On Church and Other Institutions

January 21, 2007 at 10:18 pm 20 comments

I live across the street from a Jehovah Witness minister.  He lives beside the Church of Christ which is across the street from the Church of Atonement.  I’m the heathen that doesn’t attend church at all, so members of the congregations of those churchs generally park in my driveway.  The fact that they find this acceptable is one of the reasons I don’t attend church at all.  A minor reason, but just another nail so to speak.

I haven’t always been a non-church going heathen.  I was raised Southern Baptist, Pap and I both taught Sunday School when our kids were young.  I’ve had a personal relationship with JC since I was eight.  The story of my baptism is still passed around in my home church in California.  I was the only child baptized that day, so they’d put a box in the baptismal for me to stand on so the congregation could see me above the baptismal wall.  Things worked out great in the beginning, a deacon handed me in to the minister, the ritual was completed and the box floated away.  The minister whispered “Can you get out okay?”  I assured him I could and did my finest breast stroke to the stairs.  Ruffled underware on full display. 

My disallusionment with organized church started in my late twenties.  When the church secretary spent her time at church criticizing my husband and his involvement with the raising of our children.  Then there was the minister that forged his ordination papers.  The church that determined anyone who didn’t talk in tongues wasn’t really a christian.  A string of churchs more worried about what people were wearing than the state of their spiritual growth.  That’s when I gave up.  When I left the Baptist, Methodist, and non-denominational churchs in driving distance feeling angry and disallusioned more than uplifted, I gave up.  Paul admonishes us to “neglect not the gathering of yourselves together”, but mingling with these folks would drive me to drink. 

I put the burden of continuing my spiritual education on me.  Armed with the King James version of the Bible I’ve had since I was 8, supplemented with a concordance, various books by people I’ve found to “get it” and the world around me, I trod my path in search of the face of God.  I’ve reached a few conclusions:

1.  God has many names and doesn’t belong to any religion.

2.  Aids, war, famine, flood, sick children and all the other horrible things people blame on God are not his fault.   The fact that he “gave dominion” over all the animals to man tells me he created everything and then left us to manage it.  He isn’t into micromanagement, we’re expected to live with our decisions.

3.  The Ten Commandments make a lot of sense.

4.  Being nice and loving doesn’t make you weak. 


Entry filed under: randomness, Spirituality.

A Mental Health Day… ReRun – This Writer’s Life, April 2006

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hammer  |  January 21, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    How sad. I’ve seen people speak in tongues and it seems kind of frightening. Almost like a demonic posession but maybe that is just me.

    A lady in our neighborhood came up to us in our neighborhood when we were doing yardwork and told my wife it was a sin for women to wear pants and gave us a pamplet.

    Not my cup of tea. Too bad it has to be like that.

  • 2. another kat.  |  January 22, 2007 at 12:31 am

    there are those that give us Christians a bad name. I’d like to beat the crap outta them.

    and puleeez tell me you have those cars towed!!!

  • 3. katcampbell  |  January 22, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Hammer – I feel sorry for those that miss the point of Christianity. Its such a beautiful, hopeful thing…they steal their own joy.

    Kat Too – Naw, I’m not going anywhere, so I don’t bug ’em about parking in my driveway.

  • 4. Stacy  |  January 22, 2007 at 6:51 am

    Amen and amen. My husband and I have been through the wringer in recent years at the hands of fellow “Christians.” I find I’m now pretty much where you are. Faith in God, no faith in what people have done to His church.

  • 5. John Linna  |  January 22, 2007 at 7:33 am

    I understand what your saying . The organized church with its sinners can be a pain in the butt. I have seen mean acts by Christians . Ihave ev en been on the rfeceiving end of some. I knew a Bishop who lied and manipulated. But I also have seen the church at its best. When my congregation pulled together to raise money for a pentecostal church in Hondorus so that children in the barrio could have a breakfast. We paid for the pipe that brought water to the sight so they could reconstitute milk powder. The congregation got nothing from the act except the joy of serving. I have met so many people in so many different denpominations that are fiolled with th elove of Christ. The church magnifies their power to help. I am sorry about the bad experiences but the organized church is not all bad.

  • 6. hayden  |  January 22, 2007 at 7:33 am

    My dad was a preachers’ kid, and he said that after the hypocrasy he watched as a youth he had no need to ever step inside a churches doors again. He felt closer to god in god’s world, so we did a lot of weekend camping and Sunday canoe trips. Of course, this meant that the neighbor kids weren’t allowed to play with us because we were godless heathens.

