I don't even know if this is the correct word for how I feel, but I think it might be.
This morning we went to church, attending the early service which opened with a video of the ten year history of the church. This month marks 10 years for North Metro Church.
They plugged a couple of other things including recaping last week's baptism service in which 39 people were baptized. My immediate thought was here we go with bragging and numbers. The guy speaking rambled on about the histiry of the church and the total number of dollars the church has donated to charity. More numbers, more self-praise.
Before you jump in and say I need to find a new church, I'll let you know I have heard/seen/experienced this kind of thing at every church I have attended.
So we moved into the music. We're sitting inthe smaller room upstairs again, where they have the "acoustic" music. I spent the majority of this time thinking critically of the whole thing. What the Hell are these computer-generated colors, lines, and squiggles on the screen supposed to mean or do. If it is about worship as a group, why are there spotlights on the people leading the music. That seems to draw the attention to them and their performances. Why do we have so many people in our church with completely shaved heads?
Next weird thing, kind of bizarre. They do a turn and greet someone (which we almost never do) and the guy two rows ahead turns to us and introduces himself and asks where he knows me from. He said he knows I work for Chick-fil-a and remembers we've played poker together. I offer Winston's as a location and he agrees. I have not worked for Chick-fil-a for 15 months, so this guy remembered me from at least that long ago?!?!?!
So we continue.....
They play another video. This church really likes producing videos. they do it for every person who is baptized and they have done it with people telling really deep stories about their personal lives that tie in to the sermon before it begins. It makes me wonder how they find the people to tell the stories because I know for a fact that the pastor of our church can not tell you my name and we've been attending for a year and a half and have been members for a full year.
So the video is of this couple telling us how they were either athiests or agnostics (they were not sure which they really were). The woman is rambling about challenging God to send her a sign that He is real. So she's driving one morning and she sees a rainbow and this to her changes her life because she read that after the Earth was flooded and Noah did the animal thing he saw a rainbow.
I looked up a website called http://www.weatherquestions.com/ and found this...Rainbows are caused by the splitting of white sunlight into it component colors by raindrops. Some of the light that falls on a water drop enters the drop. As it enters the drop, the light is bent (refracted) and split into a rainbow of colors. This is because each color of light gets bent by a slightly different amount. The different colors then reflect off the back of the drop, and when they pass through the front of the drop again, they are bent (refracted) still more. A rainbow is always directly opposite the sun from the observer. This explains why rainbows are only seen when the sun is low in the sky, usually in the late afternoon. The rainbow's location will appear different for observers at different locations, but it is always directly opposite the sun.
Um yeah, so God exists for this woman because of light and water. Well, even though my original thought about it was that a rainbow is just an element of nature that we can explain easily thanks to science, I thought a bit more. Water and light. Jesus is the living water. Jesus is the light. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
The pastor is talking about what is next. It's not about what is next for the church it is about what is next for each of us as individuals. He said there would be three references. I only remember 2 and I don't recall the point of the first one which was about Abraham. The one I remember best had to do with Jesus speaking to a woman who was either a prostitute or an adultress (as if it matters) and how she was told to change and move on.
In some form of illustrative exercise there were pieces of artwork placed in the rooms and we were told to go to them and write a word or phrase that illustrates our own "what's next." I did not participate because I was sitting in my seat really stopping to wonder what I am about and what my faith is about. I know the things I do wrong, and quite a few of them I take great pleasure in. I do not want to give them up, but deep down I know I ought to. I need to.
Jimmy Buffett wrote a lyric with a woman talking to her guy and says, "I treat my body like a temple. You treat yours like a tent."
I need change. I need a next step.