LincolnHerald.net
June 06, 2014
6/5/2014 2:03:00 PM
Summer Camp Exploding With Fun!

Lori Richelle Myers
Staff Reporter

LINCOLNTON – KIDS ROCK, the area’s newest fun center for kids is booming with excitement because their awesome SUMMER CAMP program KAMP ROCK is ready to blast off!
This summer will be full of lots of ooey gooey, exploding, splish-splashing fun as they add a full service day camp to the already super-exciting environment they have established for kids.
The camp will offer supervised activities that will include art, music, science, etiquette, sports and much, much more!
The camp offers both daily and weekly rates and includes all activities and lunch each day. Camp hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but early drop off and late pick is available for a small additional charge.
There are camps for kids ages 5-12, there are limited spots for older children that would like to participate in the role of Junior Counselor and there is also a camp with half-day and full day options for toddlers and preschoolers.
If you have not visited KIDS ROCK you should stop by and check out all they have to offer. The facility is full of fun bounce houses, arcade games, indoor mini-golf and they even have a great area for parents to relax or even take advantage of the exercise equipment provided to get fit as the kids enjoy their adventure.
For more information or to register for this amazing camp experience please call (980) 429-5198, visit KIDS ROCK at 1585 N. Aspen Street, next to Rock Fitness, or visit the website at http://www.kamprock.com

Advertisements

Get you some…happiness that is!

People too often live a happy life on the outside for the sake of pleasing everyone around them when inside they are miserable. The sad part is that no matter how much you fake a smile eventually the misery shines through and those that really love you can see it. Life is too short to not be happy and let the others in your life be happy too! Sometimes we have to make the unselfish gift of letting others go so they can be happy and in return we get happiness too! Never hold on to someone for money, success, etc. Hold on for love because that’s the only thing that will outlast everything else and without love you really have nothing!

