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My recent thread on tithing has made something that I was trying to suppress come into full light. I admire so much those of you who are confident in where you are with your faith and can speak so intelligently about your religion. It has made it painfully obvious to me how empty I feel knowing that I don't have what you have. I struggle though in how to learn about God and grow in my faith if I can't handle religion?

 

Maybe it's just that I haven't found the right religion? And by religion I guess I mean more denomination since I firmly believe in Christianity. I've never attended church regularly but those times that I have I always left with a bad taste in my mouth either due to what a specific denomination believed or because the people of the church were such a huge disappointment to me.

 

I haven't tried them all but because of my experiences from my youth and from talking to those of certain denominations I just have gotten this wrong opinion that none of them are going to fit with what I'm looking for.

 

I've been okay with having no religion for a long time but lately I'm feeling removed from God and have questions no one seems to be able to answer. In fact sometimes when I've brought up questions or doubts that I have I feel like I'm looked upon as not being a true Christian.

 

Maybe I'm not though because right now I don't feel saved. Does that make sense? I believe in God and in Jesus but I don't feel them walking with me. I feel something is missing....lost. I think I used to feel their presence, especially at one point in my life where I was praying hard and often because of a crises. I remember feeling completely enveloped in God's arms one night when I was at my most desperate and remember all at once feeling completely at peace and knew everything was going to work out alright. I miss that feeling...somehow I've lost it and I feel empty not having it.

 

I believe in God as a supreme being and that he created everything. I tend toward an old earth but I don't disbelieve that a young earth is possible. I tend to believe in creation but I don't disbelieve that God could have put evolution in motion. Neither has any bearing on my belief in God or in my belief that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died on the cross to atone for my sins. I believe God has granted me salvation and that I have only to accept it, however, I'm not sure how to go about doing that. I'm not sure how I feel about the Bible at this point as far as whether it is the literal word of God. I'm not opposed to that idea, but it was written down by man who was given free will. ((Not looking to debate that here...just putting my beliefs at this time out there.) One thing about this is that I'm not well educated in the Bible so people quoting scripture to me doesn't help. I'm not a stupid person but passages taken out of context don't make sense to me. I just got a study Bible from my dad and am going to start reading through it after Christmas so hopefully some of my questions regarding it will become answered.)

 

Dh has a very strong faith and says that he feels God walk beside him daily. He talks to God throughout the day and says that he feels\hears Him. He doesn't feel church is necessary to his faith or his understanding. He identifies himself as Catholic and said that growing up he had many priests tell him things that really solidified his faith and what he believed. (I know there are those who will argue that attending church is something the Bible tells us we must do but he doesn't interpret it that way. ) I've never had what he had in his youth.

 

I feel like I'm babbling. I don't even know what I'm asking here. I just know that I'm hurting in my heart and I need someone to tell me that they get it. PM me if you feel more inclined to share in private but don't worry that posting anything here will offend or upset me. I've pretty much just shared with all of you the most private thing I could ever share...I'm an open book at this point. Okay, hitting submit with my heart in my mouth.

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I invite you to "come and see" The Orthodox Church if you're interested. I could have written most of your post three years ago, and nearly every day today give thanks because I'm done looking. I really feel/know what "full" is now in Orthodoxy; I longed for it before, now I know it. What I love about it is that it's not a faith that lives in my head; it's not based on me just thinking and believing the "right" things (this was my experience, I'm not generalizing it for anyone else). Orthodox Christianity is an organic faith that is physical as well as mystical/spiritual. We pray, we love, we fast, we bow, we sing, we see, we wait -- all together as a church, in unity. I guess it's hard to explain, but you're welcome to PM me if you have no idea what I'm talking about, LOL. I can also help you find out if there's a parish in your area.

 

This is a great time of year to ask these questions! Christ is born, and we glorify Him!

Edited by milovaný
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I admire your ability to put that out there. I know many, many others feel the same. I did myself until a few years ago. With the guidance and understanding of my husband, I found my way back to the Catholic church (I was born and raised Catholic but had drifted).

No matter where your journey leads you, I pray you are filled with peace in your decision at the end of it.

Hugs :grouphug:

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I didn't keep up with the tithing thread, but I love religious threads in general. It's mostly why I frequent the General Board. One year ago I posted on this board, bearing my all as you have done here, about my floundering Christian self. Milovany and Patty Joanna gently invited me to inquire into the Orthodox Church. My family and I took a trip down to Disneyland from Washington, and I ended up listening to podcasts from Ancient Faith Radio all the way down to Cali. and all the way back up, with my DH. I was really blown away by the history and the beliefs of the ancient Church. I had a completely different view of the way early Christianity was practiced. What I learned completely changed my view of Christian practice, as well as some of the dogmas. I believe the Orthodox Christian faith jives with the teachings of Christ, and so many of the questions I had about the Bible are making sense the more I learn and inquire. I'm still an inquirer. Who knows when I will convert, only God. But, I believe I'm on the right road, finally. It's a blessing and I'm thankful just to participate in a small/inquiring way. Some day, God willing, I will participate more fully.

 

If you would like to inquire, and are able to listen to some podcasts, I would recommend this series, Foundations of the Orthodox Faith.

