Bryan and I went to a new church tonight to try it out. Everyone was super friendly; it was a small church (about 40-50 people) so we were the only new people. We talked to quite a few people and after they had church, they had dinner, which is something that happens after every service (they meet at 5pm). I left having a pretty good feeling about the whole thing, even though the sermon was 50 minutes long (and that's normal) and taught in a fairly basic, expositional form. And I spoke to the pastor about women in leadership and he informed me that the Bible speaks against women speaking in front of men in church.
I said as nicely as I could that I disagreed, and I thought that maybe that was something we could just agree to disagree about, but now I'm not so sure.
He asked about the church Bryan and I went to in Cali, Catalyst, and after talking a bit he asked if it was an Emergent church. We said "sort of," because that's the truth, it was sort of, but not totally, emergent. He nodded and gave me about 10 names of the people 'they like.' I only recognized two names, John MacArthur and John Piper. I knew that John Piper was in the Reformed tradition, but didn't have much of a background on that. So, I went home and looked up a few things.
Apparently John Piper and John MacArthur believe that women should be submissive to their husbands, which I don't agree with; I think both should submit to one another. One gal mentioned that they believed that men and women are equal in God's eyes, but that they had different roles. And it seemed like they really didn't see any other way around that, it was black and white. I thought, "Well. I can overlook that, I think."
Then I found out that John Piper and John MacArthur were Calvinist, which I'm not really into, same with Bryan. I believe the Atonement was for every single person, and that every single person has the chance to know God in this lifetime (and I believe in chances in the next too, but let's not get into that right now).
Then I looked up the counseling practice they have at this church, called Nouthetic Counseling, which apparently uses the Bible as the as the main tool for counseling, and says that psychology is contrary to the Bible. I just don't agree with that. I do think the Bible could be useful in counseling, but I know that seeing a therapist helped me with my anxiety, and using EMDR was really helpful as well.
So I'm not quite sure. Bryan seemed to think that the pastor was sort of coming from an authoritarian standpoint, where what he teaches from the pulpit is sort of what the church believes. When we went to Catalyst, what was taught was what the pastor believed to be true, and most of the leadership would agree wholeheartedly. However, the pastor would often ask us to think the message through, test it, see if it was really true. You were welcome to question and to doubt, and to make the belief your own. This church seemed a bit more like what the pastor said was seen as truth, and Bryan wasn't so sure that it was okay that we disagreed with things like woman speaking in church, etc.
So. It definitely seemed like the best of the churches that we've seen, but we're still not sure at all. I just wish we could find a church that just FIT. Maybe that won't happen. I'm not sure where to go from here. There's another church we wanted to check out, but I'm wary of a few things I've heard/read. Either way I'm getting tired of looking. I just want to find something that feels like home, somewhere where I don't feel like I have to fall in line in order to fit in. I just don't know.