“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” — T. S. Eliot
When I left Whitesburg Baptist Church over two years ago to begin my journey of exploration of the church, my first step was a baby step — Flint River Baptist Church. I would eventually visit different denominations, non-denominational churches, Catholic churches, a brewery, a movie theater and so forth, but my first step was to go from one Southern Baptist Church to another.
I went back then at Heather’s invitation. I had told her what I felt called to do, and she invited me to come to her church first. So I did. I went maybe one other time back then; ironically, the way it ended up, Heather’s family was never in the service when I went. I went to her church, but never went to church with her. I went back one more time earlier this year, to a Christian Passover Seder observance they hosted.
This past week, she invited me to come again, and I did.
The service was a special program — kids from “Children of the World” came and sang to raise awareness of humanitarian efforts, specifically the need for water in third-world villages. There was little procedural or doctrinal for me to evaluate, which was fine, since for me the experience was more about going to church with Heather and the boys for the first time. It was weird being back in the same place, but in a very different circumstance.
To be honest, it was nice going to church with somebody I’m in a relationship with again, it was nice that somebody being her, and it was nice other somebodies being the boys. Heather says I’m supposed to mention that I drew Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the boys during the service, but I assure that’s utterly irrelevant and was done purely for very important doctrinal reasons that I haven’t made up yet.
I wrote last week about missing community, and about other issues I’m dealing with regarding church, and I’ve wondered what that would look like if I end up with Flint River being my new home congregation. And, yeah, Sunday, I realized it all looks very different if you have the right community you bring with you.