Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sense of Community in Church... or Not?

I don’t mean if you’re an agnostic and your mom drags you to church once a few times a year for the holidays or anything, I mean actual Christians who regularly (if they can) attend.

I love my church but I have never made a single friend there. I mean, I sort of am acquainted with the pastor’s elder daughter. She’s one of the nicest young people I’ve ever known and really has her life together (though her parents have always pushed her and her siblings hard, I know, and is the overachieving type your parents LOVE to compare you to in a “why can’t you be like them?” way). But she’s always super busy being in lots of activities, much more devoted to God than I’ve been, has her own little set of best friends, and as the pastor’s kid lots of people want to talk to her. Oh, and she’s married now. Her younger sister my age is also engaged (welp, there goes my potential roommate! ). When my dad got custody of me when I was 16 I was already hesitant to go to church- I was less of a Chragnostic as I had been as a kid but not quite a true Christian even though I really believed in God and demons and such then. But I hate crowds, feel deeply uncomfortable in them, I disliked how long the worship music was that I could never get into, although everyone was perfectly nice, if much more outgoing than me. But after years of going I got into it and even looked forward to it, especially after I started working full time and almost never got a single Sunday off, so I REALLY started to miss it and missed being around nice, encouraging, Christian people.
But anyway, as much as I love my church, I’ve come to realize something after checking out the reddit True Christian section for the first time. Some guy posted about how tired he was of having no Christian friends and though he didn’t want any perfect ones, just some that were at least trying to follow God, and tried hard to make friends at his Christian college/church, they were rather preppy and more outgoing and didn’t seem to want to talk to anyone who wasn’t. I really relate to this- I don’t doubt most of the kids my age at church are perfectly nice, but they do seem to only gravitate towards ones like them, ones that are preppy, sociable, do lots of activities, etc. They’ve already found their own pairs/groups and even cliques to get into and not one that I can remember but my pastor’s daughters has even tried talking to me. I’m sorry if that makes me sound bad, like I don’t want to try talking to them, but I’m very socially phobic and get nervous about meeting people, especially ones my age, and don’t even bother trying to introduce me to guys, I freeze up around them bad. My dad wishes our worship leader’s daughter who is a year or so younger than I and also into art/very quiet were friends but she never notices me at all, even when I helped her with an item at the store I work at, even though my dad introduced us before. she also has her own best friend. I feel pretty isolated and discouraged because I have absolutely no Christian friends (outside my awesome tumblr followers) to talk to.

On one hand, I love my solitude. I’m an introvert and NEED to be by myself to relax and recharge and think clearly. Being around too many people, especially for too long, just exhausts me and makes me cranky. On the other hand, Christians need fellowship and I could definitely use more friends right now. Most of the time I’m too tired after the long bus ride home from work to hang out, but on some days off and even just talking/venting would be great, exactly what I need. My boyfriend is more of a Jesusite (used to be an atheist till we got close and eventually, unintentionally, became an item) and my best friend… I have no idea what she beliefs anymore. she used to be sort of a Lutheran growing up I think, till her parents didn’t get back together and she kinda stopped. Then in the typically bratty/rebellious tween/early teen years she decided to become an atheist. Then she sort of believed more. Now she does have some understanding of sin and I’ve gotten her to go to church with me once or twice (and she’s gone with her sister, who’s about in the same boat as her I guess once) but she doesn’t care to stop what sinful lifestyles she’s leading. And now she’s having a baby, which obviously is gonna have some big changes. My dad can be a great source of righteous spiritual knowledge and encouragement but he himself has terrible habits when he’s outside church and can be an honestly nasty person to me sometimes (which in turn makes me want to be nasty right back, and I often do, but I don’t want that negativity in my life anymore).

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