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That makes sense, and I would say it is often, but not always true.  It makes more sense if you think in terms of a denomination with a fairly laid out theology.  Sometimes the teaching remains the same, but a bad trend or an insensitive pastor, music director or congregation, can get the music into a bad place.

 

Yeah, I see what you mean.  I don't disagree with you though I have never experienced that, which is why I didn't think of it.

 

But, in the church I attend now (and the last 3 or so, I think), the pastor who is preaching chooses the music, or has one of the elders do it.  They typically choose hymns that are relevant to the scripture being preached, and are heavy on psalms.  (But not, I'm happy to say, strictly psalms!)   So it would be pretty hard for the music to go off the rails.   We have fabulous musicians in our church, but now that I'm thinking about this, I don't know if we even have someone called a music director.  We must have someone who makes sure the musicians are in place. In any case, that person doesn't choose the music.  

 

But anyway, I see what you are saying.  That would be so foreign to me though! 

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When I finally came face to face with the fact that we needed to leave, I was sad for awhile. But as I was, I realized that the things I was mourning - the memories I had - those were things that weren't there anymore anyway.

Let me be clear: THIS WAS NOT BECAUSE WE DON'T LIKE CHANGE.

Because, you know, that's what people say. People who get upset because you leave automatically assume that the problem lies with the person leaving, that they 'must not like change' or that the church needs to 'get rid of the chaff'.

We weren't a part of some good ol' boys club who wanted to do things the way they'd always been done just because.

And tbh, it's frustrating because what bigger change could there be than the choice WE made? The difficult realization that we couldn't stay with people we loved at this church that was important to us? To choose to leave, to choose the difficult road - THAT was change. It still IS change that we walk through every day, and we left over a year ago.

Because when change = watered down doctrine, false theology?

Sure. Then I guess you could say change is bad.

 

 

This is exactly where we were as well. And sadly, we were branded as people who just didn't like change and wanted to cause trouble. The church we left was the one I grew up in. Heck, it was the one my GRANDMOTHER grew up in. We had roots there. Seriously deep roots. And what I mourn is the fact that my children won't have the same kind of church home experience I had growing up. But to be honest, there was no way they were going to have that experience anyway. Things have shifted too far.

 

But we didn't dislike the changes because they were changes. We disliked them because they represented a departure from biblical orthodoxy. The "leadership" certainly didn't see it that way, but dh and I do. Complaining about change because it is a change is one thing. But some things aren't meant to change. And ascribing nefarious motives to people who point that out is just wrong.

 

Our old pastor used to stand in the pulpit and say, "You don't have to like the changes we're making, just do the rest of us a favor and keep your mouth shut about it." Yeah, no. We took our concerns to the pastor. More than once. He refused to listen (quite literally -- he all but stuck his fingers in his ears and shouted, "Lalalalala"). What choice did we have?

 

Choosing to stay wouldn't have been showing love and bearing with others' faults. It would have been endorsing false teaching. Choosing to leave upset EVERYTHING -- friendships, family relationships, even our routine. But it couldn't be helped.

 

I still worry about the effects of not having the kids in a b&m church every week, but I am entrusting them to God.

 

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This is exactly where we were as well. And sadly, we were branded as people who just didn't like change and wanted to cause trouble. The church we left was the one I grew up in. Heck, it was the one my GRANDMOTHER grew up in. We had roots there. Seriously deep roots. And what I mourn is the fact that my children won't have the same kind of church home experience I had growing up. But to be honest, there was no way they were going to have that experience anyway. Things have shifted too far.

 

But we didn't dislike the changes because they were changes. We disliked them because they represented a departure from biblical orthodoxy. The "leadership" certainly didn't see it that way, but dh and I do. Complaining about change because it is a change is one thing. But some things aren't meant to change. And ascribing nefarious motives to people who point that out is just wrong.

 

Our old pastor used to stand in the pulpit and say, "You don't have to like the changes we're making, just do the rest of us a favor and keep your mouth shut about it." Yeah, no. We took our concerns to the pastor. More than once. He refused to listen (quite literally -- he all but stuck his fingers in his ears and shouted, "Lalalalala"). What choice did we have?

 

Choosing to stay wouldn't have been showing love and bearing with others' faults. It would have been endorsing false teaching. Choosing to leave upset EVERYTHING -- friendships, family relationships, even our routine. But it couldn't be helped.

 

I still worry about the effects of not having the kids in a b&m church every week, but I am entrusting them to God.

 

I just had to quote to be like YES.

It's so good to come across someone who GETS IT, you know? Our circumstances and everything sound incredibly similar.

It's just nice to remember sometimes that we aren't alone in the things we experience, even when some details vary.

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I just had to quote to be like YES.

It's so good to come across someone who GETS IT, you know? Our circumstances and everything sound incredibly similar.

It's just nice to remember sometimes that we aren't alone in the things we experience, even when some details vary.

 

Yes, it most certainly is. Thank you for sharing your story. Feel free to PM me anytime. :)

 

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If nothing else, after reading this I'm incredibly glad to one, have always lived where there were multiple worship options, and two, to be Catholic. At least I know that the service will always be roughly the same wherever I go, the theology will be about the same, nothing too bizarre will be preached from the pulpit, etc. I go to hear God's word proclaimed, to pray in a group, affirm my faith via the creed, ask for forgiveness for my sins, and receive the eucharist. The rest may or may not be what I want, but it will be enough. I am lucky. 

 

that said, with people in the middle east currently being martyred for their faith, and churches being demolished, we should all be glad we can even have this conversation. 

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If nothing else, after reading this I'm incredibly glad to one, have always lived where there were multiple worship options, and two, to be Catholic. At least I know that the service will always be roughly the same wherever I go, the theology will be about the same, nothing too bizarre will be preached from the pulpit, etc. I go to hear God's word proclaimed, to pray in a group, affirm my faith via the creed, ask for forgiveness for my sins, and receive the eucharist. The rest may or may not be what I want, but it will be enough. I am lucky. 

 

that said, with people in the middle east currently being martyred for their faith, and churches being demolished, we should all be glad we can even have this conversation. 

 

Yes, I'm feeling that way about being Anglican, too.  

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You know, its really hard to find a church.  We moved for my husband's work a few months ago, and have visited only one church in almost 4 months.

