Did I mention I hate church hunting?
Last week I was in Phoenix for a family reunion (among other things), so I took the opportunity to attend what I still consider our home church, even though we haven't lived there in almost 7 years (!). I tried to think of how I could describe precisely what I love about the place, but I couldn't come up with words. Sorry. In more general terms, I love that they are all about grace, and healing, and love. And I love that every time I visit they tell me how cool I am (come on, who wouldn't love that?). And I think the crux of it all is that ODF was where I more or less grew up, spiritually speaking. So in that way it will probably always be home. Unless they go completely berserk and try to make me handle snakes or drink the Kool-Aid; then I'll turn and walk right out the door.
I wasn't playing on the music team that day, so I didn't have to leave the house at the crack of dawn. Showed up for second service and then stayed for a third hour class--a group I used to belong to, except back in the day they met on a weeknight and now they meet Sunday mornings which I think works out great. Nothing you'd think of as out of the ordinary, but at the same time all I dreamed and more. Saw lots of people I know, did a lot of hugging and repeating the sentence "We live in California now, but only until August, when we move to Wyoming." It was actually kind of fun to watch people's reactions to that one. The vast majority countered with an underwhelmed "Wow. Wyoming." One lady almost swooned, however, saying "I love Wyoming!" and told me how she'd always wanted to go there, and actually got to go to Laramie some time back. So I told her anytime she wants to go back she can stay with us in Cheyenne. The other person was the worship pastor, who had known Minot was on our short list. Having lived in Minot for a time when he was younger, he was as excited to hear it was "not Minot" as we had been. Always good to have someone who understands firsthand!
I think if I try to describe things any further I'll come off sounding like some sort of crazed groupie. Which is kind of weird when one is talking about a church, but I guess when it comes to our home church I am a bit of a crazed groupie. So I'll just leave that one right there...
Which brings us to this week. Today was local church number three--one of several Calvary Chapels in our area. I know of Calvary Chapels, but I had never been to one. Though prior to our time here I had also never been to a Foursquare or Nazarene church, so it is a series of firsts for me as far as denominations go. This is less remarkable than it sounds, since we gravitate toward places that are less demonstrative in their denominationalism (that is a word. I looked it up). We pick up on general nuances, but there aren't the drastic differences one would encounter at some of the more denominationally hardcore places.
Hmmm, what can I say...friendly, incredibly well-meaning and sincere people. Some of them pretty hip, even. Kind of awkward as far as everything else goes. It was a small-ish place, which doesn't mean much, since our last church was small and was completely not awkward. The music was an unplugged set, which I normally really enjoy. The pastor wore a Hawaiian shirt. The Cat Daddy said "What's with everyone wearing Hawaiian shirts?" and I said "We live in California. They do that here. They do that in Arizona too, by the way." Then the message. I'm going to tread lightly here. From a purely technical standpoint, it was a maze of rabbit trails. Kind of hard to follow. That's all I can say about it, because a few minutes into it the Cat Daddy leaned over and whispered "98...99...100..." I whispered "What are you counting?" and he said "The number of times the pastor turns 45 degrees right or left." The pastor was leaning on the lectern with one elbow, and sure enough every few seconds he would turn to the other side and shift his weight to the other elbow. Leave it to the Cat Daddy to find such a fascinating distraction.
As usual, His Highness had a wonderful time in the nursery. When we went to pick him up he was sitting in a toy boat, muching on a Saltine. He gave us a cursory greeting, but found it necessary to finish his cracker before coming over for the usual hugs and such. So he really enjoyed himself.
So that was that I guess. I dunno, the theme songs at the Nazarene church are sounding better all the time...