Lord Almighty


I am currently in a huge personal internal search on trying to reclaim myself, adjust to the recent changes in my life and figure out who I am and what I am doing. You know, lighthearted stuff. Needless to say, it has been grueling, but the work I am doing is good. I've been feeling a complete loss of purpose and a large emptiness that hasn't been there before--I don't like it. Also, this is the first time in my life that I haven't been completely 100% stretched and taxed to the limit, so it is quite a change for me, and one that I know I can get used to. All that being said, the other day, I was sort of hit like a brick as to what is missing in my life right now.

I need to start going to church.

Growing up, we always went to church--the one my mom grew up in. Memaw Bane was the church organist and Papaw Bane was a Deacon. The fact that Sunday School was at 9am and Church service was at 10am on Sunday mornings was always a problem for little Erica, because Saturday nights were when SNL came on, and because of stupid Mississippi TV stations, it didn't come on until midnight. SNL would end at 1:30am and then it was time for VH1 video watching until I fell asleep, so those Sunday mornings always came so quickly and I never wanted to go.

The casinos came into town when I was a young teenager, and my Dad lost his job at the bank where he had worked the overnight shift for years. (sidenote--spending the night in the bank on a shift with Dad was always the coolest thing in the world. Not only was it one on one Dad time, but there were all these cool machines and check sorters and you got to eat from the vending machines and look out the windows from way on top of the giant FNB building downtown. Once I stayed overnight during Riverfest, and it was so cool to watch the people at the concert below.) Since Dad had previously worked for Papaw Bane fixing 2 way radios and later taking over the business (Banecom), he knew a thing or two about electronics, and thus began his career in the casino industry, the career path he was in until he passed away. The folks in the church hated the casinos and loved to talk ill of the people that went there. This became a frequent topic of discussion during Sunday School, which always made me feel uncomfortable since I knew that was the only way that my family was able to pay for food and bills. Add to that some racist comments that were made in my brother's class, and that was all it took for my family to stop going to church. We still made appearances for Christmas, Easter and the High School Senior Recognition days, but church was not for us. Especially in a religion that is all about love and forgiveness, we found the comments that came out of hate to be too much.

When I moved to Chicago, I attended a small neighborhood church for a while, but it was always do hard to get to after late night Saturday shows. Eventually, I stopped going. Plus, they wanted me to be a little bit more involved, and I couldn't do it. When I go to church, I sort of want to be anonymous, so I never want to get to where people start depending on me to do things. However, I do want to be greeted if I am at a new church, I just don't want to have to then carry on a conversation. When I lived in Andersonville, I found a nice Baptist church that I feel very comfortable in--being raised Baptist, I find that I like that structure the most-- that I used to go to every now and then. They have a woman pastor that I really like and they are open to all races and sexual orientations--a HUGE plus to me. When Dad was diagnosed, I was compelled to go there to be in the safety of God's doors, and I talked to this pastor for a long time. It was lovely.

Over the years, I have kept my Faith. I have an awesome NIV women's Bible that I read when I need comfort, and I pray and practice on my own terms. But there is something comforting about going to worship with others. So I was determined I was going to go this morning. I told Fuzzy we were going and I set the alarm, and although I was determined to make it up and out the door, I wasn't putting too much pressure on myself in case I were to fail.

Which I did.

It was a triple whammy. Fuzzy had a midnight show last night and wasn't home till 2am. Which, due to daylight savings time, was actually 3am. And when the alarm went off, it was pouring down rain. I hit snooze a few times before turning the alarm off and going back to sleep for 2 hours.

I know that there is a lot of discipline involved in making it up and out on a Sunday morning, but it is one that has never been in my nature. The good news is that I know God forgives me, and He will give me another chance next week.


I know how hard it is to get up and go to church! This morning, I just couldn't get out of bed! An idea for you if the am is just too much--some churches (especially the Baptist variety) have Sunday evening services (usually at 5 or 6) or Wednesday prayer meeting. I used to do that when I was in college and just couldn't get myself out of bed after a late Saturday night. Good luck making it to church! Just know you are not alone in the struggle to wake up early on Sunday!

Hello, my friend.

I hereby invite you to join me and my ladies on any Sunday at Berry United Methodist Church. It's a super cool place - mostly because everyone, and I mean everyone, is welcome there, regardless of sexual orientation. And it's one thing to say that, and it's another thing to actually see it. All sorts of people go there, and actually many of them are artists. It's super liberal and super cool. And hey. . . actually, remember Sarah, that photographer who came to Schmuckt der Hallen a few times and took photos? She and her family go there. Jen's sister Amy and her family go there, too. Services start at 10:30 (we almost never get there on time). It's at 4754 North Leavitt, and here's the web site:


Oh, and one other thing: we don't go every Sunday. Not by any means. We go when we can, and when we can't, no one judges us.