 

Its a big area here but I'd like to find something local.  I don't want to miss what the Lord has for me, but as I research church websites, so many are either super conservative--dresses only types, or others have women pastors, or they are just vaguely shallow, or they will not accept my believers baptism which was in a church that doesn't immerse, or they love Mark Driscoll, and its just easier to stay at home and connect as a family.  And we've grown so close in the last couple of months, its unbelievable. 

 

The church we visited was very nice, but the music was so terrible, I cannot imagine going there.  Is that shallow and judgey?  

 

I'd just like a medium sized church within 15 miles of my house where my kids can make friends that are their ages, has that mix of Reformed/Evangelical/3rd wave teaching we love, is not legalistic in dress or music or having a beer once in a while, doesn't make us wear "church clothes" on Sunday, and has great sounding, deeply theological music that draws me into worship.   I'd love to find a forever friend for myself, but not holding out hope, since I am a committed homebody.) 

 

I found a church this week that sounded great, but they make a point on the website that they do covenant membership, which is a big ole red flag in my book.  (We were part of Sovereign Grace for 10 years, and we are very aware of spiritual and child abuse issues.)  I don't want to be love-bombed and signed up for every activity either.   Neither do I want to go door to door soul-winning, I just find it awkward and very fake.

 

I just hate the church visiting gig.  So much. 

 

Can you expand on the bolded? The church we've been attending for over five years now has what I think they call covenant membership, but they aren't pushy about it. I think it comes up maybe once a year in a sermon. (We've never signed anything and quite likely won't, but we're still welcome to attend, serve, etc. I guess they wouldn't let us lead but I'm okay with that.) Is the red flag because dissension is treated as rebellion or is it something else? Feel free to PM if you don't want to get into it publicly. Thanks.

 

 

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For those interested, there's a good article about introverts and church

 

I remember when I was young I would get headaches and feel the need for a long nap after Sunday mornings at the Baptist church my family went to. Get up early, stress over wearing different clothes than normal, go to Sunday school, be social, give the right answers, go to the worship service, sing, sing more, express emotions!, sit for the sermon and feel everyone's eyes on you, then the horrible hell that is altar call, feel more!, then the service is over and smile and smile, noone smiles back, just go to the bathroom, wait, we're supposed to fellowship, go back out, no good, is the van unlocked? go sit in the car, close eyes, feel guilty. 3+ hours of this is not enough, go back again for an encore that evening. Get another lecture about the importance of fellowship, midweek service, groups, potlucks, volunteer, committees.

 

I remember there was a single guy who attended that church. He would come only for the main service, sit in the same pew, then leave when the service was done without a word to anyone other than the pastor at the door. Everyone found him odd, some even complained how he never "got involved." Now I wonder if he was just really introverted. He must have been aware of the negativity he got, but he never changed his routine. He must have had really thick skin.

 

I too have found solace in a liturgical church, where the emphasis is on receiving the sacraments, not feelings or "fellowship." There's coffee time for people who want it, but no one cares too much if people leave right after the service is done if they want, or just because they need to rush somewhere. It's so refreshing to just duck in, bask quietly, and when it's over just smile nicely at the people around you and leave. Liturgical churches are often castigated for being "cold." They're not cold, just filled with more than their fair share of introverts!

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Wow, the experience you describe growing up would have worn me out too! I could not handle that! And yes, maybe there are just more of us introverts in liturgical churches! If I want to "get involved" I can. I can join a bible study, women's group, work in the food pantry, teach faith formation, volunteer in the prison ministry, do home visits, be a lector or Eucharistic Minister, make rosaries, join the mom's group, etc etc etc. Or I can show up, say my private prayers while waiting for the service to start, and then enjoy the familiar rhythms of the service before making my way out to go spend time with my family. 

 

For those interested, there's a good article about introverts and church

 

I remember when I was young I would get headaches and feel the need for a long nap after Sunday mornings at the Baptist church my family went to. Get up early, stress over wearing different clothes than normal, go to Sunday school, be social, give the right answers, go to the worship service, sing, sing more, express emotions!, sit for the sermon and feel everyone's eyes on you, then the horrible hell that is altar call, feel more!, then the service is over and smile and smile, noone smiles back, just go to the bathroom, wait, we're supposed to fellowship, go back out, no good, is the van unlocked? go sit in the car, close eyes, feel guilty. 3+ hours of this is not enough, go back again for an encore that evening. Get another lecture about the importance of fellowship, midweek service, groups, potlucks, volunteer, committees.

 

I remember there was a single guy who attended that church. He would come only for the main service, sit in the same pew, then leave when the service was done without a word to anyone other than the pastor at the door. Everyone found him odd, some even complained how he never "got involved." Now I wonder if he was just really introverted. He must have been aware of the negativity he got, but he never changed his routine. He must have had really thick skin.

 

I too have found solace in a liturgical church, where the emphasis is on receiving the sacraments, not feelings or "fellowship." There's coffee time for people who want it, but no one cares too much if people leave right after the service is done if they want, or just because they need to rush somewhere. It's so refreshing to just duck in, bask quietly, and when it's over just smile nicely at the people around you and leave. Liturgical churches are often castigated for being "cold." They're not cold, just filled with more than their fair share of introverts!

 

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Gently saying here...that this amazing experience is not everyone's experience.  It's great that you DO have a sense of belonging and all those things that come from being a community.  But not all churches are successful at that for countless reasons.  

 

For example, at our church, we happen to know several people from OTHER, past churches we attended together.  After going to this current church for over a year, we haven't met anyone beyond those we already knew on a Sunday morning.  It's basically file in, have a pretty great church service, and then mill around awkwardly to see if there was anyone to talk to.  Honestly,  unless we'd grabbed a complete stranger and said, "HEY, let's be friends!" it was not going to happen.  You had to either take a chance on one of the Bible studies--not as a family, but individually--because you certainly weren't going to be personally invited or basically MAKE people notice you in some way.  We no longer do a greet-your-neighbor type thing during the service for some reason, either.  This is a GREAT church.  But it's huge and, as is human nature, grouped off into people who already know one another (parents of kids at the same school, for example) and if you don't know the "way in", you are out in the cold.  It's a side effect of being so large, being in the neighborhood it is, etc. even though the teaching is the best of any church we've been to!

