Structure vs. Freedom
I spoke in church this past Sunday, and as part of my talk, I shared a little about my upbringing. One of the biggest complaints I hear from people who aren't a member of my church, is how restrictive my church is and how that must be really hard to live with. My response is always the same--I feel more free now than I ever did before I joined.
Now that I've raised my boys, I can look back and see that some of the parenting choices we made were really good ones. In particular, I'm thinking of our rules and how strict we were. I think I was blessed with really good boys, so I know I didn't deal with a lot of stuff others do, but basically we followed a very strict Love & Logic parenting style. Kids get two choices - this or that. There is no third option. And Mom and Dad have to be okay with whatever consequence is laid down.
For instance, you can't say, "If you don't stop biting your brother, I'm gonna ship you to the zoo!" because...really? Would you REALLY ship them off to the zoo? Probably not.
Anyway, I think I'm going astray. My point was, that I think the guidelines/rules/roadmap my church gives me isn't restrictive, but freeing. It sounds like a dream to be able to live life without any rules, but in reality, you end up insecure with serious mommy/daddy and abandonment issues.
I grew up "free", and all it left me with was a sense of my very low value and a ton of regrets, many of which were lessons I could have gone my whole life without learning.
So I say, whatever church you belong to, if you're comfortable in it--whether it has strict rules or not--be happy, and let others be happy with whatever they chose. That kind of acceptance and respect is the best!