skipping small group

March 4, 2009 at 2:30 am 4 comments

images1Skipping church small group tonight, again. Wife is too busy preparing for work tomorrow, though she would like to go. So that gives me a convenient excuse, because though I like the people, I don’t really care to go, I have no interest in going, other than to support my relationship with my wife. So why should I go?

Heavy stuff, because I have to put up with getting “the look.” The one that says, “we have to talk,” even though we don’t have to talk because we both know what the other is thinking already. The same look as when I picked up Asimov instead of the bible last night. Because it isn’t enough to read about the bible, why wouldn’t I want to read the bible? So it’s the damned if you do, damned if you don’t, part of deconversion. That you just have to live with, because you can either live a lie, or be honest. But being honest doesn’t really make everyone happy? And sometimes what you believe is more important to people than who you are.

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Entry filed under: church.

patron saints of deconversion when faith is stripped away

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DagoodS  |  March 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    He he he. I once “got the look” when we visited an old church and I commented how horrible the new carpet looked. My wife shot the “look” and fiercely whispered, “It looks fine.” Now—I know my wife. I know her taste (somewhat) in decorating, and I was pretty certain she hated the carpet as much as I did. She just felt she had to defend any criticism of any sort—no matter how petty.

    I found church and small group situations more and more difficult to go to. Throughout the week I would be delving into minutia such as where the term “Nazarene” developed, and comparing Aramaic to Greek etymology, with differing positions as to what was originally in the Gospel of Mark, how Matthew copied Mark, Luke’s position, etc. The archeology surrounding Nazareth—what the state of the village would be in First Century.

    Whether Mark thought Capernaum was Jesus’ original home; the difference between the birth stories of Matthew and Luke. All over the question of one word: “Nazareth.”

    Then, on Sunday I would hear the parable of the Sower and how the “rocky ground” was an analogy to people with “Hard Hearts.” Sigh. To me, it was like studying quantum physics throughout the week, to go to church on Sunday and hear, “2+2=4. 4+4=8”

    I really wanted to go to church. I wanted to be beside my wife. I asked if I could take something else to read, and she stated she would be embarrassed by it. I asked the church if there was a small group I could possibly fit in, and was told, “NO!”

    I gave up. One of the turning points of an improvement in our relationship was when I stopped going to church. I stopped trying to find something to captivate my attention and ending up bored out of my mind; my wife stopped being on pins and needles giving me “the look.” We got along better when I didn’t go.

    I still miss it. I still wish to go back. More for the social aspect than anything else; I seriously doubt I would learn anything, nor would I find a niche to debate the topics I love. Tried it—failed.

    Perhaps your wife would find going by herself is better than going with you. Believe it or not.

  • 2. fffearlesss  |  March 4, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I wonder myself when the time will come where I can finally stop going to church just to keep up appearances. Honestly I’m not sure right now who these appearances are for? Is it for my wife’s benefit so she doesn’t have to be the lone woman sitting in the pew, with everyone wondering why her husband no longer comes… is it for the kids, so we can avoid the questions of “why doesn’t daddy go to church” for as long as possible.

    For now I do it gladly. I’m fortunate that the pastor at our church is a truly engaging speaker and I tend to enjoy his sermons even if I don’t agree with what they’re based on. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big a sacrifice.

    The worst part about it is after a particularly engaging sermon that blew my wife away, she still cannot fathom WHY it didn’t affect me in the same way. And I tell her, “Yes, operating from within the confines of this belief system, that really was a mindblowing lesson he taught… but if you don’t believe it, it’s just a good idea in theory.”

    Kind of curious how long this goes on.

  • 3. atimetorend  |  March 5, 2009 at 2:30 am

    dagoods: about the carpet comment — that is a big problem, the spouse being hyper-sensitive to the skeptic in their midst. That’s funny. I’m still good in church because the sociology element is still of interest, and I’m still developing how to fit the sermon pieces into my new framework of belief (unbelief). But it is a good bet that my wife would find going by herself more fulfilling, not being on guard against me or worried about what I am thinking all the time. We’re working that way slowly, but sometimes I wonder if it would be better to make a quick and clean cut.

    ffearlesss: I do feel the same way you do, although I got hit hard with the “why don’t you want to go to small group” thing this week from my oldest child. I remember being in church the first time I was certain I no longer believed it to be true and thinking, this might be my last time here. That was nearly a year ago…

    Same thing with my wife, wonderment about why I wouldn’t engage in the message. And it is hard to explain when it seems to her that something like “love your neighbor” is the heart of the sermon. When what I’m hearing is the, “love them or they’ll go to hell” part, or the “love them because you believe in the historicity of the resurrection and that makes you certain that you should return Christ’s love to others” part (I exaggerate, just a bit though).

  • 4. Old Pete  |  July 25, 2009 at 7:20 am

    I’ve just stumbled on your blog this morning.

    In one sense I have been outside the walls of traditional Christianity for nearly 40 years. My wife and I met in an Anglican church. For 8 years in the 1960’s I was treasurer of the church and was then drawn away to a Sabbath keeping church.

    That church has redefined it’s doctrines over the last few years. It must have been about 4 years ago that I realised that I was only attending because my wife wanted to. It was about two years ago I told the pastor (and we haven’t really had a conversation since then).

    Apart from a short period my wife and I have been attending church together every week for 49 years but after listening to a sermon two weeks ago I had finally had enough. Last week and this I have taken my wife (who doesn’t drive) and left her.

    Something encouraged me to read your blog from the beginning – I can relate to just about everything I have read so far.

    I don’t have any answers but I have built up a bit of a reputation for asking the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers.

    I’ll look at the rest of your blog later today. Would you like to share more thoughts?

    Pete

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