It’s crazy the stuff we’re thankful for as we age. Getting out of bed. Waking up at all. Coffee. Being able to swallow. Being able to feed myself. Being in my right mind. Well, mostly right.
“You woke me up this morning and You started me on my way. The Lord is blessing me. Right now, yeah, right now,” we sing in church on Sunday. My church ranks high up there when I count my blessings. It wasn’t always so.
We went years “home churching” as we called it, meeting with a handful of neighbors and intensely studying the scripture in the original language as much as a bunch of self-taught amateurs could.
Before that, we accidentally left the last big church we were in. Basically, we took a break because we recognized the dysfunction coming from the pulpit. One thing about dysfunction, it takes one to know one. If you grow up in a dysfunctional family, then joining another family trying to be a healthy church is really uncomfortable.
We took a break for the summer, enjoyed the self-imposed sabbatical, then forgot to go back. When fellow-Christians tell me they aren’t going to church, I get it.
Like one beloved preacher used to say, “If your family is not dysfunctional, I worry about you.”
Of course, when people who are not believers tell me the church is full of hypocrites, I get that, too. It’s hard work pretending to be more spiritual than we are; maybe we should relax.
For years, I drove by the beautiful little church that eventually became ours and felt God’s Spirit nudging me to visit. Maybe it wasn’t God at all, maybe it was just my imagination.
“Lord, that’s an African American church,” I would argue with the Creative Force prompting my heart, “they are not going to want me. I won’t fit in.” Ironic, isn’t it, that I would rank fitting in as a priority for church membership.
Just for the record, I’m classified as white, or as I like to explain, pigment-challenged. If you read my column often, you’ll know I really hate the way our government insists on shoving me into a group marked Caucasian; whatever that is, maybe a mountain in Europe. So, I always check “Other” and write Texan in the blank, hopefully causing Washington bureaucrats to shiver in their boots.
These days, I’m just thankful I had the guts to go visit outside the culturally approved box and worship somewhere new.
I don’t know what you have to be thankful for. But, if you are looking for something that seems like a figment of your imagination, a semi-functional family, may I recommend checking out an unsuspecting church?
Certainly, you are welcome at ours. They’ll accept anybody.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Contact her at CathyKrafve.com.