I’ve walked in those shoes…

I’ve walked in those shoes…

All through life I have heard that you can never know how you would really react until something happens to you or you shouldn’t judge folks until you have walked in their shoes. I, being the the uber-independent, I can do anything and control any emotion, person that I am had never really fallen victim to that myth. I have been in many situations in my life that I had seen devastate others by causing them to carry wounds that, in my opinion, they refused to let heal.  Being that I had overcome these same situations, I saw them as just weak people, not because they were not as strong as me, but more because they had evidently been shorted when it came to having the skills or coping mechanisms that help us to overcome diversity. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t judge them for being weak; I just didn’t get it and always questioned things. I always felt comfortable with my view of this, because since I had walked in their shoes, and I survived, why couldn’t they just suck it up and move on? Why did they seem to use these horrid experiences as crutches that kept them from moving forward in their lives? Why did they let the past, dictate their future? Well, well, well this girl has finally had a big fat dose of sobering reality that has answered these questions for me, as well as, made me realize that we are never prepared for everything no matter how much we convince ourselves that we are. First, let me state that I am a super empathetic person, I am a person who wants to help anyone I can even if it means that I get hurt or lose something in the process. I do feel sympathetic to anyone who is hurting, regardless of the cause of their pain. What I never realized is that the “toughness” or “ability to cope” and the willingness to “help” that I was so proud of, would end up being some of my worst enemies. Yes, I admit it; I am not this strong person that I always knew I was. I admit that the things I knew I would never let happen to me, got past the moat, over the walls, passed the guards and into Loriland. I will also admit that it sucks! The past 3 years of my life have been very life-changing. Having to learn the realities of living with someone with mental illness, having to face the realities of living in fear, dealing with the fact that being an advocate for something doesn’t make you immune to it happening under your own roof, having to deal with the reality of divorce (for the second time), dealing with the deaths of some of the people most dear to you, and facing the fact that the business you had invested blood, sweat, tears and every dime you had into was just not in that “great plan of success” you concocted after all, all of this takes a huge toll on a person. I have been asked many times, how I kept going, why I didn’t break, all the normal mumbo-jumbo questions people ask when they know you’re having it rough. My reply was always “God, He keeps me going and I know He won’t let me break”. You see my faith is my strength, I always know that God is here for me, He really does keep me going. It wasn’t until another thing happened in my life recently that I realized that my always believing that God wouldn’t let me break, was about as correct of an assumption as me assuming that I can click my heels together and end up in Kansas. This situation was one of those “I’m not stupid, that will never happen to me” situations. Keyword there “Never”! You know they say never say “never”? Well pay attention here people… seriously, NEVER SAY “NEVER”! One of the best things that ever happened in my life has turned into the thing that finally “broke” me and I have learned that yes indeed God will give us more than we can handle; He will let us break, He will make us yell at him and ask “Why?”, He will let us hurt, cry, beg and pray for hours and hours, days and days, months and months.  He will make you feel like you are being punished, or that life is just some super cruel joke and the joke is on you. He will make you doubt yourself, He will make you doubt others, He will make you miserable but He will not forsake you! He will teach you that even if you break, He will put you back together, it may be a slow process, but you will come back together. The good thing is that once you let Him repair you, you are even stronger than before because He is now the glue that holds you together. I had to learn that feeling like this and getting frustrated, yelling and questioning God is OK to do. After all Jesus did the same thing. As he was hanging on the cross, he finally broke; he yelled out to God “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  The thing is that we have to trust God to put us back together, I mean we have to trust enough to overpower the doubt that the bad experiences have dealt us. Jesus died for us to believe we can be put back together, I have always believed he died just for us to be saved from sin, so that we can make it through those pearly gates into Heaven, blah, blah, blah, but now I believe that he died so that we would not only see that we can break but that we would know that we can be put back together. Put back together so that we can be stronger, so that we can then use the gift of faith, a faith that gets stronger through terrible experiences, and if you’re smart you realize that it gets stronger through the amazing blessings of great experiences too. With this faith, we learn to believe in the goodness of mankind, we learn to love unconditionally, give with all of our hearts and we learn that God has some amazing plan that we MUST trust him to guide us to. I have realized that I have finally suffered a real heartbreak for the first time in my life, but the good part is that now that my heart is broken, God will heal it, He will put it back together, stronger than ever, which means it will make the perfect reinforced gift for some lucky guy! I understand now why people don’t get over things, I think it is because they haven’t realized that the same God that let them break will fix them, they just have to trust Him, as hard as it is, it will really work. Believing is seeing… it’s that simple. I am glad that I got to walk in someone else’s shoes, and for the first time, I am glad that I have walked in Jesus’ shoes, and I finally broke.  I am thankful that I have learned this hard lesson; after all he walked in mine, just so I could survive this crazy life and SURVIVE I WILL!!

Lori RICHELLE Myers

Host, Journalist and Entrepreneur- Living a New Adventure Everyday! Writing & Talking about all things FUN in the worlds of Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Motorcycles and the Romance sometimes hidden in there somewhere!

For Appearance Booking Information Visit: www.RICHELLEMYERS.com

RichelleMyers.tumblr.com Twitter/Instagram: @ohforkitslori.com Copyright 2014 Lori Richelle Myers Visit RichelleMyers.com for usage permission

Finding the (free) WILL to LOVE…

Finding the (free) WILL to LOVE…

In preparation for Valentine’s Day and I suppose being that I am a glutton for punishment being a single girl, I wanted to go ahead and start some research for an article that I am working on about the topic “Love at First Sight”. So in true “social media addict” fashion I posted my request for input on my facebook page.

Immediately, I started getting comments and inbox messages from folks expressing whether they do or don’t believe (more to come on that in a later blog) but it was a message from a friend, someone that I consider a very dear friend, that set off an emotional roller coaster ride for this girl that sent me up and down through some thoughts, that after some further discussion, led me to share my thoughts with those of you who might, just might, get what I mean when I say that I think I have met the “right person at the wrong time” and the “wrong person at the right time” so many times.

It has been just recently that I have FINALLY decided to believe what God has been trying to prove to me for a very long time and that is that NOTHING IS RANDOM, NOTHING IS COINCIDENCE. I didn’t just decide this, it actually kept coming at me so loud and clear that finally I was like “whoa! Okay, God I got it!” I often try so hard to figure out why something happened only to suddenly dismiss it as coincidence. Then out of sight, out of mind, and who cares why it happened, what happened anyway?  Well that was then…like I said, now I get it!