 

I realize this probably sounds like a bunch of excuses, but it's possible for people to not have that sense of community and for it to not really be anyone's "fault", it just isn't there for them.  We are trying to find another church, but it's been almost 6 months now and there are only so many choices!  I'm back at this church for a study on The Pursuit of God and it's just OK.

 

I had major drama at my old church and wanted to leave, but I didn't. I stuck it out. There were weeks I hated everyone in there. There were weeks I didn't want to look at my pastor, but I listened to his message. I also went out of my way to befriend people that weren't my regular friends. I joined a new bible study. I met some of my best friends this way, but for weeks I just went and listened and left. 

 

I moved and now go to a huge church exactly as you describe above.I know no one. I joined a Bible study and will continue to do so until I find people I have somethings in common with. Even if I don't find best friends- getting to know these people and letting them get to know you will bring a sense of community. Somewhere at some church you can find that. It takes prayer and work, but it can be done. Just sitting and worshipping and praying as a whole, knowing no one, is the "togetherness" I am talking about. Believers in one building- praying and worshipping and learning. 

 

I am not saying everyone has to be your friend or you have warm fuzzies every time you go or theres a perfect amazing church for everyone. Sometimes it may just be- church. 

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Yeah, a lot of people simply don't need that togetherness feeling, and in fact find it rather exhausting. It's not about needing church to be tailor made to one's exact specifications, but feeling so often, especially as an introvert, that church (and sometimes life) is tailor made to someone else's exact specifications and we're just expected to get over it and fit in.

 

 

Ah, but the corporate worship of the Church isn't for us, primarily. It is for God. It is about His worthiness, His holiness, his glory, his mercy etc. We are enriched and changed by truly worshiping, for sure, though. The service is a conversation between God and His people and so much more. The means of grace, the preaching of the Word from one called to and trained for that and the administration of the sacraments, are not available at home. I love to listen to sermons in podcasts or on the radio, but that is not the same as worshiping with my church family. It is about relationship, with God and his people. It is part of keeping the sabbath and honoring God's name and celebrating the abundance of grace.

 

Being a part of a local church is not about finding what suits us, but about serving God and growing in community. 

The Church needs each of us, whether we feel as though we need it or not. Each believer is a part of God's redeemed and the family lacks something if we are not participating. 1 Corinthians 12 - we are a body and no part is unnecessary. The Scripture consistently assumes God's people worshiping and serving together.

 

I understand that many people have a hard time finding one where they feel at home and that some people live in smaller communities with few choices.  

 

Family, para-church organizations, missions organizations, and Bible study groups are also Christian community, but they are not the Church. 

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I am another introvert who has a hard time with church. It's even harder now that the kids are bigger and I spend a lot of time teaching them and taking them to activities.

 

I dread Sunday's. And I attend an absolutely fabulous church. I've been teaching little ones for six years, and that is coming to an end after this school year, because I just cannot do it anymore. :/

 

If it wasn't for the kids and DH, I would be attending a more liturgical church. However, I do love the more modern music at our church, and I enjoy the pastor's teaching even though I don't agree with the teachings 100%.

 

All this to say, even though church is difficult as an introvert, I do believe we are supposed to meet with fellow believers in some form. Also, I feel pretty strongly that my kids need their peer groups at church. I don't think every family will be the same in that regard.

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Ah, but the corporate worship of the Church isn't for us, primarily. It is for God. It is about His worthiness, His holiness, his glory, his mercy etc. We are enriched and changed by truly worshiping, for sure, though. The service is a conversation between God and His people and so much more. The means of grace, the preaching of the Word from one called to and trained for that and the administration of the sacraments, are not available at home. I love to listen to sermons in podcasts or on the radio, but that is not the same as worshiping with my church family. It is about relationship, with God and his people. It is part of keeping the sabbath and honoring God's name and celebrating the abundance of grace.

 

Unfortunately, they're not available in many churches, either. The church we left offered the Lord's Supper once a quarter, at best. And while they liked to talk about their reverence for the Bible, cherry-picking a handful of verses to distill them into a list of biblical "principles" to fuel a self-help sermon is not preaching the Word.

 

Honestly, I think if these were more of a emphasis, as they should be, introverts would feel more comfortable in the church. Several people here have noted that introverts seems to fare better in more liturgical churches. Instead, we often are overwhelmed with pressure to join, join, join -- serve in multiple different ministries, contribute to small groups and Bible studies, take up positions on committees. If you resist the pressure, the guilt trips start -- don't you know that you're supposed to be an integral part of the COMMUNITY? Every time the church doors open for any kind of program, you should be there. With a smile on your face.

 

If these types of churches are all that's available to you (as in our case -- the few liturgical churches in our area fall on the opposite end of the theological/social spectrum from us), and you dare to disengage from church altogether, well, heaven forbid.

 

Sorry if I sound bitter. My experience is showing. The problem here is not a failure to cater to introverts. It's a fundamental change in the ecclesiastical model of many (primarily evangelical) churches, so that now everything is driven by programs and experiences, and not by reverence, worship, or the means of grace.

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Well said, PeachyDoodle. Very well said.

Fwiw, my family and I are currently enjoying the blessings of a small church that preaches the Bible. Period.

Unfortunately this was due in part to a relocation to a different state. Prior to that move we had a heck of a time finding a church for all of the reasons listed in previous posts.

I, too, used to be that person who could not even fathom being a Chrisitan and not attending church. However, experience has led me to soften my tone quite a bit. Sigh. It just seems as if there is an epidemic of churches straying from the Word. It's frustrating and heartbreaking.

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If these types of churches are all that's available to you (as in our case -- the few liturgical churches in our area fall on the opposite end of the theological/social spectrum from us), and you dare to disengage from church altogether, well, heaven forbid.

 

Sorry if I sound bitter. My experience is showing. The problem here is not a failure to cater to introverts. It's a fundamental change in the ecclesiastical model of many (primarily evangelical) churches, so that now everything is driven by programs and experiences, and not by reverence, worship, or the means of grace.

