Sunday, January 25, 2009

thoroughly cheezed

I just have to share this...It's kind of long, so I'm sorry...but I was just flabbergasted today, I'm wondering if anyone has ever had any similiar experiences like the one I am about to share with you.

Since moving to the island, finding our "home church" has been a challenge for both Tyler and me. Both of us grew up in the church and have specific expectations of what we want for our family. He and I come from drastically different religious back grounds, he grew up Mormon and I grew up in a Southern Church of Christ, but overall, we both know what we want. We've tried various churches but so far neither of us have sensed that we have found a church where we felt we belonged. We know that God has a specific church in mind for us...we just can't seem to find it.

I go to a ladies bible study every week and one of the ladies there suggested that Isabella and I visit a new church with her this Sunday, I've really been discouraged and off the hunt lately, so I thought it would be a good way to hop back onto the wagon...The first sign that it wasn't the church for me was the big sign in the parking lot advertising that the church had a bookstore and a cafe inside...since when did going to church on Sunday mornings become a business venture?? I'm trying to keep an open mind so I shrugged it off, I tell myself the times have changed a little...then I noticed everyone was really casual, I'm seeing a lot of blue jeans...I immediately felt overdressed in my sweater set and black skirt...Isabella even more so in her crisply starched sailor dress, lacy socks and matching hair-bow...uhm...apparently we didn't get that memo. I'm starting to feel really out of place, but we go and choose a pew....no sooner had I chosen a nice, empty pew near the back and settled my big diaper bag, (aka The Mothership) when a lady approached me and informed me that children under the age of 12 were not "allowed" to sit in the sanctuary because they are a "disturbance" I would need to "leave my child in the approiate nursery" Uhm...whoa.

My friend saw me bristling so she quickly caught my arm and guided me out of the sanctuary, she encouraged me to check out the state-of-the-art nursery system she heard they have...I was trying to keep my cool and it was taking every possible bit of will power I had not to bolt for the door...I step into the nursery and I am immediately bombarded with three very well-intentioned and sweet women, one asked Isabella's name, one asked her age, one asked me if she had any allergies...all in unison. Then I was handed one of those restaraunt vibrating devices "to alert me if she cried" and was told to write down all of her information on a form-then, go enjoy the message! wait a second...what? by this time my child is clawing her way up my sweater set and is digging the heels of those pretty little Lamour shoes into my thigh like a jockey, she is obviously not having anything whatsoever to do with this hullababloo, there was a lady trying to force a badge with Isabella's "assigned vibrator number" onto her dress, she was prying my child out of my arms. By this time, Crazy-Psycho-Mom side is been rearing her nasty head...and with my daughters small plea of "Help baby! No!" (she calls me baby, not mommy) I'm like, nope sorry. I ask nice lady number one; " Can't I just sit down here with her?! It's our first visit and she's scared." Nice lady number two very emphatically chimed in "Oh, no maam! we don't permit the mothers to stay!" Uhm....exit please?

My kid is hanging onto me like a baby monkey, she's migrating up my body and pretty soon I think I might have to peel her arms off of my eyes, all four of her limbs are wrapped around my body in a clench of terror, I feel the gullet of my throat being compacted by the force of her burrowed head...I make my way back up the stairs to a glassed-in room outside of the sanctuary, theres a nice, cheerful sign on the door that says NURSING MOTHERS ONLY!...(Quick! Bella, hide that sippy cup! this is our only hope!) I go in and mark my territory with The Mothership...three moms are already in there with some very content babies, nursing away. I get a few odd looks walking in with my chattering tot, but I don't care, at this point I know I'm not ever coming back so I just I smile, say "Hi ya'll." and I plop myself right down. Right in front of my seat, at pefect eye-level, in big, capitol, red letters, is a sign that reads: PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILDREN QUIET!!! ....Sigh....

Maybe I am just old fashioned...but I was brought up to sit through church quietly and with my family...I can remeber not being a disturbance at the age of 3 or 4, sitting nicely for my mother with coloring books and crayons, if I misbehaved, she flicked me on the head or gave me "the look" and that would straighten me right out...How am I supposed to raise my daughter to know how to worship and behave in church if she is not "allowed" to sit in there with me? I'm sorry if I have offended anyone...but this was the first time I had ever been told to basically NOT bring my child to church with me until he/she was 12...the audacity of it all just blew me away.

21 comments:

Lovie said...

Yeah, "the look" got us through a lot of church services. MOM

*G* said...

Definitely not where you need to be going.

craptastic_mail said...

so then when they are the magic age of 12, they are allowed to be part of the church community? No way!

Our church welcomes everyone -- children included. The priest has actually talked about how he loves kids to be in church. They learn that way. They experience church AND figure out how to act.

Kelli said...

ugh..that must have been stressful. the best place I've found on Sundays lately is H-O-M-E. :) Too many politics involved with church. But good luck finding something you like! :)

Denise K. said...

So sorry you had this experience! I can only imagine how discouraging that must have been, and so unwelcoming...Hang in there...the Lord will show you the right church home for you...and He knows right where your family belongs! I hope the week gets off to a better start...and by the way, your "Sparkle" below is just absolutely ADORABLE!!!! :-)

The Blonde Duck said...

I can't believe they wanted you to check your kid like a coat! I would have been a lot meaner than you were...

Saying hi from SITS!

Bee and Rose said...