As for relationships, you meet this person, in this place, at this time, and, if you are like I was, whether good or bad, you pass it off as coincidence, an experience that just happens to everyone. So what happens when you stop and think about what these meetings set into motion? What if that simple meeting set off an emotion that awakened the imagination, and the dreams of someone? What if that simple meeting set off an emotion that awakened your imagination and your dreams? What if that simple meeting set off an emotion that awakened the imagination and the dreams that are those that you and the other person are destined to share? This is where my great dilemma and thus the question of timing and fear seem to consume me, and would often leave me just shaking things off in the past. Timing… We hear it all the time, right place wrong time and vice versa… uuuuugghhhhh!   When it comes to meeting people, this crazy timing is happening over and over all day, every single day, people are crossing our paths for all kinds of reasons; we must just learn to pay attention to why they do.  Many people say “sometimes you will just never know why”  you cross paths or things happen and sometimes we don’t, but guess what??? Maybe we should pay a little more attention, because sometimes WE DO know why or at least we CAN figure it out!

After some loud and clear messages from the Man Upstairs, I have started paying attention to a lot more in life. This relationship timing is one of the hardest things for me to “get” especially since I have not just learned to pay attention but  I have also become very aware of how much of an impact our own free will has on what happens in our lives. This message from my friend made me realize this all too well. I realized that the two issues I claim to have as my blockades with relationships, Fear and Timing, are really just one and the same; I have a giant Fear of BAD TIMING! Timing is a beast! Someone will fall in love with you when you are not ready… You will fall in love with someone when they are not ready and in really crappy cases, you will fall in love with someone and they will fall in love with you and then LIFE is just not ready! Timing can definitely be a devil that ruins relationships…   But really is it even timing’s fault? This is where we get to this free will thing and this is where I get to have fun with what I have discovered with ME!

As for you… This is where you get to decide whether to keep reading… If you are a person, like I am, that believes in fate, that our destiny is set and that God has our path already planned out for us, then come on along! I’ll let you know why I feel like I do about this whole LOVE journey I am on… This may matter if you think like me and just want to see what some crazy southern gal thinks about love and her fairytale expectations of it. It may matter if you have dealt with these same issues and just want another view of how I have dealt with and continue to deal with love as I adventure on in this grand life. Finally, it may matter if you are Prince Charming and you are going to sweep me off of my feet one day, knowing how I think may give you a head’s up and hey! reading my blog may even get you brownie points when you come along toting that Glass Slipper!  Ready? Let’s carry on then…

So back to my friend, we had a very, very nice first date. No second date, not because he didn’t ask, but because I liked him. I wasn’t ready to like him. When I read his message to me I realized how much he liked me, he cares about me, and in some way I know he loves me, no he is not in love with me, but I know he loves me, I also know that for some reason, when we crossed paths something sparked an emotion in him that gave him a feeling that will keep us connected in some unique way for the rest of our lives. He knows that I let this FEAR I have interfere with whatever was set to happen with us. Does he completely understand? I don’t know if he does and he probably doesn’t. I don’t totally understand myself and I have been as honest as I know to be about this. What does free will have to do with this? Well, well, well, Ms. Thang here had a very good opportunity, this guy is 100% single, great job, good personality, very cute, and shares one of my biggest passions and that was just a start. Me friend- zoning him probably had Cupid ready to bonk me over the head with his bow and God was probably shaking his head going “Girrrrl what are you thinking? I sent you a good one!” Needless to say, free will allowed me to skip out on this opportunity, I know that I could have stayed, but I felt that in my heart it wasn’t the right thing to do. That’s an example of timing being right for one but not the other, for him he said it was love at first sight but unfortunately and unfairly I went in with my eyes closed and for that I am sorry to him.  I can say that I do understand the other side of that, I have also been on the side of seeing someone and instantly knowing that you are meant to know everything about them. The side of knowing without a doubt that God picked you both up and placed you at the exact same place at the same time for no other reason than for you to meet. That no matter how hard you try to avoid, run, hide or ignore them, the person isn’t leaving your mind.  When you meet someone, the chemistry that can lure you is powerful; you have emotional, intellectual and physical chemistries to deal with. Dealing with these chemistries is where I feel that God deals us our biggest options in exercising these powerful free will choices that cause us to make or break the relationships that He lets us test drive. We know pretty quickly if we have connections or chemistry with someone. I asked several folks about how important chemistry is in their decisions to date or continue dating and surprisingly I received replies ranging from that they are fine as long as there is just a strong physical connection, others could be fine with simply an emotional connection but honestly in my own case, if I am going to enter into a relationship with someone I must have a connection or chemistry on all three levels, period.  I won’t settle for less. I am allowed to walk away if I am not feeling it on all three levels and I have, do and will, because I now know that a full-out complete connection can be had.  That’s me, learning about free will and yes I use it.