 

Honest question, and my feelings won't be hurt based on the answer, but would just attending (without joining) a liturgical church be a halfway better than nothing approach for people in this situation? I mean, the theological differences are generally things that are taught in religious ed, not in the actual service. So the service itself would be readings from the Old Testament, a Psalm (probably sung), one of the Epistles, and the Gospel, and then a homily based on one of the readings or drawing upon common themes of all three. Yes, there would be a communion service you may not be able to recieve and you may not agree with say, transubstantiation, but at the same time they aren't calling it that in the service, so your kids wouldn't be hearing wrong things I don't think? I mean, the priest would say "This is my body" but he'd be quoting the Bible, not extrapolating on the nuances of transubstantiation. Just a thought. You could always watch a service online or read through one online to see if that might work. There are always plenty of people that don't receive communion and I've always assumed a number of those are not Catholic but who attend anyway for whatever reason. Just a thought. 

 

Just realized that doesn't solve your problem of not being able to receive the sacrament, but you can't if you stay home either. So maybe it's better than that?

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I think some denominations, and some congregations, are more extroverted in general, and others more introverted.

 

I'm an orthodox Anglican - typically we are an introverted lot. 

 

Baptists, on the other hand, seem to be more extroverted.

 

If you are finding the churches you are trying are strongly extroverted, maybe it would be worthwhile to try something that looks really different.

 

That being said - church takes some effort for us introverts.  But it can I think be especially worthwhile, as it provides a community you see regularly in a neutral setting, which is what most introverts need to get around to having a friendship.

What exactly is an Orthodox Anglican? How does it compare to the Anglican Church in North America? The Episcopal Church? I tried to look up comparisons but could not find any.

 

Sorry to sidetrack the thread. I've never attended church (other than required Mass in Catholic school) and have never felt it necessary to be a Christian. Editing to add that I meant never felt it necessary in order to be a Christian. I reread and realized that might have come across the wrong way.

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Honest question, and my feelings won't be hurt based on the answer, but would just attending (without joining) a liturgical church be a halfway better than nothing approach for people in this situation? I mean, the theological differences are generally things that are taught in religious ed, not in the actual service. So the service itself would be readings from the Old Testament, a Psalm (probably sung), one of the Epistles, and the Gospel, and then a homily based on one of the readings or drawing upon common themes of all three. Yes, there would be a communion service you may not be able to recieve and you may not agree with say, transubstantiation, but at the same time they aren't calling it that in the service, so your kids wouldn't be hearing wrong things I don't think? I mean, the priest would say "This is my body" but he'd be quoting the Bible, not extrapolating on the nuances of transubstantiation. Just a thought. You could always watch a service online or read through one online to see if that might work. There are always plenty of people that don't receive communion and I've always assumed a number of those are not Catholic but who attend anyway for whatever reason. Just a thought. 

 

Just realized that doesn't solve your problem of not being able to receive the sacrament, but you can't if you stay home either. So maybe it's better than that?

 

In some cases, that might be feasible. I'm not sure. I know that the sermons in the liturgical church (not Catholic) I worked for were highly politicized, and I wouldn't have felt comfortable taking my children to those services as their primary religious affiliation.

 

The church we attend now is actually Confessional Lutheran, so we too hear the words "this is my body" each week (although we understand it a bit differently than the RCC). So that in itself wouldn't bother me. I tend to subscribe to the motto lex orendi, lex credendi (the law of praying is the law of believing), though, so I would have to be entirely comfortable with everything contained in the liturgy before I, personally, could do it.

 

Totally generalizing here, but I think most people coming from evangelical backgrounds don't view the sacraments in the same light as those from liturgical backgrounds (I know I didn't). So I doubt many of the introverts feeling pushed out of the program-driven churches are looking for sacraments so much as they are looking to escape the pressure they're under to ENGAGE. I guess I'm a little peeved that the evangelical church has changed the rules of the game for church members to an ecclesiastical model never before used in church history and now shames those who don't or can't participate to the level deemed "correct."

 

For our family, the solution has been, as I said somewhere above, an online gathering. It's a bit unusual, but we have an actual service (participatory, not just something we watch online), the Lord's Supper properly administered by an ordained pastor, and Sunday school, complete with discussion time. Our pastor has been more of a pastor to us than the guy at our old church ever was (he and his wife are driving 1500 miles this summer to baptize our children). We feel very blessed to have found this church. But I appreciate your suggestions very much. :)

 

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If nothing else, after reading this I'm incredibly glad to one, have always lived where there were multiple worship options, and two, to be Catholic. At least I know that the service will always be roughly the same wherever I go, the theology will be about the same, nothing too bizarre will be preached from the pulpit, etc. I go to hear God's word proclaimed, to pray in a group, affirm my faith via the creed, ask for forgiveness for my sins, and receive the eucharist. The rest may or may not be what I want, but it will be enough. I am lucky.

 

that said, with people in the middle east currently being martyred for their faith, and churches being demolished, we should all be glad we can even have this conversation.

So true! After being a Protestant all my life, and going through several denominations, I am glad that I can go anywhere in the world and hear basically the same thing at any Catholic Church. I am also thankful that if problems do arise, there is a clearly defined hierarchy to deal with problems. It's not perfect, but it's about as good as we will find in this world.
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What exactly is an Orthodox Anglican? How does it compare to the Anglican Church in North America? The Episcopal Church? I tried to look up comparisons but could not find any.

 

Sorry to sidetrack the thread. I've never attended church (other than required Mass in Catholic school) and have never felt it necessary to be a Christian. Editing to add that I meant never felt it necessary in order to be a Christian. I reread and realized that might have come across the wrong way.

Not Bluegoat, but I have gotten a couple of questions about this through pm.

 

When I use the term orthodox Anglican, I meant little "o". We go to an ACNA church which is based on orthodox Anglican beliefs. There are a few different types of Anglican churches. There actually is an Orthodox Anglican affiliation, but I think they are one of the smaller affiliations and I don't know very much about them.

 

The orthodox Anglicans affiliations have had outgrowth because of significant theological disagreements with the Episcopal Church in the USA. Both are under the Anglican Communion.

 

Hope that helps.

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In some cases, that might be feasible. I'm not sure. I know that the sermons in the liturgical church (not Catholic) I worked for were highly politicized, and I wouldn't have felt comfortable taking my children to those services as their primary religious affiliation.

 

The church we attend now is actually Confessional Lutheran, so we too hear the words "this is my body" each week (although we understand it a bit differently than the RCC). So that in itself wouldn't bother me. I tend to subscribe to the motto lex orendi, lex credendi (the law of praying is the law of believing), though, so I would have to be entirely comfortable with everything contained in the liturgy before I, personally, could do it.

