I’m not a fan of “church shopping,” but it seems to be the necessary pain of a move. It took us a long time to find a church in Maryland. So far we’ve only tried two in Oklahoma, but we’re so anxious to get settled into our new “church family” that it’s already wearing on us a bit. Church this morning ended an hour after it started, but it took us an extra 10 minutes to get to our car because we were greeted by so many people (that’s a good thing). We all just sat there quietly.
“So… what do you all think?” I don’t know who said it first, but “it was loud” was the reaction from more than one of us. That seems to be a theme these days in modern churches.
The people were nice, but they didn’t use as much scripture as we’d like.
They prayed more than the last one, but communion wasn’t led by anyone – that was odd.
But… as I’d sat in the service this morning analyzing each word spoken and each action taken, God spoke to my heart. I’ve been looking for perfection in a church – for a place that is “perfect” for us, that will suit our needs. I sat there listening intently, cringing at the volume of the pastor, and disappointed that youth only meets two Sundays of the month, when I realized that may be instead of looking for the church we need, we need to look for the church that needs us.
I reminded the girls on the way home that the church family we came to love in Maryland wasn’t “the perfect church.” Not at the beginning and not even at the end. There were little things that weren’t “perfect.” But… it became home. It fed us. It taught us. My girls grew in Christ there. We found a home there. It was where God wanted us to be.
So my prayer now isn’t that we find a perfect fit, but that we find God’s fit – because ultimately, that will be more “perfect” than anything I could imagine. My prayer is that we will find a church that needs us, one where we’ll grow, but that we’ll also have opportunities to help it grow.
We’ll try a third church – may be a fourth. But we’re looking at it differently and more prayerfully and I have every confidence that we’ll land where we need to be.
In spite of beautiful weather, we came home after church. The girls had homework, Kirk had office work and I still have boxes in the garage and other little post-move things to keep me busy. I did make a Sunday afternoon dinner – a new recipe and a surprising combination. I’ve seen bolognese on pasta, but never on polenta, but I made it and it was good enough to get the husband “Thumbs-up” which means I’ll definitely make this again – with some minor adjustments.
Beef Bolognese with Soft Polenta
The beef bolognese: Total time: 45 minutes – Makes: 6 cups
Brown in 1 T. olive oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes and crumble it into tiny bits:
- 1lb ground beef
- 1lb bulk Italian sausage
Add and saute: This mixture is called a Mirepoix. It’s considered as much of a seasoning as an herb because the vegetables are chopped or grated so finely that they practically dissolve into the sauce. You’ll stir this into the meat mixture and saute until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2 stalks celery, chopped (the original says grated, but finely chopped works fine)
- 3 T. tomato paste
- 1 T. garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
Deglaze the pan with wine; bring to a boil and simmer until it’s almost evaporated. Stir in the tomatoes and cream, then simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz)
- 1 cup heavy cream (I will use either lowfat milk or chicken broth next time – the heavy cream is a bit sweet and overly heavy for my taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
Serve over polenta and garnish with:
- Chopped fresh parsely
- Grated Parmesan
The polenta: Total time: 15 minutes – Makes: 4 Cups
Bring to a boil: Watch this – it can boil over really quickly!
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups whole milk
Whisk in cornmeal, reduce the heat to low, and continue stirring for 5 minutes of until thickened.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
Remove from heat, then stir in:
- 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled*
- 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
- 2 T. olive oil
*although I am a firm believer that goat cheese makes everything better (even cheesecake), I doubled the Parmesan tonight and omitted the goat cheese in order to make this more family-friendly for my crew of eaters.