I have dealt with a case in which there was no doubt that God placed me at the perfect place at the perfect time with the perfect person for me and I now believe with all of my heart it was so that I could learn about the importance of free will and so that I could pass a test, a test that I most definitely failed. (Yes, insert sad, pouty lipped face here)

I feel that I was supposed to be with this person, he knew me, I knew him, he was my best friend and I his, we were on a good path. God worked, we both made our choices and were doing what we wanted so free will worked, but I still failed! UGH! Do I like this? NO! Do I understand it? Actually…Yes, now I do! It took me a bit, but YES! YES! YES!  I am proud to proclaim that I FINALLY get it! God set me on a path; He gave me a good opportunity that could have turned out much better had I made one simple smarter decision. The fact is, I knew better, I even told myself to make the right decision, but I still screwed up. It is hard when you do this! Harder than hard! In my opinion it’s like I messed up on purpose, I know I didn’t but I might as well have. I KNEW BETTER! GOD GAVE ME THE CHOICE! I MADE THE WRONG ONE! It’s not that I regret it, He doesn’t want me to regret it, what He wants me to do, is learn from it and boy oh boy I have! I should have passed this test! It was even open-book and I failed! DUH! DUH! DUH! Yeah DUH!  Can you tell I don’t like that I failed?

Now, you are probably wondering why a smart girl like me would make a dumb decision that messed up something that she thought was so wonderful.  Luckily for you, I happen to know the answer and I love to share what I know! The truth is that I messed up because that awesome gift of free will doesn’t stop you from being IMPATIENT! It really is FREE WILL and should be called FREE WHEEL, because it has no speed governor, so if you’re not smart you will be barreling wide ass open towards whatever you want and you better be prepared for it and whatever it brings with it when you get it. I prayed and prayed and prayed for this person. God brought us together; perfect timing in our minds, in our hearts, in this case Cupid had fired every arrow and had gone to buy more! The chemistry was amazing! Everything was perfect for us but just not so perfect timing in life itself and instead of letting God work it on out His time, the impatient duo took charge and obviously that didn’t work out too great!

Anyway, I will fast forward through the crybaby, lost my best friend, but he loved me part… The point is God gave me choices, the choice to learn about timing by trusting His and I failed. I will NOT fail that test ever again. Lesson learned!  I learned many things from this relationship, most importantly that I must have patience with God and when it comes to this amazing gift of free will, we must use our brain, common sense and free will’s super smart cousin “conscience” because if we will pay attention to our conscience we will get all of the hints we need to make the right decisions!

I continue to learn through the journeys of my relationships to never just give up on people and because of that I bring these lessons into all of the relationships that I now have, those I hope to continue and those that I hope to gain. I have crossed paths with guys that to this day I remember things like our first touch, first kiss, first walk on the beach. Guys that I am fortunate enough to, that although we didn’t remain “in love” we still, share a kind of love that keeps us friends and gives us bonds that will continue to last for many more years. I love the fact that in the same day I can go from talking to my friend who was one of my very first boyfriends, one I pretended to marry as a kid; talking to my friend who is so brave to share his feelings with this girl that might as well have been wearing a chicken suit on our first date; talking to an amazing guy who from our very first walk on the beach a gazillion years ago still keeps me smiling and believing in the good guys; and talking to a friend who is one of those good guys who cheers me on and lets me know that it’s 110% okay that I am this girl who chases my dreams and believes in fairytales.

