About Katie

Just a small town girl…wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. OMW, ditto to everything you said. Except my husband and I were raised LDS. Once our church got involved with Prop 8 in California, I started drifing away. We’ve tried non-denominational churches, but they felt too casual to me, although I liked the progressive beliefs.

  2. thank you. THANK YOU.
    we don’t go either. and we don’t really feel guilty about it. we are both much more liberal in our interpretation of the bible (surprisingly/ironically, it was my private baptist college education that changed my beliefs). there aren’t churches in Alabama that believe as we do, at least not that we’ve found.
    like you I have a very hard time being associated with a group of people that is so ‘judgey’ towards people that are different from them.

  3. My first thought when I read this was Amen. Yes. To all of it. I miss going to church so much. I miss the community. But I don’t miss the uptight-ness and the unacceptance for those who are different. There has to be something out there. I’m just sure of it.

  4. I could not have said this better myself. You just took every iotum(sp) of my inner conflict and gave it words! I went to church regulary as a child, on my own, no one in my family goes. But I would get up and drag my little brothers to the big blue bus that came through the neighborhood picking up all the kids. And I loved it, my Baptist church(es). My husband grew up in a strict Catholic church. We have never really pin pointed our unwillingness to go before.

  5. Thanks for this post. I agree whole-heartedly with you. I miss the traditional hymns. I miss being part of a loving community of good people. I want my child to learn about our religion and attend AWANA and youth group, as I loved doing growing up. But I no longer subscribe to a lot of traditional Christian doctrine anymore. I still have my faith and belief in God, but my religious beliefs don’t seem to fit in anywhere. Thank for having the courage and the talent to articulate what I think many of us struggle with.

  6. You’re so much like me & my husband! We’re liberal, feminist, etc. And we despise the charismatic/nondenom/modern worship band scene. So we became Presbyterians. We’re even part of the choir at our church. We don’t exactly fit in with our congregation (a pretty conservative bunch, but very committed to charity & social issues), but we love them dearly. Hang in there- if you don’t want to be at church every Sunday, then don’t. If you do, however, maybe something like the Presbyterians or the Methodists would be a good fit.

  7. wow. tough for you to confess, i’m sure. we had an AWESOME church back east. it was big, in an auditorium like room, but what i loved was the honest Biblical teaching that drew me to a closer relationship with God. yes, it’s difficult to go to a church that you don’t enjoy. so yes, i do believe you should enjoy it.

    and i certainly don’t want to sound rude or mean, but maybe just to get you thinking… 😉 I do think that God calls us to belong to a church and to find a place that can help us grow… yes, again, very hard if you can’t find a place that supports your beliefs. but again, i think churches should also make sure that people’s beliefs are Biblical. (not even talking political or whatever here… Biblical beliefs are beliefs that God says in the Bible).

    i think it’s hard to find churches that are traditional in their program, but forward-thinking in their preaching. typically, i think traditional tends to be traditional all the way around. we found a church that is modern and very honest. i appreciate a pastor who, honestly, doesn’t really care about my feelings, but will preach the word of God… if that makes sense. it’s not my pastor’s job to make me feel all fluffy and bubbly inside… i want to be challenged.

    just a few things to think about. good luck with your search. maybe you’ll find one soon!

  8. I stopped going to church when I realized how un-Christian a lot of Christians really were. That’s the short version anyway. My daughter does go to pre-school at my mom’s church, and I’ve met some very nice and real people there. This has relieved some of my anxiety about not going to church, because I wondered if I would find a place for her to experience the positives of church going like I did. I think that she’ll be able to experience things through the school and later through youth groups and for that, I am grateful, because it was SUCH a positive experience for me.

  9. I agree with this post and with several of the replies!

    I like the “dressing up” aspect of a traditional church, without the closed mindedness or stiffness.

  10. This is EXACTLY the same reason we don’t go to church. We shopped around before Harrison & never found one that fit. & now it just seems…overwhelming.

    We’re more conservative than most. But less conservative than the way I was raised. But we like people in their Sunday best with traditional hymns. But we don’t like fire & brimstone preaching. But we do love the Gospel.

    sigh.

  11. Bravo for writing this great post. I feel very similar and luckily somewhat attend (heh. ..with three kids we r lucky to get there every other week) an Episcopal church. Very progressive yet traditional..works for me!

