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November 7, 2011

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Church on the Down Low

We went to church today.  No, my blog hasn’t been hijacked.


I am, for lack of a label, somewhat agnostic, a bit Buddhist and more ‘spiritual’ than anything else.
Chicken has been getting close to the idea of God being your higher power for quite a few years now.
We both grew up “in the church”; she in a quite liberal Methodist where the idea of hell was never really preached about and me in a very conservative Southern Baptist where you are reminded of hell constantly.
While neither of us believe that Jesus is the actual son of God, we do both agree that he was a great (misunderstood) man in his day who had that ‘certain something’.  Was he a prophet?  I dunno.  I guess it depends on your definition.  To me, I believe he was a great leader–much like Ghandi and MLK.


When I remind myself to live with full awareness, I am a much nicer person.  Having children has made me more aware of how I treat people, the things I say, the tone I say it, my critiques and praises.  I do want my children to grow up to be good, kind boys and men.  Don’t we all?  I know that I need to model the behavior.
I don’t need to go to church to make this happen.  It’s not about that.


But.  For a long time now (before pregnancy) Chicken and I have talked about being a part of a spiritual community**.  One where we are not judged and we agree somewhat with the message.  Mostly, because of my upbringing, Christianity scares me senseless.  I’ve heard and seen so much hatred and bigotry spewed that it’s made me believe, “Wow, if that’s what Jesus would do this world is in deep shit.”  I distrust organized religion.  Wars break out over which God is the right God.
I think that God is what you make of him/her.  He is just that–yours.  He is the Jews and the Christians and the Buddhists and the Muslims and the Hindus.  He is the same God.  No need to fight….


And Jesus….who ever he really was….he preached love.  And forgiveness.  And some seriously awesome life lessons.
I mean….if we really all lived our lives based on love….how beautiful and peaceful would this world be?


So we found this church.  It’s one of those new kinds of churchs with a live rock band on the stage and you meet in an auditorium and it’s filled with hundreds of (mostly) white 20-30 somethings.  You know, the kind of church where the volunteers hand out gum and granola bars on street corners and slip you a little card about how cool their church is?  Their non-churchy church.  Just come as you are.  Jesus love you.


We’ve talked about going to this non-churchy (me:  “It could be a cult.”) church, so this morning we decided to just GO.  It’s fairly near our place, the times worked with the kids schedule and why yes, they did have excellent child care facilities.


I admit I walked in completely skeptical.  I can’t even remember the last time I willingly went to a church service, but I’m guessing more than 20+ years ago.  I am sure that I gave everyone a bit of my “I don’t trust you Jesus freak” look.  Except that these people really were pretty cool.  And nice.  And real.  But still, they were at church!  Uh….but so was I.  Hmmm.
There were free bagels and coffee and tea and really nice people.  That is so suspicious!!
We went straight up to the child care to check things out and spend some time before going to the service.  I honestly thought the boys would flip out and I’d pack them up and say “See!  We weren’t meant to go to church!”  Except that they loved it and didn’t cry when we left and didn’t freak out while we were gone for one hour and 20 minutes and W2 didn’t even really notice when we came back he was having so much FUN.  Free child care on a Sunday morning.  And bagels?  Hmmmm.


The service opened with live music and the words were projected on a screen at the stage if you wanted to have a sing-a-long.  The musicians were very talented but the words did freak me out.  I seriously thought about leaving when the lead singer did that ‘thing’ where you sway and put your hand up as you sing (reaching to God?).  That shit is just freaky to me.
But I stayed.  And the (preacher?) was young.  And had a great message and said (mostly) things that I could agree with.  The message was–overwhelmingly–about love.  And I can’t deny that sitting there for an hour listening to him speak made me remind myself to live my life with more awareness.


That can’t be a bad thing.
Having a community of nice people who accept you and your family with open arms, that can’t be a bad thing, right?
I don’t know.  We’ll give it another shot next week and see how we feel.


I know one thing for sure:  I cannot tell my mother!!!  Oh, the confusion this would cause that poor woman. (Who AM I?)
For now, my church-going is on the down low.


**For the record, the Unitarians were our first choice, but the church is too far and the service too late for the kid’s schedule.  Ditto the MCC (gay church). This one worked.  We’ll see if it keeps working.