I have no clue what tomorrow brings for me, except that I do know that I don’t get a re-do on that test I failed, that was real life. I do know that I can just not make that mistake again. I also know that failing that test did help me in a few good ways so I will grow from the positives found in it. I know that I am smarter for the future from the relationship that was part of that, whether it comes back around or whether it was just for a learning experience to make me a better person for whomever Mr. Right ends up being.  I know that the gift of free will comes with this little bonus gift called “conscience” and if we pay attention when making decisions, regardless of what they are, it is there to guide us. I know that God has us all on a path; I feel that He already has the perfect person picked out for us, the person that we will spend our life with. For some of us, he may have Plan A, B, C or even D or all of the above.  Whatever his plan for me, I will now be smarter in using the gift of free will in my choices whether it is love, or life in general.  I love having free will, but I also love knowing now that I am smarter in my decision making skills. I like knowing that I will not fail from making a poor decision like I did before. I love knowing that a heartbreak gave me strength, and I love knowing that although I said I would never grow up, a big part of me did! Oh I will always be a kid, but emotionally I realized that I am strong enough now to not have to hide behind walls, excuses, or any other bullcrap. This also means I am strong enough to walk away from the same. I honestly believe that I will know pretty fast if I am on the right track with someone and if I don’t think I am, I will just be honest, no need to waste their time or mine. Free will will be my friend! I will pay attention to why people cross my path, and why I cross theirs, there is a reason and if it is for nothing else but to give them something to laugh or smile about, I will make the best while with them, no burning bridges and no spinning wheels!

The best thing we can do is just help each other get where we are going even if it is away from us. I hope that all of you find your paths. I hope that you learn to listen to your heart and your free will becomes your friend. Start thinking about why things happen and the fact that you have choices that affect where you end up. That’s not saying things are always in your control or are your fault, and sometimes other people’s decisions will mess your world up, but you can decide to not let that beat you. Just remember there is hope and a smile in someone out there. We sometimes must change gears, but keep trying and you can get wherever you want to go, the plan is for us to be happy. It’s up to us to believe it and go there!

Lori RICHELLE Myers

Host, Journalist and Entrepreneur- Living a New Adventure Everyday! Writing & Talking about all things FUN in the worlds of Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Motorcycles and the Romance sometimes hidden in there somewhere!

RICHELLEMYERS.com

RichelleMyers.tumblr.com

Twitter/Instagram: @ohforkitslori.com

Copyright 2014 Lori Richelle Myers Visit RichelleMyers.com for usage permission

MY LIFE- A real mission statement

MY LIFE- A real mission statement

Lori Richelle Myers

Chasing dreams, being chased & caught by kids, dogs, mosquitoes & one day Mr. Right, laughing ‘til I cry, crying ‘til I laugh, smiling a lot and spending a lot of time, money and thoughts on good things & good people, collecting & sharing things, especially knowledge, giving things to those less fortunate, giving forgiveness, even to those who may not deserve it, getting forgiveness and getting lucky in life and love, getting ahead of the game, and getting everything I dream of, listening to music and only good gossip, singing in the shower, the car and random bars, dancing with my friends, dancing in the rain, falling, getting up and picking up those who fall, kissing, hugging and loving, saying “please”, “thank you” and “yeah, I will try that”, making sure that people know they matter, believing in people, miracles, fairy tales, and that the best kisses are placed on the forehead and can go straight to the heart, being me, being different, being happy every chance I get, never forgetting that GOD has given me this amazing, awesome life and letting the world know that I am ME because of HIM…This is how I will live…My Life!

Lori Richelle Myers

RichelleMyers.com

RichelleMyers.tumblr.com

Facebook:facebook.com/lorimyers.58

Twitter/Instagram: @OhForkItsLori

Also find me on Linked In & SnapChat

Copyright 2014 Lori Richelle Myers… Please visit RichelleMyers.com for usage permissions

I believe in REAL MEN!

I believe in REAL MEN!

