Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I'm slacking

Haven't made an entry in quite a while. Either I've been so busy I keep forgetting or I've had nothing exciting enough to talk about. And I can't really think of anything to write about right now either. Had a pretty laid back Labor Day weekend. I STILL haven't written my column for Fresh Fiction that is way overdue. I have to at some point this weekend. I'm way behind on book reviews still though I am catching up a little bit. Now I only have about 6 to write instead of 15. LOL

I spent most of my weekend at the pool. Friday I was off work but I was busy running around and doing the typical errand thing for the week. Saturday I spent a few hours at the pool reading my book and chatting with some of my neighbors. Sunday I went to Church, which I haven't done since Christmas. I've been thinking for a while I need to start going again but I've become so disillusioned by the religion I was raised in that I've been resistant to going. I wanted to find a non-denominational Church to go to. I also was hesitant because I don't like the idea of spending two or three hours at Church. But I went this weekend and it was an experience. It was non-denom and was a culture shock! To me, church has always been more ritualistic, with certain prayers and readings done at set times, with a formal laid out ceremony that never really changes except the readings and the songs. Everyone is very subdued and quiet and dressed to the nines. And non on ever comes in late or leaves early. Well, maybe some do, but its frowned on.

Well this Church was absolutely NOTHING like anything I've ever been to before. They have a live band, made up of Church members that play music and sing for an hour or so. I swear, it was like a rock concert. People jumping up and down, dancing around the Church, belting out the lyrics at the top of their lungs, going up to other members to talk and all. That was a shocker to me. Then after that, they have the "testimonials" where people come up to the microphone to say prayers, share stories, or talk about people they've brought in to the fold of Christianity. Then after that there was the typical preaching part where one of the pastors goes up to the pulpit, tells what part of the Bible they are going to read and talk about. But I of course had no Bible with me. I've never been to a Church where you had to bring your own so I had no idea it was necessary. And as I'm looking around, people have hand written notes all over their Bibles, passages highlighted and the like. That was shocking to me too because to me, the Bible was something you read and learn from but you never ever write in it or highlight it. Also, people had notebooks with them to take notes about what the pastor talked about for the day. Other then the writing in the Bibles and taking notes, this third part of the service was what I was expecting it to be like. The second part was somewhat expected too. But there were people coming in and out the entire time, going around and talking to others and the like. That was a surprise to me also.

And I didn't mind those parts at all. Someone was nice enough to lend me their spare Bible for the readings so even though I'd heard them before, I was able to read along. People were extremely friendly too. I had many people coming up to me asking my name, if this was my first time there, what I thought of the Church, etc etc. Complete strangers coming up to carry on conversations. My church back home people who know each other will chat before or after, but they don't really talk to anyone they don't know. These people here were so excited to see a new face and everything. I liked that part too.

But the whole concert type performance at the beginning blew my mind. I wasn't jumping up and down or dancing and signing, but I did find I was singing under my breath to the refrains of the songs and my foot was tapping to the beat. I was dreadfully uncomfortable for that part though. I asked a few people I know if this was typical of a non-denom church and apparently this is pretty normal. So I guess I just need to get used to it. But the whole thing was SO long. It was like 2 1/2-3 hours. I didn't like that part at all. Though I heard some people saying this was longer then usual. They were talking a lot about Katrina and what they are doing to help out and looking for volunteers to help, etc.

I haven't decided if I'll go again this weekend or not, but if I do, I''m going to have to find my Bible that I've had for years and pull it out to take with me so I don't need to borrow someone else's again. I met a couple of the pastors though as they were walking around talking to people and a couple came and introduced themselves to me and asked about me and all that. I was surprised at the attire too. The most of the people were dressed up somewhat, But there were people in jeans and t-shirts, shorts, bare feet etc. Though I think the bare feet was a result of taking the shoes off to dance.

Anyhow the whole thing was very informal, very open and friendly and not anything like I've ever experienced before for Church. I think if I give myself a chance to get used to it that I'd like it though. The funny thing? If you can call it that anyhow... I've been reading the Left behind books in audio and am up to book 6 now. The funny thing is that this service I went to was very much like the descriptions of the services of everyone who was "Left Behind" in the books and converted to Christianity. I felt like I was in a scene in the book.

But enough about that. On to the rest of the weekend...


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