For Emily's birthday, she wanted to go to church! Ever since we moved we've been in search of one to be our home-base. We visited the church closest to us, a block away, and were a little weirded out by it. Best way to described it was a Mafia church. All italian, only 20 people there, and in suits, big wide shouldered ushers, and they were all related somehow! They also cornered us on the way out since we were obvious newcomers. So she asked a friends of her's who has lived in the area if there were any other good churches around. Emily's friend recommended La Grange Bible Church. It is about 15 minutes away (which really isn't far) and seem like a nice small church. We decided to go to the 8:15am service since Emily was worried a later service would eat away at the middle of our day. Well, right away I screwed things up a bit by causing us to be late... but luckily we hadn't missed anything. The second we sit down in the sanctuary, the worship leader speaking asks everyone to stand up and hug one another. Emily's eyes went wide and she whispered to me "I'm not comfortable with this!" in her typical silly way. We survived. The church band was good, even had a trumpet player. The pace of the songs seemed a bit slow though and I remember thinking that it was an older crowd. They don't want to overwhelm the older patrons with fast paced songs. Of course Emily says she has seen some pretty hoppin' old people in church before. The guy leading the singing I thought was the pastor: Ross Bacon. Wrong. He was just the worship leader but I liked him. He was very casual and had a kind of back yard footbal and burger grilling dad feel to him. Ross Bacon seemed to fit as a name too. But the real Ross Bacon came out and was nothing like I expected. He was basically Mr. Rogers with a Jesus addiction. He had a very soft and round face and was dressed in a suit. His hair was gray and it felt like he stressed things he talked about by speaking in an airy whisper. Don't get me wrong! He was a good pastor and was very passionate about his message, but the way he delivered it made Emily and I chuckle.
"What do you do or say when you don't know what to do or say?" he said is a very whispery voice. Pastor Bacon told a few local stories of tragedies like a mother being hit by a car a few blocks from the church, a man backing out of his drive way and running over his child, and a child who couldn't sleep and went for a late night bike ride just to be run over by an off-duty cop. When you go to the wake or the funeral, "what do you say or do if you don't know what to say or do?"
His answer came from the book of Job. Nothing. You do nothing. Just go an be with them. Like Job's three friends who ripped their clothes and poured dirt on their heads, they then sat with Job and no one spoke for 7 days. It's a good message. Pastor Bacon continued to talk about that if you are compelled to say anything, just say that, "you feel bad for them, and you love them, and that you're their for them." He repeated this phrase as well as the title phrase "what do you do..." multiple times and in the same whispery voice.
The pastor also talked about what happens if you do talk to those who are suffering and try to provide answers or anything else. He took from Job again as he described how God was made at Job's three friends for saying things that were untrue about God to Job.
It was good. Both Emily and I now are interested in looking more into Job again and we enjoyed ourselves. We didn't stand out too much and no one cornered us as we left. It had a lot of qualities that my old church in Battle Creek had, but we've decided to keep our eye out for other churches. We will probably go to this church until we find something else though, because there was nothing really wrong with this church. We're just looking for something younger. Emily also prefers a church that is more hoppin' like a pentecostal, while I would go for anything as long as I can truly identify with the pastor.
So, we continue the search for a church! But we're going to keep this one on our list!
La Grange Bible Church website