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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bloggy Biz & A Minority Moment

First, let me say thank you so, so much for sharing in the joy of the Rye family. I also feel quite in awe of your many creative name suggestions for their new addition. You completely eased my mind. I believe I felt almost as much stress about her bloggy name as SongOfSixpence and the King felt about selecting her REAL name. How silly am I? But I'll be sure to let y'all know this little one's name on Thursday, when she makes her Official Debut. Y'all may even be allowed to see a picture or two. I'll ask...

Second, I wanted to share with y'all a bit about our Church Search. If you aren't much for God Talk, I want you to keep reading anyway. Please.

You may laugh.

Some of you perhaps remember that we've been wandering in a spiritual desert for a few months years now. We've visited a few local churches this summer and have truly enjoyed the services, but we are taking it slow in terms of making any long-term decisions. Two Sundays ago we drove a bit further than usual to attend a Chinese Christian Church.

Yes, one where the three services are in Mandarin, Cantonese or English.

We attended the English service because we thought - oh, I don't know - that it might be helpful if we could follow along in the service. Unfortunately, the Husband really enjoys sharing with others that I'm a second-year Mandarin student. Basically that means I can mimic Mei Mei, Ling and Jade fairly well, complete with appropriate pauses and intonations. I can also sing a few children's songs using my brilliantly tone-deaf voice.

Other than that, I completely stink at the language, despite the best efforts of my Mandarin teachers ShanghaiSweetie and BeijingBoy.

I'm just not that bright, y'all.

Since I'm practically failing my Mandarin class, I'm sure you understand why I sometimes feel a Tremendous Urge to kill the Husband kick the Husband in the shins when he Announces To Others that I speak the language. I kid. Not really. I kicked him in the shins quite a lot that Sunday. I also did a bit more physical damage. Here's why...

We walked into the English service not knowing what to expect. I felt as nervous as a gal on a blind date. The Tongginator appeared a bit nervous as well. When we entered the narthex, the Husband and I immediately thought of moths pinned to a collection. We stood amid a crowd of Chinese-Americans, two of only six Caucasians in the entire room.

Everyone was so, so friendly. And so, so curious.

A very kind college-aged gal helped us find the Tongginator's Sunday School room. The Tongginator clung to me a bit on the way there, but when we walked into the room, her whole body relaxed as she looked around and saw only Asian-American faces. She waved me away with a smile.

I returned to find the Husband sitting in a pew about halfway down. The service began and I really found myself lost in the Word. I also noticed the many cultural references to China and the Chinese-American community. And the message? It was about finding joy in all circumstances... of course something I totally needed to hear.

After the message, the pastor requested that visitors stand to introduce themselves. I must confess something... usually the Husband and I duck and cover during these moments. Usually the Husband and I Ignore The Pastor.

I knew we couldn't do that this time.

The Husband forgot.

I sat there, waiting for the Husband to stand and introduce us. The Husband sat there, waiting for the moment to pass. So completely oblivious (can you say "engineer?"), the Husband didn't realize that everyone -- and I do mean EVERYONE -- stared at us. The pastor stared at us. The worship team stared at us. The people sitting in front of us even turned in their seats to stare at us.

The Husband remained clueless.

I elbowed him (hence the additional physical damage).

And that's when he stood.

Did I mention moths pinned to a collection?

We experienced a warm welcome. We enjoyed the message and overall worship experience. The Tongginator loved, loved, loved her Sunday School class. We will return.

And I can't help but wonder if this is how the Tongginator feels (or will feel)... like a moth pinned to a collection.


prechrswife said...

I'm glad to hear you had a great experience. :-) This sounds very promising. As for standing up and introducing yourself, I feel the same self-conscious way about that. (In fact, the church where we are now used to do that, and dh made the change away from that as soon as he could. :-) )

Lisa and Tate said...

This is so interesting. I think it is wonderful you possibly have found your place for worship AND it provides Ms Tong with being in the majority. Where I live (SLC)there really is not an option of a huge diverse crowd. Just makes me think how I can provide more "same" time for Tate.


Growin' with it! said...

oh boy..finding a church home...not easy. so happy for you all that you found a warm place. although the standing up deal? i would've been under the pew!

happy day to you and your cute girl!

Carla said...

I have considered joining the Chinese Christian church here, but wonder how the boys would react. I know Katie and I would be fine...but the boys I'd worry about. Wonder if there is a church with a good diversity?

I would LOVE to change churches, but not sure if we ever will.

Georgia Peach said...

This sounds like a very cool experience for all three of you. I love the idea of you switching vantage points with the Tongginator - allowing her experience:
- being in the "majority"
- loving someone who is outside the homogeny

But then she's four-ish and all that will be just implied knowledge.

I suspect that you and TH may gain even more from this experience. I am interested to see where this goes.

Anxiously awaiting an end to your walk through the desert, and still praying that you find a loving church family.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Sounds like you might have finally found your place....I knew in time you would find the right one!

Good luck....how did The Tongginator feel after the first day in Sunday School?


delucchi family said...

Hi, love your blog. We are a family of 6 and can never visit a new church without being seriously noticed. Kids being happy at sunday school is a big deal, but a good message and a great worship is important too. We are looking too, keep praying a door will open soon.
Love and God bless

Kate said...

Oh I could really FEEL you in this post. We have been wandering in that desert ourselves....but not for much longer...I can feel it!

Your husband, the engineer, sounds oh so much like my husband in the clueless department...they could share wife induced injury stories, I feel certain!

I have to say...you seem pretty darn smart from the outside looking in...Mandarin kicked my butt too and I gave up...it was hopeless...but you are sticking it out.....impressive!!

You make me smile TM....


Lanxi said...

I too hope you find a place where you all can be comfortable!

We have friends who split time with an Ethiopian church so that their daughter will still get to experience worship with people like her.

Sharie said...

I envy you for having the guts to try new churches at all.
I was raised Catholic, 13 years of Catholic school even. I've gone through spurts in my life where the formal church has been important to me, but I haven't actively gone to church since Amelia came home 3 years ago.
I keep saying I'm going to explore other churches, but I'm scared...not sure where to start and with it being just the two of us I'm intimidated.
You may have just given me the "push" I need to get started.

Michelle said...

Funny story. I can just picture the people in front of you turning around to stare at you.

My husband and I have moved so much and we, too, were searching for a church and found the most perfect church for us early last year. We were both raised in conservative Methodist churches (not that there is anything wrong with that!) and now we attend a Baptish church, "Southern Baptist" apparently. (Can I get an Amen?) It has been such a blessing to find a church the whole family feels at home in.

happygeek said...

If ever there was a time for shin kickin' this was it.
Gotta love the stand and introduce yourself time. (cough)

Amy said...

I'm glad to "meet" another Maryland blogger. Thanks for checking out my blog and for the comment. I've enjoyed reading yours.

Amie said...

wow... never thought about it from the moth pinned to the collection perspective.. funny, but really makes you think.

And , I'm sorry, but I was ROTFLMBO at this story... hilarious.

I hope you guys make it back and your husband doesn't get hurt this time. But if you need to , I'm all for that. Isn't that why God gave us elbows?


Misty said...

sigh. i hate going to new churches. does that make me a bad christian? lol. can't wait to hear more on your experiences!

discombobulated said...

Wow! Glad it was a positive experience. Great that Piglet can slide right in. I would have been humiliated being forced to introduce myself. It brings back the butterflies-in-the--stomach feeling on the first day of class when you had to go around the room and say who you are and why you were taking the class. "Umm, hi? My name is Discombobulated (blush, blush) and I am taking this class because I need it to graduate?"