Monday, March 5, 2012

faith journey


 
Since tying the knot my husband and I have been attending what many in college called Bedside Baptist Church. Others called it Pillow Presbyterian, Mattress Methodist, Lazy Lutheran. You get the point. When friends and family members ask where we go to church, we respond that we do not currently have a home church, that we are in the process of finding a place to worship. That “process of finding” really means that we occasionally think about the kind of church community we hope to find and discuss together this future church community’s most important aspects. Sometimes I feel guilty about the lack of “get up and go” energy required for finding a church home, other times I just sigh and accept that we are two newly married bums who rather enjoy our Sunday mornings for sleeping in and waking up slowly together. I am not proud of our dismal church attendance record. But I am not ashamed of it either.

But the topic comes up rather frequently in our home—this desire to find a church community of which to be a part, a place where we can find friends and deepen our faith. We hope someday to find this place, wherever it is, whatever denomination it may be. 

About two weeks or so ago while hanging out with friends of ours here in Pittsburgh, inspired by a conversation about the differences between the various churches of our pasts, my husband found a What denomination am I?  quiz online and filled it out. Now, obviously these online quizzes lack credibility and should probably not be taken too seriously. We approached it in fun. But I must admit that when it was my turn to take the quiz I really wanted to know where I fit in the colorful mess of Christian denominations. My result was Mennonite, the Anabaptist group started by Menno Simons back in the 1500s. My alma mater Messiah College would be so proud that the school’s Anabaptist roots rubbed off on me. Mennonites (to simplify their faith horribly) tend to believe ardently in peace and nonviolence, the equality of all people, and focus on New Testament teachings like the Sermon on the Mount. They also take part in feet washing, a practice that exemplifies the idea of service toward one another. I like all of these things.

Who knows if my husband and I will ever actually become Mennonite, or what kind of church we will end up attending. As a wonderful friend says, faith is a journey, a constantly moving and changing path. I suppose it matters more how we walk the journey rather than the label we give ourselves, or the label others give us. I am learning this in my own faith journey as I think through the frustration and beauty of a religion so full of variations in an attempt to find my place in it all. I am also learning that no one church community will fit me perfectly. Some will feel more like home than others, but there will be pros and cons no matter where we wander. Accepting the imperfections with the great is part of it too.

For me, faith is certainly a journey—one full of bumps and imperfections and revelations and frustrations and successes and failures and perseverance and confusion and love. Thank God.

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