Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for Church

Church-y things to think about...

Ok, yeah, I’m going there.  I'm going to tackle a sensitive subject and hope to make some sense without offending anyone........wish me luck!

I grew up as a Presbyterian. As a child, I participated in all the stuff at church.  I was in the choir, I went to Sunday school, and I did all the extras that were age appropriate.  When I was a teenager, we moved to a new place and we started going to a new church.  I was not welcomed by the majority of kids my age.  I hadn't grown up with them, you know?  Because of those kids, I hated Sunday School, I hated having to go to choir, and I REALLY hated youth group.  The group of kids were the very opposite of what I would have defined as having a Christian spirit.  Bless the few who recognized my anguish and helped me find a place.  Instead of going to Sunday school, I taught Sunday school.  I started with 3rd graders, moved up with them until they hit middle school, fell in love with the whole age group and stayed put.  I taught for a total of 8 years.  I remember actually having parents tell me that there kids wanting to come to my class was the reason the whole family showed up on Sundays.  

Now, I have to add a side note here and tell you that I was your typical SS teacher.  I hated the curriculums they gave me to teach.  Talk about Cheesy and lame!  So, I would hit the Jesus Bookstore and find stuff I thought would inspire and breed conversation.  I wasn't into telling them what to believe and think.  I wanted them to get a good idea, but I wasn't about to give them the answers.  I was in high school.  Who the heck was I to hand out answers, right?  I also did crafts, lots and lots of crafts.  For those who deal with middle school-ers......or dread the thought of it......the secret is to remember you're in the halfway zone.  They want to be talked to like people and given responsibility, but they are also still kids who love hugs and want to play in glue and glitter!

Anyway, another side note that will move this on.....the only girl my age that would give me the time of day, was Sarah.  She quickly found out we went to the same school and arranged for me to ride with her to school instead of having to ride the bus.  She wasn't the popular one, or the cool one, but she was the decent one.  She was also a bit of an outsider at church since she had come out as bi-sexual.

It was Christmas Eve service of 2006.  I was waiting for service to start with my sister-in-law and niece and in comes Sarah, in tears, and said she had been asked to stay out of the Sunday School wing because parents were afraid she would influence their children and it was suggested to her by a certain high-up lady of the church that she might want to find a more accepting church.  I left.  Just got up and left.  During the following week, I cleared out my classroom, left a note telling my kids that sometimes you have to make a big move to stand up for your beliefs, and I left.  I later found out that my kids were told I had to move away suddenly and they never saw my note.

You know, my whole life, I just assumed that everyone around me, unless they were Jewish, were Christian.  What else was there?  All my friends celebrated Christmas and Easter, so, duh.  Never did it cross my mind that those two events could be just part of our culture.  There are actually quite a few people who really don't think twice about what they believe or don't believe. 

In any case, I didn't go to any church for a year.  As a former pastor of mine pointed out, ‘church’ actually became a pain-word for me.  I started to question everything I had been told to believe.  Did I really believe it or had I just gotten into a comfortable routine and made a habit of it? 

Then my son was born and I knew we needed to find a church home.  We followed my parent's to their church.  It's a UnitarianUniversalist Church.  

That being said, don't assume that just because we call where we go on Sunday a Church, that it is necessarily Christian.  We have Christian roots, and many of our faith family hold very deep Christian values, however, guess what?  The Christians don't have a monopoly on all the good stuff.  Just about every faith group has the same spin on how to be a good person and a great number of the stories are told in one form or another and have been for centuries in all sorts of faith traditions.  Sorry, if I’m rocking your world here.  

I won't go into my specific beliefs, that's not what I’m about.  I would ask of you to open your hearts to the possibilities that it's ok for someone else to believe differently and it's ok.  

I'm going to stop last thing.........this is a reaction I had to an article a FB friend posted about a church that wouldn't let a millionaire gay couple that had grown up there and were active members of the church community get married in their building.

A congregation is a group of people, a family if you will, that supports and grows together in a common belief.  A Church, is a location (building or otherwise), with bills to pay and, thus, requires butts in seats on Sunday and paying rentals during the other 6 days of the week to keep the doors open.  

Just saying....if someone wants to use a willing to pay to do it and is not insisting that you join them for their long as it's not going to burn the place down........what's the problem?


  1. I admire you for sharing your history of rejection at church. I've seen that with my own children at churches - not being accepted because they were new or because they didn't also attend the school associated with the church. Unfortunately churches are filled with sinful people.

  2. I very much enjoyed your article. Thanks for sharing.