How does an empath look for a church?

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I seem to be a walking oxymoron these days.  I’m a Christian who is fascinated by and deeply respects other faith traditions.  I believe that it’s possible to keep your faith and your politics separate from each other.  And I am (seemingly) an empath who is trying to find a church to call home for me and my family.

There are no books that talk about this.  I am getting very discouraged.  I also wonder from time to time if maybe I’m the crazy one?  I’ve had numerous friends rave about their churches.  I’ve read numerous websites and reviews raving about local churches.  I’ve actually walked into maybe a dozen or more to see for myself.  The best of them simply felt “dead” to me.  And the worst?  One of them a couple years ago, the horrible psychic “stuff” rolling off the *pastor* sent me scurrying out halfway through the service.  One just this past weekend left me feeling like my soul needed a shower.  Both of those left me physically shaking for the rest of the day.

What the heck is going on in the churches today?  Seems like I have a choice of The Dead Church, The Cultic Church, and The Mentally Ill Church.  Gaaah!  If this is truly all that’s available in my area, perhaps I’m better off without a church “family”.

Assuming it’s God that gave me this gift (I’ve had it all my life, and have never prayed to other gods or entities about its usage) *how* does He expect me to go through the church hunting process without leaving pieces of my soul scattered around my city? I’ve been part of 4 churches in the almost 11 years we’ve lived here.  Two of the churches the only reason we left is they had split and were dying, and with a young family we could not help “bail out” the sinking ship any longer.  Had they stayed sane, we would have stayed.

I know, I know, churches are full of people and no church is perfect.  I can live with “not perfect”.  I can’t live with a church full of mentally disturbed or angry people feeding off my energy like the emotional vampires they are.  Just extricated myself from one of those situations.  Not going back into one….EVER….if I can help it.  I value my newly rediscovered sanity too much.

And the worst part?  ‘Twould seem my gift is getting stronger.  *Much* stronger, now that I have some understanding of what, exactly, it is.  I am trying to learn how to control it – so far it’s working about as well as trying to teach myself to play guitar.  I can manage a few chords to accompany myself on a simple song, but it would go a whole lot faster and better with a teacher.  How does a lifelong Christian find a teacher to help her learn to be a balanced and healthy empath?

I need a solution.  I cannot simply “wish” my gift away any more than someone with cancer can “wish” their disease gone.  I do not want to continue as  a Christian in exile, but I will not be part of a “church” that simply sucks me dry.

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