Thursday, February 25, 2010

Frustrated Rant from a Tired Christian

I had made plans to jump back into blogging with a great, insightful, and possibly even witty post about Protestants observing Lent-- those who see it as works salvation versus those who see it as a valuable spiritual discipline, etc. (And of course, those of us, like me, who first saw it as legalism, but then later thought it might be a really cool, spiritual thing to do, but didn't want to observe it too rigidly lest I be considered merely jumping on the latest Protestant "back to orthodoxy" bandwagon... ) As it turns out, my spiritual discipline muscle is incredibly weak, and Ash Wednesday came and went with few thoughts and little action. So it was all a mute point, really. I know I ought to be exercising some sort of spiritual discipline more regularly than I currently am doing. In my defense, I did look for an Ash Wednesday service to get me "in the mood" for being spiritual for the next 40 days, but I had worship team practice at my own church (which, as you might have guessed, does not observe Lent).

Yes, I know, I know, one doesn't need to wait until the church calendar reaches a certain day to make a concerted effort towards prayer, fasting, and charity. I guess I was kind of hoping something symbolic would help jump-start my wimpy, puttering faith. I need more than a spiritual cup of coffee-- I need the Christian equivalent of crack. I'm so discouraged. I hate going to church, but I like seeing our friends. I hate listening to sermons, but I can't kick the nagging feeling of guilt that our family needs to sit there, for some reason or another. I might bring up a side point in Sunday School class on occasion, but I've lost the drive to debate theology even on a friendly level. In short, I'm just showing up and going through the motions. The songs don't mean much to me. The sermons, if I can pay attention long enough, usually frustrate me. Does this make me a bad Christian? I don't know. I suppose I don't really care.

No... that's not true. I do care; otherwise I wouldn't bother blogging about it. I want a solution. I want to go to church and like it! I want to sing to God and MEAN it! I want to pray and actually be engaged mentally. I want to read the Bible and believe it. And, most of all, I want to stop thinking cynical, pessimistic thoughts about my fellow Christians. When someone expresses a joyous, heartfelt trust in God, I want to be able to say "Amen!" rather than have the strong desire to smack them upside the head for being naive and platitudinous.

No answers here. Just needed to vent.


Dan Martin said...

What can I say, Leesha? Except for the part of being on a worship team (a role I couldn't stomach for love or money, given what my church calls "worship"), I'm EXACTLY in the same boat as you...not the part about Lent, but the part about going to church.

I still love to debate theology though, on those rare occasions I'm with someone who actually (1) cares, (2) doesn't think everything they've ever been taught is divinely inspired truth, and (3) isn't terrified by unorthodox questions. Lucky for me, I know a couple guys like that...though I don't see enough of them.

For whatever infinitesimal encouragement it may be, know you aren't alone!

E. A. Harvey said...

Hi Dan,
Thankfully we have a few church friends who we can commiserate with, and I can still debate topics with them. But a couple of them are moving away soon, and it's going to get even harder to soldier on. Hence, my return to blogging! (Just finished up another post!)

Your shared misery encourages me, pitiful as that sounds! :-) It really helps to know I'm not the only one feeling this frustration and angst.

jaigner said...

I'm with you. Between my grief over the state of the Church and my ongoing struggle for mental health, it comes and goes. I know exactly what you mean, I think.