Posted by: Clare | February 1, 2010

Church

Last night I finally went to Church. I have been thinking and talking about going pretty much since I moved to Austin over 5 years ago, so it was about time! For the past year or so I’ve been listening to sermons online from various churches both in Austin and not, but while I do get something from that, there is nothing quite like being there in person. My favorite online sermons were from Austin Stone and a while ago I found out that not only is that my friend Sarah’s church when she is in Austin, but one of my coworkers, Katie, also goes there. Last night I tagged along with Katie and her husband Travis to the 7pm service, and it was everything I had hoped it would be.

I don’t come from a “religious” family. My dad was a non-practicing Catholic who as my mom put it had, “lost the hope of heaven but kept the fear of hell” and my mom is Agnostic. We attended a Church of England (Episcopalean is the American equivalent I think) Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, but that was pretty much the extent of my contact with God/whatever you might believe is the higher power in my life when I was little. Then I went to boarding school at age 11 and there we went to a Church of England service every week, and prayers and hymns at assembly every day before school. Once I left that school at 16 I went back to attending church only on Christmas Eve, and haven’t even done that the past few years.

While I enjoyed attending CofE services I often found them unrelateable, and the rituals don’t mean much to me (it’s High Church…similar to Catholic. Lots of incense, communion, etc. etc.). The thing that I have loved about the sermons from most of the churches that I have listened to online here is that they are relevent to my life. They help me navigate the world I am living in from a Christian perspective rather than simply preaching at me about God being great and expecting me to just accept it. I am shown bible verses and then I hear a translation of what those verses mean to us in todays world rather than just being read a verse and expected to know how to relate it to my life. This may seem normal to those of you who have been going to Church here for years, but to me it is a revelation. I now get why America has such a high percentage of young people going to church, it is engaging and relevent here. The churches I attended in England had very small regular attendance with most of the congregation being 60 plus.

My day to day life is so hectic, with full time work, MBA classes, homework, chores, errands and trying to fit a social life of some kind in amongst it all, it is really important to take some time out to acknowledge something beyond all of that. To focus outward, and upward rather than inward on my own issues all the time. I think that in taking the time out to do that I will ultimately be more successful in reaching my own goals and in being the person I want to be toward others. Austin Stone, I will definitely be back!

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Responses

  1. I’m so glad you got a chance to go to the Stone. I hope you take the chance to get plugged in with a community group (I think they call them missional communities now). I think that’s where a lot of true “church” happens. I miss it!

    • I looked into the missional communities but sadly they are all on week nights and my week nights are totally taken up with classes and homework. If I am still in Austin after I graduate I will definitely get involved though – or if next semester is lighter (which I have a feeling it won’t be, but I’ll keep hope!)


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