Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Of All Things Ecclesiastical

I'm not dead! Yes, really! Just busy. As always, I have at least ten mentally-written blog posts for each post that makes it to my blog. I hope that at some point in my life I'll have more time for writing! (Though I have the feeling that it won't be for a while.)

These past few months have been terrifically busy.... dealing with the life changes brought by our eldest starting AWANA and preschool, and also dealing with baby's health issues (doctors' appointments and therapy... and the endless lineup of paperwork and phone calls that fall to my lot).

Tomorrow is our first major medical procedure.... a brain MRI. Am I happy about it? Not really. It seems like a lot of modern medicine is simply flinging this and that test wildly about in hopes that one of them will show something... this test is a long shot, and I'm not that happy that we're putting baby through the fasting and the procedure on what seem to be pretty slim reasons. However, I'm much happier that it's the MRI than the dreaded reflux test, so I will focus on that and on just getting through the morning.

Here's an interesting question: The fasting procedures outlined for me by the scheduling office and the woman who called today to remind us of our appointment were completely different. One was breastmilk till 9a, clear liquids till 10a, and then NPO - the other was NPO after 8a. Which will I do? Not sure. They definitely have their wires crossed on that one.

As December arrives, I am reminded again that we have now been without a settled church home for nearly a year (a year on Christmas Eve). This is a facet of our life which I hope changes very soon! I do not, not, NOT like being without a regular church family.

However, at the same time, I don't want to jump the gun and settle down into something that wouldn't work longterm. So it's a double-headed problem.

That being said, though.... I want a church family! I am leaving the decision up to my husband as to which church we choose (though I'm making plenty of input!), but unfortunately he is just as confused as I am.

Right now it's between two churches, with a third one thrown into the mix from a new one that we visited last week.

Our visit to that church was extremely interesting, and I'd like to tell about it, briefly... But I know that this will make some people angry, so just let me say that I realize that in advance!

Okay. so... the church that I grew up in. I always enjoyed church, but I did not become a Christian (as far as I'm aware... I don't have a down-to-the-minute "became-a-Christian" date) until I was in college. At that point, I realized that a lot of what was going on in my church (denomination-wide - I have attended and worked in tens of churches in this denomination) was really unbiblical. As my awareness grew, I was, to be frank - absolutely horrified. I realize that the denomination came from Christian roots, with an absolutely amazing guy as founder, but at the present time I would qualify it as a denomination that has abandoned the Bible as any source of authority and is into some really horrible things. For example, the denomination is openly and strongly in support of abortion. (I checked my facts before I wrote that, so if anyone doesn't believe me, email me and I'll send you the link to the position paper on the church's official website.)

I realize that not all churches in this denomination may follow that lead, which is why I am specifically not naming it. However, as a rule, I believe that there are deep, deep problems.

Therefore, when I got married, I immediately dropped all association with the denomination, and DH and I looked for (and found!) a really excellent evangelical Bible church, and I have had almost no contact with the side of Christendom which bears any stylistic resemblance to the church of my childhood.

Thus, I was in a state of shock on Sunday, when we visited a church that - stylistically - was almost identical to my childhood church (though in a different denomination). But instead of being dead and anti-Bible, it was startlingly alive, and vibrant, and full of passion for Christ and for God's Word and for the sharing of the Gospel message. It was such a shock, and such a paradigm shift, that I couldn't quite wrap my mind around it. All day I thought, "But how.... and how.... and how... and how....?"

Of course, it's quite simple! Style doesn't dictate theology! But I had had the two wrapped up in my mind so tightly that it has been hard to let go of.

I am so glad to have seen this church.... I have really missed the cultural trappings of my childhood church, and it was lovely to see them in this new guise. I doubt that we'll stay there - it might be a bit of a jump for our family, especially for my husband, who grew up ultra-Pentecostal; plus we suspect that we will not agree with their position on infant baptism - but it was a beautiful church full of vibrantly believing and loving Christians, and it was great to see.

Enough said!

Speaking of church, I must say....

On Sunday, during the service, the pastor gave a really super-long prayer - the five-minutes-plus type. When it was over, there came piping through the sanctuary the voice of a young boy, clearly and for all to hear: "Daddy, that was a very long prayer!"

Sheesh. Some people's children.

Except that said child was ours! Talk about a blushing-fest! But a great family memory (in retrospect!).

Speaking of church-related things.....

I would like to offer my readership the following advice, which is not offered in levity or sarcasm, but in an honest wish to save my readers the embarrassment I suffered: Don't give Christmas cookies to Jehovah's Witnesses. Seriously - just don't. A bad idea!

This past week I delivered some - admittedly Christmas - cookies to our neighbors, who are of the Jehovah's Witness faith. They knew that we had been making Christmas cookies, but I figured that cookies by themselves (without Christmas decorations, Christmas notes, Christmas wishes, etc.) would be acceptable. The cookies appeared back on our doorstep the next morning, with an accompanying note. Apparently our poor neighbors were really insulted! So I nipped next door and apologized in person, and harmony has - hopefully! - been restored with some truly wonderful neighbors whom we really like.

But just in case you were wondering - Don't try it!

The next few days are going to be absolutely and wonderfully crazy! I am helping with a shower for a very special snowflake (embryo adoption) baby, and I am super-super excited - and it is going to be a HUGE shower! More than twice as big as any shower I've ever before attended. It is going to be absolutely lovely! 

Off to do a million chores before bed! I am going to try to get baby to eat a fourth late-night meal in order to fill him up a bit before the 4 a.m. solids cut-off. Wish us luck for tomorrow - I will be one glad woman when it is all over!


  1. Thank you for the post. I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses and have been all my life. I am sure your neighbors are fine and you will see they will continue to show their kindness, after all that is what Jesus taught us to do as Paul said at Galatians 5:22 where one of the 'fruitage of the spirit' is kindness.

    The reason that even the cookies would be unacceptable to us, is how as JW's we are taught in the Bible to hold a clean conscience in all things (1Timothy 1:19). Since we love the Almighty God so much, we don't want to do anything that would offend him, just like Jesus set the model for us (1Peter 2:21), and from researching the Bible we have learned that there are several things in Christmas that are not Biblical.

    I appreciate your concern with other religions that you found were not Biblical in their practices. It takes great courage and faith to stand up for the truth of God's Word especially when others do not. (John 4:24)

  2. You said that they knew you were making "Christmas" cookies. So why would you consider offering them. Did you expect them to compromise by camaflouging them? Aren't they still "Christmas" cookies? Despite what might have seemed like good intentions, still, as you say, "Don't do it."

  3. Chris - Thank you for your sweet comment! I appreciate your comment and your kindness. Thank you for the verses and for your explanation. Thanks for reading!

    Anonymous - My reasons were as follows: (1) We have given Christmas cookies to other Jehovah's Witnesses before, and it hadn't been a problem, (2) Cookies in themselves do not have any alliance with Christmas (unlike, for example, a Santa Claus figurine, which is intrinsically Christmas-related); it is only when we dub them "Christmas cookies" that they take on any holiday meaning. Thus, since the cookies we gave were unaccompanied by any Christmas adornment or message, I had thought that they would be acceptable. However, as I've said, I was wrong, I made a mistake, and I hope that the matter can rest here. Blessings!

  4. Hi Diana,
    Thanks for your kind comment on my blog! Nice to "meet" you. :)


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