Mom to the Left

I'm a mom who tends to live just to the "left" of most of the people around me here in Indiana.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Visit to a UCC church

Yesterday morning I was not particularly moved by the scheduled topic of the day at my UU church, but I was really wanting to go to church. I've been meaning to check out some other UCC churches in the area. (I'd attended one nearby last Easter and found it too conservative for my tastes.) Anyway, I was impressed with one congregational church in particular and decided to check it out. It was about a 45 minute drive, but the weather was nice and I was in the mood so I didn't mind much. Actually, according to mapquest it was only about 5 minutes further away than my UU church so I could handle that.

First of all, it was beautiful. It's a huge old colonial type church with a big white steeple on top and columns across the front. It is set back from the road on a slight hill and surrounded by lots of green grass and trees. The parking lot is totally hidden from the view of the front of the church as is the enclosed children's playground. As I walked into the church I could just imagine New England Puritans stepping out to greet me. It was kind of surreal because it is not your typical midwest church. The sanctuary was all white with huge arched clear glass windows and rows of wooden pews. Very traditional.

However, I found out that this week (and actually all of August) the services are being held down in the "Mayflower Room" (gotta love that). It was a multipurpose room that I imagine is mostly used for social events like suppers and wedding receptions. The service was more informal than what they usually have (from what I understand) but considering I'm used to UU services, I wasn't bothered in the least. Everyone was very welcoming and introduced themselves to me immediately. I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of the church members and got a pretty good feel for it. I had a good discussion with the woman who is the leader of the lay staff and we spoke of the UCC, the stillspeaking campaign, etc. I told her I consider myself a UU Christian but often find there isn't enough God in my UU services. But the flip side of that is that I often find that I am too liberal for regular Christian churches (even the one UCC church I attended at Easter). She assured me that I probably wasn't liberal enough for some people at this church. (YIPPEE!) They are a little smaller than my UU church (only about 200 members) and they didn't seem to have a lot of young people and young families there. But it could be due to the fact that it is summer. I plan to come back in the fall and see what it is like then.

I especially liked the service. They started off the morning with a talk about water representing life and they quoted biblical scripture dealing with water. Then they had a baptism of a 22 month old girl who'd recently been adopted from China. I was really impressed with how they handled the baptism - what it represented. The language the minister used was something I especially liked. There was a focus on God (as opposed to Jesus which is what I often find). And although they mentioned God, Christ Jesus (a subtlety I like), and the Holy Spirit, it didn't feel overly trinitarian. The focus was on the fact that this girl belonged to God and nothing she ever did or said would change that. Very cool. I had tears in my eyes.

Later in the sermon he spoke more about how God never leaves us no matter where our lives lead us or what we may believe or do. He invited the entire congregation to come forward if they wanted and dip their hand into the baptismal font to reaffirm their own baptism. Since I haven't been baptised, I didn't go forward, but I would do something like that at a different time. I just really liked the way it was done. It didn't make me feel uncomfortable at all.

I do feel a little like someone having an affair on the side, though. I'd think of my UU church and the people there and I felt a tinge of guilt for being somewhere else. But this UCC service had, for me, just the right amount of God and Jesus in it to make me happy. Can I straddle the fence? Will I be able to attend both churches? I'm seriously considering giving it a try.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Back to School Frenzy

It's that time of year again - a return to bedtimes, new clothes and shoes, and stocking up on paper, pencils and crayons at Walmart. As much as I hate to see our "down" time come to a close, I am happy to return to a routine and some sense of normalcy.

The boys are back at school now. J is in 8th grade this year and E is in 3rd. Sometimes we'll be busy doing something and I'll just stop and look at them and it is like I am hit on the head with how big they are getting. J is almost as tall as me now and will be driving in a little over two years. His voice is starting to change and he works out all the time so he is muscular. And he grew 3 inches over the summer so he is now average height for an 8th grader. And the girls are noticing, he says. Heaven help me.

I called the babysitter and confirmed that she's still available to watch D this year when I'm called to sub. He is really looking forward to going back and seeing his friends. Yesterday when we were out running errands I bought him a new pair of shoes (Buzz Lightyear with lights that light up - VERY cool among the 3yo set) and a little backpack shaped like a turtle. It is so cute. He's planning on taking it with him to the babysitter's house.

I have officially filed for my renewal teaching license. It will probably take a few weeks, but I hope it gets here before any maternity leaves open up this year. A little birdy told me that there are some pregnant teachers out there this year so I'll be hovering in the background waiting for the principals to call my number. And until then, I'm looking forward to subbing again.

Today was opening day for both youth soccer and youth football. This is J's last year to play soccer since he'll be in high school next year. He did well. He's a bit of a showboat complete with dance moves and acrobatic feats whenever his team does well. His team won and he scored one of his team's 3 goals. I wish he could play in high school. I know he's good enough to make the team. But soccer conflicts with marching band which is a higher priority in his book. And mine too to be honest. But still...

E is playing football this year for the first (and probably last) time. He is about the smallest on his team and his arms and legs just look like toothpicks. He's so small. But he's bound and determined to keep up with the other kids. He did well today. It's so hard to watch him because he is not a natural athlete when it comes to football. Tae Kwon Do and even wrestling are more his speed. But he wants the challenge that football poses to him and I respect that. I just pray he doesn't get hurt physically or emotionally.

So life is busy. But I am truly blessed. I thank God that I have so many things to keep me running around. And I only have one request...

Dear God, please give us a break on the heat and humidity and I promise I'll get my van's AC fixed by next summer. ;-)

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