So I was at a "new unitarian
" workshop last night. I've been going to the church
and singing in the choir
, and I want to sign the membership book so I'm going to the workshops this month. I decided to when I was flipping through a book on religion and read a blurb on unitarianism, where it was incorrectly listed as being a christian
sect. "That's not right," I thought. "I'm not a christian." Aha, I go. So I think I'm a unitarian.
Anyhow, we were all drawing pictures as an ice-breaker in aid of explaining how we happened upon the church and our religious past if any. I talked mostly about how much the singing meant to me. But oh my.. it was just a random collection of people, maybe a cross-section you'd find on oh, the 15 Cambie bus one day, but all these stories came loose: anglicans and catholics and gay hiv+ and abused and quebecois and foster child and adopted and skeptical and medical student and almost just died and fiancee just died and lost husband to cancer and struggling with psychological issues and studying to be a psychiatrist and living in texas and climbing mountains and being alone and being together and ... agh, it was very very moving. That was unexpected.
I remember in red deer on christmas eve we went to a catholic mass. the quebecois/es, despite being outspoken about how silly church is, just had to because that's what you do on christmas eve, and the rest of us went along as a cultural experience or something. anyhow, we left before communion, but later that night I was convinced that I could taste the flesh of jesus christ in my mouth. it was really fucking scary. I was like, my god, I've been brainwashed or kidnapped or something really really fucking hostile. I was scared at how it felt. I had kind of a flashback to it last night: the same kind of intense and unexpected feeling, but then the thought went away because instead of feeling violated or something I felt good. Maybe it's just being comfortable with the building. I've sung in the fireside room half a dozen times. I sat back and just took it all in and instead of feeling like "It's so odd hearing all this intense disclosure from strangers" I was feeling like saying "Welcome, welcome here." and wanting to offer my hand to reassure them. It's a good feeling.
I was scared of churches after that and before that (the catholic church thang, I mean): they were for weak people. I lapped up heinlein: churches are a crutch! Until I met the lundervilles. rational, reasonable, skeptical, in to science, and deeply involved with their church. and were they brainwashed and weak? no, they just had a lot of candles around the house and were very affectionate. huh. heck, that was almost disappointing. ("c'mon, can't you be even a little brainwashed?" hee.)
I remember I argued (that's not the right word..) once with my friend jenny, who was an anglican, and I offered her the dumb-ass "can god create a rock so heavy?" argument and she said "well, I don't know. I think god is about love, not paradoxes." or something like that, it doesn't matter what she said. I don't care about god, or whatever the fuck there is. But I feel so far from the person who wants to argue about religion today. It's this idea that every random group of people on the bus has this same collection of extraordinary stories that they need to share with someone. maybe their family, maybe their lover, maybe their psychologist, maybe the back of their mind maybe sadly no one at all. I'm beginning to feel that all religions are good and worthwhile because they're all about connecting the part of people that makes those stories so important to us. Some by easy openness, some by stiff ritual, some by just fellowship unconnected to the content of the faith. but it's all about people being moved by something and finding meaning somewhere or finding something, anyhow. I'm so down with that.
But I mean, I'm still there mostly just for the singing.