and that is all". I feel like I'm supposed to write a conculsion (is this a 5 paragraph essay?) and sometimes I just can't. My blog is a brain dump... and I know you dearest readers will love this... these types of blogs are the ones that tell you who I am.)

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