 

Totally generalizing here, but I think most people coming from evangelical backgrounds don't view the sacraments in the same light as those from liturgical backgrounds (I know I didn't). So I doubt many of the introverts feeling pushed out of the program-driven churches are looking for sacraments so much as they are looking to escape the pressure they're under to ENGAGE. I guess I'm a little peeved that the evangelical church has changed the rules of the game for church members to an ecclesiastical model never before used in church history and now shames those who don't or can't participate to the level deemed "correct."

 

For our family, the solution has been, as I said somewhere above, an online gathering. It's a bit unusual, but we have an actual service (participatory, not just something we watch online), the Lord's Supper properly administered by an ordained pastor, and Sunday school, complete with discussion time. Our pastor has been more of a pastor to us than the guy at our old church ever was (he and his wife are driving 1500 miles this summer to baptize our children). We feel very blessed to have found this church. But I appreciate your suggestions very much. :)

 

 

I think you are right that evangelicals don't usually have the same attitude to the sacraments.

 

I think a question this raises though, is whether that to some extent is part of the reason for the change to the program-driven sort of service?  It isn't the case 1--% of the time, but you tend to see the churches that really pay attention to liturgy are the ones that have a sacramental view, or something closer to it.  As well, I suspect that the idea that the purpose of the church community is mainly some kind of Bible study creates a different dynamic.  Evangelicals very commonly see themselves as Bible centered, whereas the traditional liturgical/sacramental churches would say they are Christ-centered.  Does that tend to create a different kind of worship?

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What exactly is an Orthodox Anglican? How does it compare to the Anglican Church in North America? The Episcopal Church? I tried to look up comparisons but could not find any.

 

Sorry to sidetrack the thread. I've never attended church (other than required Mass in Catholic school) and have never felt it necessary to be a Christian. Editing to add that I meant never felt it necessary in order to be a Christian. I reread and realized that might have come across the wrong way.

 

More or less what professor mom said.  An Anglican who discribes herself as orthodox probably means adhereing to a more historic kind of Anglicanism, theologically and in many cases liturgically.  There can be differences within that - Anglicans have always tended to be divided into more protestant and catholic expressions united by liturgical expression, and in modern times some people who consider themselves that way have been influenced by Roman or evangelical groups.

 

Personally, I'm a sort of Oxford Movement Anglican.

 

You can find people of these descriptions among a number of groups, depending on the local situation. 

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Not Bluegoat, but I have gotten a couple of questions about this through pm.

 

When I use the term orthodox Anglican, I meant little "o". We go to an ACNA church which is based on orthodox Anglican beliefs. There are a few different types of Anglican churches. There actually is an Orthodox Anglican affiliation, but I think they are one of the smaller affiliations and I don't know very much about them.

 

The orthodox Anglicans affiliations have had outgrowth because of significant theological disagreements with the Episcopal Church in the USA. Both are under the Anglican Communion.

 

Hope that helps.

 

 

More or less what professor mom said.  An Anglican who discribes herself as orthodox probably means adhereing to a more historic kind of Anglicanism, theologically and in many cases liturgically.  There can be differences within that - Anglicans have always tended to be divided into more protestant and catholic expressions united by liturgical expression, and in modern times some people who consider themselves that way have been influenced by Roman or evangelical groups.

 

Personally, I'm a sort of Oxford Movement Anglican.

 

You can find people of these descriptions among a number of groups, depending on the local situation.

Thank you both for replying. I had simply never heard someone refer to themselves as Orthodox Anglican. (Of course, I don't get out much.) When I looked it up, it appeared that it was separate from the ACNA. I didn't know if it had to do with theological disagreements with the Episcopal church or not. Sadly, even though my family is Episcopalian, I know very little about the Episcopal and Anglican churches.

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Unfortunatly, as an Anglican I don't really feel this way, and I think if I were Catholic I would feel much the same. 

 

You don't feel that the structure of the service, the sacrament, the readings, etc will be the same no matter what parish you go to? Music might be different, and various priests might have their idiosyncracies, but the worship would be pretty much the same, wouldn't it?

 

I mean, I've been to many catholic parishes and some I prefer over others, but even the ones that aren't my particular favorite are offering a valid Mass and are worth showing up. 

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I think you are right that evangelicals don't usually have the same attitude to the sacraments.

 

I think a question this raises though, is whether that to some extent is part of the reason for the change to the program-driven sort of service?  It isn't the case 1--% of the time, but you tend to see the churches that really pay attention to liturgy are the ones that have a sacramental view, or something closer to it.  As well, I suspect that the idea that the purpose of the church community is mainly some kind of Bible study creates a different dynamic.  Evangelicals very commonly see themselves as Bible centered, whereas the traditional liturgical/sacramental churches would say they are Christ-centered.  Does that tend to create a different kind of worship?

 

Yes, I think that's definitely a factor. Maybe THE factor.

 

My view might be skewed because our church was a mainline Protestant denomination (United Methodist) that took a hard turn towards the seeker-sensitive brand of evangelicalism. Which is HIGHLY program-driven. This was one of the many changes that forced us out in the end. While the UMC is not historically as liturgy-driven as, say, the Episcopal or Catholic churches, our church did at one time have a liturgy that included hymns, the Lord's Prayer, the creeds, etc. Sacraments weren't held as highly as in other churches, but they were observed. There weren't dozens of programs that you were expected to attend every week.

 

I'm no expert on evangelicalism, but I don't believe the program mania (which is generally intended to draw the unchurched into church) was historically part of the broader movement. It's a relatively recent development, and as such represents a departure from the historic purpose of the church gathering, which was to build up the saints through Word and Sacrament.

 

At any rate, my original post on this was in response to someone who said that church attendance isn't primarily for us, but for God. I've got other issues with that statement, but her point was that we go for the sacraments, to hear the Word rightly taught, etc. And I'm saying, that's great and all, I DON'T disagree, but in many churches those things aren't really happening. And I completely understand why someone who is introverted at one of these program-driven churches wants desperately to get out of the church rat race.

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This is beautiful.  (So was your other post upthread.)

 

I think music is the biggest complaint I hear from people.  Sorry we don't have the exact music you want.  You like the preaching, the friendly people to talk to during coffee time, the Sunday School teachers, but aren't coming back because the music doesn't suit?   OK then.  Hope you find what you're looking for.

