Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vacation Bible School

Last weekend a church down the (Monster) hill from me brought around invitations to their VBS. It was only from Wed - Fri. I decided the kids should go. So we took them down there. It turned out to be a black church, which I don't mind, but my kids were the only white kids there so I worried all night that they (Launa especially) would say something along the lines of, "Everyone here is black." Because she, especially, is still very curious about different people, and also I forgot to threaten them before we dropped them off. So when I arrived, they were just sitting don to dinner (Dinner?! If I'd known they were going to feed them, I wouldn't have!). I asked the people on charge if they behaved themselves, and they said they were really good. I told them that I forgot to threaten the kids before I dropped them off, and they all laughed, so I think that was a good sign. They asked if the kids were coming back, and I was afraid to commit in case the kids didn't want to. When we got home I asked them how they liked it, and they said they had a really good time and would like to go back. So I guess I'll take them back. They learned about Gideon and the torch and the horn. Can't argue with that.


Dana Cheryl said...

I've never heard of a VBS that feeds the kids DINNER! Wow. We just had the obligatory cookies & lemonade. Oh the last day we had hotdogs & we thought that was cool.

Man! Why did the Black Church have to be all the way across town when I was growing up?! I missed out!!

VBS... So many good memories!

Mary said...

LOL! Yeah, the kids had a blast, so I think I'll just feed them a snack before they go today so they can have dinner with them.

They came home with apples, like 6 pint sized boxes of chocolate milk, glow bracelets (to represent the torches and horns from Gideon) and little party favor horn things. I got there, and they were upstairs finishing up the music, and Launa was shaking her booty. Good times.

Dana Cheryl said...

What a fabulous VBS! I wish that more "black" & "white" churches would combine for projects like mission trips & VBS & holiday dinners, etc... My county was pretty segregated but not because of any particularly bad racial tension. I think that we didn't know how to reachout to one another. Looking back if I were still employed by the Baptist Church I'd work toward organizing some things like that. :)

Mary said...

That is a great idea! I should talk to my FIL about that! He has said so many times that he wants to have people of all races in our church, but if our way is not the same as they like (and it seems to be that way, we're rockier in our worship, etc...) there's no reason that we can't collaborate with each other across racial lines. Our new building has a LOT of land for example, and this church does not, it would be really cool if we could do cookouts and Easter Egg hunts and that kind of thing together. You're so smart! I'm gonna have to think about this.....

Dana Cheryl said...

Nah I'm not that smart I just spent years working at a Baptist church while preparing for my appointment to the IMB. I think you're right on about worships styles. Folks connect to God in ways that are very deeply personal to them. Some people love hymns & need them. Others prefer choruses. Others flat out Gospel every Sunday. Despite those things we can still come together for special events like Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas programs & serve mission trips together & combine VBS or have volleyball teams etc... The possiblities are limitless & really exciting.

I know one church that has a full Jewish passover feast. People from other congregations come to it & I cannot express how amazing that celebration it. Everyone left feeling more connected to the Savior & His life. Incredible!

Eyepoke said...

So why dont white people go to that church?

The couple of experiences I have had with black churches have all been bad, so I am suspicious of a congregation where race is factor (intentionally a factor or just incidently a factor, I tend to think it doesn't matter).

Dana Cheryl said...

Traditionally black & white congregations were legally separated until segregation ended. Congregations by then were firmly established on both sides.

Unlike the LDS church where a person's congregation is determined by location evangelical christian churches are selected based most usually on denomination first & then worship style. However having family firmly entrenched within the congregation plays a big, big part as well.

People are very reluctant to leave a congregation because so much of an individual's social status is wrapped up into it. Morever for some it's because certain people wield a lot of decision making power in their congregations & they're not likely to give it up.

Church attendence is as much of a cultural issue in my hometown for the Baptists as it is for LDS people in the "bubble". Which is why conversion is so horrific in a lot of cases. It leaves a person such as myself without a sense of belonging as I will never fully belong to the LDS culture. (For example I have never had a strong desire to get married & have kids. That right there separates me in ways that may never be bridged. I'll NEVER fit into the social structure of any ward because of it. Right now I have the singles ward but that will end. Also I hate the singles ward and I'm not comfortable within it's odd structure. I absolutely HATE it but there's not a lot of options. And that's just one example. There are many the way I pray, the words I use in reference to the Gospel, etc...) Yet my acceptance of The Book of Mormon as scripture and Joseph Smith as a prophet will forever and always divide me from the culture which is most inheritantly my own & in which I feel most comfortable.

