To Church or Not to Church: Adjusting to Life in My Hometown

(Following is my column, which appeared in the Tues., Jan. 22nd edition of the Devils Lake Journal where I am a reporter/writer. For more info about my hometown of Devils Lake, North Dakota, visit

 One thing I haven’t done much of since returning to Devils Lake last spring is go to church. The few times I have gone I’ve attended my parent’s church, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, where Fast Eddie/Pops works part time as a custodian.

Growing up in Devils Lake, our family belonged to St. Olaf Lutheran Church, where I attended Sunday School and was confirmed. My best friend belonged to the Catholic church and I thought it was cool that she could go to church on Saturday night. Sometimes I would go with her, but my mom said I still had to go to our church on Sunday, because I guess Saturday night with the Catholics didn’t count.
As an adult, I haven’t always been un-churched. In fact, I’ve had two long-term affiliations with churches. In D.C., I belonged for about six years to a Lutheran church in one of the Virginia burbs that was led by a husband and wife pastor team. They both had very different styles of preaching, which helped mix things up on Sunday – and Saturday night – services. In Denver, I was a member of another Lutheran church for many years, until the church gave the pastor the boot. That’s right. It happens, and more often than it should. However, as the title of an article on our church page said last week “Is everyone at your church nice.” Apparently not. The move was controversial and about half the church members left, including myself, to join Pastor Dave who started a community church. I still consider myself a member of that church and I miss it, including Pastor Dave, who I think gives some of the best sermons on the planet.
I’m not really sure why I haven’t churched up. Part of it might be that my schedule during the week is crazy busy, and it’s nice, especially since I am not a morning person, to be a little lazy on the weekend and not have to get dressed up. Of course now days people don’t get dressed up like they used to go to church. Lots of people wear jeans to church, which was unheard of back in the day. It wasn’t that many years ago when I wore jeans to church for the first time, and I felt almost sinful. Some people even wear shorts to church, but I don’t think I could ever do that!
However, the fact of the matter is that if I wanted to go to church I would. Not wanting to get dressed up on the weekend is a thinly disguised excuse, and not a very good one at that. The thing about going to church, or really anything for that matter, including fitness or losing weight (maybe that should be the topic for next week) is if it’s something you really want to do or be part of your life, you’ll do it.

Update: I said to our editor Louise earlier this week that since this column was published I was surprised I hadn’t heard from any reader encouraging me to go to church and wanting to save my soul. Well it happened yesterday! I got a nice chatty card from a member of St. Olaf church inviting me to the 11:00 a.m. service and even wondering if I might want to sing in the choir. Too funny!

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One Response to To Church or Not to Church: Adjusting to Life in My Hometown

  1. Kerri Harkness says:

    Lisa, I encourage you to find a church that welcomes you. We belong to the same Catholic Church where Tim and I got married over 20 years ago. But i also go to my parents Church and attend Bible Study at a large Evangelical Church. And I learn something at each one. (I chuckled about the Catholic Mass not counting as Church. My parents felt the same about the Lutheran Church. And I know they raise their eyebrows at the Evangelical one).

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