 

Also, we have a great social group here on The Well Trained Mind Forum, Exploring Orthodox Christianity, where you can post any question you like about Orthodox Christianity, and gentle loving Orthodox Christians will answer your questions or direct you to resources to help you on your journey.

 

Peace be unto you.

Edited by JenniferB
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:grouphug:

 

Everybody struggles and doubts, at some point. On key thing is that you don't always have to FEEL saved to be saved. It isn't always about how we feel because emotions change.

 

If you are interested in finding out about the Catholic Church, we would be happy to have you join us on the Crossing the Tiber social group. Or I would be happy to talk with you more by pm or email, if I can help in any way.

 

:grouphug:

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… I struggle though in how to learn about God and grow in my faith if I can't handle religion? …

 

I've been okay with having no religion for a long time but lately I'm feeling removed from God and have questions no one seems to be able to answer. In fact sometimes when I've brought up questions or doubts that I have I feel like I'm looked upon as not being a true Christian.

 

Maybe I'm not though because right now I don't feel saved. Does that make sense? I believe in God and in Jesus but I don't feel them walking with me. …

 

I believe in God as a supreme being and that he created everything. I tend toward an old earth but I don't disbelieve that a young earth is possible. I tend to believe in creation but I don't disbelieve that God could have put evolution in motion. … I'm not sure how I feel about the Bible at this point as far as whether it is the literal word of God. I'm not opposed to that idea, but it was written down by man who was given free will. ((Not looking to debate that here … I'm not well educated in the Bible so people quoting scripture to me doesn't help. …

 

… (I know there are those who will argue that attending church is something the Bible tells us we must do but he doesn't interpret it that way. ) I've never had what he had in his youth. …

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

 

You are not alone. I have been there, too.

 

What helped me was to attend Bible study that helped me learn how to study the Bible. I have attended Precept Bible Study for almost 20 years where we take 1 book at a time and study it from the 1st chapter to the last chapter. I don’t agree with every point of interpretation and that is ok.

 

When I 1st began attending, I felt very weak in my faith. I remember after I had been studying the Bible this way for about 5 years, I was able to look back and see how my faith had grown – it was very a gradual process.

 

I have repeated a few of the courses and I learn something new each time. The Genesis courses are taught from a young earth viewpoint, you can make up your own mind. The courses are also taught from the viewpoint that the Bible was written by men who were inspired by God. Even if you never believe that, the courses will teach you how to study the Bible on your own, in context

 

I also, do not attend “churchâ€. I typically attend 1-3 Bible studies a week (not all Precept). This keeps me in fellowship with other Christians. I have found it important to discuss passages with others in order to clarify my thinking. If you do decide to attend a group Bible study, try to find one that will let you discuss different conclusions. That may be hard. You may have to attend a more rigid group, then pose questions here to discuss different viewpoints.

 

I think now I’m babbling! I just wanted to share I understand and what worked for me. Hope some of this can help you.

 

Best wishes.

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:grouphug:

I am in a very similar place right now. Bravo for asking the question I have been too afraid to ask! I have faith in God, I just haven't been able to work past my issues with where faith in God, organized religion and people intersect. I feel like I should be attending church somewhere to learn and grow in faith, but I just can't bring myself to start searching.

 

I too, was okay with not taking part in organized religion for many years. The last couple years though have had me feeling almost desperate at times to find a place that feels like I belong. Except that I have been to afraid to even try! My husband has no interest in anything religious. He is in the don't know, don't care camp. I do not have any childhood religious experiences to guide me. So, what to do, what to do? I sure wish I knew! Yikes this got long! I hope you find what you are searching for!

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Thank you so much everyone! I'm not going to post much else right now because I'm getting really teary thinking about all of this and I'm trying to hold it together while the dc are milling about. Know that I'm reading and thinking and clicking on links. Again, thank you. Your all wonderful.

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Perhaps some Bible reading would help? A good way to seek God and prayer can springboard out of what you read.

Try the gospels - great for Christmas time! And some Psalms. I find the range of emotions expressed there helpful. Good to know that I am not alone in my experiences! Anger, confusion, joy, sadness - all there.

 

Maybe writing down what you are seeking in a church could help you find one where you and your family feel at home? I'll pray that you do find a church home where you can worship in spirit and truth, serve and be served, love and be loved and grow deeply.

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Most of my knowledge and faith have come from prayer and reading the Bible, not from church or studies or others. As a matter of fact, when we had troubles from a church, it was prayer and reading the Bible that kept my head on straight and comforted me.

 

It will be hard to know what religion you are until you have read the Bible and prayed, too, imho.

 

I think it is important to be part of a body of believers, and I think that should be your ultimate goal. But it's a great start to just open the Bible and start reading, even if it sounds too simplistic. :001_smile: I would suggest a gopsel and Galatians and Philippians to start and daily time in Psalms and Proverbs.

 

You said that you felt God with you when you were praying a lot. I think you answered your own question. :grouphug:

Edited by angela in ohio
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I don't think the spiritual life was meant to be traveled alone. We need a family of fellow travelers on the journey. If you are gunshy about actual churches/denominations, do you know any Christians IRL who you like who you might join in a small group? (Many churches have small groups or life groups or some other name by which 6-10 people or so get together to share the spiritual journey together.)

