so, i've decided to leave my church. this decision came after much prayer and meditation, and an experience that only the Holy Spirit Himself could have taken me through.
i am a non-denominational Christian, and i like that just fine. however, because there are almost no non-denominational churches in my community *and NO orthodox Christian churches*, i have to take my pick from what i have to choose from...the typical conglomerate of church choices: baptist, catholic, COGIC, episcopalian, methodist, pentecostal, reformation, etc. so of the choices i had, i decided to attend an AME church, or african methodist episcopal church. one of the deciding factors in my choice was the fact that the church is literally around the corner and one day while going past i saw a few of it's members chatting outside and they seemed really friendly. after about 3 months of visiting i decided to join the church because well...God hadn't told me NOT to join the church.
i don't think.
now i'll admit, i don't always have the best ears when it comes down to listening to The Father. if i did, i wouldn't be in half of the crap i'm in, and always praying and thanking Him crazily when He throws one down *while rolling His eyes at me no doubt* for me to catch and hold on to. so it wouldn't be a surprise to me if God had said, "don't join that church!" and i totally brushed His Voice off as a figment of my imagination.
so let's just say that either way it goes, i didn't get the message NOT to join the church. but two sunday's ago i was preparing to go to Sunday Service and as i walked towards the front door to go to the car, something told me to leave the children home. so i told them they weren't going *to which they actually were bummed about*. after taking off their clothing and settling them down *my bf was there to watch them because we all go to church together*, i decided to head back out the door. as i neared the door, a sudden depression came over me. like a huge wave, it just washed down my entire body, and i heard my heart tell me "don't go to church today!". me, ignoring the feeling *which i now believe was God*, went towards the car anyway. i got in, and i was feeling so sad and down, out of nowhere, that i started to cry. i pulled out of the parking spot and as i neared the church, my chest felt compressed, and i had to catch my breath! i was having an anxiety attack over going to church. i tried to look for a parking spot next to the church, but my body wouldn't even let me park the car...i just couldn't bring myself to stop and look for a space to park! after about a minute of this i was so flustered and upset i drove straight to my mom's house, in tears, shaking and praying. she calmed me down and suggested we visit another church, to which i readily agreed. immediately my spirit calmed down, my anxiety went away and i felt better.
now, i'm trying to pinpoint where things went wrong in my church life, but it's very hard to find out when, where, and most importantly, what happened.
all was going well for a year, until i decided to be the director of the children's ministry, or the ypd department. now taking on this leadership role seemed easy enough, i'm pretty good with children and my teaching skills, while not the best, aren't the worst.
let's just say that i was NOT a happy camper within 3 months of taking on the role as ypd director.
being in this position requires the director to meet with "sister" churches for "connectional" purposes. the idea is that these historically black churches will keep their power and stay in alignment with the will of God by keeping in touch with each other and supporting each other. so in essence the ame is a network of sister churches that is run in an hierarchal manner by higher ups, preachers, elders, and at the highest rank is the bishops and council of bishops or whatever.
the ame church, in my opinion, has developed over the years into nothing more than a scam, with a group of testa-liars as it's head. it is only a matter of time before the breakdown of this particualar church system becomes universal in my honest to goodness opinion.
now i know every church has a bit of satan in it, and many churches have a lot o' satan in them. but the ame church is a hotbed for what i call subtle satanic activity (you know how satan isn't always in your face with it, sometimes that lil nukka likes to be so subtle that you have to wonder is it even him)...mainly because it's system is set up more like a secular system than any other church system i have ever run into.
the ame's are a very "social" people--there is a social scale of importance, and if you aren't at the top of the food chain, what's your name again??
the ame's are very ehh..."adamant" about "their" way. they tend to try and "brainwash" the younger generations by "teaching" them that the ame is "the way to go". now i wouldn't have a problem with this, except that i am not into teaching my children that any particualar denomination is better than another for the simple fact that i am a non-denominational Christian and i believe that denominations as a whole add to the breakdown that we see in the church community and much of our walk with God.
the ame's are a very...financially "savvy" people. aka they take from the smaller churches to take care of the larger churches. so your church can be direlectic and absolutely falling apart, but if you want to be a part of the larger connectional ame community--well then you'd better get out a checkbook. and guess what? the bishop drives a 100,000.00 car and will charge you 2,000.00 to "grace" your church with his presence.
the ame's are also a very...flashy people. never before have i ever seen so many electronic Bibles, fur coats and high heels on 80 year olds at a service, and i'd be flabbergasted *if i expected any better of them* at the fact that very few ame's actually carry bonafide book-form Bibles to services and events.
now don't get me wrong...there are quite a few God fearing and loving Christians within the ame community, the pastor of my ame is definitely a man of God, and he is really asking me to at least attend the Sunday Services because he doesn't want me to be without the Word of God. i am thinking he is right, and i do want to attend, but i really don't want anything to do with the ame church as a whole. but it's a shame how black people in today's society have taken a very honest and well meaning idea for the black church and turned it into the devil's stomping ground with a bunch of riff raff and foolishness, money focusing and social ladder climbing.
so, with all of that being said, i am left back at square one of finding a church. for now i am going to continue at my church as a "guest", mainly because the pastor has personally asked me to return as well as the congregation it seems. but i don't believe it's a permanent choice, mainly because of my experience two Sundays ago and after constant prayer, i do believe God has told me i'm released from that particular place.
on another note: it is very hard for most of us Christians who don't have a church home to find one in these times, it seems. i am not the only Christian i know looking for a church home--there are at least 3 other Christians i talk to on a daily basis that have the same problem that i'm having. what is a Christian to do without a church home?!