Quandary: a state of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation.
Thank you for all the responses so far on Swiss Cheese. It has been enlightening to get every one's input and thoughts. Here are some things for me to clarify about myself since I think I left holes or questions. First, may I say, I have inquired with a pastor at an ELCA Lutheran church nearby. I am also involved in a dialogue with my current minister. Bug and I have thought perhaps we might continue to go to adult Bible study (Wednesdays) at the current church and help out in the activities when needed, but progress toward the other for youth opportunities and worship. It's a thought. Bug is the only yoot at our current church. Plus, I guess we are used to communion every Sunday, the Lord's Prayer, Nicene Creed, Apostle's creed, sharing the peace, confirmation classes, and other church activities. We miss those things.
A) It's funny how when I was first a cop, I never lied. I never even omitted things to anyone. I had a lieutenant tell me I would never make it as a cop if I didn't use the tricks of the trade. I defied his orders for a long time. He was right, actually. I was ineffective with the bigger thugs. Then, I viewed it as an act. I was an actor going into the interview room and the one who played the game the best won. That was literally ineffective as well. In 2003, I found my way to being a very effective interrogator and interviewer. I did lie sometimes. Sometimes I used props like face videos, audios, or evidence which really wasn't found in order to sway the bad guys' thoughts and often it would be effective in getting a confession. Did I feel good about it? No, not at first. Later, it didn't bother me. I don't think that is a good thing. I think it posed a conflict with me, but I just kept keeping on. I put a lot of bad guys in jail. We also saved a lot of children. In that sense, I can only ask God's forgiveness. Is that wrong to celebrate those achievements, knowing how they were accomplished? I did nothing illegal. I did nothing wrong in eyes of the court. However, was it against God's law? Yes.
B) Halloween-American Octoberfest. Thank you, Russian Bear. That is how I have tried to describe things to the pastor, but he disagrees. It has ended up with him heated and angry and me deflated, Bug sad. I guess that is how it goes.
C) When I talked about politics in church, I should have expanded. I attend Bible study once in a while and I go there to study the Bible, the book. Often, it gets interrupted for their views of election favorites, judging only on the candidates Christian background and bringing up other world political topics. Now, some of this is just going to cross over because of Christian organizational efforts around the world and the conflict in the middle east. ISIS has been brought up every time. I can live with that. What wears on me is when I walk away from Bible study with no discussion or study on the book itself. This is something I am bringing up to the minister. I have tried in the past, but there are a couple that just go off on tangents and you can't stop them. Bless their hearts.
D) As far as gay rights. I don't think we exclude them from church if we are to love our neighbor. I also think condemning them loudly by pounding on the podium is awful and hateful toward them. Why would they attend church? At one time it was classified as deviant behavior by modern medicine and has since been taken out of that definition. I love my gay friends. I also believe in the Bible. Yet, how can I do both? They are who they are. So here is the dilemma--you can't change a gay person's sexual orientation. That is who they are. It is God's place to judge. So if you preach to them every Sunday to try to "fix" them or "change them", you are going to completely alienate them. What do you do?
E) Criminals in church, sex offenders in youth groups. I don't advocate for any sins-big or small. However, we cannot exclude the people who sin from church. That is why they are there. They bring in homeless people and people fresh out of jail and do not preach to them every Sunday about crime, alcoholism, or whatnot. Sure, some specifics get brought up from time to time when it applies to the sermon or the story in the Bible. I just think you alienate someone when EVERY sermon targets that particular sin. It's like every sermon lately has been to denounce Halloween. That is why we didn't go last Sunday. I didn't want to hear it again. Maybe I'm wrong about that.
F) I actually persuaded my church to protect the children and itself from liability during youth activities, VBS, and church camps, that they should do background checks on chaperones and teachers. They did not hesitate. I was proud of this. I also did some training with them so it would not appear to be offensive to any parishioner. No one disagreed and all was and has been well.
G) Confirmation classes. I want Bug to go through confirmation classes and she has been asking about that and youth activities. If she is embracing those things, I don't want to deprive her of it. I want to give her the opportunities which our current church does not have.
H) The water into wine thingy with the minister. This is something I don't agree with his interpretation. I also agree Jesus would not lead us to sin. I don't think drunkenness is good at all. I also do not have a problem with the minister not drinking any alcohol. It just gave me a sinking feeling that the story in the Bible was changed to fit someone's belief and not really how God intended or at least how I was brought up and how I learned the same story. Maybe I am also wrong about that.
The other stuff is work mixing in with my Christian beliefs. I am really getting worn down on being politically correct to the point that we allow foreign students to disrespect the American flag or don't take action when they do things that are illegal or display dangerous behavior. That is the cop and the Christian in me.