I’ve spent my life fixing things.  Hell I can practically build a house; I can change a tire, change the oil, shoot a deer, bait a hook & build a website. I can cook, clean, dress up or dress down. I can install band-aids, hold hands, dry tears, calm fears, give money, time and hugs to those who struggle. I was wired to be strong, built  to be tough and designed  to love, but now I have realized that I was MADE  to find someone who won’t just sit back and let me do all of these things I do.  I have learned how to do so much mostly because I have had to, results of either my mistakes or the mistakes made by others.  Although sometimes these things are hard to do, I have learned to love doing them. They have made me a better person but, despite popular belief, they have not made me Superwoman in fact they have made me realize how weak I really am, that I need someone to do all of these things for me and with me; someone who wants me to realize that a REAL man, isn’t someone who sits back proudly LETTING you do your own thing. A REAL man won’t LET me be so dang independent, not because he doesn’t believe in me, but because he wants me to BELIEVE in him.  I am just simply not that woman who wants to conquer the world. (However with the right tools and motivation I am sure I could!) I am that woman who wants a REAL man! A real man, who is not just by my side, but who is also sweeping me off of my feet, because he knows that’s what his Superman cape is for. His shining armor will get dinged, but he won’t care, because he likes using it to protect me from harm, hurt and the monsters in the closet. His Prince Charming crown will probably get knocked off a time or two, but he will pick it up and carry on because he knows that he has a person who has walked in his shoes, she is by his side, she will not take his actions for granted because she waited a long time for him and was destined to be the person he saved from this thing called LIFE! Yep! I BELIEVE REAL MEN are the Supermans, Knights in Shining armor and Prince Charmings of the world, they really do exist and no they aren’t all taken! Just as I BELIEVE in Fairy tales and Happily-ever-afters, I BELIEVE in REAL MEN and that is what I want and what I want my son to become!

Lori Richelle Myers

RichelleMyers.com

Twitter/Instagram: @ohForkItsLori

GRAB A BEER…LET’S TALK CHURCH!

Grab a beer… Let’s talk church!

By Lori RICHELLE Myers

RED ALERT! RED ALERT! This article is going to step on some toes, so I will go ahead and warn some of you that perhaps you may want to plop your butt down in a chair and pick those feet up!  I hope that it will open some eyes, some minds and some hearts.  I already know that this article will probably piss a few folks off at me, but I am fine with that.  It won’t be the first time, and now that I am back at writing as much as possible and also due to the mere fact that I walk and talk every day, I know it definitely won’t be the last. With that said, I do want to let you know that it is, was and never will be my intention to make anyone mad. I don’t want hurt feelings, negative attitudes or mean looks. I just want to enlighten you as to the random, often rambling thoughts that come from this mind of mine.  I appreciate you continuing to read, and hopefully if you are still reading, you will take the time to finish my article.

Church…. Hmmmm this is a word in my vocabulary that can sometimes cause me frustration. I don’t really have a problem with church in general but more the concept of the fact that Church is made to feel MANDATORY if you want to be considered a “good” person.  I grew up in the Bible Belt so for many years, especially as a child, I totally believed that we had to go church; that not going to church made us “bad” people. I also was afraid of wearing shorts, wearing makeup and of course kissing boys, because those things made me “bad” too.  It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized that although I was taught that not going to church makes us “bad”, it was the fact that I was being taught that going to church makes us “good” that really irritated me. I learned then that although there were indeed a lot of good people in church, some people were getting short changed if they believed that church made every last one of them good just because they had made it through the doors to warm the wooden pew yet again. Once I was old enough to start to recognize all of these “sins” the preacher always warned us about, it didn’t take me long to see that it was very obvious that there was an awful lot of that exact “bad” behavior showing it’s face from these “good” churchgoers right there in the very place they were being taught NOT TO DO IT!

Then not  long after facing the sad reality that not all church folk were “good” people, I was slapped with the reality that Church is a business, yep a business, no different than the grocery store, the bank, the local garage or tattoo parlor. A business that received money in, paid salaries, utilities and helped a few people.  This realization broke my heart. I was just a naive teenager; I thought that people just gave their money and the church turned right around and gave that money to the poor, the elderly, and the hungry. It really hurt my feelings when I started learning that the percentage of money that went to do these charitable things was not that high, because the church has LOTS of expenses.  The preacher who so graciously volunteered his time, well he wasn’t a volunteer after all but a man making 3 or 4 times the salary of my single mom, who also just so happened to be one of the people who was always giving a portion of her hard earned money to the church every week; and I often remember hearing her wish she could do more.  Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely think that the pastor of a church deserves a paycheck for running this business, especially now that I have also faced the reality of all of the crap they must put up with for doing so. Many of them are on call 24/7, visiting those who are sick, those being born and those dying. They must study the people of the church and God’s word, run here, there and yonder, shake hands, kiss babies and hug overly perfumed old women.  Then… let them screw up and Katy bar the door, they have just gone from Billy Graham to Satan in a flash. In reality you couldn’t pay me enough to do this job, so if I had to do it, I would definitely do it for free, mainly so I could tell people to just “kiss my butt” and say “Adios! Peace Out!”  if they started acting like some of the folks I have witnessed over the years.