  12. catherine says:

    I too am both a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. We don’t go to church because we’re atheist. Telling people that is casual conversation is like saying “I’m immoral, and radioactive.” So, we’re real popular. 🙁 I grew up Catholic and still miss for the community and the warm parts of the rituals. There is a movement for secular humanists to have meetups but we haven’t taken part as of yet.

  13. Thank you for sharing this!!

  14. This is us. Sort of. I was raised a Southern Baptist (about as conservative as you can get in these parts…) and Dan wasn’t really raised in a church. But we’re an interracial couple and the Southern Baptist church doesn’t look too fondly on interracial relationships and marriages. So? We’re stuck. We’ve found a great church locally that is non-denominational but the ways to go about getting involved are so different from what I’m used to that I’m kind of intimidated.

  15. Your honesty is refreshing:) I think you just do what’s best for you and your family and your beliefs. I like the community of church and enjoy the tradition but am very progressive with my thinking. I make it work for us.

  16. feel the same… have decided after years that my faith has little to do with my attendance at church. We go, we don’t go, but my faith remains strong.

  17. You know how I feel right now…and I also sort of view organized religion as a cult…I know…I said it…every religion believes in one God so who is to say which one is the right one? I dunno. It’s hard. A lot of people can relate to this Katie and I am so proud of you for talking about it. So proud.

  18. Ditto for me too! Except that I’m Roman Catholic. Still feel it in my core, but can’t find a place to go that doesn’t exclude people (Seriously, I don’t think Jesus would have excluded anyone…remember Mary Magdalene? the lepers? the tax men?). And I refuse to give my children the massive layers of guilt that the Catholic Church doles out.

    But I’m deeply spiritual. And my kids aren’t heathens.

  19. Yep. I was raised in a church exactly like what you’re probably looking for right now. Sunday best clothes, liberal politics, a great community. Loved it. Had a lot to do with our pastor and his personal beliefs. Then I went to college and was exposed to the conservative Christians. I had no idea that existed. It shook my faith. The hate and discrimination just did not go with my idea of what Christianity meant. So I stopped going. My children are not baptized and my mother worries about their souls. My husband never went to church, so there’s no “we should” going on here. I believe that spirituality does not necessarily have to come through a church and there are other ways to foster a sense of community.

  20. I carry a lot of guilt for not worshiping in a church. Growing up that’s what we did but when highschool hit the bed was warm and sleeping was better.
    Now I’m in the same boat as you.
    I’m open minded.
    I dont care about ones sexual preference.
    And?
    I become very defensive when human rights are not respected.
    Church isn’t for me.

  21. You are one step ahead of me. I can’t quite figure out why I don’t go every week. I really love my church and I believe its teachings, but there is something that holds me back. Maybe it is just laziness on my part? I don’t know. I guess I will keep thinking about it. I think it is good that your family has done what was right for you. I think good people are good people and that really is the end of the story for me. Religion, beliefs, orientation, race, to me it doesn’t matter what people are, just that they are good, kind, and honest (and not perfect because none of us are).

  22. Oh Katie I wish we could talk. This is exactly how my husband and I feel, and we’ve gone down the same path you and Cort have since we were married! We just don’t find a “home” where we feel that we fit. And for my own confession, we’ve never found a place to even have our children baptised, which is a very sore spot for us both. We feel odd in the “hands raised, lattes in the lobby” church in our town that’s wildly popular. We like traditional hymns and services with scripture readings and lessons relevant to our life. But we have progressive views, too, which conflict with a lot of that.

    Oh, I just loved reading this! At this point now, we are making another attempt to visit local churches to see once again if we can “find” it. Thank you for your honesty, Katie!

  23. I read your post last night before work and I’ve been thinking about it for a while. First off I’d like to say that there is no “perfect” church. All churches are flawed.
    Your going to get out of church what you put into it. Getting up on Sunday morning is one of the hardest things to do. Satan doesn’t want you there.
    Attending church isn’t about you. Its about receiving the message God wants us to hear and living our lives for Him.
    That being said we did the same thing when our first child was born. Left the church we were attending, didn’t attend for about a year or two but currently attend a wonderful church. I regret the time we didn’t go. It sounds like your feeling the pull to return to church, listen to that.

  24. catherine says:

    Maybe there’s a better word than “heathen?” – sad atheist c.

    • wait…I didn’t say “heathen”…did I? I don’t believe people who don’t believe in God are “heathens”!

      • catherine says:

        Oh sorry! I should have put that as a reply to Kimberly’s post. In fact, I probably shouldn’t have commented on it at all. I’m sensitive – people assume I’m immoral because I’m atheist, and I’ve heard even worse slurs. However, I’d almost rather be called a heathen than be called rude!