I guess my question here, totally not being snarky, if the biggest complaint is music why would a church not step back, look at it's music and make a change? 

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Thank you both for replying. I had simply never heard someone refer to themselves as Orthodox Anglican. (Of course, I don't get out much.) When I looked it up, it appeared that it was separate from the ACNA. I didn't know if it had to do with theological disagreements with the Episcopal church or not. Sadly, even though my family is Episcopalian, I know very little about the Episcopal and Anglican churches.

It can get confusing. If you ever have questions, feel free to pm:-)

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I guess my question here, totally not being snarky, if the biggest complaint is music why would a church not step back, look at it's music and make a change? 

 

I'm guessing others in the church do like the music. 

 

Or they may not have enough talented voices to make a change?

 

One of the benefits of attending a very large parish is we have a variety of music options. I prefer the small ensemble, and the small band, but there is also an adult choir and children's choir and teen choir. And sometimes just a soloist. They actually put in the bulletin which music will be at which service for the next week so you can plan if you care that much. I usually just go to the same service and deal with what I get :)

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You don't feel that the structure of the service, the sacrament, the readings, etc will be the same no matter what parish you go to? Music might be different, and various priests might have their idiosyncracies, but the worship would be pretty much the same, wouldn't it?

 

I mean, I've been to many catholic parishes and some I prefer over others, but even the ones that aren't my particular favorite are offering a valid Mass and are worth showing up. 

 

Well, yes and no.

 

I mean, I know what I am getting text-wise when I go to an English speaking Catholic church, which is similar to many Anglican churches.  Neither however I consider to be great liturgies, nor do I find the modern lectionaries very satisfactory. 

 

There is quite a lot of scope for "interpretations" of the liturgy, or the music, that isn't really liturgically appropriate, and in Anglicanism it goes so far that it isn't unusual to see experimental or modified liturgies.  There are a fair number of the hymns and songs that are popularly that are pretty questionable.

 

My daughter went recently to the Catholic parish around the corner from us - the mass was meant to be a celebration of multi-culturalism and had all kinds of additions where people marched around in traditional dress and such, and the priest played his electric guitar. 

 

It's possible to find better liturgies here and there, but it isn't dependable, especially trying to find a better written liturgy.

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I guess my question here, totally not being snarky, if the biggest complaint is music why would a church not step back, look at it's music and make a change? 

 

Good question.  I wasn't clear - I meant visitors who do not return after one or just a couple of visits.  They are people who say they like everything else, but didn't like the music.

 

We use a typical hymnal (Trinity, fwiw, though I don't know what edition and apparently that matters to some folks) and have a songbook with music not in the hymnal.  We haven't a choir, and our instruments are piano, flute, violin, and cello.  The piano lives at the church; the other instruments are brought by the people who play them.  We don't have any guitar players, alas.  We try to have a variety of different styles in each service - there's almost always a psalm, and a more contemporary hymn, and something more traditional (Abide with Me, Holy Holy Holy as examples).  There is almost always one song I dislike intensely and at least one that I love; the rest may be meh to me. 

 

Because of the instruments we are somewhat limited in what we can do. 

 

Maybe the music isn't important enough to me, but I find it surprising that people will say everything about the service, the people, the available activities (which are minimal as we are not a large church and we have a large student, and thus transient, population) are wonderful, just what they are looking for... but the music "isn't right for them."  

 

We did go to a church for a year that had an organ and played every single song on it at a plodding, funereal pace. That did get to me after a while.  I think all other things being good, though, I would not have left the church over that.  (We were there for an internship assignment and when that ended, it was time to leave.) 

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Yes, I think that's definitely a factor. Maybe THE factor.

 

My view might be skewed because our church was a mainline Protestant denomination (United Methodist) that took a hard turn towards the seeker-sensitive brand of evangelicalism. Which is HIGHLY program-driven. This was one of the many changes that forced us out in the end. While the UMC is not historically as liturgy-driven as, say, the Episcopal or Catholic churches, our church did at one time have a liturgy that included hymns, the Lord's Prayer, the creeds, etc. Sacraments weren't held as highly as in other churches, but they were observed. There weren't dozens of programs that you were expected to attend every week.

 

I'm no expert on evangelicalism, but I don't believe the program mania (which is generally intended to draw the unchurched into church) was historically part of the broader movement. It's a relatively recent development, and as such represents a departure from the historic purpose of the church gathering, which was to build up the saints through Word and Sacrament.

 

At any rate, my original post on this was in response to someone who said that church attendance isn't primarily for us, but for God. I've got other issues with that statement, but her point was that we go for the sacraments, to hear the Word rightly taught, etc. And I'm saying, that's great and all, I DON'T disagree, but in many churches those things aren't really happening. And I completely understand why someone who is introverted at one of these program-driven churches wants desperately to get out of the church rat race.

 

I think that I'm what people would consider an 'evangelical' in the more traditional sense of the word, so I just wanted to weigh in.

The program mania has definitely become a bit of an obsession with what I'd consider the evangelical church.  That's not to say that I have a problem with programs, per se, but there has been a shift in weight.  It used to be that people ended up at the church in a less program-oriented way, and then programs were created to help disciple people who were just coming in.  But those things were pretty low-pressure, and not as shiny and flashy as they are now.

Now, there's tons of stuff everywhere.  Bring a visitor and get a chance to win a new bike!  Come to the petting zoo on Easter!  These things are the things that make me like, hmm.... not because I think they can't be sincere - I really think they can.  They just need to be well balanced with reality and actual teaching from the Bible.

 

In general, not being liturgical or Catholic or Lutheran or any of those, the main thing that I'm looking for in a church is a place where I feel we can fit.  I don't think much about the sacraments (bread and body, right?  What I'd call communion?) though I think doing it regularly is good.  I think there is a certain order to things when it comes to that.  

When I think about what I don't care for about the church we are in now, it's that I don't know how I feel about the pastor and his Biblical foundation.  I'm not sure I agree with him on the important things - you know, there are the important and the not-so-important.  And I can't say for sure that I've ever been made aware of he and his wife's vision for the church, their plans, what they want to accomplish, etc.  We're a church with 'outreach' in our name but I'm not sure where the 'outreach' actually is.  Some of these things are things that can be addressed, found out about, etc, but they don't make any info very easy to get.  