  • 7. quilldancer  |  January 22, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Kat — I love my church and my church family, but I do know how lucky I am. Not all who claim to lovwe the Lord actually know him. You are on the right track.

  • 8. Gawpo  |  January 22, 2007 at 8:21 am

    God is good, God is great, and I thank Him for my plate. AH-MEN.

  • 9. Linda  |  January 22, 2007 at 8:25 am

    I go to mass every Sunday. I was baptized a Lutheran, confirmed a Methodist and converted to Catholocism when I met my husband. I agree that God has many faces. My neighbors up the street are Buddhists and while I was pregnant she would make me dinner (which was awesome, because they are from Sri Lanka and made some really awesome Sri Lanken food), because their religion says that you must help others and pregnant women are important. They are just the nicest sweetest family and I have a hard time thinking that they would not go to the same kind as afterlife as me, just because our religions differ.

    I have been very skeptical of religion at times. Some really horrible things have happened to me that were the direct cause of somebody who went to church with me. It took me a long time to get back to church. Now I do it more so that Bob and I have a unified front with our children. I think there are some good things to learn and the Ten Commandments are a great map for life.

    To me religion has always been very personal. I don’t think somebody goes to hell just, because they did not go to church. I think that living ones life in a good manner, caring, and sharing of oneself is much more important than whether or not you go to church on Sundays.

  • 10. Catch  |  January 22, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Im sorry you had bad experiences Kat. I have attended the same Church for 31 years and we have had our share of upheaval, with Ministers and some of the Congregation alike. But I get such a feeling of comfort being in my Church and I feel that most of the people there are kind and loving.I do not attend every Sunday b/c I usually work on Sundays..or sometimes Mom just doesnt feel well enough to go. But I think I do much better when I am attending. When I come out of Church I feel refreshed. As for the ones who criticize, and every Church has them…I ignore. I would not give them the power to drive me out of my Church.

    It is very kind of you to let them park in your driveway, although it would be nice had they ask you first! lol

  • 11. katcampbell  |  January 22, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    To Everyone: No one individual could drive me from anything. I’ve attended churchs like yours Dr. John, Linda and Catch, that did the job of uplifting and educating their congregations. Christians are just humans, each making their own mistakes. I know because I am one. Its when the atmosphere of the church in general is buzzing with this kind of negative energy that I find worshiping on my own more uplifting than gathering in that poison.

  • 12. Nessa  |  January 22, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    The idea that only certain religions are saved has always turned me off. I have developed my own path over the years, too. Churches can be great organizations, but I don’t think they are the only way to know God.

  • 13. bobciz  |  January 22, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    You might add to your conclusions that being spiritual doesn’t mean you are religious and being religious doesn’t mean you are spiritual.

  • 14. FatWHiteMan  |  January 22, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    When I was a kid, we had a neighbor that ran a “church” in their family room next door. They all would gather and chant in tongues. There were probably a dozen regulars. I always thought that speaking in tongues was a rare and blessed thing. Given that all of these people and their guests all seemed to have this “gift”, there must have been a lot of rare and blessed people in the area. What are the odds? Of course these were the same neighbors that would periodically lock their kids out of the house when they suddenly needed to “pray” in private.

  • 15. Mr. Fabulous  |  January 23, 2007 at 6:11 am

    Are you serious? They park in your driveway? Screw that! I’d be out there kicking some ass!

  • 16. Gawpo  |  January 24, 2007 at 10:49 am

    This is precisely why I announced on my blog that I am changing churches. I suggest you join me. In their instructions manual, they do not allow parking in the neighbors’ driveways.

  • 17. sunfloweroptimism  |  January 24, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    I go to a church, either my own or my husband’s, virtually every Sunday. I agree completely with your “conclusions.”

  • 18. guyana-gyal  |  January 25, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    I always say it’s not religion that’s the problem. It’s the people who warp it.

    Here, it’s amazing though how Muslims, Christians, Hindus and others co-exist in some sort of harmony. We live and let live. There’s even an inter-religious group, folks of different religions get together to pray when they think the country’s going crazy.

  • 19. Gela the city dweller  |  January 26, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    Amen to that Sister Kat! Amen to that! True words, those.

  • 20. Janet  |  January 27, 2007 at 6:24 am

    Amen. And put a “No parking” sign by your driveway. 🙂


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