 

Many contemporary churches encourage questioning. You might try one of Tim Keller's books, like Prodigal God.

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I understand. No church satifies me either. The members are sisters and brothers in name only. They call each other by those titles, but they are not really like family. They are not even friends. They greet their neighbors with handshakes for 2 minutes and call that fellowship. It is not geniuine.

 

Per the advice of a Christian that I trust, I am going to look for fellowship outide of an official church service. That doesn't mean I won't go to a church service. I just wont rely on it for a satisfying experience.

 

I recommend you do not read any Bible Study. Read straight from the Bible. Start at the begining of Matthew or Genesis or wherever and read on until you get to the end. People make the Bible out to be what it is not. You know how people think they are doing CM education if they add a nature walk and copywork to their worksheets? Even curriculum for sale claims to be CM and is far from it. Only when you read CM's writings do you know what CM really is. Well the Bible is like that. You need to read the Bible to know what the Bible is.

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I feel the presence of God more when I am praying and actually turning pieces of my life and worries over to Him. To say, "this is bigger than me, please carry this burden for me," is a very big thing. Studying The Bible also helps.

 

As far as the church and people go? They will always be imperfect. You really have to attend a church and participate to become part of a community like that. You have to talk to people, go to Bible study, volunteer for nursery duty, attend the monthly potluck breakfasts or spaghetti dinners. If you do this, then you will usually find people with whom you connect. Not always, but usually. But at least *some* of the people will always disappoint. People, even Christians are extemely flawed.

 

:grouphug:

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I struggled for years to figure out how to be a Christian.

Turns out I wasn't. Once I decided to not tie myself down to Christianity, and to really look into all religious ideas and beliefs, I found Deism - and it has been a perfect match.

I feel far closer to God as a Deist than I have ever felt....

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Maybe it's just that I haven't found the right religion? ......

 

Maybe I'm not though because right now I don't feel saved.

 

A couple of questions you may find helpful to ponder (for yourself - I am not asking you to answer me...this is your business):

 

1. Why do you feel that an organized religion is necessary for faith ? Can you think of them as separate things ? For me they are completely separate things. My faith is complete without religion. I do not need any doctrine or holy book.

 

2. What do you believe you need to be saved from ? Maybe you don't feel "saved" because the whole saved/not saved thing does not work for you. If that turns out to be the case...you would be in good company. It does not work for a lot of people...even many who choose a Christian path.

 

If the Christian path feels of interest but most churches haven't felt right for you, you may enjoy a Unity church. (not Unitarian - Unity) They are a completely different type of Christian church. I attended a Unity church years ago. It was a great experience and I learned a lot there that I have carried with me. I may attend one again someday.

 

http://www.unity.org/about-us

Edited by laundrycrisis
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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: What denominations have you tried? I know that many are different depending on your location, but it won't help as much if we all start suggesting places you've already tried, KWIM? I want our advice to be 100% helpful :tongue_smilie:. You may find you feel peace and a sense of "rightness" in a denomination you never expected. For me, I get the feeling of peace and absolute rightness in the LDS faith. It is compatible with the beliefs you've listed so far. The end of the Book of Mormon has a passage that prophecies anyone who reads the book and asks in faith will have the truth of it manifest through the power of the Holy Ghost, and it worked for me, as well as other spiritual experiences.I know what you're talking about with feeling like God is with you or not with you. I know that for me personally, if I've been swamped with life--homeschool, cleaning, dh, stress stress stress--I tend to lose it. I have to focus back on the Savior and pray and start really pondering my scriptures and praying and specifically asking God to bring the Holy Spirit back into my heart that helps for me.

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I struggled for years to figure out how to be a Christian.

Turns out I wasn't. Once I decided to not tie myself down to Christianity, and to really look into all religious ideas and beliefs, I found Deism - and it has been a perfect match.

I feel far closer to God as a Deist than I have ever felt....

I'm always really impressed & grateful that you can talk about your faith without putting down Christianity. Thank you. :001_smile:

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I was feeling similar to you the past few years. I was Roman Catholic, born & raised. I quit going to church about 9 years ago. My search brought me to the LDS church. Our family was baptized into the church in Nov. It was a great birthday gift. :D I have never felt more at home in any congregation. You'll eventually find where you belong.

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My recent thread on tithing has made something that I was trying to suppress come into full light. I admire so much those of you who are confident in where you are with your faith and can speak so intelligently about your religion. It has made it painfully obvious to me how empty I feel knowing that I don't have what you have. I struggle though in how to learn about God and grow in my faith if I can't handle religion?

 

Maybe it's just that I haven't found the right religion? And by religion I guess I mean more denomination since I firmly believe in Christianity. I've never attended church regularly but those times that I have I always left with a bad taste in my mouth either due to what a specific denomination believed or because the people of the church were such a huge disappointment to me.

 

I haven't tried them all but because of my experiences from my youth and from talking to those of certain denominations I just have gotten this wrong opinion that none of them are going to fit with what I'm looking for.

 

I've been okay with having no religion for a long time but lately I'm feeling removed from God and have questions no one seems to be able to answer. In fact sometimes when I've brought up questions or doubts that I have I feel like I'm looked upon as not being a true Christian.

