Trapped in the Wrong Church



Forgive me for that rather sensational title. It’s a bit harsh, especially when I think of a pastor who has been so very kind to us, and people who became our community when we had not one friend in the entire state of Florida. That’s a lonely feeling, folks, when you know that for hundreds of miles in any direction, there is not one door you could knock on and not one face that’s familiar.

But I’m getting ahead of the story, so let me backtrack.

As I’ve alluded to in so many posts, we left our home in Georgia and moved here several years ago, in about as haphazard and unwise a fashion as you could imagine. Drowning in regret brought about by our own foolishness and so weary we could barely face each new day, we decided to find a church. Here’s where it gets complicated.

I am a Baptist. I was born into a family of Methodists and attended church regularly as a child. My limited exposure to the Baptist church was during vacation Bible school each summer. And yet, even before the age of twelve, I read my Bible, I listened to preachers, and what rang true in my soul was what the Baptists believed and practiced. I was baptized by immersion as an adult and was a member (though not an active one) of a Baptist church until we moved here. At that time, we hadn’t been to church for a long time and were feeling disillusioned in general, but let me just say that if I had my way, when we got ready to find a church in Florida, I’d have chosen a Baptist church.

The hubby had other ideas. He who was born into a Baptist family, joined the Methodist church as an adult! (Though he seldom actually attended it.) I don’t want to speak on his behalf, but if I had to, I would venture to guess that he has an impression of Baptists as country, corn-pone, poorly educated, foot-washing, Amen-hollering, pulpit-pounding fire and brimstone types. All of which he abhors (especially the notion that he could be in any way associated with something country. He’s stuck-up like that. :-) )

He was on board with the idea of our finding a church, as long as it was not a Baptist church. So, after visiting a few local assemblies, we settled on, let’s call it, Denomination X. I am choosing not to name it because I certainly don’t think it is a bad place; most of the members clearly enjoy it and are loyal to it. But me, I find myself feeling like a stranger in a strange land. Let’s say I moved to Denmark, for example. No doubt Denmark is a lovely place, well understood and enjoyed by people who’ve been raised there. But no matter how friendly the natives may be, it would never be my home…I would never understand their culture, their music, their ways of doing things. In my heart I would always long for the dear old USA, and that’s exactly how I feel about our church.

But here’s the thing. 1) For the good of our marriage, our family, and our lives in general, I want my husband to stay in church.  And 2) He likes this church. Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t twist my arm. I liked it at first, too. But once I got past the getting-to-know-you stage and began to really pay more attention to the service, I realized I did not agree with much of it.

So now, every time I walk in the door of Denomination X, I am practicing submission. (Not always beautifully, I’m afraid…sometimes my boredom is hard to conceal.) I sit through the service, touched by no part of it, wishing for a Sunday when I could come away inspired and uplifted; or instructed at least. But my formerly unbelieving husband is beside me, holding my hand, listening to a pastor he respects, and I know that to do anything other than what I’m doing would be detrimental. It is his place to be the spiritual leader of our family, and for that matter–how am I to know he isn’t right? He says our lives turned around when we joined this church, and I admit there is truth to that statement.  I have considered asking him if he’d mind my seeking out a Baptist church to attend on Wednesday or Sunday nights, but I always decide against bringing it up. I don’t want our family going in two different directions, and I feel that if we don’t stick together, our church attendance might wither and die altogether. Better for me to be bored than for us both to be unchurched again.

But I do look forward to our trips back to Georgia. When we visit, we attend church with his parents, where–admittedly–the congregants might not be the most erudite group you ever met. But the words I hear there ring true in my heart, and at the end of the preaching when the pianist plays “Just As I Am” and the repentant are invited to come forward to the altar…no, it’s not sophisticated. But it’s home.

Buy at
Autumn Colors and First Baptist Churc…
Buy From



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.