This morning I went to church, making it two Sundays in a row for me. I picked a church that claimed to be welcoming, from what I could gather on the website, and that looked to be aware in doctrine. I did research. They have music groups, a book club, and are supposedly an:
“open-minded, outreach-oriented church”
according to the website. I’ve been to many churches as a “guest” many times over my life. I wasn’t afraid the first time I went, in fact, I was excited. I was a member of a church called University Bible Fellowship in my younger days, my memories of that and my other church going experiences are largely positive. I avoid churches where I know I won’t fit in, or which are the sort where you need to be born into to feel welcome.
Well, people look at me at this church like I’m an alien. The little old ladies are nice to me, but I think it’s because they feel obligated to. I’m old enough to know the difference between a genuine and a forced smile. These people are not interested in me. They called me “brave” for coming to the church by myself. Sometimes, depending on the context and tone, the use of the word “brave” is interchangeable with the word “stupid.” Is it so odd or suspicious to be looking for community? Suspicious is the best way I can describe the general attitude toward me. I really wish I had someone to go with, but should I really have to be accompanied by another to be welcomed into a congregation? I thought that Christianity welcomed and loved all of us?
I’m hesitant to keep going to this church. Part of me thinks that it will just take a little time for the people to warm up to me. Honestly though, I didn’t see very many people I could relate to there. Also, my job seemed to be a turn off. On a side note, I looked up some groups to join yesterday, and there is an awesome feminist group I would like to be a member of, but it turns out you need a degree to be considered for membership.
Is this going to be my normal, suburban life? Being judged for not having enough friends or education? I stink of strangeness. Where am I going to find my new community?