 

Maybe I'm not though because right now I don't feel saved. Does that make sense? I believe in God and in Jesus but I don't feel them walking with me. I feel something is missing....lost. I think I used to feel their presence, especially at one point in my life where I was praying hard and often because of a crises. I remember feeling completely enveloped in God's arms one night when I was at my most desperate and remember all at once feeling completely at peace and knew everything was going to work out alright. I miss that feeling...somehow I've lost it and I feel empty not having it.

 

I believe in God as a supreme being and that he created everything. I tend toward an old earth but I don't disbelieve that a young earth is possible. I tend to believe in creation but I don't disbelieve that God could have put evolution in motion. Neither has any bearing on my belief in God or in my belief that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died on the cross to atone for my sins. I believe God has granted me salvation and that I have only to accept it, however, I'm not sure how to go about doing that. I'm not sure how I feel about the Bible at this point as far as whether it is the literal word of God. I'm not opposed to that idea, but it was written down by man who was given free will. ((Not looking to debate that here...just putting my beliefs at this time out there.) One thing about this is that I'm not well educated in the Bible so people quoting scripture to me doesn't help. I'm not a stupid person but passages taken out of context don't make sense to me. I just got a study Bible from my dad and am going to start reading through it after Christmas so hopefully some of my questions regarding it will become answered.)

 

Dh has a very strong faith and says that he feels God walk beside him daily. He talks to God throughout the day and says that he feels\hears Him. He doesn't feel church is necessary to his faith or his understanding. He identifies himself as Catholic and said that growing up he had many priests tell him things that really solidified his faith and what he believed. (I know there are those who will argue that attending church is something the Bible tells us we must do but he doesn't interpret it that way. ) I've never had what he had in his youth.

 

I feel like I'm babbling. I don't even know what I'm asking here. I just know that I'm hurting in my heart and I need someone to tell me that they get it. PM me if you feel more inclined to share in private but don't worry that posting anything here will offend or upset me. I've pretty much just shared with all of you the most private thing I could ever share...I'm an open book at this point. Okay, hitting submit with my heart in my mouth.

 

You know....I think that a lot of people who are confident in their faith and knowledgable about their religion have gotten that way BECAUSE they have deeply and sincerely explored their questions and doubts and have been willing to follow that path wherever it led. I know that's definitely true for me. It always bugs me when people suggest that it's "wrong to question" because I think God teaches exactly the opposite. Jesus said, "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you." And Paul wrote, "Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good." (In which "prove" means to examine, or put to the test.) Don't worry, I'm not going to quote a lot of Bible passages at you, I'm just saying that I don't think you need to worry that the fact that you're asking questions and exploring doubts means you're not Christian, or not a "real" Christian, no matter what other people may say about it. I think the best way to find things is to go looking for them. The best way to learn is to ask questions.

 

I think as others have said that sincerely seeking God in prayer is a very good start. It sounds as though you have already learned what that peace and comfort that comes from God is like and will recognize it when you experience it again, and I think that's a HUGE thing. I think you're right that thoughtfully reading the Bible will help you sort out what you will believe about it. A study Bible probably has a lot of great helps in it like explanations of unfamiliar words and customs. Be aware that many study Bibles do have a little bit of a bias in favor of the interpretation preferred by whoever put together the study notes. That's ok, just keep an open mind and try not to blame the Bible for things that might actually be a factor of the study notes. If something rubs you wrong feel free to seek other opinions on the passages, and also be sure to seek God's opinion in prayer.

 

For what it's worth, I think you're on the right track--at the beginnings of it maybe, but on there nonetheless.

 

Like LittleIzumi said, nothing you listed would be incompatible with LDS teachings. I wish I could just share with you the sense of peace and wholeness I find in the LDS church, but obviously that's a personal thing that you can't just pass on to someone else. But I can tell you're hurting, and I wish I could just make it better. :grouphug: I would certainly be more than happy to have a go at answering any questions about LDS beliefs, or about the LDS take on things you might read in the Bible or whatever, either in a public thread or by PM. Or email. Or whatever. It's a topic I'm fairly passionate about (tee hee...maybe you noticed if you read the tithing thread) and don't get tired of or annoyed by. I would also invite you to visit an LDS church service and see what it's like. I agree with Mrs. Mungo that people are people no matter what religion, and you will not find ANY church where the people are all perfect. But I will say that I love the family feeling that I find in the LDS faith, and I love that the feeling is more or less the same everywhere I've lived. There certainly are some dreadfully self-righteous and/or hypocritical LDS people, but I haven't found that to be the case generally. I would love to take you to church with me, which is obviously not a real possibility, but here's a place you can find an LDS meetinghouse where you live, and as I say it's all one church and the doctrine and practice is the same throughout, and we love visitors. But please don't feel pressured, I won't be offended if you don't want to.

 

Regardless, I do hope you find what you're looking for. That feeling of being lost and uncertain is not fun. :grouphug:

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I was feeling similar to you the past few years. I was Roman Catholic, born & raised. I quit going to church about 9 years ago. My search brought me to the LDS church. Our family was baptized into the church in Nov. It was a great birthday gift. :D I have never felt more at home in any congregation. You'll eventually find where you belong.

