Is That All There Is? A Sunday Reflection………..

Sunday Prayers

Sunday Prayers (Photo credit: Steven Leith)

 I was brought up to go to church. First I went to Sunday school—then I graduated to actually going to church and “listening” to the sermon. I became a Sunday School teacher. The President of Mission Circle Girls. A member of the choir (though to this day I cannot carry a tune in a tin pail—but they needed warm bodies). Then I went off to university and went to a few masses with my Catholic friends even though I was not Catholic. It was rather exotic for a girl who had attended a Protestant country church. But I liked the rituals, the incense, the kneeling–even though they were foreign to me.

                After I turned twenty I did not go to church for about 25 years. I still prayed but mostly for good stuff to happen and for someone who was sick. I still believed though I was not sure what it was I believed. In fact, during those years I was perfectly happy. I was in a sort of vacuum. I was a constant seeker, but with a more intellectual bent than with my heart and soul.

                I went back to my country church for a while and was received with open arms and open hearts. I loved the feeling of community—I liked the Minister’s message, and I liked being a part of something. But I became too big a part—I joined too many things and tried to do too much, and I burned out. I stopped going to church because I was no longer able to just go and hear the message—I was too busy being a Sunday School teacher, a youth leader, a member of the Church’s women’s group…………..and on and on.

                I returned to my vacuum, but I returned as a more faithful believer in something bigger than myself. I am still a seeker. I went back to church one more time—but it was no longer for me–and though I love the people at that church, I quit again.

                I call myself a seeker as I guess I am not totally satisfied with the answers. But some of the answers I have sought out make sense to me. Sometimes I think it is easier to not believe than to believe. But I am just stubborn enough to believe in something I cannot touch, taste, smell, or see. But I can feel it. And I know there is something bigger than me. And I believe. It seems to come naturally.

                 I believe in a good God—not a violent, jealous, or vengeful God. And I believe that Jesus did walk the earth, and he did have a message, and the simple message is: *“this is not all there is but keep dancing anyway”.

 *in answer to Peggy Lee’s ballad “Is That All There Is?

                Have you come to some conclusion about your beliefs? Are you an unquestioning believer, a seeker, or an abstainer? Or something else? How do you define yourself?

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46 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A believer for sure……always seeking to understand my purpose.

    • that is a wonderful thing to seek–wish I had thought of that my dear deep sister

    • I came here to say pretty much exactly this!

  2. I wasn’t raised with church. I became a believer when i was 20 and went to church for 15 years or so and then stopped. I still believe but I found church boring (best word I could think of) Perfect church for me would be a 20-minute sermon and then a discussion. I don’t like the singing, it takes too long. I don’t feel spiritual while it’s happening. I look at the kids picking their noses or all the panty lines in front of me LOL. I don’t think church is in a building. I think church happens around us, to us and through us in the real world…

    • I love your definition of church and the part about the discussion–I think that would be so beneficial and I agree that church is not just in a building–the church I attended only had 20 minute sermons but no discussion

      • (smiling) I’ve pictured the way Jesus spoke on a grassy knoll using parables, his face animated, his teachings relevant.

      • in a West Wing, the President once said that he was not much of an Old Testament man, that the new testament was more to my liking–I find I am a bit that way too–Jesus, though he was not a pushover was a bit more gentle

  3. I am in the mid world, still searching and learning.. 😉

    • still searching and learning is a good place to be–thanks for dropping by!

  4. Well, your story sounds fairly similar to mine. I was brought up by evangelical/fundamentalist Christian parents- church all the time. Sunday school, service, Sunday evening, Wed. evening, Awana, VBS. I began to question my faith around 12, and stopped going to church as a young adult. Then I started again in my late twenties, when I had two kids. We went, as a family, for about ten years. But I was always restless and dissatisfied, always switching churches looking for a place where I fit. Eventually we stopped going, and now I only go occasionally.
    But there are certain things I miss about church. I’ve kept some of the beliefs I was raised with, but I am a very liberal Christian now which was pretty much heresy to my parents’ way of thinking. I keep thinking I’m going to work harder to find the right church and get motivated to go…but so far I haven’t had much luck!

    • I can understand why some people go to church and find a home there; but I understand when church does not “fit”–I have my own very liberal Christian views that do not always jive with the church–thus I am a believer on my own terms–and happy with that decision

  5. I’m really glad you wrote about this. I went to church for the first time a few weeks ago with a friend and to my surprise, really enjoyed the sermon. I wasn’t brought up to believe much in anything (although I wouldn’t say we don’t believe) but I do believe in something bigger than all of us. I think a lot of times, people get so caught up in what’s happening at church, within church walls, that in the end they kind of lose a little of what it really means to believe. I like that you were able to figure out what’s right for you and step away from certain aspects that didn’t fit with your beliefs or values.

    • I have found that it is a real learning process and that in order to believe one has to want to–if the minister is a good one–and a good one of course is someone who mirrors somewhat my liberal beliefs–then I enjoy the message–but it seems you are not supposed to just go to church for the message–which I find unappealing

  6. I’m definitely a believer, but that doesn’t mean I don’t question sometimes. I think God welcomes our questions and our doubts because that’s how we grow.
    I did not grow up in the church, but despite the odds, accepted Jesus when I was 7 at a vacation bible school. When I got older I had to sneak out of the house Sunday mornings to walk to church. Dad had a fit if I went to church.
    I’ve decided there is no perfect church because they are full of people and we are all imperfect people. But I go anyways because I have much to learn.

