My wife and I disagree over where we should worship. I personally like TACF Central, but she prefers TACF Airport. It's amusing. She says that at Central she feels like it's a big party and that she doens't meet with God and that everyone's just there to have fun, and she leaves feeling like she's socialized with everyone but God. She feels alive at TACF Airport, and that the worship is so genuine and the messages minister to her.
I on the other hand, feel the opposite. I dislike TACF Airport chiefly because it bores me, and given the fact that I work at TACF during the week, I don't want to be there on the weekend. I feel there are too many people there that I know, and that might subject me to conversation, or that might ask me to fix some problem. I generally dislike the messages and feel like the whole thing is too religious, and that announcements go on and on and don't lead anywhere. I feel that Central meets some of my God need.
So, we tend to alternate fellowships. Cause that's what married types do.
Lately though, we've both been a bit frustrated with community at Central. We've been to two birthday parties recently where one felt all-too-much like high school, and the other felt all-too-much like the pool hall we were in. Jealousies and evil eyes at the first, and one man's definition of a good time being to destroy the birthday friend's liver and send him home early. One of Maija's recently ongoing complaints is with the almost look-at-me-I'm-a-badass-Christian-because-I-drink-alcohol theme. I almost feel that if I continued the debate with Maija's Aunt regarding the evil's of social drinking, I might not disagree with her.
But let me get it in perspective. I enjoy a drink, but it seems to me there's a difference between drinkers. This was most obvious to us when we cottaged with some of Maija's high school friends a few weeks back. The booze was flowing, make no mistake, but everyone seemed somehow, more, real. I got a different feel at the two aforementioned birthday parties from a good number of the folks there. There are those with whom I get that same "real" feeling though. I don't really have any conclusions, but I know that when I heard one of my leadership walking across the pool hall shouting to a friend "Are we DRINKING or NOT?" I felt a bit odd.
I can only hope that people feel that I am always real, when I am around them. If there's one thing I have tried to do in my life, it's to be the same Jonathan Puddle around every one I know. The concept of fairweather friends has been an alien one to me, up until the last couple of years, and unfortunately the last 6 months especially. The bizarre thing is, it's our non-Believing friends who are the least complicated and most genuine (as far as I have seen).
I don't know where I'm going with this, but I think Maija and I are feeling a shift in the way we socialize and the things we want to do while socializing. Perhaps its marriage that does it, but I feel like we have COMPLETELY different goals and desires from a lot of the people we historically have been friends with, which in some cases may be causing a rift. Not so much a rift with individual people, but with the desires and entertainments of a large group of the people we have been friends with. Those people happen to congregate at TACF Central, which is perhaps part of reason Maija doesn't like it here. Boourns.
If you take anything from this, don't take that Pudd and Maija don't like you anymore, or that we think you're a bad Christian cause you drink (if anyone was at Central a few weeks back, you may have heard from Steve Long about my "witnessing beer"). Don't take that TACF Central is a bad congregration (cause it's NOT. It's still my place to worship).
Someone give me a hand so I can climb down off my high horse.