Christmas Eve 2013 was a turning point in my life. I did something that I had thought about doing for many years. I went to midnight mass.
I had grown up Catholic, and when I was a teenager I moved. We never got settled back into a parish in Indy. Instead of finding a Catholic church here, I went with my brother to an Assemblies of God church that was just down the street from where we lived. It was really a great experience at a time in my life when I needed it. A few years later I became the statistic that I heard preached about for years. I was college aged and I had left the church. You see, during those teen years I didn’t really read my Bible much. Instead I participated in a social and emotional event every Sunday. If I had been discipled, maybe that statistic wouldn’t have included me, but I was also in charge of my own life and at the time God was a long list of rules that I could never follow or be good enough for.
After years of sleeping in on Sunday’s I had a moment alone with God and I knew that I finally wanted to follow him. I didn’t need a church to get me “saved” all I needed was a heart that wanted to change. And wow, did I change! Of course after I decided that I needed to be a Christian, I knew that I needed to go to church because that’s what people do. So I went to church and through the years many amazing and terrible things have happened. During it all I never stopped believing in God. However as I’ve gotten older and a little more wise, I am wondering about church. Not the people, but the group that goes to a building, and for the most part they are all the same. I am wondering what God would think about the establishment that we’ve created in his name.
My mind has been flooded with all sorts of thoughts lately. While listening to Kirk Franklin’s song “Latter Rain”, slowly these ideas started to take shape. I reread my past blog about denominations being unbiblical and the idea grew. I couldn’t shake the desire of wanting to know what others think, feel, and say about God. Not just good things. Not just bad things. I just want to see the way other people in my greater community view God and the Church.
Thanks to Christmas I started “The church project”. It’s not only a writing project for me but also an exploration of what goes on every Sunday all around Indianapolis. We’ve already started and we’ve had a couple of requests by friends to visit their church and with that, I have great expectations for what this year holds. My genuine hope is to see the united love of humanity. I hope to see people who will not care about what denominations say but rather the “church” united in love. I fully expect to see people with views that are very different than those of others. I think I will see people with what some will call “piss poor theology” that are far more involved in serving the needy than their “doctrinally pure” counter parts. I think I’ll meet people that are very concerned about liturgy, and others that are more concerned about filling seats. Some that focus on moral holiness, others that focus on displaying spiritual gifts. Some will focus on the experience in their service, maybe some will focus on their impact on their surrounding community. I’ll talk about it all.
We’ve decided not to name any real people or congregations. We’ll talk about them in a broad context. If you guess it, fine. I’ve commissioned my husband to co-research and co-author. I’m looking forward to this experience and the conversations it starts.