 

How wonderful! Congratulations! I am so happy for you and your family! :party:

 

PS. I see you're in GA. We lived in the Savannah GA stake for a long time. You're not in that area by any chance are you? I wonder if we know any of the same people....

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A church community is really important to our spiritual life I think. Humans are creatures of community in a really profound way. But we can't expect to ever find a human community without problems, because the people in them are still in the process of finding their way in this life as well.

 

It's a bit like that saying "I wouldn't join any club that would accept me as a member". If the Church is a place for us as individuals, with all the problems we face, we can be sure there are other people there who are imperfect as well.

 

It can be very humbling to kneel down at the altar rail and recieve the Eucharist next to someone who in everyday life you dislike or find annoying or even who you think has serious issues.

 

Of course true theology and teaching are important, and a congregation that is not toxic or abusive, and leaders that are accountable and really can teach and lead. But we have to be careful, wherever we find ourselves, not to be tempted to reject the community for being made up of human beings.

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What helped me was to attend Bible study that helped me learn how to study the Bible

 

:iagree:

 

I have been attending a women's Bible Study through my church since September. It has helped me feel closer than ever to God. I would really recommend finding a strong women's Bible Study that you could be free to ask any question and be open and honest about where you are in your journey and not feel judgement. I have found that and it has been wonderful.

 

I heard a great analogy about the Christian faith before and I think back on it from time to time. I hope it might help you. All Christians are like people on a journey from New York to California. Some people are really close to California, some just started the journey in New York, and others got a little lost on the way and ended up in Florida. It doesn't mean that they aren't on the journey but that they took a different path. I think almost everyone has felt similar to you at some point. Sometimes just knowing that others struggle and make it through to the other side is encouraging.

 

God says in his Word that if we seek Him we will find Him. Believe it. It's true. He knows your heart. He knows that you want to find Him.

 

I will pray for you!!! Please keep us updated about your journey!!

 

God Bless,

Elise in NC

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I can understand exactly how you are feeling. I really struggle with religion or some people who are religious. My faith is sometimes weak because I can't find a church family where I feel at home.

 

This is going to sound nuts and I struggle even whether I should share it, but I found a website called Beliefnet and on it there is a quiz where you answer your beliefs and it tells you which denomination matches your beliefs the best and then gives you links. It sounds ridiculous to find faith from a computer quiz, but I discovered that I was trying to fit into the wrong church, just because it was "popular" in my area, and that my beliefs didn't match that denomination at all. Instead I discovered I match closest to Methodist beliefs, and I have been visiting those churches. We haven't joined one yet, but we have narrowed it down, and I feel more spiritually full at every Methodist Church we have visited than I ever did at the Churches I was visiting before. I am not pointing you towards Methodist, I am just suggesting that you find out which denomination meets your understanding of God the best and start there. The link is. http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx

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I can understand exactly how you are feeling. I really struggle with religion or some people who are religious. My faith is sometimes weak because I can't find a church family where I feel at home.

 

This is going to sound nuts and I struggle even whether I should share it, but I found a website called Beliefnet and on it there is a quiz where you answer your beliefs and it tells you which denomination matches your beliefs the best and then gives you links. It sounds ridiculous to find faith from a computer quiz, but I discovered that I was trying to fit into the wrong church, just because it was "popular" in my area, and that my beliefs didn't match that denomination at all. Instead I discovered I match closest to Methodist beliefs, and I have been visiting those churches. We haven't joined one yet, but we have narrowed it down, and I feel more spiritually full at every Methodist Church we have visited than I ever did at the Churches I was visiting before. I am not pointing you towards Methodist, I am just suggesting that you find out which denomination meets your understanding of God the best and start there. The link is. http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx

 

 

I think the beliefnet quiz can be a helpful place to start if you are floundering. It is limited in the sense that it doesn't give you any help at figuring out what is actually true, only what matches your current ideas. And maybe those would change with more exploration. I've seen quite a lot of people with developed views who have taken it though and it usually picked up their denomination or one very similar. (Though not me - my church was #5 on my list.)

 

But it can give a place to start looking anyway. Another option is to ask people who seem to have a religious faith you admire if you can visit with them. (Though if they keep bugging you to attend afterward that is a drag. But maybe a good clue that is not where you want to be.)

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Ask for wisdom.

 

:iagree:Wise words! Pray for wisdom. Pray for guidance. I think I'm the 4th (?) LDS poster that has chimed in today, but I just wanted to agree with them that your beliefs fit with ours and that the LDS faith is definitely 'home' for me. There's a link to the official church website in my siggy and we'd be happy to answer any questions here or via PM if you have them.

 

I hope you find the peace and relationship with God that you're looking for. :grouphug:

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I'm here...kids are in bed or doing their own thing so I can post without fear of them wondering why I'm teary eyed.

 

Okay, took the quiz...Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. I agree that it is a place to start looking.

 

There are too many posts to quote so I'm saying again to all of you THANK YOU! I was so nervous about posting this ... I shouldn't have been. You are all so amazing.

