And the more I read and pray the more frustrated and desperate I become.
I envy my friend who converted to Catholicism. I really do. He’s settled on this and happy. I’m neither. The matter isn’t settled for me. Not in my head, not in my heart. I’m unhappy with my own personal spiritual life and frustrated with the confusion. I can’t seem to reconcile all the conflicting data. Meanwhile I just want to be closer to God but don’t seem to feel that happening. And the old evangelical standbys of “just read your Bible and pray” or “have a daily quiet time” aren’t cutting it. It’s just not that simple. At least not for me.
We like the Anglican church we’re attending, but we’re torn. Still trying to sort out what’s best for the kids and wishing we could combine parts of the Methodist church we were attending (specifically that children’s program) with the liturgy and reverence here. I wish I knew more of the hymns. And it would be nice to feel more settled on the question of paedobaptism.
This is hard. I think I believed I was done wrestling with the big theological issues after I got past my “cage-phase” Calvinist years. I couldn’t have been more wrong. And while at times it’s stimulating and exciting, right now it’s tiring and frustrating and confusing.
And I think this is the best I’m going to be able to do to put the myriad thoughts swirling around in my head into words. Please pray for me and my family.
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We’re continuing to enjoy the Anglican church. The liturgy is pretty and I like that I actively participate throughout the service rather than just during the singing portion in the beginning.
But I think beyond any of the philosophical or theological arguments for a liturgical service or anything like that, right now the thing I am enjoying most is the quiet and the reverence. It gives me a sense of peace and calm. I don’t think I realized how sometimes the contemporary style with all that goes with it added to the frenetic feeling you get from life and work and raising kids and all that stuff. Something about the way things are done in a more traditional, liturgical setting feels like I stepped out of this crazy world for 90 minutes and can take a breath, pause, reflect, hear, repair. The setting, unlike your average modern worship center that could just as well be a local concert hall or school auditorium, gives you a visual indication from the minute you walk in that you’ve stepped into a place that is “other than.” It’s set apart for worship and you can leave the craziness of your everyday life outside for a few sweet minutes and meet with God.
It’s not that I didn’t get that from previous church experiences at all. Just the act of going to worship and hearing the Word taught well and taught faithfully is rejuvenating and life-giving. And sometimes the upbeat songs were encouraging when I was down or worried. But I’ve come to appreciate stillness and quiet, reflection and contemplation and that’s what I’m getting right now from this experience.
I know that liturgy is just as much about what you offer to God as what you receive. And I hate to focus only on what I’m getting out of it. But it’s where I am right now in my thoughts. I’m being drawn in and it’s making me hunger for more of it. We may not end up staying here with this particular parish, but I hope we do or if not, God will help us find a place similar where He wants us planted and taking root.
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