For the first 23 years of my life I attended church faithfully. When I say faithfully I mean, I went every Sunday to3 hours of meetings, once a week at least to activities. As a teenager in high school I attended an early morning seminary - religious scripture study - every morning for four years BEFORE school and I had 100 percent attendance. I served a full time, 18 month, mission for my church. I think it is safe to say I was a very religious person. In the past ten years I have not attended church at all.
I have visited a friends church once with my spouse and a foster child. I have taken foster children to a Sunday service at a catholic church once. Recently, also for purposes of work, I have attended three consecutive weeks of church in my small community.
When I entered the church the first Sunday I was VERY conscious of looking around to see who I knew from the community in attendance and how I felt about them. I saw a handful of people I recognize. One of the men I saw, has a son who is gay, and who was not supportive of his son's sexuality AT ALL. He has also not been an overly friendly person to me. One of the women I saw, is singly, the most mean and unkind person I have encountered in this community, with unkindness directed towards me repeatedly over a span of 10 years here. Also, two men I saw are two of the kindest men my family knows, and one lady has also been extremely friendly to me. Six of one and half a dozen of the other. I am not there for myself anyway, but I thought it was interesting, in a church that preaches acceptance to all, that the congregation has such a mix of personalities. The reality is that I am not there to judge them, but was concerned for how well I would be accepted. I figured I would live with the mix of people since I am there for work, however I am slightly concerned about the one woman so I will try to be open to my feelings as I move forward. I am not willing to put myself into a situation where I will be treated poorly - even if it is for work!
Now I get to the motivation behind this post today. A woman we have been working with for many years, as a support to our family through fostering and other support agencies, found out I was attending church for work. She came to talk to me about it. I have never seen someone so excited about me attending church. she was saying things like" Whatever it takes to get you through those doors doesn't matter as long as your bum is in that seat.' HA! Then she was telling me how I could download a bible to my I-pad and how to navigate the bible etc. Obviously she doesn't know a few things about me. I know a LOT about the bible and I have no problem navigating it. I am not planning on reading it anytime soon. I have read it a number of times cover to cover. I am not interested in joining a congregation myself and wont be attending church unless it is for work purposes. And last but not least - why get excited over me attending church? It does not make me a different or a better person. It did show me a lot about her though. Sadly.
I can HONESTLY say. I am more spiritual now than I think I have ever been. It has nothing to do with church and although I did not find the church service offensive, I did not feel as though it did anything to enhance my spirituality or my connection to the divine.