Puking on Christmas

There was this one Christmas.

My oldest son standing at the top of the stairs throwing up. His younger brother could sleep Christmas morning away, reasoning that he had all day, and all school vacation to tear open and play with Santa’s loot, but not him. My oldest rarely fell asleep on that hallowed eve. He pestered his little brother until the youngest one conceded, and CAME DOWNSTAIRS BECAUSE SANTA HAS COME. My oldest couldn’t bear to close his eyes in anticipation of what the upcoming day would bring–Santa, family, celebration, church, joy–a day when the ordinary becomes extraordinary. He couldn’t bear for the day to have a flaw in it, and there he was, doubled over puking, unable to walk down the stairs. 

I could not fix it. I always thought I was supposed too. But, in less than 24 hours I’d have my head over a toilet while he played with his Christmas toys, sipping ginger ale. The day is sometimes just too much. It can be filled with so much anticipation that it rarely meets the expectation.

My oldest son now celebrates Christmas with his two year old, and wife. The two year old, my little Miss Priss, is more like her mother than her father, she takes the hits of life with a little thicker skin.

Miss Priss Decorating Her Tree

Miss Priss Decorating Her Tree

This year, on our way home from Christmas morning church service, I told the oldest, “I’m glad we go to church.” He didn’t respond because me being glad about being in church is not news to him. “Otherwise the day would be anti-climatic,” I said.  “After all the anticipation, and then the Christmas morning madness, if there was no church service to remind us that Jesus has come, well, it’s a let-down. But church does reminds us, and so its okay if the day isn’t perfect.”

My oldest thought about that for a second, reminding me of his father as he shifted gears, and made a right turn. He even bites his lip like his father does. He responded, “Agreed.”

I thought, I fixed it. I fixed that Christmas morning when he was puking, I fixed it for all of us. Or perhaps I should say, Jesus did.

Rainbows, Boring Days, and Women’s Roles in Church

I am feeling particularly healthy after last night’s sad tale of a meal. Today I ate a pint of blueberries and a bag of low-sodium almonds. And, I had a Starbucks tea with only a little sugar, and a little lemonade. I feel a Blizzard coming on after such a healthy day.

It was a rather uneventful day. I went to church. It was boring. But, I’ve already noted my thoughts on church, so I won’t get too far into that now. We’ll just leave it with boring. And no women served in any position AT ALL.  I was going to leave that comment out of this post, but well, here I go. So, what’s up with that? I mean what century are we in? Listen, I’m not all about women being pastors, mainly because I never felt called to be one. So, in typical Cinthia fashion, if it doesn’t affect me then I just can’t get interested.

But, come on. I mean a church full of suits running the show? There were no women greeters, no women taking up the offering, no women handing out the programs, nothing. I have to admit I got out my Windows phone out, and checked my hair dresser’s facebook status to see if she is headed back to work anytime soon. She just had a baby, and I am dying over here. Turns out she was in church having her little one baptized. I am thinking my hair was not on her mind.

Then I ran through my Twitter feed to see if anything interesting was going there. There wasn’t. Then, I decided that I was sitting in church, I should listen. But, I got distracted by the lady in front of me whose hair really looked good, and I considered texting Anna about my hair. Scoff if you like, but Anna would have understood and likely responded back if she had not been dealing with a toddler and an infant in church. And, probably tons of family who came for the baptism. See why she’s my hairstylist? She gets it.

And, if you’ve made it this far into this post, then congratulations, because really, how random can you get? This is why I love blogging. Nobody would publish this mind-numbing diatribe, but here it is posted on the internet for all the world to read.

So, onto the whole women in the pulpit thing. I realize that Scripture does not sway too much in the direction of women preachers, and I am a Scripture girl, but I also know that several people I respect (Anne Graham Lotz) and my friend, Karen, who is now a pastor, have studied the Scriptures and determined that Scripture supports women in that role. So, I’m going with them on this one. And, I like seeing women in leadership roles at church. It makes me happy. All those men in gray, drab suits put me to sleep. They look like they belong in the mafia.

