What do you do when…

image About every 30…seconds, I come across a situation with my kids that I am completely unprepared for. There’s no rhyme or reason to it to–one minute you’re skating through life patting yourself on the back for having remembered to pack snacks, drinks and extra diapers, and the next thing you know, they’ve pooped all over themselves and you forgot to bring an extra shirt.

That’s the way it is. It happened again this weekend, and in perhaps one of the worst places…

As I’ve blogged before, CareerMom and I are in a constant search for the perfect church. She’s a reformed Catholic (what does that mean, “Reformed”?) and I’m a doubting Pentecostal. What this means to us is that we’re looking for a medium-sized church with progressive music and members who won’t notice, or make a big fuss, if we happen to miss a Sunday (or um…two) in a row because we wanted to get up and actually enjoy our Sunday morning rather than creating a HUGE scene while trying to get both ourselves and our kids ready and off to children’s church where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth at having left them at the hands of yet another bunch of strangers.

So sue me if we’d rather relax at home.

Anyway, there’s a church near our house that looked promising. It’s one of those “Harvest” churches, which in my experience, means it branched off a really large Pentecostal church at some time in the past and is in the process of growing into a new one. Typically, these churches start out by renting office space in strip malls on the weekends until they can gen up enough members (who tithe) to build out their own building. Well, this church is already in the “We own our own building” phase and it looked really nice. Their Web site looked good, if perhaps a bit vague on the details. But I announced to CareerMom that I wanted to try it, so this Sunday we did the deed and showed up on time, with good looking boys in tow.

First impressions as we walk in:

  • “Hmmm, lots of people from different cultures. That’s cool. Lots of young people too. The music should be good.”
  • “Honey, no one else here has their kids with them.”
    “I know,”
    says CareerMom, “but I’m not leaving them at the childcare facility. Plus, if we hate it, they make a good excuse to leave.”
  • “Oooh, it looked a LOT bigger on the outside. Not…sure…I’m gonna…like this. Too many people…!”
  • “Holy crap that music is LOUD! Is this a Pearl Jam concert or church?” (I look over at CareerMom who’s holding MLE and she gives me a winning smile, but I can see the tenseness in her face)
  • “OMG! That dude behind us is REALLY getting into it. OK seriously, I’m into praising God and all, but when you start hollering at the top of your lungs and hopping up and down like Little Bunny Foo-Foo–well, that’s’ when I start getting worried!”

By this point, both boys are sitting there on the pew with their fingers in their ears because the music is so loud and Evil Knieval is behind us doing his stunt show for Jesus and I can tell already that I hate it.

But then, I notice the “Little Person” in the row behind us. Aw crap!

I casually look down at the boys and MLI has noticed him, but is politely not staring. Not so with MLE. MLE has completely turned around and crawled up on the pew–thanks to the help of the “Little Man”–and is leaning against the back of the pew staring the man down like he just stole his lollipop!

Whaddya do?

God Bless the Little Man though. He gave MLI a big smile and put out his hand for a “Gimme five,” which MLE promptly smacked, and with that, the two of them became best friends. Oh, MLE still stared, but it was more of a, “Hey man, let’s play” kind of look rather than a, “Hey man, didn’t I see you in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?” kind of way.

In this instance, my lack of reaction turned out to be the best thing to do. That way, I didn’t make a big fuss and embarrass anyone (mostly myself), and the boys learned a valuable lesson about different people.

When we got to the car–about 15 minutes later after CareerMom left with the boys who both still had their fingers in their ears, and after I made a seemingly casual, “Oh, let me go check on my family” departure–MLI’s first question was about the man and I explained his condition as best I could with little or no medical knowledge to back it up. He seemed good with it. I was proud of both the boys, but I am left with a feeling of discontent that perhaps the man thought the reason we left was because of him. No, the reason we left was because the church was too crazy for us. I feel bad about that and I hope he didn’t take offense.

I completely give people with his condition props for getting out in a world that is certainly not geared for people their size and as much as I get annoyed at the media and the way they treat men, I’m sure it REALLY drives him crazy.

So, “Little Dude” if there’s a chance in heaven you’re reading this…I apologize if our leaving made you feel bad in any way. You seemed really cool!

Another church bites the dust…hey hey!

church“Dear Lord, thank you for this day, thank you for this summer season; a time when we slow down with family and friends and we remember you…”

After the Assistant Pastor spoke this bit o’ prayer this morning during church, I wrote it down on the back of a tithing envelope during (as shown here) because I felt it quite succinctly illustrated the vast chasm that we have discovered at our current church. With our busy schedules, we find that the early service is the way to go. Unfortunately, this means we’re in there with all the lil’ blue haired ladies and the organ music. I think the later service is a bit more up-tempo, but not by much.

What struck me about this opening prayer this morning, and what I whispered to CareerMom, much to the chagrin of the worshiper behind me was, “Slow down in the summer? What are they talking about?” But I got to looking around and realized, “Hey, when you’re 65, and the heat rises above your age, you probably DO slow down.”

So anyway, I guess this means we’ll be church hunting again. We thought we’d found a quasi-home in this new Baptist church, but small issues with the children’s rooms (waaay too young for our kids), coupled with their trying to pull the wool over unsuspecting folks’ eyes today by supposedly broadcasting the pastor’s message from Israel while a bunch of people are there on a mission, has just done it for us.

I mean, they didn’t come right out and say the service was “Live from Israel,” but they didn’t say it wasn’t either, leaving those who are geographically challenged to believe that 9 a.m. Atlanta time, is also roughly breakfast in Israel–an oversight I had a hard time swallowing as completely honest.

Oh, and the pastor’s reading the entire “Sermon on the Mount” from Mathew, since he was standing roughly where Jesus was supposed to have preached the sermon, was just too much.

It’s all good though, being raised a Pentecostal of the “X of God” sort (e.g. “Church” of God, “Assembly” of God, etc.) and CareerMom being a reformed Catholic, these Baptists beliefs were sometimes difficult to attenuate to, so it’s probably all for the best.

But man, I do seriously hate trying out new churches. Guess I’ll put on my fake smile and my, “I’m so glad to be here” pants and give it a whirl!