    • I love your attitude–you have found what you want and you have made peace with it–so true that there is no perfect church because it is full of people who are imperfect–that is why they go I suppose–there would be no need if we were perfect

  7. I think that the act of believing in the connections we make with others and in the unity of trying to love ourselves and others is a religion all of its own. The idea of sending out love in all you do and in who you inherently are is the religion I’d love to be a part of ~ I was raised Roman Catholic.

  8. I have fallen away from a structured religion. I have a strong faith and desire a structured setting but I can’t seem to find my fit. I want the message not the hypocracy.

    ( I love Peggy Lee)

    • I find I struggle in a structured setting–I am better off seeking on my own at this point in my life

      • As long as you keep seeking and growing. We can meet on the other side my friend.

      • it is a deal–until then, let’s keep dancing
        break out the booze and have a ball

      • Yes, it’s a good day for singin’ a song,
        And it’s a good day for movin’ along;
        Yes, it’s a good day, how could anything go wrong,
        A good day from mornin’ till night

      • well, don’t you sound all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed?

      • Haaa

      • that song is stuck in my head now

      • Me too!!

      • Not really

  9. Lou, exactly like you, I grew up in the church. In the country and Protestant. I struggle with this. I believe in God but one that celebrates who each of us are. One that is in it for me, not against me and not testing me or demanding my love. I always thought it odd when I’d hear things like — “God is a jealous God.” How can that be? Like you and Audra, I’ve fallen away from a structured religion. I think church can be a sunrise — I’ve felt that something — that presence — in places that make me just catch my breath. I’ve seen it in those I love. That intangible something that you can’t put into words. That’s God. I’ve tried many times to find a church that speaks to me. I do have a faith — it’s very personal and that’s okay with me.

    Great post, btw.

    • My faith is very personal too–and like you the God I follow is one who celebrates us and does not test or demand — that puzzles me
      As I told Audra–I no longer need the structure–or at least not right now–I believe because I want to and it seems to be built into my being

    • Good answer B. ( as always so insightful)

  10. My beginning of faith was like yours’ somewhat..Sunday School, then teenage years on and of… then young married with children on and involved …. Believing of course but ‘busy’…

    As it stands (make a long story short) I am most definitely a believer in Jesus Christ and I don’t think God would have us be totally unquestioning… after all we’re human… and that’s what Jesus came to find out about here on earth… is what is it like to be humans ” frailties, faults questions, doubts flaws . I believe most importantly that He is a loving God (and forgiving God when we ask Him) I have also come to know that he is a ‘just’ God…. but that indeed there are consequences to our actions …When I don’t understand something in my life happening but prayer given … I have come to the point that I know that God sees the whole ‘puzzle if you will’ put together but when I see it from my perspective ‘pieces are still missing’… and so I do trust that eventually things will be understood… and that has been my experience. Just an added note… (too long I know) I’ve had times in my life that I knew God was directing me without any doubt at all… and the little church we go to now is the most loving warm (small in number ? 50) people that there could be… Sorry Lou Ann I kinda… went on!…. Diane

    • I enjoyed your comment–and I like your theory–that we see but a piece of the puzzle and God sees the whole thing–you have provided me with another answer or piece of the puzzle if you will

  11. Wow! Great conversation. The key is in Denise’s comment… accepting Jesus. If we accept the gift that he came to give, for that’s really why he came, it makes all the difference. To me, it’s not about religion, it’s a relationship with the one who created me and who has a purpose for my life. A good church is one that helps nurture that relationship and that acts as a loving family… and don’t we all know that families are far from perfect? As many have alluded to, simply showing up on Sunday morning and listening to the sermon isn’t enough. To really get to know God, one needs to dig deeper and discussion can play a great role in that. Most churches have midweek study/discussion groups to help fill that need.

    • great input–and you are so right about the discussion groups–my church would have some on various subjects
      I like what you say about creating a relationship with our creator and finding our purpose

  12. I have a much more spiritual connection with things around me and people who have passed than I have ever found in a church. I don’t need four walls and a sermon to be a believer. I just choose to believe in my own way.

  13. I’m still deciding, and abstaining for the moment. I grew up in the church too, but not all of it was something that I wanted to be a part of. Im not willing to say no to it for good yet though. I do find the ritual and community comforting and may go back to it eventually.

    • It has to meet your needs and if it does not then it is time to recalibrate–I doubt I will become part of a church community again–but have learned to never say never

  14. Love the words of that song, even though they are very cynical about life. It’s a long time since I heard it sung. According to Wiki, there are 4,200 religions in the world. It’s all so confusing, so I’ve opted out and am quite content to just live each day as it comes. I think the most important things in life are to love ones neighbour as oneself, and to have a daily gratitude.

    • I think you have it wrapped up–you have found a good belief system and are sticking with it- I admire that

  15. Thank you for sharing this about yourself. I went through a time of seeking in the 90’s. I grew immensely during that time. My outlook about God is quite different than the traditional Christian. I truly miss having a community of like mind, but I don’t feel at home at any churches I attend. So, I put my faith into practice on my own, but it sure would be nice to find kindred spirits. Blessings to you.

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