Sunday, October 07, 2007

And after this I'll go back to not talking about it

Guy and I are joining a church next Sunday. It's been an interesting thing, introducing him to the type of church I grew up in. It apparently is very different from anything else he has seen in the past.

One of the things I like about the Presbyterian church is that it is community outreach and education oriented. I like that the structure can be traced back and found inspiring the structure of our country's government. I like that over 70% of the colleges and universities in this country were founded by Presbyterians.

They do stuff. They teach people. They help. They are action oriented and connect to people on more of an intellectual level than an emotional level.

I don't find that the spiritual and emotional overlap much in my life. I've never been a fan of the church movement I've seen that yanks people around by their emotions. Bringing them in by promising to give them everything they need. Consumer churches that rely on key changes in the music and emotionally charged speakers to keep people coming back for their next fix. Praise and worship songs whose lyrics are so fluffy and lovey that they have earned a place in the "Jesus is my boyfriend" songbook.

Churches have a responsibility to the community. An organized church with an active outreach program can be a powerful resource. And as a member of a church, I want to know what I can give, not what I'll be getting.

The community is all encompassing as well. It isn't just serving the members. It's serving the citizens of the city, state, country, and world. All of them. Not just the ones in the news at the time. Not just the ones who believe the same as you. Not just the ones that don't challenge your way of thinking. Everyone. The community is everyone.

I also think that churches also have a responsibility to reexamine the societal aspects of their policies. Thirty years ago, Presbyterians were just another denomination who believed that women should know their place in the church and that it wasn't in the pulpit.

Thankfully, the PCUSA is a living organization. A group of people who aren't intimidated by change and growth. And because of this, they are now lucky to have my momma and a lot of other women in their ranks as kickin' ministers. Rock on, Reverend Momma.

In another thirty years, we will look back and say the same thing about allowing homosexuals to be ordained and serve in the church. We will look back and have to actually convince people that women and gay people were once held at bay, as lesser children of God, because it will seem so foreign in the future.

Like I said, Guy hasn't seen this before. He's intrigued, and we are both excited to have a place that we can step into well run programs that are feeding people, housing people, and teaching people. It's nice to be given something to think about on a Sunday morning. Hear some Bach from a good choir. Feel part of something bigger.

Next year, I'm hoping that the Reverend Momma will make the trip back our way to participate in the baptism of Little Bird. Sprinkle his little head and join us in promising to raise him knowing the principles and beliefs that are so important in our family. Raise him as a part of something bigger.

10 comments:

  1. we're not religious, but i grew up in the United Church of Canada, which was founded in 1925 as an amalgam of Presbyterians, Methodists, and Congregationalists, and which focused heavily on social justice and outreach, and is focused (bless it) more on saving folk in this life than the next. they've been ordaining gays and lesbians and transgendered persons for more than a decade. my mom is still active in the church, and i think O will go to Sunday school there, with her...because i want him to grow up understanding that Christian does not automatically mean rightwing fundamentalist.

    hope you three enjoy your new church.

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  2. Thanks for that, Bon. Yes. Christian absolutely and positively does not mean rightwing fundamentalist.

    Amen, sistah.

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  3. Great post. I love your point about going to church to GIVE more than to GET.

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  4. I continue to find more reasons to think the world of you.

    I love what you've captured here. That is a church I could get behind. That which asks not what it can get, but what it can give. What a wonderful spirit.

    I'm glad you found a place that feels comfortable for you both.

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  5. I think that's GREAT. Not TMI at all.

    (And this comment comes from an agnostic.)

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  6. Are you living a parallel life to mine? Tobin & I were just talking about our church at lunch today and many of the points you mentioned here are reasons why we love being part of the community at our church. Bach on Sunday? Count me in. Social justice and action? I'm there.

    Congrats on joining this church. It sounds like a place where you'll be happy to raise your Little Bird.

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  7. As much as I love ya, M, I differ. Homosexuality among clergy will never be accepted en masse by Christianity. Not 30 years from now, not ever.

    Never have understood why churches hold public demonstrations against homosexuality and rail on like homosexuals are the devil incarnate. If I were gay, I'd be terrified of those types, too. Love your fellow man, regardless of what they believe. How is that so hard? I don't believe the Salem witch trials ever recruited new Puritans. I think Christians largely fail in their mission of hating the sin, not the sinner.

    However...

    Anyone in the clergy has a massive responsibility, probably the greatest on Earth. Can a homosexual clergy member really stand in front of Him at the time of judgement and say, "I taught the Bible to your flock, God, but not the parts I didn't agree with."

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  8. I'm publishing your comment, Clifford, because you are a friend. However, my blog isn't a place to debate homosexuality. I have other friends I also respect, and I want for them to still feel welcome here.

    So I will just debate whether or not your comment is entirely relative. I did not claim that the entire whole of Christianity would be able to understand the evolving interpretation of scripture, just that the Presbyterian church is working on it.

    We still look at the same stars, just not laying on the hood of the same cars.

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  9. No debating of homosexuality itself intended. Seriously.

    (thought i made that clear, obviously did not. my apologies to whoever it concerns)

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  10. You, well you go girl.

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