        • just because you don’t believe in a god people think you’re immoral? What does one have to do with the other? weird.

          you have every right to be offended by that!

  25. Keep looking. There are many varieties of churches out there. But look for one that preaches the Bible, not just what you want to hear. Try not to get hung up on if people are wearing jeans or dresses/suits. Many churches are more casual just to be more accepting and help make people more comfortable. No, not comfortable as in lie around the couch in my comfy pants, but comfortable as in not out of place in the surroundings.

    I love my church family. I love that community that going to church provides. Yes, I go because I believe that’s what the Bible teaches and want God wants for me, but I think that also includes that He wants the community that church can provide. There are churches out there that preach that Christians should accept all people. My church is actually doing a series on “tough questions” which last week was homosexuality. The pastor spoke of love, grace, and truth.

    Forgiveness. Acceptance. LOVE.

    Keep looking.

  26. I am a big believer in praying, teaching whenever, wherever you want. You don’t have to be in a building to believe in what you believe in. We don’t go ever week. We did have the boys baptized. And I’m considering joining a church because the congregation really is welcoming. But we don’t feel bad if we don’t make it. Our kids know God and they like going when we do.

  27. This post really speaks to me. My husband and I both miss going to church. Like you, we have our reasons for not going, and they’re very similar.

  28. ah. you know how i feel about all of this. i’m sorry you have all these frustrations. i feel much of the same way, and it’s hard. I have no answers.

  29. I could literally go all comment vomit right here. But I won’t. I completely agree with you. My upbringing along with my husbands was one of being at church every single time the doors even squeaked. And being in a church building doesn’t make you any more a believer then the Pastor. I think that when you have children you start to go through a self discovery of sorts (or at least I have. or maybe I have because I’m 23 and this is self discovery age) and you have to start weeding out what is good & what is bad. And religion is the most important thing to discover. Just because you go to a building doesn’t mean anything. And just because you call yourself a Christian doesn’t mean anything. You have to figure this out for YOU and for YOUR family. And I’ll stop because I just might right an entire blog in your comment box.

  30. We stopped going to church this summer. I tell everyone that we’re home-schooling our kids in God now.

    Here’s the post I did on it. I think you’ll relate (because, duh, we’re like the same): http://www.lateenough.com/2010/06/a-crisis-of-religion-not-a-crisis-of-faith/

  31. I will just go out on a limb and say that I am a minority here. I love being a part of a church family, the interactions that Brayden has there (even though he has his difficult days), and being part of a community that worships freely. There are so many others around the world that don’t get this chance, and it is sad to me that people here don’t see that as important- regardless of what religion you are.

  32. I read this a day or two ago and just knew I’d have to come back to comment – am amazed that I found it again! I also would like to confess, i don’t do church either. Much as i’d like to confess on my own blog, I can’t, as my mum reads it…. brought up a Catholic, my mum still goes every week and is highly disappointed that neither me or my 2 brothers go (one of whom is gay, so he has a darn good reason to be fair 😉 ). I am a HUGE hypocrite though, and would liek to apologise to everyonenow, as I do send my 6 and 4 year olds to the local Catholic school. Partly because it is the best in the area (see, I’m SO bad, but at least honest) but partly because I still believe in the whole community thing. I love the way I was brought up, and the morals that went with it, I just honestly don’t believe that you need to go to a church every week and if you don’t you’re a bad person. I also question some of the ‘caring’ beliefs that catholics/christians have about certain issues (for example, let’s start with homosexuality…) but in all honesty, I just don’t get why anyone (MUM) thinks you HAVE to go to church to be good (freudian slip, I typed God instead of good there just then!!!).
    So sorry for the mini ramblings, feel free to pop over to my blog if you’re a bit crazy and non-church going. Or even church-going, I’m really not fussy!!

  33. Thank you for writing this. I haven’t been a in a church since the last wedding I attended. I want to believe in God, but it’s hard. Also, my husband is an atheist. So there’s that too.

    I wrote a post about this some time ago, back when I had 3 followers, if you are interested: http://www.lettersforlucas.com/2009/12/do-you-believe.html

  34. It sounds like you and Cort had a good experience with your church family. Why would you want to denie Eddie the same experience? If you and Cort talk about this all the time it sounds like you have some quilt about your decision. Just saying… It’s not about you and Cort anymore, it’s about Eddie. Why would you want to denie your self the pure pleasure of watching your little one in front of church singing Jesus loves me? It brings tears to a mom’s eyes knowing you are doing the right thing.

