Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Am an Exile

I am so glad that I have discovered this new me, but the journey started off as a bit of a slap in the face.  On this road to rediscovery I discovered that my spiritual self had gone to hell in a hand basket and I found myself very unhappy.  I was going to traditional church every Sunday morning and night and on Wednesday nights as well.  I was teaching Sunday School and Wednesday night children's church.  I was doing all the "right" things and yet, still had no real relationship with God.  What the heck was I doing wrong?  It took me awhile to answer this question.  Upon investigating my spirituality, I drew a few conclusions.

1.)  I was in children's church so much, I wasn't doing any learning myself.  I was out of actual service because I felt obligated to work with the children.  That's right, OBLIGATED!  Church was an obligation to me instead of a choice and when I finally realized that it I knew I had to break away.

2.)  I was teaching the children things I didn't really believe myself.  Traditional church is of the common belief that you have to censor yourself to be a "good" Christian.  We can't watch certain TV/movies, we can't listen to certain music, we can't read certain books.  I had tried to give up a lot of these things and decided it was just easier to lie and not admit to it than it was to try to change.  Oops, now I'm a hypocrite.  Crap!  I can't win for losing.

3.)  Church is boring.  When I actually did get around to going to worship service I was bored.  I just sat there and took everything the preacher said at face value.  In most cases, this put me to sleep so what was I learning?  Jack squat, that's what.  I had questions and it never seemed appropriate to question the preacher so I just accepted what he said and assumed I didn't know anything.

Now don't get me wrong, traditional churches are really great, for some people.  But I just needed more.  I was trying to be the person the church said I had to be in order to be a good, happy Christian.  I was miserable more often than not and I just decided I wasn't going to be miserable anymore so I slowly started breaking away.

I began finding excuses not to go to church.  I was sick, my son was sick, my mom needed me for something.  I would say anything just so I didn't have to go to church and teach that children's lesson.  This was also not good because I was lying to get out of doing something I didn't want to do.  Ultimately, I told them I would not be returning because God was taking me a different direction, which I truly believed. 

Thanks to my sister in law, Judy, I found the perfect church.  It is no longer an obligation to go to church.  I get up every Sunday excited about it and miss it when I'm gone.  The Exiles is the most amazing place of worship that I have ever attended.  We are unorganized, unorthodox in every sense of the word, and most importantly, a bunch of geeks.  Our philosophy is "no one cares about your theology if you are a jerk" and it truly speaks the mind of our "members."  We just love God.  We don't have to pretend we didn't see that movie, go to that concert, say that word, or have that beer with dinner.  We simply love others without jugdment and isn't that what Jesus himself said is most important?

If The Exiles ceased to exist, I could never bring myself to attend traditional church again.  We are a bunch of geeks who love anime, sci fi, and roll playing games and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Thank you Bob and Sherry for opening those doors and your hearts to people who needed it.  I have rediscovered my spiritual person and am happier than I have ever been.  I love you guys, and my Exiles.