Friday, March 5, 2010

Choosing my religion

THAT is one thing I missed about blogging, being able to drop song lyrics and titles into "conversation" on a regular basis.

Last year at Easter Mo and I each decided that we needed to find a church. So we agreed to take turns picking a church and trying it out together each Sunday until we hopefully found the one that felt like home.

I was raised Catholic and have left the church for personal reasons. I've always been curious about different religions, so I thought this was the perfect way to learn a little bit more about how other people worship and also find a new church in the bargain.

Let me tell you, it was an eye opening experience. The first church we went to turned both of us off because the pastor spent a good part of the sermon making fun of various people she had come across during the week who didn't understand what Easter is all about. That left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe instead of making fun of them, or belittling them for not understanding, you could try inviting them to attend the service and help them figure it out. Just a thought. Also, there was a woman who was knitting during the service, and her ball of yarn was easily the size of a basket ball. At one point it got away from her and rolled a good way down the aisle toward the altar before she managed to reel it back in. No one said a word. I thought that was strange. Maybe she was knitting for Jesus, but I don't think it's necessary to carry that on in church myself.

The next church we went to was a Unitarian church. We realized after being heartily welcomed and assured that they accept people of all sexual persuasions that they assumed we were a lesbian couple. After being raised a Catholic, the lack of ceremony in most services feels a little strange to me, but this one took the cake. People actually took coffee into the service. Seeing McDonald's and Starbucks mugs on the floor at people's feet in church was.... strange. Also, this particular church has a large glass window behind the altar, and the garden behind this window is beautifully landscaped and contains several mature trees. One tree directly behind the pulpit had a bird feeder, and three squirrels spent the entire hour playing grab ass and hanging upside down from the tree limb by their hind feet to steal the bird seed. I could have ignored these things if I'd liked the feel of the church, but everything felt just a little too loosey goosey for me. I don't want pomp and circumstance, but I'd like just a little more formality than that.

One church we attended left me feeling very angry because in a PowerPoint presentation that was shown during the service I was informed that I am "the devil's reject" because of a certain belief that I hold. I almost got up and walked out, but stayed out of respect for Mo.

And there was the church where we walked in very close to the time for the service to start, so the pastor waited whilst name tags were made for us and then personally escorted us into the church to sit among the other 5 attendees. I have been to some small services before, but 5 was a little uncomfortable. Especially since they put us on the spot as part of the service and asked us to introduce ourselves. And this is the point in my life where I realized that it's ok, I can stand up and talk in public. So we were honest. We just told them that some people go on pub crawls... we are on a church crawl, choosing our religion.


13 folks speakin' their mind:

Jamie said...

OMGosh...I have been trying to fine a church home, too. Like you, I am shocked and amazed at all there is out there, and find the task very difficult. I have become a bit dismayed...and haven't tried for some time now.

Hang in...we have to keep trying, and we will find "THE ONE"

Big hugs. :)

ain't for city gals said...

My church is the beautiful Arizona desert while I am jogging...I have the most peaceful thoughts then. I also volunteer at the Congress food pantry and know that the time is well spent. Honestly, I think if people would take all their "church time" and do a kind deed for others the world would be a better place.

ain't for city gals said...

P.S. Fiwa does MORE random acts of kindness in blog land than anyone I know!!

Sis said...

:) Sounds like an adventure you are on, for sure, Fiwa. LOL about the yarn...

I won't go into all of what I would say, but if you even want to talk, you know where to find me. :)

Love you,

Sis said...

That should say "ever" not "even" lol

Sis said...

Email sent, sweets!

Jay said...

A church crawl? I love it!

It is amazing how difficult it can be find that perfect balance. I'm not sure that finding 100% of what your looking for is possible. But, if you find a place that is comfortable and the people there are friendly and seem genuine, then that's about the most you can hope for.

If I lived in a bigger town I would do the same. In fact, if you included all denominations and even different religions would probably make for some really fascinating reading. Maybe even a good short documentary or a book. ;-)

nikkipolani said...

It's interesting to hear your perspective on the reception you get and what you find at these churches. I was looking for a church some six years ago and there is such a range -- even within one denomination.

About that first church you mentioned whose pastor made fun of people and Easter. Reminds me of a quote I read not too long ago: "Hands off the others. God says. They’re not your business, they’re Mine. You mind your own walk. You focus on your own heart. Believe me, there’s plenty there to occupy you until I come back."

Sis said...

I love that quote, Nikki. :)

KathyA said...

1. You made me really laugh!
2. Most of us have left the RC church for personal reasons.
3. You and Mo DO make a cute couple. :)
4. A church crawl??? :):):)

Gin said...

That's an interesting concept. I've tried it to a point. I was raised a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) and have been to a few other Lutheran churches and Anne is right...there are loads of differences throughout the Lutheran religion. Some are major. I've stepped outside of my comfort zone too a time or two.

The think it's God's plan to have created all sorts of different religions to appeal to everyone!

Cheryl said...

I'm assuming you didn't find the right fit. Are you still crawling ? I had to say that, you know.

Anonymous said...

to be a Bhuddist , you dont even have to believe in Bhuddism.
why dont you check out some of the Delai Lamas writings?

pam (YQ)