I remember going to First Love Ministries for the first time. I was really uncomfortable. The charismatic tone of the worship was off putting for the likes of me—a traditional Southern Baptist. I did find something there that I had not really had before; a feeling of being wanted and accepted. A man named Charlie quite literally reached out to me and grabbed my arm. He told me that he loved me. I wept hard that night.
So I went back and regained my faith in that little house tucked away in Perry, Ga. Yet, the truth is that it was a forced fit. I loved the people. I met God weekly in the faces of that community; however, worship was strained for me. I wanted to force God to show himself to me as I watched those around me experience the fullness of the Spirit. I was a dry well. It’s not that I didn’t believe that Holy Spirit was moving in their life; on the contrary, I could see them living it out in their love for people. I am just a cynic. If it was going to happen to me it was going to have to be real. So dry.
Throughout this seminary experience Charley and I stuck with the familiar. We attended a wonderful little Baptist church in town. However, when we felt the need to move on from that community we decided to stop and rethink our understanding of church. I have always felt drawn to form. I was the goof who loved the rituals of my fraternity more than the parties. In my faith, this also holds true. My Baptist background gave me a love for the Word, but left me wanting for worship; my time at First Love gave me worship, but left me wanting for direction; and my time in seminary humbled my dogma, but left me wanting for a practical faith.
For me, a lot happens in my head. I am drawn to compelling exegesis, worship that speaks to my experience, and the bigger picture of my faith—the community of believers, past and present. I love feeling the connection with my faith in the tangibles too. After a few months sabbatical from church, Charley and I visited higher liturgical confessions. Through prayer, trial visits, meetings with trusted advisors, and ultimately, our comfort, we settled in at St. Aiden’s Anglican church. I no longer feel like a dry well. Instead, my prayer life has taken off. I reflect on God throughout my day. I meet God in worship with my entirety—the physical and spiritual. I feel a level of comfort in approaching God that I have never known before. Don’t get me wrong it’s not an infallible practice, but I have discovered a freedom in this form, this holy work.