So the biggest problem I have right now is that I'm not sure I'm confident enough in the pastor's grounding in the Word to definitely throw our chips in here yet.

 

There are other, small things, that on their own aren't enough to bother me, but when put all together and paired with my lack of confidence so far in the pastor, do end up adding to my frustrations.

WARNING:  I'm going to vent for a minute.  These things may sound petty and THEY ARE.  So please, if you respond to these statements, understand that I'm saying them with the knowledge that they aren't deal-breakers on their own, but they are things that are just a small part of a whole problem, and that I would be able to get used to and/or handle in time IF the biggest deal breaker (pastor/above) wasn't there.

Just wanted to get that out of the way. ;)

The people are not friendly.   It's not like they're mean or rude, but they just have what they're comfortable with and they're not really interested in newcomers.  We travel a bit to get there (45 minutes), and many of the people are from that small town there (which is even smaller than ours - they put our town up there as a place they don't know how to get around in.  Reminder that my town has 7,000 people :lol: ) and they've known each other their entire lives and/or they're related.  :lol:  DH and I have done some things to try to get to know people - he's gone to the men's Bible study a couple times, I volunteer in the nursery, we've gone to church functions and picnics - but so far, it's not really getting us anywhere.  I'll be friendly and chat a little with the other women in the nursery, but that's it.  DH will talk to people at the picnics, but in general once the small talk is done, the people turn around and walk away and seem like they've never seen us before.  

I'm not looking for best friends - I have those.  And I'm in a bit of an awkward age/grouping - I think when people look at me, they assume I'm younger, until they see my 12 year old.  People my age have little kids, a lot of the time.  Not that it matters much - but I sometimes wonder if the women in the nursery think there's some sort of barrier there because my kids are older?  But I don't see why it would be a big deal?  

We've been at this church a year!!  

I do know that it could be a distance thing - I can't say that yeah, we'll definitely commit to coming to all of the 'extra' stuff which is what seems to be required to get to know anyone, because I can't commit to driving 45 minutes each way every night of the week.  (Sunday morning is church; Sunday night is junior youth, which would be Link and Astro; Tuesday evening is men's Bible study and youth 13+; Wednesday night is a co-ed Bible study but nothing for kids; Thursday night is a women's thing every other week or so)  It would honestly be much easier if they put things more on one night so that there would be something for all of us, but I do understand the difficulty in that, too - space constraints, etc.  

The pastor is not a fan of higher education.  Well... when pertaining to the Bible, anyway.  But then sometimes he says things that make me go huh? about higher education in general.  He hasn't gone to college or anything for preaching.  But I don't think he's totally against higher education in general because his wife is a nurse, and she certainly had to get education for that.  I'm not a person who thinks that everyone has to go to college or that they even should.  But I definitely don't want someone speaking into my kids' lives that it's nothing but a waste, especially when I have one who, at the moment, has definite college plans in his future.  Yeah, sure, a lot can change in the next 6 years, and I don't put a ton of stock into a pre-teen saying what they want to be when they want to grow up - but I don't discourage it, either.  

 

And there is the music.  

I save that for last because I meant to quote someone else asking about music, too, but I forgot.  

We don't have live music of any kind - no worship leader, no piano, no guitar, nothing.  We 'have worship' by staring at a screen of words and sing along with a CD.  Half the songs are songs on the radio.  

This is very hard for me.

That's not to say that it's inherently bad.  But.  I'm a musician, you know?  I've forever and always been a part of anything I could to do with music - in school, in church, in college, as an adult... and here there is literally.  nothing.  

It's like a desert to me.

I came from a church where there was music in abundance.  There was a worship team, a choir, a musical at Easter and another at Christmas.  Lots and lots of music.  And I was a part of all of those things, in increasing amounts in my more recent years there, until the worship team became too difficult because I couldn't make all the practices (a side effect of being run by a young married couple with no children.  Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with the way they were doing it, it just didn't fit what I could do anymore because I do have other priorities in those areas.  It's something that I've seen happen in several different places and it naturally becomes a little more laid back - or at least the hours of being on-site are scaled back - as the couple gets older, begins a family, etc) and the musical became more of a money maker and less of a ministry, until it fell apart all together.  

And so I'm here.  I'm here in this place where there is no music to be heard.  

To some I'm sure it doesn't matter.  I think that some people would hear this particular complaint and roll their eyes and say that music doesn't really make a difference.  

And I can't say that the music alone would.  But I can say it is definitely something I miss.  I mean, it was my life.  It was what I always assumed my life would be, you know?  So the lack of it now - the void that it has left?  - it's gaping.  It's been brutal.

That's not to say I haven't found new strengths in this time and that I haven't had the opportunity to expand who I am, my abilities, capabilities, etc in other places.  That's not to say that I don't see the growth that has taken place in those other areas in the time that music has been missing.

But.... I really don't want it to stay missing.  You know?  I'd like to have it back, even in some small amount, at some point.  

 

 

 

Ah, so the post about music I was going to reply to was about why churches don't stand back and reevaluate it if people don't like it - I think it's part of the 'can't please everyone' thing.  As long as the majority still likes it, it's nothing that needs to be messed with.  There will always be unhappy people.  

And I agree with the above poster who said that they wouldn't leave if it was only the music that was a problem for them.  I wouldn't, either.  And if I wouldn't, with music being such an important thing to me, then I have to admit that I kind of think that people who would are just looking for a reason to dislike something.  But that's just my take - YMMV.

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I wish some days that we didn't attend. Dh & I feel we are drifting farther from our smaller congregation. I hate all of the work involved in being in a small church, I dislike the service time, I dislike the music. We've not gone to Bible study at all this year & don't miss it. I told dh we either need to be all in, or look elsewhere. I said "do you want to be in the same exact place in 5 years when we are both working full time?" We recently went from him being self employed to getting up at 5am everyday & leaving at 7:20. When we don't have church until 10:30, it makes for a short Sunday.

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I wish some days that we didn't attend. Dh & I feel we are drifting farther from our smaller congregation. I hate all of the work involved in being in a small church, I dislike the service time, I dislike the music. We've not gone to Bible study at all this year & don't miss it. I told dh we either need to be all in, or look elsewhere. I said "do you want to be in the same exact place in 5 years when we are both working full time?" We recently went from him being self employed to getting up at 5am everyday & leaving at 7:20. When we don't have church until 10:30, it makes for a short Sunday.

