Sunday, July 1, 2012

My First Time

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 ....


  1. Haha you know the funny thing is that out of all the churches that I went to (most of them I hated) i now go to OC church of Christ, it's about a mile or so down the road from FOC, haha another church in OC I thought, this one is sure to be wrong haha! But you know I hope that no one gets discouraged by what the followers have placed in there minds of all this "calling" business, believe that a building that you attend has nothing to do with your salvation but maybe a person should ask themselves what does the bible say about a calling? Who is called? Well is it possible that we are all called? Please don't throw any stones yet followers! "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself" Acts 2:39 I believe that listed just about everyone who would like to be a Christian! You may wonder why I keep trying to expose this group of people, simply because it is my job remember this one "Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;" Ephesians 5:11

    1. I'm glad you found a church home. Thanks for posting.

    2. Good point but you would be wise to not take one scripture as a basis for the Christian calling(or job). A biblical theology actually takes into account the entire bible. Wouldn't you agree Brian?

    3. Yes they're are many different callings and jobs I would agree with you there Garth, I was just simply pointing out that it might be a duty if you feel convicted as I do to point out the wrongdoing, I think that we should do what we can, He doesn't expect the world from us but we should atleast try. I didn't mean it as this was the Christians whole duty or job, I probably should have clarified.

  2. I had some of the same feelings when trying to find a church. I feel I was so hungry for fellowship, being the people person I am, and wanting to "do" stuff in a church, as I was accustomed to, but had to get over the fact they were all wrong.
    When I had enrolled my son in a little sports class, another mom I met there had invited me to her Mom's club. They met at a Gladstone church, I forget the name, close to Milwaukie. We tried going there, Palm Sunday was our first time. That service got me curious, so we went back on Easter. There was even a time for children to come the Saturday before and learn the story of the resurrection. So, we went to that, and what a great day! All this Easter stuff was actually about Jesus! This was all making sense to me now!!
    Shortly after, we moved to Idaho Falls. We "church shopped" and stuck with ones that were Baptist, since they believed in Baptism, it was along our beliefs as well. We attended this church from summer of 2000 til about winter of 2001 when we heard about the Marsing FOC church. Then, we tried to read the scriptures to prove Gethsemane "Geth-sem-a-knee" Baptist wrong. You couldn't just get saved and go to we got baptized in Marsing, moved to Nampa, and went to the FOC church...for 9 mo.
    Moving to WA helped us to learn that Marsing wasn't the "only" way either. The way to Heaven was through Jesus Christ, like I'd learned in Idaho Falls, at Gethsemane, when I had prayed, wanted to believe I was saved, but couldn't believe it, since my husband didn't fall for it...yet!

  3. Maggie, what didn't he fall for yet? It must have been terribly difficult to separate your preconceptions with what you saw in other churches. Suzies wardrobe meltdown at the first church she tried to attend is really funny. But I understand her feelings. The FOC is so set in their new ways( since Walters passing) it would be hard to get accustomed to new surroundings. Especially when you've had it driven into you that the FOC way is the only way.

    1. He hadn't believed that Jesus blood sacrifice was all there was to salvation. It took awhile but he agreed that it was a gift that couldn't be earned, it had to be accepted. Praise God!

    2. Thanks, I wasn't sure what you meant.

  4. Suzanne, Maggie, et al,
    The FOC isn't the only church with dress codes by a long shot.
    When I served on the board of my church a few years back, I was asked to invite a man from another local church to speak on an upcoming Sunday, so I called the man's house and left a message. No reply, so I called, and then called again. I even spoke to his wife, but couldn't elicit a response of any kind.
    So then I sat back and took a good long look at the church he attended. Many, if not most, of the congregation lived and dressed in the Amish fashion - long hair, long dresses, hats or head coverings for all women at Sunday services (no exceptions), all serious conversations and business contacts conducted only between men, and some even lived without electricity or running water...
    I returned and reported to the board that I had been unable to make any direct contact with the man in question, and confessed to them my belief that it was because I was female that he wouldn't accept our efforts to invite him. It was then decided that one of the male board members would call him.
    Long story short, he was booked almost immediately upon being contacted by a male representative of our church, was our guest speaker soon thereafter, and his sermon message? "A subservient woman can save the souls of men"...
    True story.

  5. Legalism-

    Noun: 1. Excessive adherence to law or formula
    2. Dependence on moral law rather than on personal religious faith.

    Anyone who is concerned with the rules, is usually only concerned about how well YOU are following them. This of course starts with the assumption that the accuser of wrongdoing is without fault. We'll see!

  6. Thanks Susie for the smile you put on my face when you talked about the difference in how people dressed in the different churches that you attended. Back in the 50's, 60's, and even the early 70's at most churches(if not all)people "dressed up". I remember the men wore suits and ties, and the women all wore dresses and high heels.
    But after that it seems like just about all churches relaxed their dress code. The Lord is interested in what is in your heart not on how much you spend on your clothes or if you are wearing the latest fashion.


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