I honestly just wish I would have known much more about the fact that Church is a business earlier in my life so that I may have picked a better place to shop for my “becoming a good person” experience.  Knowing this reality is painful; I know that God does love church and the people of the church, but I can’t help but think that He is disappointed in what church has turned into over the centuries.  I know plenty of people that give time and money at church on a regular basis, they truly love their church family and are probably cringing right now and whispering replies that start with “but I…” or “but not my church…”  to everything I am saying. I will interject now that I am not anti-church, but rather I am anti-people- thinking -that -church- makes -us- good -people. Now let’s continue…

To me church is not what it is supposed to be, it is not a building that is open for people to come and hear the word of God, it is not a place where people turn to for peace or guidance and help. It has become a social club. It is a place where there are cliques, little groups of people who look at each other with these looks that remind many people of those horrid moments in high school that they were so ready to escape.  It is as if these cliques are tiers of membership that might as well be labeled Platinum, Gold and Silver.  I have been in the cliques, not really by choice, but looking back, now that I see this ridiculousness, I realize that I have been at every level of membership; as a child and as an adult. I was the Christmas Angel in the play as a kid, I was married to the Pastor’s son as an adult, I have been the strange girl that nobody knew, going all by herself, stopping in to every kind of church in an effort to see where I “belonged” when I found myself single again in this crazy life.  So yeah, I have witnessed every membership level the church has to offer, and this honestly is not how it is supposed to be!

I have walked in a church and known in less than a minute that I was not where I was supposed to be, I have also walked in a church and instantly felt like God had plucked me from bed and dropped me there 100% on purpose. But what I have not done is walk into a church where I felt that most people were there for the right reason and were glad to see the visitors there.  It is easy to look around and figure out who the Platinum, Gold and Silvers are in the congregation.  This observation is where my sadness grows.  Church, in my opinion, should be the place you go where you are liked for who you are, and you are made to feel like you belong,  good or bad, happy or sad, rich or poor. It should never be a place that you go just to be a better person, but a place that you go to learn “how” to become a better person.

Unless you find a super fantastic church that has been able to acquire a “special” arrangement with God and He has blessed them with a time-machine you are not just going to walk out of church a totally “good” person just because you went and socialized.  But if you could find a church with just one member type, or heck why must you even be a member at all, in my opinion, just go for the reasons you are supposed to go and if all goes well you will leave with tools, friends, the attitude and the “want to” to get on the right path to “goodness” with God’s help.  I know that some will argue with this and say “But you can pray, and God and Jesus will forgive you so you will leave church a better person”, my reply is that I can do that at McDonald’s, the mall or even in my car, so why do I have to go to church to be this better person?  I can hear God’s word on television, the radio or heck, even on facebook. I can associate with other good people lots of places I go. I have had more heart touching, life-changing conversations about God and Jesus sitting in a bar than I have EVER had with another person in church. I think a bar is by far a much better church than “Church”. Why? Because in a bar, nobody is judging, people are relaxed, even if the alcohol is to blame, minds are opened and people like you for who you are. They don’t usually know much about you when a good random conversation strikes. They are usually attentive, and I am pretty sure that they don’t have a fear that they are going to be asked three hundred times to donate time or money.  Almost always, these conversations about God touch the heart, are ones you don’t ever forget and you walk away with the blessing of a full heart and a new friend, even better, you’re feeling pretty good from the beer you’ve consumed in the process. See, a win-win!  Now I’m not saying you should be getting plastered should you find yourself in “bar church”… Actually I think God is more cool with just a few. So don’t get carried away…

