This actually may be a 40 part series since I only get a few minutes to put up a post! And there are a few threads to tie in as well.
One thing is that in trying to find a suitable church, and not finding anything in the evangelical mainstream, we looked at a few alternatives theologically. One was the Catholics.
The thing that drew me to Catholicism was initially that they are so much more positive towards children and large families. We used to have a Catholic thriftstore near us that I would go to every so often. Once a lady was helping me and she glanced outside and noticed all my blessings sitting on the lawn outside waiting for me. And so she started to count. I think it was 7 at the time. Her eyebrows raised and she said "7 children?" "
"Yes," I answered, feeling tired and not in the mood for all the following questions that usually ensued.
"Well, you're just getting started, she said, "I had 15."
I coulda hugged her.
So I listened to some Catholic radio and learned a lot more about them and their theology. I actually learned a lot and I'm glad that I did. I was really tempted for a while to be Catholic. We did park in a Catholic church and stared at each other once. I did feel like they had some points that we Protestants are really weak in. (Besides the view of children.) One was the centrality of communion. I hadn't had communion in probably years. At our church it was tucked away in the evening service (probably so only the "commited Christians" would show up for it.) once every three months. And those little thimbles of grape juice. It felt almost like we were embarassed of the whole thing.
Another was the use of litergy. A lot of times I've heard Protestants refer to liturgy as "empty ritualism". But I noticed that even my low-key charasmatic church had a liturgy; stand, sing one praise song, a hymn included in the bulletin, another praise, greet your neighbor, sit, sing about 3-4 more praise songs, pastor takes pulpit, stand sing one more, sit for sermon. Well, that is a liturgy of sorts. Just not a very interesting one. So why not have a liturgy?
Also, I was listening to the afternoon mass on Catholic radio. I noticed that certain parts of it would float through my mind through the day. One part was when the priest would sing "For the sake of His sorrowful passion..." then the congregation would return "Have mercy on us, and on the whole world." I liked having this little meditation going on in my head. I felt it kind of helped me to remember to pray during the day.
But in the end I knew I couldn't be Catholic. I couldn't go along with papal infallibility.
What to do, what to do.
Now I have to go get the cookies out of the oven.
(Oh, and by way of disclaimer-this is the meanderings of my own mind at the time. Not a critique of anyone who likes praise songs or thimbles of grape juice. OK? :)