Monday, February 9, 2009

How Great Thou Art

I don't go to church anymore. That is right, I am a great big sinner. I grew up going to First Baptist Church of Springfield. A tiny little church with a mostly elderly congregation. I went there from about age seven to sixteen. The reason I stopped going was two-fold.

When I was younger the church had a very large youth group and wonderful youth leaders. By the time I was old enough to join youth group, they had left the church for another in Tennessee and the youth group had dwindled down to about 10 of us. Also, this particular Baptist group was big on Fire and Brimstone. By that I mean they preached that if you listened to a particular kind of music, you were a sinner. If you read particular books, you are a sinner. If you danced, went to certain movies, drank, or basically did anything other than breathe or read your Bible, you were a Sinner!

To a sixteen year old who loved Stephen King, Metallica, and horror movies, this seemed a little much. How could a good who loved you for who you were and forgave your sins if you let him in your heart possibly mind some heavy metal music.. I wasn't about to go out and rob a liquor store or kill anyone. I just stopped going. The message wasn't' one that I could get with and I didn't think I was a bad person for these things.

I continued to go to church with my Grandma. She went to a non-denominational church that was more laid back. When I moved to where I live now I went a few times but my husband would never go so I figured why bother.

It's not that I don't want to go, I just don't. Yesterday I drove to East Lansing to meet my sister for lunch. Scanning through the radio stations I hit on Family Life Radio and they had a church service on. It was a Baptist church out of Midland and the minister's voice drew me in. I listened to the service almost the whole way there and the message was one I had heard before. It only takes one person to affect many. It only takes one sinner for thousands to be sinful. It only takes one person to be godly to make others godly and how you have to work on being god-like your whole life. No one will ever be perfect. You can strive to be more perfect but no one achieves that , and that is OK as long as you live a God-like life.

My question to myself and to others is do you have to attend church every Sunday to be considered living a god-like life. If you try daily to be devoted to God in his teachings but don't show up Sunday morning to an actual house of worship does that count? I do need to go back to church and take by boys because although I have had these teachings they haven't and they need to learn the reason why you are good to people and observe God.

I will get there soon, I promise. As far as my title, my mom told me How Great thou art was her Grandma Cottons favorite Hymn, and I think besides Amazing Grace it's the most beautiful song I have ever heard.

1 comment:

  1. First, thank you so much for stopping by my blog and entering the giveaway! Second, thanks for leading me to your blog!

    I was in a similar situation as you before Janauary...wanting to go to church, but not going, raised in church for the most part, but not going consistently as an adult. Like you, I've raised my son teaching him to pray and talking about God and Jesus, but not really going to church regularly since he was a toddler. He's 10 now, started talking about wanting to go to church like some of his friends, wants to get baptized, so I started pondering where I would be comfy going to church. I was baptized/confirmed Episcopal so I've started going back to what I'm familiar with. It has felt so good!!! I felt at home at my church from the day I stepped inside so I felt it was an answered prayer.

    As far as what consitutes leading a God-like life...I don't think you have to attend church to show your faith. God knows us and knows our hearts. But, basically fellowship with a congregation and attendance at church is a form of discipline. If you are disciplined with prayer and teaching your children I think that's great. When you are ready to head back to church you'll know it. Definitely don't beat yourself up about it.

    I wish you all the best in your journey, and I look forward to reading more of your blog!