Now although I have had some pretty awesome experiences having a beer with friends and Jesus, too often my church friends will bash drinking, bars and the “behavior” that, according to them, goes hand in hand with drinking. So I guess I am going to take this opportunity to bash, church cliques and the behavior that goes hand in hand with them. The behavior that makes people not want to visit your church, regardless of how much they love the music, love the message that your pastor is spreading, love the Sunday School and youth programs you offer. When you don’t make people feel like they are welcome and you make them feel like they are not good enough to sit in this section, be in this social group, go on this outing, or sit and chit chat with you and your friends, you might as well lock the door and say “oops sorry there is no more room for you here”.  If you happen to wonder why so many people would rather sit at home and watch someone like Joel Osteen spread God’s word via television, or they would rather go sit at a venue the size of a small planet, stop wondering! It is because if you are watching television or participating with 30,000 others who are avoiding the “clique”sters too, you don’t have to deal with the drama from the Real Housewives of blah blah blah Church! It has been reported that many churches are suffering lower membership numbers and lower revenues and remember church is a business, right? So guess what? That’s not going to change, unless you reevaluate what’s going on with your business, so hopefully this article is a BIG clue! It seems to me that maybe it would be smart business to do things to attract customers not scare them away.  Here’s one suggestion: Abolish the cliques… Good leaders don’t intimidate and they make people feel loved, and welcomed.  The sad part is that with almost every church I have visited, It is not the Pastor that is the problem, often they are blamed, but as I have been researching I have noticed that they are usually pretty smart leaders and business people. That’s why the pastors and preachers that you all love to go see on Sunday, are in those positions, and are NOT usually part of these cliques. They are smart and usually keep themselves at a safe distance from each little group… Step down from the pastor though and welcome to clique city, it can reel in anyone, staff, pastors wives & family, musicians, Mr.  & Mrs. Super Congregation Member, etc.  Here is a test… If your pastor were to walk in on Sunday and tell you he didn’t want you to talk to anyone sitting within a six foot radius of you, I bet 75% of the people in your church would not really “know” anyone else in church, unless they were the family members that intentionally sit 50 feet away from you anyway.  Seriously, try it!

According to my research of a group of people aged 65-92 that is not how church used to be. This is what church has become. This is sad. We complain about politics, schools, crime etc. and want everything to be based on all of these church based principles, but we don’t even base church on the church based principles.  I want to walk into a church and blend in, with everyone, I don’t want to stand out, if I am at a church to speak for a speaking engagement, I want to speak and then go right back to being just another person there to absorb. I am there to feel glory not be a glory hound.  God gave me some pretty cool gifts, the gifts to write and to speak, He also gave me a good ear for music and the ability to see the good in people, and more importantly He has blessed me with the gift of people who watch and listen to me. I pay attention to this so I won’t be a part of anything that makes anyone feel like they are less than I am, nor will I be part of anything that makes people think they are better than I am.  God loves us all and we should all love each other.  I write this because I am just honestly sad that I can feel more at home with God talking to my friends about Him on facebook, in a bar or at home on my couch than I am at what should be HIS house.  I am tired of going to these “Everyone is welcome here” churches only to see that once someone gives out that big Paula Deen-ish smile and an “Oh we are so glad to have you”  heads are turned and jealous, snobbish behavior slithers out like a snake looking for a hot rock. So you see witnessing people being treated like that and hearing the sad stories makes the bar, my couch, or the taking a flight to the Superdome in New Orleans for my spiritual fueling seem like much more fun! Being that I am not a quitter and I am always in the pursuit of happiness, I will not give up hope and I will keep searching for a church with awesome music but one that won’t make me feel like I have to have my “snob and witch-repellent” ready to spray and one that won’t be ready to spray me with some kind of “beer & wine drinking, sometimes cussing, mistake making, far from perfect” spray!

I appreciate the many people who gave me input and encouragement to go forward with this story. Thanks to my clergy friends for the support and thanks to my bartender friends out there for putting up with all of us displaced Christians when God decides to use us on your time! People, whether you are a regular churchgoer or not, or perhaps you’d like to be, just remember  that it’s easy to know if you’re at the right place; if the people who are supposed to be leaders are looking down on others in any way, that’s your sign to leave… Real Leaders Always Look Up!

Thanks for reading! Hugs!

 

Lori Richelle Myers

RICHELLEMYERS.COM

Host, Journalist and Entrepreneur- Living a New Adventure Everyday! Writing & Talking about all things FUN in the worlds of Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Motorcycles and the Romance sometimes hidden in there somewhere!

Copyright 2013- Lori Richelle Myers- Visit RichelleMyers.com for reuse options

If you're Living through me you better buckle up!