Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.


Still Feel Kind of Weird and Worn Out

Yeah, I can't really say what is up with that. I just feel pooped, drained, lethargic, uninspired, beat, worked, zoned, konked, wonked, zonked, etc.

Jeni and I are in the 'getting to know you' phase of church shopping with one particular church. It's tough because neither of us have ever really had to do the church shopping thing before. My first instinct is that you should find a church which is not fundamentally offensive to your beliefs and go there. While it won't feel like the church home you've known in the past right off the bat, with time you will invest yourself there and make it a new home. That also happens to be advice given by a professor at Whitworth. It's not easy to do.

The question I've found myself asking is: "How many things need to be 'wrong' with a church before you discount it and move on to another?" The church we are checking out right now has two big strengths from my point of view. First, it is a neighborhood church. It has a feeling of history in the congregation. It is made up of more than just students who find themselves there while they're studying. Second, there is a large group of people in their early 20s and 30s who are in the same sort of life situation that Jeni and I are in now. They have a weekly Bible study that Jeni's gone to once and I've gone to twice. A third lesser strength is that I will probably have the chance to play music in services. Who knows how that will work out, and it's not a huge factor, but it's a nice bonus.

The church also has some weaknesses. Primarily, it feels like a chore to sit through the service. The music is band led and has the general feel of 80s camp songs. Each if the sermons we have heard so far have been not sat well with our sensibilities in one way or another. So far we've experienced overuse of inspirational stories, sermons which seem to lack any thread of continuity of thought from one end to the other, and careless use of language which has given a very exclusionary and moralistic message. These are problems which exist in many churches and I know no one will ever be able to escape them in their entirety. However, it feels like they've made up the entirety of what we've heard since we got here.

There's also a theological point that rubs me the wrong way, which may actually be common throughout the Church of Scotland and not unique to this one congregation. The church has a purely representational view of communion, to the point claiming Jesus said, "This bread represents my body...this cup means my blood." They understand communion as something we do to remember Christ, he really has no part in it. Let me clarify that I don't really mind this sort of understanding of communion. It's not the way I understand it but I don't think it's something that should act to divide or separate Christians. What bothers me is putting words in Jesus' mouth that he didn't say. He didn't say this bread represents my body, you just interpret it that way. Say what he said and then give me your interpretation, but don't put your words in his mouth.

Well, there's where we are, or at least where I am. Jeni shares a lot these thoughts with me, I think, but she's her own person and has her own feelings on the matter. We definitely both feel a little weird and worn out.

1 Responses to “Still Feel Kind of Weird and Worn Out”

  1. # Blogger Pappy McVulgar

    I agree with you on the table practices. I am bothered by the representational perspective. Is it not a celebration of what Christ has done and is doing? That is my understanding of the reformed faith. I am also bothered by folks that "take" from the table and do not "receive" from the table. What about you, Matt?  

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