This would be my first time. My mom had given me some advice on what to do, and since she had years of experience doing it – before she joined the FOC – I actually listened to her.
|Me - 1990s|
Every one of them would be wrong. That was a given. The goal was to find one that was more right and less wrong than the others. Mom said that if I was going to go to a worldly church, Baptist was the way to go. Dad thought Pentecostal was better, more about that on Wednesday.
I decided to go to First Baptist Church in Gladstone. I didn’t want to go to a church in Oregon City in case any of my high school classmates recognized me at their church. I know, weird right?
I dressed for church the way I would dress going to the FOC. Women wore dresses or skirts, no exceptions. The skirt or dress had to hit below the knee. We could wear straight skirts, but not too tight. There could be no cleavage showing, none. We dressed well, but always kept ourselves modestly covered. I arrived at FBC in my church attire, parked my car, and started to the front door. Things were not right.
Women were walking into the building wearing blue jeans. I’m not kidding about this. Shocked, stunned, horrified at the heresy before me, I turned and headed right back to my car.
A year or so later, I tried another church. This one was in Oregon City, where I was living again, attending the FOC sporadically and continuing to endure the corporate shunning. I was used to it. I went to a neighborhood church, nondenominational.
The women wore dresses, thank goodness. I was enthusiastically greeted by just about everyone in the tiny little church. No flying under the radar there – and certainly no shunning going on. The church service was interesting. It was the first time I had heard a sermon since Glenford Lee died back in 1986, but it was really difficult to focus on what the pastor was saying because he kept looking right at me and hinting about if I wanted to come forward. Uh, no. I did not want to come forward. I wanted to sit right where I was and be invisible. Check things out from a safe distance. At the end of the sermon there was prayer, then singing, then more prayer – and in this last prayer the pastor prayed for me – me, I tell you! – to come forward and confess. Everyone, everyone, turned to stare at me, willing me to stand and walk down the isle.
OK, that was so not happening. Confess? To a church full of overeager strangers? No.
I did not go back.
More adventures in church shopping to come ....