I did not go to seminary or Bible College. I studied church from the inside. I did what they did, became their friend, I prayed for them, with them, was one of them. I think I gave it more than most of them. But hey, why do anything part way, right? Even the Bible says not to be lukewarm. I learned a lot from them, from myself, from going to church and teaching Sunday School. I learned what really connects us with God, with the Holy Spirit. I also learned that abuse of power is very popular in Church.
I was in an abusive relationship when I found an ad in the paper for a new church that was coming to town, it was a Friends Church, more commonly known as Quakers. I said a prayer asking for help getting out of an abusive relationship in exchange, I would go to that church. I was able to get my abuser to leave my home, so I went to the Friends Church. I really liked what they stood for and became a card holding member. This allowed Quakers to refuse to fight on the front lines as well as refrain from swearing on the Bible. (The Friends Church has now since split, so I don’t know if this is still true.) I went to the Friends Church for a few years commuting about 30 miles each way. Eventually, I switched to the United Pentecostal Church, which was local. After being a vital part of that church for about five years, I went to an Assembly of God Church where I went for another five years. From there, I went to visit almost every church in town, frequenting the Center for Spiritual Living. Picking up new understanding as I went from church to church.
One important thing I learned is how important it is to be filled with a joyful heart. There are many tools that churches use to acquire this state. One is singing meaningful songs with purpose and conviction. Unfortunately many of the songs used in Christian churches include gore, death and guilt. Ugh! There are many uplifting songs that don’t include these topics. I even wrote a few myself There’s Only Peace in This World, I Am So Happy, and this very short one Laughter and Singing. You can do this on your own or with a group of people, it doesn’t have to be at church. You can sing while you are driving, in the shower or doing chores as well as any other appropriate time. I used to sing a lot, sometimes I would talk in a sing song voice. I allowed what other people said to stop that. Now that I understand how important it is, I am not letting anyone stop me from singing appropriate songs at appropriate times. I may not have the best singing voice, but I am not singing for anyone but me. If it inspires or brings joy to others, great, if not, oh well, it brings ME joy.
To Be Continued…