 

Someone mentioned in a pm that maybe I was expecting a mountaintop experience. I had one of those. I mentioned it in my original post. That experience was so powerful...I really actually thought I felt the pressure of His arms around me, the warmth of His light. I thought that I would see Him when I opened my eyes, it was that real to me. The feeling of peace and well being was amazing and like nothing I have ever experienced since. Yes, I want to experience that again!!!! The difference in then and now? I'm not at a place that I need Him to come to me like that. I need to be going to Him. Does that make sense? It makes sense to me but maybe I'm just grasping at straws looking for some meaning.

 

The Bible. I really, really need to devote myself to understanding it. I'm ashamed to admit that I've never read the all the way through. I never felt it necessary before though. I thought I knew what I needed to know to have faith in God and Jesus Christ. That I had faith that they existed and loved me was enough for a long time. I avoided the Bible because it confused me and brought up questions that I couldn't answer. I really, really hate unanswered questions but I didn't trust anyone to answer them for me without putting their spin on it and I couldn't differentiate between truth and spin. I want to understand who God is, who Jesus Christ is, what they did, said, saw, felt...to the best of my ability to understand. I want to know what is expected of me. I want to know what I can do for God, not what he is going to do for me.

 

As far as choosing a church. I mentioned in a couple responses to pms that I want to come out of church feeling as though I've done something for God, not that I've just come out of a self help seminar. As for the dissapointments from the people - I know there are always going to be a few people that rub me the wrong way in every situation but when I already don't feel like I fit in and that it was a waste of time, a few rude, annoying people can seem like the majority. I know most of you know what I'm talking about.

 

I'm not going to post here which denominations I've tried and disliked for one reason or another because I don't want to offend anyone and I don't want to start a "well, my church isn't like that" thing. I'm not making any decisions now but just from the researching I've done earlier this afternoon and this evening I think I have a few that might be options for a little while down the road.

 

One thing I do want to ask. In talking with dh more this evening its obvious to me that his needs are not the same as mine. Would it be wrong for me to ask him to stay on the outskirts of this for awhile? My reason is that I really feel the need to find my own path back to a closeness with God whether that means simply studying the Bible, finding a small group to fellowship with, or attending a church. I don't want his beliefs and his biases regarding denominations, church attendance, and the Bible to sway me one way or the other. I'm very swayed by his opinions because I've always known him to be knowledgeable and wise, but what if his spiritual path isn't the same as mine? I know that if I asked him to attend a church with me he would but I would be worrying about what he thinks of it instead of determining if it is a good fit for me. What do you all think?

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I can understand exactly how you are feeling. I really struggle with religion or some people who are religious. My faith is sometimes weak because I can't find a church family where I feel at home.

 

This is going to sound nuts and I struggle even whether I should share it, but I found a website called Beliefnet and on it there is a quiz where you answer your beliefs and it tells you which denomination matches your beliefs the best and then gives you links. It sounds ridiculous to find faith from a computer quiz, but I discovered that I was trying to fit into the wrong church, just because it was "popular" in my area, and that my beliefs didn't match that denomination at all. Instead I discovered I match closest to Methodist beliefs, and I have been visiting those churches. We haven't joined one yet, but we have narrowed it down, and I feel more spiritually full at every Methodist Church we have visited than I ever did at the Churches I was visiting before. I am not pointing you towards Methodist, I am just suggesting that you find out which denomination meets your understanding of God the best and start there. The link is. http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx

 

I found the quiz very interesting, personally. It definitely narrows things down - the only downfall is that it isn't super specific. :) (For example, I scored 100% Christian Protestant/Conservative. There are a lot of different 'denominations', etc, under that umbrella!! :D )

Anyway, I can't give you any better advice than what you have already gotten. Pray. Read. Ask for God to reveal himself to you and guide you with wisdom and discernment. :grouphug:

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One thing I do want to ask. In talking with dh more this evening its obvious to me that his needs are not the same as mine. Would it be wrong for me to ask him to stay on the outskirts of this for awhile? My reason is that I really feel the need to find my own path back to a closeness with God whether that means simply studying the Bible, finding a small group to fellowship with, or attending a church. I don't want his beliefs and his biases regarding denominations, church attendance, and the Bible to sway me one way or the other. I'm very swayed by his opinions because I've always known him to be knowledgeable and wise, but what if his spiritual path isn't the same as mine? I know that if I asked him to attend a church with me he would but I would be worrying about what he thinks of it instead of determining if it is a good fit for me. What do you all think?

 

Well, it depends. My own personal beliefs are that DH and I agree on the Bible, etc. But that's a different thing than my own personal relationship with God - that isn't his responsibility and I go about that in whatever way I see fit. So it really depends on how 'on the outskirts' you mean for me to say what I would do in that situation. :)

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...

 

One thing I do want to ask. In talking with dh more this evening its obvious to me that his needs are not the same as mine. Would it be wrong for me to ask him to stay on the outskirts of this for awhile? My reason is that I really feel the need to find my own path back to a closeness with God whether that means simply studying the Bible, finding a small group to fellowship with, or attending a church. I don't want his beliefs and his biases regarding denominations, church attendance, and the Bible to sway me one way or the other. I'm very swayed by his opinions because I've always known him to be knowledgeable and wise, but what if his spiritual path isn't the same as mine? I know that if I asked him to attend a church with me he would but I would be worrying about what he thinks of it instead of determining if it is a good fit for me. What do you all think?

