Church, Sex And Everything In Between…

I was thinking about religion and church a few days ago, well actually I seem to be thinking about it more and more lately…….more than someone who isn’t religious should.  For example I was reading a blog about it….well a 3 part blog to be precise….and it put forth some interesting questions.  What to do if you’ve stopped believing in God and your Mom is a devout Christian?  How do you tell her?  Or do you?  What if you’re worried about her health because she’s frail and not a young woman anymore?  It was an interesting, thought-provoking series of posts.  I thought so anyway.  I gave my thoughts on them over there, so I won’t bother with it here.  I do however have a few questions of my own with regards to church.

As I mentioned I’m not religious, I don’t go to church regularly but, at the same time I’m not an atheist.  I guess I would say I’m an agnostic if I had to call myself something.  I like to think of myself as someone who believes in God but, doesn’t necessarily believe in what religion offers.  I……well, I am not particularly fond of religion for various reasons that I don’t think I need to get into in this post.  I think religion can be great for people if they want it to be, there can be plenty of good that comes out of it.  I guess I’m saying I don’t believe religion is right for me, for you it may be perfect though.  Whichever religion you may choose.

What I wanted to talk about today was something that has happened a few times to me, since my girlfriend’s family is very religious and attends church regularly.  Well, her family attends regularly…..her not so much.  I wanted to discuss what happens when someone like me goes to church.

If you are religious and attend church regularly I ask you this:

Let’s say you were going to bring a friend to church with you and this friend isn’t religious.  Let’s call your friend Bob.  What about Bob you say?  Well, what do you expect out of Bob when you take him to church?  Yes, yes, I know, you don’t have any expectations for him.  Bob should do whatever he feels comfortable with, participate however much he wants to.  Yada, yada, yada.  Please!  [Coughhh, cough, crap, coughh] So, if Bob wanted to stand in the hall and listen to the service from there while you sat at your pew, you wouldn’t be surprised?  It wouldn’t disappoint you a little that he couldn’t even come inside and sit with you?  Of course it would because you invited Bob and you expect him to come in and sit with you.  Otherwise why the heck did he bother coming with you at all, right?  If he isn’t even going to sit with you he might as well just go to hell!  I mean that figuratively, not literally, obviously.  Back to my point now……so you have some expectations for how he should conduct himself at church……the question is how far do those expectations go?

What else do you expect of him?  How is a non-religious person, I don’t want to say atheist because for all we know Bob could be an agnostic, who’s attending church supposed to act?  How involved should Bob be?  For example, when people stand up to say a prayer should Bob stand as well?  I would imagine it would be awkward if he didn’t, right?  So it’s safe to say you probably expect Bob to stand when everyone else stands, that’s not so much to ask right?  I mean, the guy stands to pee, the least he can do is stand for God……or if not for God then for you, right?  Ahhhhhhhh, but what does Bob do when everyone starts saying that prayer?  Should Bob say it as well even though he isn’t religious?  Should he just stand and pretend he’s saying it, you know, act like Ashlee Simpson on Saturday Night Live and hope nobody notices?  Does it make a difference if Bob believes in God or not, as far as what he should do?

If you are religious but don’t attend church then:

What’s your opinion on how non-religious people should behave when they go to church.  You know, Church?  That thing you don’t bother to go to where people of the same faith celebrate their beliefs?  Which reminds me, why don’t you go to church again?

If you aren’t religious and don’t attend church regularly, perhaps just on occasion, then answer me this:

How do you handle it?  Do you only do what you feel comfortable doing?  Is there pressure from others to pray, accept the lord as your savior and all that other stuff?  Again, how do you handle it?

If you aren’t religious, but do attend church regularly then I have to know:

What the hell are you doing at church on a regular basis if you’re not religious??  I can say hell there because you aren’t religious, so don’t try to act all offended by it now!  Are you just there to pick up girls/boys…….I’m referring to girls/boys of the same age group as you, just to be clear.  Are you just inspired by the unity and togetherness of all those attending?  Do you like to listen to the choir?  Do you have nothing better to do with your time?

When you go, how involved are you?  Do you say the prayers, sing the hymns, etc?  Why do you do what you do, is it because you feel like you should, or is that just what you want to do?

If you aren’t religious and NEVER attend church then:

Why are you reading a blog post about religion and church in the first place?  Nothing to see here, move along please….