I am so sorry to hear about how awful that was for you:( Definitely not the right church for you! Only churches that welcome families to participate in all parts of the service are my cup of tea:)

(and I would've whacked those ladies over the head with that Olive Garden buzzer...not very Christian like, but I think necessary in this circumstance!)

kristal84 said...

Oh my gracious, that's so horrible! There's no better way to give Christianity a bad name and to scare people away. I visited my boyfriends old church with him a few months ago. He hadn't been back since he left and wanted to give it a go again. I was dreading it, I was so scared and nervous. It was a really bad experience...but nothing like yours. I'll be praying that you find the church the Lord wants you at. One where you and the little one will be welcomed with open arms.

Tamie said...

woweee. I know how hard it is trying to find a church for your family. Don't get too discouraged though. It is a shame they try so hard to run churches like businesses these days. We'll say a prayer for ya...hang in there!

Kimm at Reinvented said...

Oh my, your instincts were right on! I agree, how are kids supposed to learn how to behave in church if they're not allowed in? Welcome to Project Create a Home, I'm looking forward to getting to know you!

Angela said...

Oh girl, you don't know how much your post hits home with us too. We are also looking for a new church home. We had been attending somewhere for over 6 years (and liked it), then decided to help plant a church here in KG, but we never really felt a part of that group, so the search is on. We would go back, but we are looking for something more family oriented and wow, we have had some of the same experiences you described here. It is really hard. I'll be praying for you guys and ask that you do the same for us. It has been very challenging...hang in there! And do what you know is right in your heart and for YOUR family!

Bee and Rose said...

Hi Mary-Catherine!

Just a note to say I posted a "luv-ly" award for you over at my bloggy this morning! Now scoot on over there and get it! (I promise I don't have any weird Olive Garden buzzers over there....)

Hugs!
dawn

greedygrace said...

The restaurant vibrator thingy is what lost it for me. I've never heard of such a thing! And you would think that a church that was so casual would be more family oriented. I've been to churches where young children were not allowed in the sanctuary for the main service, but they were very formal services.

I agree-- this isn't the church for you! Let me know if you find the right one!

LvPoohBr2 said...

Wow. Well, I have to say that I live in California and the scene you just described tends to be quite typical in what we call the "Mega Churches" or otherwise known as "Seeker friendly" churches. My mom's church has the cafe or coffee bar thing going, UGH! As for the casual dress, I'm afraid that is what the norm around here is. I grew up in the Assemblies of God and know what you mean about dressing up for church. I'm afraid that is becoming extinct around here. Our church is full of variety. There are those who dress up and men who wear ties and suits; women in dresses with hats and there are those who in the summer months will wear shorts and flip flops.

Now our church has around 1,000 attendees. We have a wonderful nursery and have a similar check in system. I work in our nursery and always try and make the new families feel comfortable. We used to use the pager system but it ended up people would forget to return them and it cost us a lot of money to replace them.
We don't allow parents to come back into our nursery area because of various safety reasons and California laws. All of our nursery workers have had back ground checks. It is important to us that our children are safe.

Children are welcome in our services with the expectation that the parents are able to keep them from disturbing the service once the pastor takes the pulpit. All the children are in the service for the worship or song service, and then they are dismissed to their Sunday school classes. This way, the children are exposed to worship from a very young age.

There was a large family that had many children in our church, who felt strongly that children should not be allowed to sit through our services. They discussed this with the pastor and he said that he would rather have children in the service than lose families who were not willing to take their children to the nursery. This family disagreed and left our church for the local "mega church" down the street. ;D

So I know this was a long comment, but I didn't want you to think all big churches are the same way, and there are reasons for some of the answers the nursery workers gave you, however they could have done a better job considering the scene that was taking place before their eyes!

I pray that you will find that church home soon. I know how hard it is! Take care.

Blue Castle said...

Oh wow. How horrible. I'm sure this church is well-intentioned, but I can tell you that I would never go back to someplace that "would not allow" my child to sit with me in church. We believe in attending church as a family. We worship as a family. Remember how Jesus said "Let the little children come unto me?"

Michele said...

Good luck finding a church home. It can take some time. This made me chuckle, though.

Jenny@ L.O.T.s of Love said...

Wow! That hurts! I have chosen not to take the wild boy (2 years old) to church lately, but that was my decision. He will be going again soon and the looks will start!

A glance at my world said...

Wow, so sorry you had to go throught that. I'm not sure what magic those people see in a kid turning 12...I've gone to church since I was nine months old and I was raise in the sancuary. I spent a lot of Wednesday evening services sleeping under the pews and reading. The few times I did act up I got "the look" or Dad who snap his fingers and I knew what that meant. Anyway, I'm glad I got to stay in the actual services when I was little and I think it's crazy that church wouldn't let you keep her with you.

Tiffany said...

I hope you find a welcoming church for all of you that will feel like home.

Tamara Jansen said...

I do so remember those days.....I always tried to take my little ones into church at around 2 years old. Like you say.....give 'em the look and hopefully they fall in line. They tell me they're still afraid of that "LOOK" of mine.

Sorry it was a negative experience!

Plaas Clan said...

That church doesn't sound like it's for anyone we know. In our service, the children are brought in from the nursery during communion to their parents so the reverend can bless them during the ceremony. He feels nothing is better than looking out and seeing young people in the front row, no matter what the ages. A cafe' and bookstore... that's just nuts!