Wow, is the only word I can think of! Your pictures are great and your blog for today is so true. When we lived in Chicago, well in a suburb, we didn't go to church and now we do and it fills the hole! Oh, I am now in San Diego! I married a Sailor, long story if you want to hear some day! Met in a bar, love at first sight, and much more including the addition of our 2 daughters! I have been finding old friends through various means lately! I was so happy to stumble upon your website! I hope you are well and wish you the very best! You look terrific and so happy! Take care! Meredith Beach Fox

I thought when I first read this blog you said that you were doing a personal interNET search to reclaim yourself. I was excited the internet could do that too! Shoot!

Anyway, church was the first thing to go when I left highschool. Eric and I started going back about 2 years ago and it has not only changed our relationship, but it has really added the depth that I was missing from my life. I hope that you find a church that can help you in your spiritual walk too.

Jill-- I checked the church's website, and they don't have an evening service! Darn! They have though like 5 morning ones, in all different languages. Thanks for your support! I will report back on how it goes next week.

Dave--Hello to you! I went to Berry with Jen for the Blue Nativity and I have to say that the fact that so many friends of mine go there is a good motivation. And a 10:30 service is better. Maybe we'll make a visit in the next few weeks. I'll let you know.

Meredith--Hi!! Oh my gosh, it is so great to hear from you! I will email you soon, cause of course I want to hear about you and your sailor and your sweet girls!

Ashley--Oh man, there is so much that the internet can do, I am sure somewhere there is a "self reclamation" site. Thanks for your support. I know that I feel better when I go, so why don't I go? There's the big question and it can get scary when you think about temptation and excuses...but your story inspires me! (yours too, Meredith!)

Love to you all!

Daggnabit, Goss, you beat me to it! Erica, you and Fuzzy will be welcomed with open arms if you ever come and visit Berry (although I will warn you that we will be launching our capital campaign this Sunday, but then again on 2nd thought that might be the perfect time to come because you'll get to hear why we all love our church so much that we'd actually part w/ our money during these hard economic times to make Berry a beautiful and accessible place for all).

If you'd like, you can follow along on our online Lenten Journey study guide, and you'll hear from Berry folks themselves (including Jen E's nephew Rudden a couple weeks or so from now, whose photo is on today's post btw [i'm the webmaster for that page]).

Now how's that for a long, rambling comment? Faulkner would be proud, except for the places where I hit enter twice. Anyhoo, I used to go to a little Baptist church on Glenwood when I was a little girl. This was in conjunction w/ the fundie cult my family was involved in. My parents let me go to Sunday School @ Edgewater Baptist Church on Sunday mornings because the fundie cult didn't have a program for kids on Sundays. I'll never forget my Sunday School teachers at EBC, or Wednesday evening Pioneer Girls. My only childhood exposure to normal, not-crazy, non-cultish Christianity was EBC.

Now, if mornings are totally hard for you, there is a little faith community called Wicker Park Grace. They're technically Presby, but there are folks from all kinds of backgrounds and beliefs who participate. The pastor, Nanette, is a friend of mine, and she is probably one of the most compassionate, warm-hearted people I know.

OK. I will end this crazy long comment now.


Sarah, you are hilarious.

I liked Berry when I was there that one time, so I think I will have to check out a service. Maybe I'll try North Shore Baptist this weekend and Berry next weekend.

I visited EBC last year and was uncomfortable for a couple of reasons: there were chairs and not pews, or like chair-pews and it was raining and I had all sorts of stuff and just felt in the way, the guy behind me was snoring really loudly, and then I got attached onto by a nice old lady, but she didn't leave me alone and then told me not to go to North Shore Baptist because of the homosexuals. It was an all around crummy experience, but a funny one, and I have shared that story many times.

If anything, we should hit up Metropolis sometime...

Erica, I am so sorry that your family had that experience at HBC. Alot of people have a backwards way of thinking and just don't know when to shut it (re: casinos/racism). As a church, we are called to love one another as the Body of Christ. We are not called to cast judgement and condemn. Church is not a "club". It is a body of Believers. The church belongs to God to serve for His purpose. Although, I don't live there anymore, I had the privelege of witnessing a change in the hearts of the people of HBC over the past 6 or 7 years. I apologize for the way your family was treated at HBC. And please know that not everyone at HBC felt the same as those who voiced their hurtful opinions.
Jesus died to save ALL of us. We all have the choice to accept Him as our Lord and Savior and live according to His purpose...doesn't matter where you work, doesn't matter your ethnicity...
I'm glad that you are searching, and I hope that you find a church that speaks the Truth and feeds your soul.

Thanks, Tina!
You know, I have only fondness when I think back about our days there--Sunday School was usually so much fun, I made all sorts of friends there, and it was generally a place of comfort. But it just didn't mesh with us as a family after a while. I don't hold the church accountable; just as you said--people were talking and not realize that it was harmful. I've been scanning in all these old photos from memaw's house and I've had some lovely memories of the ones that have been taken at HBC.

Much love!