  35. What an excellent post about a sensitive subject. I have all sorts of church angst; I was raised (very loosely) Catholic and have a conflicted opinion about my beliefs, because even the modernized Catholic church is more conservative than some of my beliefs. My husband is more of a privately spiritual person than an organized religion person, so it will fall to me as to how we raise the kids. We’re sending Abbey to Catholic pre-school, and I hope that being part of the community will help me to decide how to proceed from here.

  36. Oh gosh I wish you lived near me. I too just must have a conservative church service (the Creed, the Lords Prayer, hymns so old that some of the words aren’t even used in normal conversation anymore) but am also very liberal in my thinking. And I looked, and looked, and went to every single denomination of churches in Atlanta and found exactly what I was looking for in walking distance from my house. (Of course I do not walk there as it is uphill, but still). I grew up Southern Baptist in rural Alabama and I was always trouble by the viewpoints that most of my fellow SB’s held. And still am. I attend a Methodist church in Atlanta, but it was the third MC that I tried before I found what I was looking for in a church. And I have to say if they weren’t so open in their thinking, I too wouldn’t go to church. Churches seem to have gotten so bogged down in judging that they don’t seem to be loving anymore. I’m pretty sure that Jesus would overturn some tables if he walked into most churches today. And that’s sad. I love going to a church where the motto of everyone there is Open Arms, Open Hearts, Open Minds. It’s so refreshing. But I do believe that you can worship God however you see fit. Because a church is made up of people, not pews and pulpits. Just because you’re not in a church building, doesn’t mean you’re not going to church. Okay, I’m stopping…

  37. it takes a LOT of courage to talk openly about religion nowadays. thank you so much for sharing! please don’t give up on your search for a church community that will impact and grow your faith, individually and as a family. sometimes it might look a lot different than what you would expect. it may be less about the building and the initial “feel” of the church, even though that is what sticks out at first. once you find one that might work, it may still take a bit of time of attending more consistently to start getting a true feel of the community.

    we have been fortunate to find a church in San Diego that really focuses on God’s message of redemption through Jesus alone. it’s a lot harder than you would think to find a church that bases its preaching from the Bible, and doesn’t just talk about trying to be a “better” person. we have found people in this congregation who are honest about their faith struggles, and that makes all the difference in making church a place of life changing growth rather than a superficial sunday tradition that ultimately has no bearing on everyday life, hopes, and decisions. we’ve continued to go to this church and invest in it with our time and energy, even through the rough patches. in many ways, it’s like family… you see the ways human dynamics are flawed, but God is teaching us all to focus our eyes on His perfect love rather than each other’s flawed attempts. Which is why it always comes back to why we need Jesus. And why anybody is and should always be welcomed. however, it doesn’t mean there should be a relativistic message that everybody is fine and right just as they are. if that were the case, then there truly is no need for Jesus and church is just another pointless social gathering. instead, for me, it’s a place where i’m learning to grapple with who I am and who God is changing/growing me to be, not because i’m better than someone else but because i’m THAT much in need of changing.

    it has been hard lately getting two very young kids to church sunday morning and rushing to get them fed and back home for a nap. my husband has to leave early to run the sound system for the service, so some mornings feel especially draining as i deal with the two kids alone. but you know, i do feel that God wants us to actually physically go to church for our benefit, for these reasons: 1. i am challenged with a biblical message that helps me wrestle with my faith. faith is not an easy ride; the very basis of being a “sinner” (oh how everyone hates that word) is a hatred of God. if i didn’t go to church, it’s a lot easier for myself to just pick and choose what’s easy and convenient for me to believe about myself and my life. 2. i am forced to be with people that maybe are quite different from me, and that alone is fertile ground for God to teach us all how to love and serve each other. it is like family in many ways. 3. church is supposed to be His body of believers serving the community and world around them. there is a role for the church through which God wants to impact the world, and God desires for each of us to play a part in that role. unfortunately it has become more uncomfortable to tell someone i go to church because the word “church” has such negative connotations in society. social media highlights a lot of negatives, but very few of the positives, and that is just not a fair picture either.

    i’m so sorry this is so long. i really hope you will find a place for your family. i wish i could help you in that process. i don’t think you’ll find a perfect church of your dreams out there, but i don’t think that’s necessarily what God has intended church to be. don’t give up!