I felt like I was ten years old again watching the men in my home church pass along the offering plates, open the doors at the end of the service, shake hands all around and generally run things. I didn’t like it at age 10, and I don’t like it now. It isn’t because I have an issue with men. I don’t. I just prefer to see church all mixed up. Women, children, men, people of all persuasions and race. Church should be a big rainbow of people, not men in gray suits. At least, that is my version of happy church.  I like it when we’re all worshiping together equally. This place felt like a man’s club that allowed the women in for this one day out of the week and we best behave while there. I found myself whispering to the other women.

I really do believe that every denomination has it a bit right, and every denomination has it a bit wrong. The church I attended today, I believe, has it a bit wrong on the issue of women in church roles. They did, however, nail the music.

And, in the spirit of oneness–no names regarding which church it is.

Why I Don’t Like Church But Go Anyway

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

I’m a Christian girl but I am taking a hiatus from church membership presently. When one is looking for a home the search invades all aspects of life including church. Or at least, it serves as a pretty good excuse for not going, and just hip-hopping from one church to the other, or doing the on-line internet thing, keeping one ear tuned to the sermon if it proves to be a good one. Like listening to the Christian radio station while driving. Not too terribly involved, but if something pops up, you listen.

Although, if I am honest, I was never much of a church girl. I am always a Jesus girl and I am not shy about it. I adore him. But church? Or Jesus’ Bride, as Scripture calls it? Well, I just never got into the groove of it. I find it boring. For several reasons.

1. I could never get anyone to simply ANSWER my questions. I now know that they likely didn’t know the answer, and that truly some of my questions were a bit on the bizarre side. (Did Jesus have any of Mary’s DNA? How did that work?)

2. I always found the songs a bit dull, and adding rock bands, worship leaders and disco lighting did not change my mind.

3. The sermons never spoke to anything I was dealing with (and it is all about me, right?).

4. They don’t let you raise your hand during a sermon to get clarification on a point, which literally puts me over the edge because my need to know is insanely obsessive  But, if they let me, they’d have to let everyone, and then we’d never get out of there, which is a common complaint anyway without the Q&A at the end.

5. Prepare to so roll your eyes at this one: I simply can never think of a thing to wear. In my defense, I spend Mon-Sat in Carharts covered in dirt, so it is hard to drag out something suitable and fashionable–something I won’t be tugging at during the service–and feel like I look good. I have spent the whole hour and a half completely self-conscious about my dress. I am the female version of Shallow Hal over here.

6. And, lastly the old favorite: church is full of hypocrites. Oh, don’t groan. It is. And, on my best days I am able to acknowledge that I am the worst of the lot. But, when I am feeling sorry for myself and don’t want to go, I can always throw that one around.

Still, with all that, I have spent most of my life going to church. And, all of my adult family life. I was very glad that my kids loved our family church. The fact that they loved it was enough of a reason for me to go every Sunday, but I also made good friends there, and found a niche teaching Bible Study (one sure fire way to answer those questions, study Scripture!). And, I do believe I will find another church, and get involved and do the church thing again, just not yet.

While figuring out where I want to live, work, spend the rest of my limited days on earth (you get past 50 and suddenly time gets very limited), or even where I have the option to do all that–there are some realities to be considered–I don’t feel the need to figure the whole church thing out just yet. Which is a bit refreshing and a bit of a relief. One thing at a time.

But, here’s my point. I do still go to church, maybe not the same one every Sunday or even the right one (gasp, been going to the very left wing Episcopal church lately), but I do show up in my unfashionable and uncomfortable dress, and I leave happy. I leave very happy because being in God’s house with God’s people whether I like the music, or the sermon, or the people, is refreshment to a world weary soul, and we are all world weary. It is exactly what is needed after a long week of work and another one ahead of me. It is God’s Word incarnate, present in that place despite the tedium and boredom and lack of snappy songs. Being in the presence of God isn’t limited to a church, of course, but it is a sure-fire way to ensure it.

When the people of God ask the Spirit of God to be among them, He is. And, that is invaluable. Boring sermons, lackluster songs and horribly out of style dresses not withstanding.