 

 

The bolded statement jumped out at me, because we're in exactly the same situation; only my DH is the one who said it to me!  :lol:

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Haven't read all the responses.

 

We have been in and out of churches, and didn't attend for quite a few years. We attend now because we finally found an alright fit. 

 

The purpose of church, to me, is supposed to be teaching, worship and fellowship. Now, I don't like the teaching in a lot of churches, so many seem to aim their teaching at the visitors each week, not feeding the flock they have, and the ones that do have good teaching don't accept us. So we do our own teaching and study at home and I think this is sufficient. Worship is a sore point, I grew up Pentecostal, my husband grew up reformed. I've never gotten used to his quiet, demure services and he's never gotten used to my loud, exuberant ones. Our current church is an acceptable middle ground. But I've become very used to worshipping at home whether we attend church or not. I think that's quite acceptable. So that leaves me with the purpose of church being fellowship. Right now, that's true, we have very few Christian friends which is why we began looking for a church again, for that fellowship. In the past we have been surrounded by Christian friends and a church on top of that was not necessary for us.

 

So, I think you need teaching, worship and fellowship. Church is a good way to get those things, however, if you're filling those needs without church, then I do not believe that is sinful and have gone through those periods myself, and would happily do so again. The important thing is that you are meeting those needs in some way. 

 

Alternatively, separating the parts of church can help you to feel happier with your less-than-perfect church as a whole. Our current church has an amazing community for fellowship full of young homeschooling large families who are NOT ultra-conservative. But, the pastor is a terrible speaker, and spent the last two YEARS preaching exodus. We don't learn much there. And the worship is mediocre. In the past I'd consider this church not worth our time and leave, but with the new perspective I have, I am glad for it. We fill our need for teaching and worship at home, the purpose of this church is fellowship, and THAT job it does perfectly, so I am happy here. 

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To clarify what I meant before, I don't think it is wrong to look for a better church...one with better music or whatever. I just don't think staying home versus a church without good music is a good idea...I mean, there isn't a choir at home, either. 

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I do have to say that a completely non-theological sticking point for me is homeschooling; I keep ending up in churches with fairly large public educator population...which seem wary of us a best.  I alternate between feeling justified and ashamed of this concern/preference.

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I think that I'm what people would consider an 'evangelical' in the more traditional sense of the word, so I just wanted to weigh in.

The program mania has definitely become a bit of an obsession with what I'd consider the evangelical church.  That's not to say that I have a problem with programs, per se, but there has been a shift in weight.  It used to be that people ended up at the church in a less program-oriented way, and then programs were created to help disciple people who were just coming in.  But those things were pretty low-pressure, and not as shiny and flashy as they are now.

Now, there's tons of stuff everywhere.  Bring a visitor and get a chance to win a new bike!  Come to the petting zoo on Easter!  These things are the things that make me like, hmm.... not because I think they can't be sincere - I really think they can.  They just need to be well balanced with reality and actual teaching from the Bible.

 

In general, not being liturgical or Catholic or Lutheran or any of those, the main thing that I'm looking for in a church is a place where I feel we can fit.  I don't think much about the sacraments (bread and body, right?  What I'd call communion?) though I think doing it regularly is good.  I think there is a certain order to things when it comes to that.  

When I think about what I don't care for about the church we are in now, it's that I don't know how I feel about the pastor and his Biblical foundation.  I'm not sure I agree with him on the important things - you know, there are the important and the not-so-important.  And I can't say for sure that I've ever been made aware of he and his wife's vision for the church, their plans, what they want to accomplish, etc.  We're a church with 'outreach' in our name but I'm not sure where the 'outreach' actually is.  Some of these things are things that can be addressed, found out about, etc, but they don't make any info very easy to get.  

So the biggest problem I have right now is that I'm not sure I'm confident enough in the pastor's grounding in the Word to definitely throw our chips in here yet.

 

.....

 

And there is the music.  

I save that for last because I meant to quote someone else asking about music, too, but I forgot.  

We don't have live music of any kind - no worship leader, no piano, no guitar, nothing.  We 'have worship' by staring at a screen of words and sing along with a CD.  Half the songs are songs on the radio.  

This is very hard for me.

That's not to say that it's inherently bad.  But.  I'm a musician, you know?  I've forever and always been a part of anything I could to do with music - in school, in church, in college, as an adult... and here there is literally.  nothing.  

It's like a desert to me.

 

..... 

 

 

Ah, so the post about music I was going to reply to was about why churches don't stand back and reevaluate it if people don't like it - I think it's part of the 'can't please everyone' thing.  As long as the majority still likes it, it's nothing that needs to be messed with.  There will always be unhappy people.  

And I agree with the above poster who said that they wouldn't leave if it was only the music that was a problem for them.  I wouldn't, either.  And if I wouldn't, with music being such an important thing to me, then I have to admit that I kind of think that people who would are just looking for a reason to dislike something.  But that's just my take - YMMV.

 

First, I want to say that  I think music is very important and I think it can be a deal breaker, even when everything else is OK.  For some of us music is a very important part of worship.  Bad music now and then, no biggie, bad music ALL the time i.e. like the singing with the radio thing? Yeah I'd have a hard time being all in there, too!

 

But what I really wanted to say was, sometimes you don't know what fits until you try it on.  I was evangelical my whole life, I had never been to a liturgical service before we moved 6 1/2 years ago.  We ended up attending an Anglican church and fell in love.  :001_wub: We've since moved to another country, but we still attend an Anglican church, and I'm still in love.

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I have a hard time with music. It isn't though a matter of musical taste, it's a matter of meaning. Songs that have really far-out theology, or a worship service that is more like a rock concert, these are matters about what we think church is.

 

It is easy to make it about taste, and I agree that is dangerous. I've attended churches where there was essentially no music because there was no one in the small rural parish who could play or sing strongly. But I've left parishes where the musical choices seemed to indicate deeper issues.

 

There's a worship style that I personally love, because it helps me most easily settle into a worshipful, nondistracted state of mind. But I wouldn't let a different style of worship send me away from an otherwise sound church.

 

HOWEVER, loud rock worship music, because of the volume and musical style, takes me back to days of my misspent young adulthood. I do not need nor want to feel the bass beat coming up through my seat in the pew! I find that truly distracting.

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