I have a seminary degree…and I don’t go to church.
For a long time I thought something was wrong with me. I was too critical, too pessimistic, too anti-institutional to be OK with church. It doesn’t help that being seminary-trained ruins you for church…and adding CPE on top of it pretty much f&$*s you up for good.
For a long time I questioned why I couldn’t get into church…why I couldn’t fit into a community in this area (preferably Baptist). But then I heard some interesting stories last week while at a large gathering of Baptists…and it led me to the following conclusions:
Baptist churches where I live are bat shit crazy. Either that, or they lack something that meets the needs of my family–like a youth group.
I concede that there is a certain level of crazy in churches that is acceptable. There is a certain level of crazy that keeps the drama going but still allows the church to function in the way it should. This is how church is–and always will be. I’m still looking for a church with an acceptable level of crazy that provides a loving, supportive community in which my whole family can be involved.
Of course, I’m not sure I can find the kind of church I’m looking for in Baptist spheres–or any sphere for that matter. But I want to keep searching.
And I’m not sure I can articulate at this point why it’s so important to me to do so. I just know that it is.
I also realized while at this gathering that, at least in the way I was treated by some (read: enough) people, I took a different trajectory and my ministry will take a different shape. And in so doing, I gave up my seat at the moderate Baptist table. Perhaps even other types of Baptist tables as well.
But the more I thought about that, the more I realized that maybe that perception is limited to those individuals and informed by the area in which I live. For you see, if I lived in another city–say, Greensboro–I know where I’d go to church. And it would be a Baptist church. And I would do so happily.
For now, it appears as though I’m a Baptist on the margins, moving closer to the edge of another denomination altogether.