 

I think you should explain this to him, just like this, and see what he thinks.

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I found the quiz very interesting, personally. It definitely narrows things down - the only downfall is that it isn't super specific. :) (For example, I scored 100% Christian Protestant/Conservative. There are a lot of different 'denominations', etc, under that umbrella!! :D )

Anyway, I can't give you any better advice than what you have already gotten. Pray. Read. Ask for God to reveal himself to you and guide you with wisdom and discernment. :grouphug:

 

 

It isn't real specific, but considering I was trying to find a Church home in a traditional Southern Baptist Church, when my beliefs line up more with a more mainstream/liberal protestant belief system, it helped me figure out why I was in Church arguing in my head with the Pastor, and questioning darn near everything. :lol:

 

It also helped because then I could go and read more in depth about the different denominations that lined up under the beliefs most important to me. But it definitely isn't a perfect way to find a Church, but perhaps a jumping off point.

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:grouphug:

 

Honestly, it sounds like you're already on your way back to Him. :) You've got the realization that you miss Him in your life and are searching for how to bring Him back into your life. Talk with Him. Tell it all to Him. Ask His Mom to help you too. She'll always lead you to Him.

 

Mother Theresa lived for years in the state you're in - with not feeling Jesus' presence. Her faith was obviously incredibly strong, but she did not have that feeling that you're missing - for years. Maybe it's a gift right now to help you to see how important He really is to you. Talk to Him and He'll reveal His plan for you.

 

If you're so inclined, call your local Catholic Church and ask them when they have Adoration. Go and spend some time there and see if you can feel His presence.

 

Advent is a great time to be searching. I'm praying for you. :grouphug:

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I think you should explain this to him, just like this, and see what he thinks.
Right, the obvious.:D

 

 

 

 

 

(((hugs))) Aime

 

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I know The One who does. I firmly believe He will guide you if you continue to seek Him.

See, this is why I am where I am. I know He is there, I know He listens, I KNOW he can help...why isn't it obvious to me to to ask Him first? Actually, I know the answer. I'm too impatient. I want an answer now, not in a day, a week, or a month.

 

Are there people who get answers immediately? Maybe I do to but I'm not quiet enough to hear them. (?)

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Are there people who get answers immediately? Maybe I do to but I'm not quiet enough to hear them. (?)

 

Perhaps there are some places that are better for listening. I expect it takes great training to hear God sitting on the couch surveying one's yet to be vacuumed lounge room floor!

 

Do you have a cathedral nearby?

 

Rosie

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I'm here...kids are in bed or doing their own thing so I can post without fear of them wondering why I'm teary eyed.

 

Okay, took the quiz...Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. I agree that it is a place to start looking.

 

There are too many posts to quote so I'm saying again to all of you THANK YOU! I was so nervous about posting this ... I shouldn't have been. You are all so amazing.

 

Someone mentioned in a pm that maybe I was expecting a mountaintop experience. I had one of those. I mentioned it in my original post. That experience was so powerful...I really actually thought I felt the pressure of His arms around me, the warmth of His light. I thought that I would see Him when I opened my eyes, it was that real to me. The feeling of peace and well being was amazing and like nothing I have ever experienced since. Yes, I want to experience that again!!!! The difference in then and now? I'm not at a place that I need Him to come to me like that. I need to be going to Him. Does that make sense? It makes sense to me but maybe I'm just grasping at straws looking for some meaning.

 

The Bible. I really, really need to devote myself to understanding it. I'm ashamed to admit that I've never read the all the way through. I never felt it necessary before though. I thought I knew what I needed to know to have faith in God and Jesus Christ. That I had faith that they existed and loved me was enough for a long time. I avoided the Bible because it confused me and brought up questions that I couldn't answer. I really, really hate unanswered questions but I didn't trust anyone to answer them for me without putting their spin on it and I couldn't differentiate between truth and spin. I want to understand who God is, who Jesus Christ is, what they did, said, saw, felt...to the best of my ability to understand. I want to know what is expected of me. I want to know what I can do for God, not what he is going to do for me.

 

As far as choosing a church. I mentioned in a couple responses to pms that I want to come out of church feeling as though I've done something for God, not that I've just come out of a self help seminar. As for the dissapointments from the people - I know there are always going to be a few people that rub me the wrong way in every situation but when I already don't feel like I fit in and that it was a waste of time, a few rude, annoying people can seem like the majority. I know most of you know what I'm talking about.

 

I'm not going to post here which denominations I've tried and disliked for one reason or another because I don't want to offend anyone and I don't want to start a "well, my church isn't like that" thing. I'm not making any decisions now but just from the researching I've done earlier this afternoon and this evening I think I have a few that might be options for a little while down the road.

 

One thing I do want to ask. In talking with dh more this evening its obvious to me that his needs are not the same as mine. Would it be wrong for me to ask him to stay on the outskirts of this for awhile? My reason is that I really feel the need to find my own path back to a closeness with God whether that means simply studying the Bible, finding a small group to fellowship with, or attending a church. I don't want his beliefs and his biases regarding denominations, church attendance, and the Bible to sway me one way or the other. I'm very swayed by his opinions because I've always known him to be knowledgeable and wise, but what if his spiritual path isn't the same as mine? I know that if I asked him to attend a church with me he would but I would be worrying about what he thinks of it instead of determining if it is a good fit for me. What do you all think?

