And, inevitably, the state of my Florida church membership. Or rather, lack thereof.
Apparently, my dad (and some of my extended family) are convinced that the success or failure of my life in Florida is wholly dependent on whether or not I hold membership at a Bible-believing, Bible-practicing church (read: IFB). It's the only way to make friends (for myself and the kids), and the only way for me to have a community. Apparently.
But I know it's more than that. According to my dad, you can't be a Christian if you don't attend church services. Ideally, three or more times a week. (Of course, Sunday school and morning worship count as once because, you know, you can't just go to one or the other. It has to be both.) The fact that I am not regularly attending a church and haven't applied for membership at a church means I'm not living as a good Christian. Chances are, he's worried I'm backsliding* and at risk of doing something stupid like becoming an atheist.
Really, it's another reminder of how important that aspect of life is to my dad and his family. In my family's eyes, finding a new home church when you move is on the same level as getting a new driver's license and changing your address.
But it's not about finding a community or making new friends, or even finding "good people." It's about following the rules.
Christians go to church.
In my dad's mind, I'm not really settled here until I have a home church and attend regularly. Until I'm a member and tithe my income. Not to grow as a person but to do the right things.
It's too bad the people pushing me to find a church aren't concerned with what the "right things" really should be.
*For those not in on the lingo, "backsliding" is the term that applies to someone who is a born-again Christian but is making choices that are not in line with the teachings of the church, and behaving like a non-Christian. This can apply to anything from rejecting church teachings to drinking alcohol to women wearing pants depending on the particular teachings of the church.