I don’t usually write about church here, but I’ve gotten so many kind emails and messages after this post I thought it was appropriate to post the follow-up here. Regular programming resumes tomorrow when we’ll be talking about Other People’s Bookshelves.
For about a year now, my family has known it was time to look for a church. (And I do mean family: not one of us felt like our current church was a good fit any longer.)
This summer, we didn’t attend church much. It was just too hard. And the prospect of looking for a new church was overwhelming.
In early September, my husband and I sat down over coffee–on a Saturday morning date, no less–and made a list of what we hoped to find in a church. Location and doctrine were obvious points. Size was important to my easily-overwhelmed kids. And in this homeschooling season, we wanted to find a church with kids my kids’ age.
My husband specified he wanted to find “something that doesn’t make everybody crazy.”
I wanted to find a church with women in leadership.
My husband and I feel like the most conservative people in a liberal crowd, and the most liberal people in a conservative one. We knew that we were never going to find a perfect church, and the easiest item to drop–because of the unique demographics of our seminary town–would be the women.
There were several churches that suited us in every way but one: you’d never find a woman serving communion in them, or taking up offering, and certainly not standing in the pulpit.
I spent my twenties in churches like these, and I missed the women. But we didn’t see any other options.
I read Sarah Bessey’s book Jesus Feminist this summer, and one line kept springing to mind whenever we were talking church: maybe we can’t do much, she wrote, but we can choose to attend churches that affirm women in all vocations and places and seasons of life. (Paraphrased, because I am completely unable to find this line upon re-reading!)
Visiting churches with four kids in tow is brutal, but we decided to drag everyone to a church we’d only ever heard described as “liberal,” and not in a good way. But since we were hoping to find a church we could commit to for the long haul, we thought we should at least check it out.
And I say this tentatively, but we think we might have found our new church home. Unbelievably, it fits every line on our short list. My kids are comfortable there, and look forward to going. (Miracle.) There are tons of families and singles and older adults. The men and women serve together, in leadership and laity.
And the overarching message we’ve heard in the short time we’ve been there is love.
It’s too early to tell if this will be home for the long haul, but I’m grateful to have found it. And hopeful for our future.
Today is launch day for Sarah’s book Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women. You can get your copy on Amazon here or (almost) wherever books are sold. Check out more posts in the synchroblog here.