Goodness, you are SO where I was a couple of years ago! It's a bit of a frightening place to be. Knowing OF God, and knowing you've found Him before, but somehow feeling disconnected from Him for all of that. (at least that's how *I* felt. Not trying to put words in your mouth or anything. your post just triggered a bit of a flashback for me).

 

As far as reading the Bible. I think you're about to embark on what it *really* means to "feast upon the words of God". When I was in your shoes I'd also never read the Bible cover to cover. I'd read good chunks of it, but page by page all the way through? Never. And I, too, wanted The Answer *now*, not days or weeks or months (or years!) from now. But you know what? Sometimes we don't really appreciate The Answer until we've gone through the humbling experience of stumbling in the dark for a bit. We appreciate the Light so much more after that journey. :)

 

When I really started diving into the Bible all I had was a blank notebook handy to fill in any thoughts, and a prayer in my heart to be guided to Truth. As I read I jotted down any impressions, insights, themes, or just interesting tidbits that stood out to me as I read. I followed the footnotes to related scriptures, and eventually got a study guide to help me with some of the sticky historical context stuff. Rather than "snacking" on the scriptures and reading it without giving it much thought, or waiting for spiritual insight to come to ME, I "feasted", taking the time to appreciate the layers and complexities of what I was reading, *searching* for the meaning, rather than waiting for it to pop out at me like I used to. A good chunk of it still went right over my head, but boy did the Holy Spirit ever speak to me! I'm nowhere near being a scriptural theologian, but I know where Truth is, and that's worth gold. :)

 

Good luck in your search!

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Perhaps there are some places that are better for listening. I expect it takes great training to hear God sitting on the couch surveying one's yet to be vacuumed lounge room floor!

 

Do you have a cathedral nearby?

 

Rosie

 

How did you know my floor needed to be vacuumed? :tongue_smilie:

 

Yes, there is a cathedral in my town. Was that a legitimate question? Your like my husband...I can't tell where his dry wit stops and his seriousness begins.;)

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How did you know my floor needed to be vacuumed? :tongue_smilie:

 

No idea why I was thinking about unvacuumed floors. *cough, cough*

 

Yes, there is a cathedral in my town. Was that a legitimate question? Your like my husband...I can't tell where his dry wit stops and his seriousness begins.;)

 

I'm usually serious about religion, and always serious about people's faith crises. :)

 

If you're wanting to feel something large and old and connected, a cathedral is a good place. The size and the decor acts like a kind of loud speaker for people trying to listen. :)

 

Rosie

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I feel God's Spirit more strongly when I need His guidance more. When I was facing a test, when I was sharing the gospel with those who were blind, then I felt Him very strongly. I have never felt His presence more strongly than in my very kitchen. He gives us what we need. There were times the Lord was shouting at me, and sometimes I miss that, but I don't need him to shout at me now, as I am learning to obey His whispers...

 

I agree that you need to ask the Lord directly for help and you need to search the scriptures.

 

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? “Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

 

John 14:6 no one comes to the Father but through Me.

 

Romans 10:12 for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

 

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

 

1 John was a life-changing book for me.

 

I hesitate to say this, as you aren't exactly inexperienced, but I will throw out my ideas anyway: You might consider getting a One Year Bible. If I don't feel I have time for the whole day then I skip the OT portion. You also want to be sure to have a Bible that connects verses together, like if you look up Philippians 2:10,11 it will show you to look up Isaiah 45:23.

 

And by all means if you go to church, feel free to visit lots of them. Even churches within the same denomination can be very different.

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No idea why I was thinking about unvacuumed floors. *cough, cough*

 

 

 

I'm usually serious about religion, and always serious about people's faith crises. :)

 

If you're wanting to feel something large and old and connected, a cathedral is a good place. The size and the decor acts like a kind of loud speaker for people trying to listen. :)

 

Rosie

 

Well, I wouldn't have been offended if it wasn't a serious question. My heart has been so heavy lately - laughing is good.

 

Yes, I can see how a cathedral would have the effect you are talking about. I've often thought about just going in and just sitting, thinking, praying. Now, for some questions from the uneducated...do they let you do that? Are we talking about a Catholic cathedral? What's the difference in a church and a cathedral?

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I had to let go of the idea that I needed to find the perfect denomination or church. I don't have to believe everything that they teach. In fact, I believe it is important that my beliefs are not defined by a denomination.

 

Also, please, do me a favor and read Combatting Cult Mind Control and The Gospel of Salvation. Matthew 24:24

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I had to let go of the idea that I needed to find the perfect denomination or church. I don't have to believe everything that they teach. In fact, I believe it is important that my beliefs are not defined by a denomination.

 

Also, please, do me a favor and read Combatting Cult Mind Control and The Gospel of Salvation. Matthew 24:24

 

Oh, I don't expect to find a perfect fit. One that doesn't make me feel like it was a total waste of my time would be just fine. One where I can focus on God and the majesty and mystery of Him.

 

Adding those to my list of things to read.

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