June 15, 2008


Standing at Mars Hill, listening to the worship songs play and the people singing along, all I could think about was how disconnected I felt. Disconnected from all of these people, disconnected from worship, my heart disconnected from my head.

As the songs concluded, the speaker got on stage and spoke to my heart. I deeply connected with what was said, and was grateful we made it to this service.

But then we slipped out the doors without any meaningful interaction with another person, left the parking lot, and I wonder why not just listen online?

We have been attending Mars on quite a regular basis for nearly two years now, and yet there are only a handful of people I know from there, only two of which we are close to, and they happen to be traveling across the country right now.

The main reason we started attending mars is the exact same reason why I feel so disconnected; we needed a place where people didn't notice that we weren't there on a Sunday. We were warn out and deeply spiritually wounded from the way we were serving, as well as all the hurtful politics and petty conflicts within the small church we grew up in.

This large church not only offered a breath of fresh air, but we strongly felt the direction they were headed could show us our way as well. We walked away from most of the gatherings feeling, wow, that was exactly what we needed to hear and it gave us the hope that the Church is good.

And that played a major role in our decision to move away from Muskegon, closer to this place that offered authentic community for those who sought it and spoke often of Grace and Peace.

As time passed, we tried to get connected. To find this allusive community that Rob Bell speaks so often of. We have tried, we have stretched ourselves in many ways, and yet we have no community that we are a part of, no group of people to share life with, no kind people who surround us with love as we go through some difficult and dark times of our lives.

So now what?

Keep attending and working on finding community? I think that Mars Hill is doing good in the world, that they are showing people the love of Jesus, that there is something very special about that place, but it has its flaws, as do all churches, and I just don't know if it is where we are supposed to be anymore.

Find another church? There are plenty to chose from, but I wonder what the point would be. Besides, where would we even begin to start? I don't want to be a lifelong church-hopper. I hate looking for churches.

It feels like a blind date every week, and you are in control of whether there will be a second date or not, and if there is a second date, that means you are pretty serious and marriage is right around the corner. There is no "taking it slow" when attending a church. Each week that you are there is a major commitment. But how can you get an accurate idea of a church in one week?

Stop going to church? That goes against something deep within me, but I can't truly honestly offer real answers as to why it is so necessary to attend a church regularly, especially when the church you are attending doesn't even know you are there.

So, I am disconnected. I am hopeful that this angst in me means that there is something good around the corner, that God is preparing me in some way for something. But I am also afraid that I will continue to be disappointed by Church and this angst is in vain.


Blogger Danielle said...

Thanks for letting me know. We should have you and Tony over for dinner to return the favor from last time!

6:12 PM

Anonymous Lon said...

that sounds crazy... for me, i thought being in a small church it'd be hard to find chemistry with people, due to a smaller pool of people... I've got to imagine with ten thousand plus people that you can connect with at mars...?

1:48 PM

Blogger tarapetty said...

Danielle- we should do dinner soon. I would love to see your place. Also, if you guys do come out to listen to Janette this week, you should stop by and check out our new apt. in the city.

Lon- Thanks for the comment. I would love to know how you found my blog.

Those were our thoughts as well. Surely, there will be people here that we are similar to, that are in the same boat as us. But finding those people, connecting with them, and making lasting relationships, is not an easy task.

2:10 PM

Blogger Janalee Holt said...

Tara I know what you mean...I was a member of Mars for almost 3 years before I moved to Muskegon. Those 3 years were the most spiritual messages that I have encountered in my lifetime of worship. It wasn't the church or community I was after it was the connection with the preacher that I was after. I love that feeling of leaving and having my mind so engrossed with thoughts that I actually have to call my mom or sister and tell them what I learned. That was the case of most Weeks at Mars. After I moved to Muskegon for College I found you guys and Daniel. I felt a breath of a smaller version of what the sermons gave me at Mars and I was happy. But for the last 3 years I have been wandering around aimlessly without connection and loosing my fire daily. It is really hard to be lost and not know how or where to look. Shaelin is not doing well and the doctors gave her 2 years to live. I have nothing to lift my spirit anymore and no sermons to rekindle my fire. Anyway figure out what you really want out of your church experience...friends, good sermon, inner-fire, whatever and go for that innitially and I bet once you find that the rest will fall into place. Good Luck.

9:51 AM

OpenID deaconandusher said...

Usher: Deak, I think these people are looking for Christ in all the wrong places

Deacon: Chris is in the church Usher

Usher: Doesn't seem to be in this case Deak, maybe they should think about the real church - the one that Christ talked about is "whenever two or more are gathered".

Deacon: I pray they figure it out Usher, I do, I do

6:08 PM


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