My Thoughts:

When I go to church, which isn’t a regular thing, but seems to have happened more over the last few years, I always feel pressured to participate fully.  On the one hand, I’d be comfortable sitting in my pew, standing on cue and that would be that.  On the other hand, if I’m not singing the hymns I can see my mother-in-law-to-be glaring at me out of the corner of my eye, giving me that, “You know everyone else in this church is singing along, what’ll they say about us since we brought you?  It’s just a song you know”, look.  Usually these songs are pretty spiritual and religious so I feel strange singing them, especially when I don’t believe in 90% of the stuff I’m singing about.  Which is fine when you’re singing along to some song on the radio while you’re driving in your car on the freeway.  I mean, I don’t believe all that stuff about Bitches and Ho’s but I don’t seem to have any problem singing along to that……..but, in my opinion, it’s something entirely different when you are singing along in church, to God.

The next awkward part, the most awkward part, is prayers.  My oh my, how I’ve tried to figure out what the best way to handle prayers is.  Lately I’ve found myself standing with everyone, bowing my head along with the rest and hoping that nobody is looking as I don’t pray.  I mean, you are supposed to have your eyes closed as far as I know so, if anyone sees me not praying then they shouldn’t really be saying anything, right?  If they do I’d have to grill them on why in the world they weren’t concentrating all of their energy on praying to God…..with their eyes closed!  Sometimes I will go so far as to mouth the words when there is a particularly large throng of people on stage looking back at us.  I have no intention of saying the prayers, whether you give me a dirty look or God himself gives me a dirty look.  It makes no difference to me, I can be guilted into many things but, this is something I feel I have to draw the line at.  I think that’s just wrong to say these things if you don’t believe them, especially in a prayer.

In the end I seem to wind up doing something in the middle of what I’d like to do, and what those taking me to church would like me to do.  Although, some things I’m just not all that comfortable compromising on.  At the same time though, religious people probably take all of this a lot more seriously than I do, so I’d rather not embarrass them at something they hold so dear.  What to do, what to do?  But…..now that I think about it, if it embarrasses them so much for me not to pray and sing why are they taking me to church knowing that I’m not religious and probably have no interest in praying?

**Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  In no way did I mean to imply that this post would discuss sex when I innocently put the word sex in the title.

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19 thoughts on “Church, Sex And Everything In Between…

  1. I rarely go to church…don’t believe in them. But there are still weddings held in church…and funerals.

    When I do go, I behave as everyone else does. I don’t feel the need to display my disdain for churches…I go to be there with my friends to celebrate or give comfort to them.

    The real reason I read this post is to see the “**Oh yeah, I almost forgot. In no way did I mean to imply that this post would discuss sex when I innocently put the word sex in the title.”

    Also to comfort you in your time of need. 8)

    1. Thanks for the comment Roger, much appreciated.

      Don’t get me wrong, the reason I go is for friends or family and I don’t act uncomfortable or display any sort of disdain for the whole thing, this is just what I’m feeling on the inside I guess. Just some things I’ve been wondering about really.

      I knew having the word Sex in the title would make somebody read it, hahaha.

      1. My previous reply to your post was about the subject matter…It was not a statement about my views of the author…

        I have used the word Sex in post titles I think, and for tags, and I did not get anywhere near the number of comments as our friend, Nadia…Perhaps the Sex word is more appealing to an audience if the writer is female…Hmmmm….Or maybe its the feet, or the shoes… 8)

        1. Yeah, I figured that. I just wanted to make sure I was clear that I don’t sit there acting like I’d rather be watching paint dry or something, ha.

          As for the “Sex”, I would imagine that having a pretty young women writing the blog post with that title certainly doesn’t hurt…….although since I’m anonymous, how do you know I’m not a pretty young women????

          Of course it could also have something to do with the shoes……..maybe I need to change my pic to one of my Lugz?

  2. I laughed at your last comment because at first I did think you were a woman.

    I thought so because of the sensitivity of the post…then when you kept writing from a male point of view, I put that together with the sensitivity plus emphasis on anonymity and came up with…a gay guy.

    Then you started talking about your girl friend of 15 years and I came up with straight male that happens to have a sensitive streak.

    So, the last is “my final answer.”

    1. Hahahaha!

      I don’t know what to say to that Roger. That is hilarious, that much I know.

