This is why Turner growing up in church is important to me… I know this topic may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but its mine, and this is my blog 🙂
When I was growing up, my parents went through stages with religion. There were years we never darkened the door of any church, then there were years we never missed a Sunday morning service, Sunday night worship, Wednesday night bible study or Thursday night choir practice. There were even years when my parents were the youth leaders in our church. I am sure reasons can be attributed to varying trends in their lives, or their overwhelming abilities to get bored with just about everything from parenting techniques to career choices.
Regardless, I would say that I grew up in a religious home. Even if we weren’t physically in a church, we were raised with the ideals and backings of the Bible. I think that upbringing has had a huge impact on who I am today. I would consider the denomination I was raised in would be Southern Baptist, and today would consider my church, Grace Community Church, a contemporary baptist.
Andrew also grew up in a baptist church. As I would assume most boys do, college made him too cool to go to church with his momma and even as an adult, he would elect to watch football then go to church. But his momma raised him right, and even though his Sundays for the last couple of years mostly consisted of football and not church services, I would consider Andrew a religious person (what does that even mean).
A couple years back, after “losing my way” in college, I got back into church. I started going to Grace Community where the rest of my family goes. I love my church so much. My church is the type of church that is specifically designed for people who think they do not fit in other churches. From blue jeans, to electric guitars to a buffet of morning snacks on the side, my church couldn’t be less eccentric. We are very much a “come as you are” kind of place, which is my kind of place. Even if I were to roll out of bed in my pjs without taking a brush to my hair, I know I could walk through the doors of my church and instead of judgmental stares and whispers, my church family would come right up to me, give me a hug and go on about as if its normal. Because it is at Grace. Grace welcomes the masses and believes it doesn’t matter how you get there, just as long as you come. I love it. Its home.
Turner is the youngest little guy in our church at four-months, and without offending anyone, the oldest is…. well really old. We have all ages and walks of life. It is important for Turner to grow up in such a place. To have that sense of community. Not just that, but to have an entire congregation of role models to look up to.
I love my church so much, and respect it as much as I do, that my pastor, Rich Peoples and his wife Renee, are Turner’s Godparents. Andrew and I discussed it in depth before making the decision to ask Rich and Renee to take on the responsibility. By definition, a godparent is responsible for the religious education of the child, and honestly, I couldn’t think of too better people than Rich and Renee.
Rich, although a bit dry at times and his background in the Navy shines through and you see his serious side, is without a doubt the smartest man I have ever met. Not just when it comes to conversations pertaining to religion, although he has never not been able to answer any of me religious questions, but just in everything. Rich typically always knows the answer. An Engineer by trade, Rich is wired to be smart. He is not the type of pastor that spends his entire life in a pulpit, but I really think the life experiences that Rich as seen through his world travels and his continuing education has allowed him to bridge the gap between religion on the rest of the world. He practices what he preaches and doesn’t have a false sense of reality when it comes to his role in God’s plan and his role in the lives of the church members. Rich will be the first to admit he has insane road rage and just as each of us, admits he is by no means perfect. I don’t know about anyone else, but Rich is the first pastor, and I have had MANY, that doesn’t try to put on the “holier-than-thou” attitude. He is a real person. An incredibly intelligent and genuine person and an amazing leader in our church.
Renee and Turner after I had him in the hospital.
Renee only complements Rich. She is a school teacher and on top of being an amazing role model in Turner’s religious education, I am confident that she will be an important part in Turner’s overall education. She is always the first person to step up and help anyone. I cannot even begin to consider the ways she has helped people I know. If it wasn’t for Rich and Renee, there is no way getting through the death of my dad would have gone the way it did. While it wasn’t easy, the helped my entire family tremendously. They were at the hospital day in and day out and were ready and willing to help any of us in any way. They are far more than my church family, they are family, they are friends. Renee loves Turner as if he is her own. Every Sunday or Wednesday at church she swoops him up and showers him with love. I am pretty protective and cautious when it comes to who can watch Turner, but never for a second have I hesitated about her keeping him. In a perfect world, I wish she would retire all ready and be his Nanny (that will never happen, she is probably one of the greatest teachers I have ever met).
I know that these two people, and my entire church will be positive influences on not just Turner, but on me. It is so important to me for Turner to grow up in church and to have that sense of belonging and comfort.
Don’t get me wrong, its not that I think church people are better than those who do not attend church or attend church somewhere else. My church is made up of people who are married and divorced, who have children and who don’t, who support gay marriage who don’t, who may fight with an addiction and who don’t, who work and who don’t, it doesn’t matter because at Grace, regardless of circumstance or opinions, you are welcomed and accepted because that is what the Bible says to do. Andrew and I are not married, and yes we have a child. And instead of shunning us, my pastor is my son’s Godparent. Because while he does not support that lifestyle and while he and I both can agree the Bible does not condone it, it is a part of life and I am still God’s child and he loves me regardless of my sins and shortcomings. It is not our place to judge anyone, the Bible is very specific on that matter. We are to love everyone, judge no one, and regardless of the person, work to lead the to God. That is why I love my church. That is what I want Turner to see and experience.
I love my church and I love my church family. This Sunday is our Church’s anniversary and we are going to have a catered meal. Free food is always an excellent day to decide to try out a new church. So if you want, come join us, I sure would love to have you there!