Most of you know that I read...a lot. And I've made resolutions in the past to focus less on self-help books and to read more for pleasure. (Let's not get into my past obsession with Phil McGraw and Anthony Robbins. Seriously, I'm very ashamed.)
I consider one of the greatest rewards of finishing grad school the time I gained to read what I wanted to read rather than what some business professor deemed interesting or worthy of discussion.
Most of you also know that I grew up in a Baptist church and went to a Baptist university. (Please don't judge if you're just now joining us.) I've mentioned here and here how that shaped my life. To this day I struggle with loving and simultaneously hating the experiences I had at 85th Street Baptist Church. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that the people there made me who I am today. The problem with that is the fact that I sometimes wonder (and worry) if they would be happy with who I am today. Why do I care? That's the bigger question.
Am I rambling?
Recently I read a great book, and you should read it, too. If you grew up in church, you should read it today. Churched by Matthew Paul Turner made me laugh and it made me cry. It also made me remember things I had long forgotten about my youth which in turn made me realize why I believe what I believe now - even the stuff I fight so hard to forget about or to not believe. Does that make any sense at all? I think it does. Especially if you grew up in a Southern Baptist church and struggle with how that all jives with your current struggle to just be a good person.
I'm not sure I've shared here how PJ and I have struggled with the whole church issue since moving to this
God forsaken town. We miss our church. The fact that I even liked a church is big for me. (For the record, I will always hate Sunday School.) We've sorta given up on finding the same type congregation here. Maybe we are being unfair. Maybe we haven't tried hard enough. Maybe the fact that I knew we didn't belong at that church we visited as soon as I saw that pastor's hair isn't really fair. Matthew has made me re-think this whole thing. He writes:
It's not a perfect church, but I've grown up some and realized there's no such thing as a perfect church.
My church's praise-and-worship music annoys me sometimes. Actually, it's not so much the music I dislike but the light show.
God. Help. The light show.
I often struggle with letting you see the real me...the one who did grow up believing one thing with all her might, but now does and believes another thing with even more might. The Teenaged Super Christian turned Somewhat Liberal 40 Something...
Being the Sagittarian I am, I try to keep it real. And to find someone like Matthew who can keep it real and still be a really funny and smart and good person...well, that makes me feel like there's hope for me after all. Hope for all of us actually.
I have a copy of Churched to give to one lucky reader. All you have to do to be entered in the drawing is leave a comment. I will draw a winner on Sunday. Right before I don't go to church.