There is deeply rooted animosity within black & white churches as well. As was in the case in my "white" church. I heard the "N" word used more than once by leaders of my congregation. The small town "white" churches aren't always welcoming even if some of the "black" churches are and vice versa of course.

However things are dramatically changing. A big shift has occurred in the last ten years. It's important to note that one of the founding tennants of my particular Baptist denomination was a belief in the validity of the practice of slavery as a God given right. Racism runs deeply both ways but again it is changing for the better.

New churches (sometimes within old denominations) are being started & those are the best hope in achieving a thriving and truly racially diverse congregation.

Well MC I co-opted your blog for a bit? Can ya tell that I was educated at a private Southern Baptist University in theology?! LOL! I know you'll have a lot of valuable insight as well.

Renae said...

Hey Dana, you can sit next to me at church anytime. (Don't know that you'd want to during sacrament meeting much though - it's rather noisy, and my boys are constantly fighting over who gets to sit on me.)

Mary, did you tell them what you had forgotten to threaten them about? lol! When we were kids, my cousin totally embarrassed her dad by saying (in a very black accent) "ey Man, wuz happenin?!" to a black client of his. She didn't realize that she was being rude; she just figured that's how black people talk.

Dana Cheryl said...

Thanks Nae! I'd be happy to sit beside ya any day. LOL.

I really have great friends in my ward it's just that I'll never quite be a part of the LDS culture. For now the singles ward is just awkward. I'm being very honest when I say that I get the same vibe from church that I do from clubbing. Eek! Of course church is far more spiritual but there is that element of dressing to impress the opposite sex of not quite "being yourself" of being obviously "checked out" & "rated"... It's weird! So weird!! I get the exact same nervous feeling in my stomach when I'm getting ready for church as I do when I'm getting ready to go to a party. Church has always been a comfort to me. A refuge. In some ways it's just an extension of Saturday night.

I tried a family ward but I didn't fit in there either. All the girls my age are married with kids & that is wonderful but there isn't a place for girls like me. I was told every single Sunday to go to a single's ward by someone or the other.

What I miss is the intergrated church experience. I miss being a part of a very diverse congregation. Old, young, single, married, career oriented, not career oriented, just everything together with groups within the larger whole designed to meet individual needs. I liked that. It's my culture & I miss it. I dont' like being separated, shuffled off somewhere else. Oh well. If I had come on from the mission & gotten married within two months like a lot of my companions then I'm sure I'd have a whole other set of struggles. lol!!

Oh dear. You're poor cousin Renae! Well I should say your poor cousin's dad! I hope he didn't loose his client. Although I get the feeling that people are far more overly sensitive today than in decades past. :)

Dana Cheryl said...

p.s. I love Fraggle Rock!!!!!

Eyepoke said...

Hey Dana, is the ward you are talking about; is it in Utah? Because if so it doesn't count. Those people are wacked. Or if they are not, they should be.

Sorry life is so wierd for you. Try not to stress. You rule the school.

Mary said...

Wow! I'm sorry I haven't been around for a couple of days awesome discussion!

John: I think it's more a matter of comfort. They feel like outsiders in a white dominated church, and we feel like outsiders in a black dominated church. The cultures are very different.

DC: It's okay that you 'co-opted' my blog, I think you have a good understanding of both churches since you're the 'insider' to both. :) You probably had better answers for everyone all the way around. And I like Fraggle Rock too!

'Nae: No. I let them think I meant manners. :) And yeah, that is funny about your cousin.

Dana Cheryl said...

Yeah J the ward of which I speak is located withinn the "Mother Ship" as I call it. LOL. Ya know I hate to sound superior in any way but you're right UT Mormon culture is whacked! Seriously.

Thanks MC for allowing me to be your non-invited guest blogger. lol.

I think we should name our compound Fraggle Rock!!

Mary said...

Good idea! I never thought about making sure that our compound had a name! I, who name everything (a habit picked up from my dad), forgot to think of a name for our compound! Good idea. This is why we're friends, DC. Because you always catch what I miss! (While some might find that annoying, the constant reminder that they are fallible, I find it comforting, because it is hard to be the best and smartest person I know all the time. It's nice to have someone almost as awesome as me out there. ;) )

Dana Cheryl said...

I tell ya MC... Our combined greatness eclipses even the sun! lol!!

Mary said...

Hey, the in-laws took us out to lunch after church yesterday, and we saw some of the people from this church there. They recognized us first (probably because of the kids) and waved. It took me a second before I put the place with the faces, but I got it, and we said hi to each other. They laughed at me, because I didn't hide the dawning of recognition very well, but what can ya do? It was nice to see them. :)