      Maybe my whole intention is to keep you guessing…..just because I have a girlfriend doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m a guy, ha. My plan to be completely anonymous is working perfectly, bwahahahahaha.

  3. You a man…like I said, that is my final answer.

    But that still leaves plenty of room for anonymity.

    Unless of course you meet up with Wolf at one of those ADD conferences…I suppose you could meet him “in Drag.”…Do you have pretty eyes? 8)

    1. I don’t think it’s fair for me to decide whether my eyes are “pretty” Roger………but since I’m the only one on here who can answer that……hmmmm……….on second thought I’ll leave that one alone.

      😉

  4. JM,

    I’m on the floor laughing at the comments on this post between you and Roger.

    As far as Church goes — you kinda already know my stance on the subject. Basically, I believe in God, but am not too religious. However, there is something in the power of community and so in that sense, I enjoy going to Church, now that I’ve found my way back after all these years.

    The other part is though that most churches are so boring or over the top dramatic. So finding a place that works for you is best (and that’s what I’ve found — more of a spiritual center, not a church at all).

    But since this is something you’re doing for your fiance/girlfriend’s family, then just suck it up, go, play the part and don’t worry about it. As in any situation involving “in-laws” you just do what you have to and get through it. But you can just phone it in, no need to feel pressured to really believe anything at all!

    Lastly, you and Roger have me laughing so hard — but I will say — my post on SEX was real short and really about SEX so…..I think that has more about why so many hit my blog. You through in the CHURCH in your title — that’s never gonna entice anyone unless there are actually pictures of boobs next to the POPE or something….

    Ha!
    ~Nadia!

    1. I’m glad we could keep you entertained Nadia, hahaha! We do what we can around here!

      Yeah, I have a pretty good idea how you feel on this subject already, we’re on the same page there I think. I love it Nadia, “just suck it up”, ha!

      You mean you have to actually talk about SEX for it to work. Hmmmmmm. It appears putting sex in the title certainly gets people to click through and read though since this is the second most viewed and second most commented on post I’ve ever had on here and I just put it up 2 days ago……..even with Church in the title!! Imagine if I actually mentioned sex in the post? It’s mind boggling.

      Oh yeah, what is it with everyone around here and boobs lately? Are boobs the new sex or something?????

      1. Well, I had mentioned somewhere along the way (in response to someone’s comment) that my next blog title would be something to do with BOOBS — that way everyone would read it. And then Abe picked it up — and it’s just been flowing from there. It’s been kinda funny reeally!

  5. Your blog had many questions…none of them pertained to sex.

    I go to church. But the “church” part of it sucks–or at least it does at my church (sorry fellow church-friends!). It does. It’s boring, and it has fake emotions. Don’t ask me why I continue to go to that specific church–it’s complicated–but I no longer sit in the regular church area and stare at the preacher with my mean face. Now I help upstairs with the kids, indoctrinating them carefully. 🙂

    The one thing I will say is this: There are lots and lots of different styles of churches. As a fellow who fits into your first question: honestly, I wouldn’t bring Bob to my church…it sucks. I’m not sure which church I would bring Bob to… and now you have made me think! Stop it! It hurts!

    1. Yeah I know…….I must have gotten carried away with the church stuff and sex just slipped my mind…..

      I wanted to ask why you still go there but since you said I couldn’t, I’ll ask why you don’t not go there still?? It’s all about the kids isn’t it?

      I love that you care enough about Bob to not put him through that, despite the fact that you just met him. Very kind of you Abe!

      Thanks for stopping in and answering these difficult questions Abe, much appreciated. Somehow most of these comments seemed to end up quite off topic….

      🙂

      1. Ah, but see I didn’t say you couldn’t ask, I only hinted that I didn’t want to answer. Actually, it is about a specific kid–my kid. He is a bit different and often misunderstood, but he has a great teacher there who has been his advocate and treats him great. So that is why we stay. I help with another kids group and teach them to sing without sucking as bad as they usually do. I also knock them around when they misbehave. It’s very rewarding, and it keeps me from being so angry at the preacher-man and people downstairs. I used to be pretty involved with the music–I was one of the leaders. I don’t do that anymore in the church, though I continue to do so outside of it…both secular and gospel-oriented. I would bring Bob to our music shows, but would gently point him in the direction of a different church.

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