So when we moved, we moved somewhere I knew we’d only be for the summer, so didn’t bother with finding a new church.
School year started, and I got involved with a great group of real christian friends at school that I’d managed to find in the middle of the “mom wants me to be here” kids.
(Finally figured out that the kids who went to prayer meeting before school, plus the campus life meeting one day a week, and also the student lead bible study meeting another day of the week, actually might be serious. lol)
Which meant I started actually getting more into reading it after being introduced to other translations that weren’t as much of a chore… and started to realize that there were actually differences between churches and denominations and not everything was as black and white as the baptist church thought that it was.
So I sort of tagged along with a friend some weeks to the baptist church where her grandma went.. but while they weren’t as judgmental, they were almost all over the age of 70.
But I’d been burned enough to not have any desire to commit there or get involved at all. I only even went about once a month… and figured I didn’t belong there any more than I did at the other one.
So I never really got back into a church over my sophomore and junior years… and didn’t feel like I was missing anything but judgement and boring sermons that had no relevance to life outside the doors.
By this point, I’m co-leader of the prayer meeting, and an assistant leader of the weekly bible study.
During the year, I became friends with someone who had transferred in that year.
About midway through the year we got into a discussion of why I prefer not to pray out loud in spite of being a prayer meeting leader
(with my prayers being self-taught ending up very informal to the point of being called disrespectful, often not even being in full sentences as much as phrases and focused thoughts… almost more of a new age meditation style)
So, from this discussion, friend invites me to her church… says its assembly of god by name but follows closer to pentecostal… but tells me that’s normal there. So I go, not entirely believing her.
I can definitely say that church was never ever boring.
It was awesome at first… worship more like a concert, no hymns, crazy dancing… far surpassing the weirdness of my prayers…. and of course making the nudges that I’d never even mentioned to anyone since then seem like child’s play.
But… as much of a total difference as it was… and as much as I loved the change at first… it got old very very fast.
It was a circus.
And I still didn’t fit in… this time, from the other direction. Instead of being the out-there misfit, I was the boring introvert…who actually found herself groaning when “the spirit fell” because it meant that nothing more productive was going to be happening that day.
I was at the point where I was reading and wanting in depth deep discussion and explanations… and this was not it. At all.
Still, it was better than the dead church full of grandmas, and so I kept going until the middle of the summer… when there was a tent meeting.
If I’d thought the disruptions were annoying on a regular day, this was just frenzied chaos. Its hard to even describe.
And, of course, being a “revival”, they were baptizing anybody and everybody, no questions asked.
I almost did it…. almost. More to thumb a nose at the baptist church than out of any desire to be obedient.
But, with this sort of a place, there was a sort of expectation that when you came out of that water, that the spirit was going to hit you, and there’d be some sort of effect. Convulsions, fainting, speaking in tongues, something.
I don’t know whether I was more scared that it would happen, or just scared that it wouldn’t and I’d have no idea how to fake it… but I completely and totally chickened out…. and never went back to that church again.
I hopped around trying most of the big churches in town that summer, but never really found anything that really grabbed me as somewhere to stay.
At college, most of the groups seemed to be just the “here from obligation” kids..
With the exception of one… which was great for depth that I was looking for… but every meeting dissolved into pointless debate over some topic that was always something that would never be resolved in a definitive way… for example, pre-trib vs post-trib.
There are few things more frustrating to someone trying to find “the answer” and understand everything… than to realize that even brilliant people… with more learning than I could ever hope to achieve.. still couldn’t even figure things out enough to be on the same side of a million different issues.
The one more frustrating thing… was a “seeker friendly” church that catered to college kids. Not knowing the town, but knowing Methodist to be a more normal denomination, I went with everybody else because my friends were going there. Warm and fuzzy… but little actual bible. Just the nice and overused verses tossed in here and there to support a message that’d otherwise never have been associated with being a sermon.