After much though, discussion and prayer I decided to step down from my role as the coordinator of our church’s faith formation program. Of course I will continue doing my work until a replacement is found and in my heart I hope that is sooner rather than later. I will stay on as a catechist until the end of the year, but balancing the administrative work on a volunteer basis with my full time job as a home educator and adding serious illness to it has been unbalanceable.
I am a only a volunteer, yet I took my job seriously. I gave it my heart and my heart is not so tough. I never wanted to be an administrator when I was teaching because I never wanted to deal with parents and teachers and the continuous issues that arise when dealing with these two groups. Issues have to be resolved and 99% of them are reasonable. It’s the 1% that do me in. I just wanted to teach and sadly I learned why I never wanted to be an administrator when I stepped into this role as a volunteer last year.
I now have a better understanding of why people leave organized religion or participate from a place of low involvement. They show up, they tithe what they can, they take the message from the pulpit, and they go home and try to incorporate the teachings of Christ into their own lives. I always questioned why more people do not get more involved to help their church grow and thrive. Now I have a better understanding, at least from my perspective as a parent and a woman who is probably over-scheduled and over-stressed from her life.
I want church to be a safe haven, a place of refuge or security. Church gives me what I need to live my best life. The message is not always pleasant, the tasks at hand of becoming a better person are not always easy, and I am not looking for a “make me feel good” homily. I am looking for a “why the word of God should be at the forefront of my life” homily and thankfully I get this at our church.
Traditions of Catholicism are ancient. I love the rituals, the consistency of the mass, the prayers, the statues, the saints, the stained glass. It is a very calming place. Except when it isn’t.
The church, any church, whether it is Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Non-Denominational is run by humans and these humans share all their flaws in church. Church as times feels like an organization driven by the need for funds to operate. At times church feels to big, like a monolith, doing wonderful things for the community, but at the same time, feeling too large to be something to connect with intimately. People get tied up with their role, their place, their “ownership” of their piece of the church and conflicts arise. It has been my experience that in the very place where we gather to learn the teachings of Christ, we often do the very opposite of what he is teaching.
Over and over again I ask myself why this is and all I can come back to is human flaw.
* All photos curtesy of Grace