On Sunday, I did the unimaginable-I went to church.
I’ve been debating for awhile now the idea of getting back into a religious/spiritual community. But I wasn’t sure which one to join. It’s been awhile since I stepped into that kind of environment and while I wasn’t exactly relishing the idea of getting up early on Sunday morning, I thought it might be nice to see what I’ve been missing. (If anything)
Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about me joining some cult, nor have I been “reborn” into one of those freaky, Christian “robot people” who say the words Jesus Christ every two seconds and are on a mission to be as annoying as humanely possible!
I am still the (usually) rational human being, who doesn’t take the myths in the Bible literally and greatly values independent thought. I have no interest in the prejudice, exclusion, misogyny, animosity towards science and outdated ideas, etc, so often featured in conservative and fundamentalist religious denominations.
But I still believe in a higher power and in things larger than ourselves, and recently have felt the desire to take some time to be around people who are in a similarly spiritually positive, openminded mindframe. So after some research, I attended my first Unitarian Universalist service. It was actually kinda nice. It seemed more open ended, less didactic. We weren’t scolded for hours for being “human” or read the same dry stories, while people got their ZZZs on.The more constructive and positive aspects were taken from Judaism and Christianity and a few other religions, and presented in a optimistic, without being too flaky or naive, tone. Love, forgiveness and peace were the main messages given from the pulpit.
At one point in the sermon, the minister asked the guests to stand. My face probably went two shades of crimson while I nodded at the entire 250 congregation and sat back down. That part I could have done without, but the purpose was so that the newbies could be welcomed into the community. (Or maybe just to embarass the shit out of us for the entertainment of all, who knows? LOL)
Unitarian sermons appear to be short and sweet, running for just an hour. There is singing, messages from the minister, guest lectures and members are encouraged to come up to the front with any important news they may have. (Weddings and funerals are big ones) Unitarian churches welcome and accept people from all cultures and sexual orientations and are one of the few religious denominations who happily provide wedding services for homosexuals. In fact many of the active members wore small rainbows on their name tags and one guy told me that their church had a banner in this year’s Pride Parade.
After the service, I checked out a social room where food, coffee and books on social and environmental issues were on display. I drank free coffee out of a green mug, that designated me as the newbie. (In case, anyone didn’t catch my glorious display of awkwardness during the service). Pamphlets for groups within the church that do work within the Ottawa community and abroad were circulated.
Things seemed pretty relaxed, so I might go back. But if I do join up, never fear, I won’t be talking about it every week here or hunting for converts. Religion isn’t the point of this blog, nor is it the most central part of my life, so these kind of posts will be very few and far between. I just thought it would be neat to share my experience and get some feelers out there, since religion is such a hot topic nowadays. At this point in time, many people have either run full throttle away from religion or plunged headfirst. Moderates like me, can feel like a minority sometimes.
What about you guys? When was the last time you went to church/temple/mosque/etc? Or if you don’t subscribe to religion, have you joined any Humanist groups? What do you think of the whole idea of getting together with people who share your ideas on moral/spiritual issues?