Sunday, November 14, 2010

Keeping My Religion

I went to church this morning for the first time in a very long time. My partner is back in school and needed to visit a church other than his own for a class project. I was raised Catholic and agreed to go with him to mass so I could answer any questions he might have later.

On more than one occasion religious folk have told me I was doomed to spend an eternity in hell for sleeping with men. In an abundance of caution I decided to warn my Facebook friends of possible cataclysmic events resulting from my entrance into any place of worship. I'm thoughtful that way.

Much to my surprise, the comments from my FB pals expressed joy at my decision to return to church. I mentioned this to my partner who promptly posted a comment thanking me for my willingness to go with him for the assignment. The uplifting comments continued.

Going to church was an emotional experience. Catholic services have changed very little in the last 30 years. I was amazed at how often I could recite from memory the parts of the mass.

The most striking difference was an astounding number of unruly children. Kids screamed, talked and bounced off the walls throughout even the most sacred parts of the service. It was more than a little distracting and in and of itself, enough to keep me from going back. They don't call me crotchety for nothing.

The Latino priest preached a message from what I assume to be the liberation theology I've heard about. He talked about worker's rights with an almost Marxist zeal. The sermon was interesting and thought provoking.

An old school Irish priest spent a good ten minutes warming up the crowd for a special collection to finance the construction of a new church, school and parking lot across town. The overall message I got was work hard because we're going to need your money for a very long time to come.

In my darkest hour I turned to religion and was kicked to the curb. The message from the Bible of my youth was to deny who I was or to hate the sin that in the end, was me. What kind of choice is that?

I turned my back on religion and came face-to-face with God. He told me He loved me and showed me the way to love myself. My spirit soared.

You have your beliefs and I have mine. My beliefs preclude me from participating in any religion that at its core, condemns the essence of who I am. Yeah, I know you don't agree with your church all the time. That's your choice, not mine.

Today I didn't find Jesus or fall down on the ground and start talking in tongues. There was no spiritual awakening. Believe it or not, I was already awake.


CathyB said...

Good for you, COM! I'm glad you are finding support from your FB pals. "Going to church" is not what it's all about anyhow. You meet God in your own way, and you know that He loves you. You (we) don't have to trust our eternal fate of heaven or hell to other folks. Folks who have no business throwing stones and will one day find their own glass houses shattered. I'm about to be faced with a similar situation. I've gone and gotten myself a boyfriend, after years of vowing never again to go there. The natural progression of things finds me again sexually active. My mama is of the oldest of old schools, and won't understand how in the world I can call myself a Christian and yet be engaged in "fornication"... or whatever the word would be. It probably won't be too terribly long in the future that we will move in together... GASP.... so how will I *ever* show my face in church again??? It makes me really sad, because even though going to church isn't what it is all about, I do enjoy going. I suppose it is possible that if it bothers my mom so much to sit next to such a *sinner* that I may need to find another place to go.

it is sad that our fellow believers put such a guilt trip on us.

at any rate, besides the unruly children, i'm glad your experience was tolerable. hope you have a great week!

The Crotchety Old Man said...

Thanks CathyB, and congrats on the new love life! How does your Momma know? My mother knows my sex life is not open to discussion. I keep that door shut and don't open it no matter how hard she may knock. We're both happier as a result and I don't even have to tell her to mind her own business any longer!

CathyB said...

My mama knows everything. haha! Truly, we are very close, talking on the phone once or twice a day, and she only lives about 1/4 mile from me. and we sit together at church every sunday. she will casually ask "what time did he leave?" and i will say "oh i don't remember". she would never consider that we would be "doing it" this early in the relationship (but crap, at our age, there's not a moment to lose, right????) She'll just have to learn to be okay with it, and i am prepared to tell her that. It will be her choice... give up the closeness that we share, or accept things the way they are. i'm not out somewhere being a ho, it's already a committed relationship. it has been many years since I have been in one, so my *virtue* really shouldnt be an issue. But... she's my mom, and i do enjoy the closeness. My daughter is another story. she is to funny. she kept asking me "did you DO IT??" and then when i told her yes, she stuck her hands over her ears and started making bla bla bla noises so as not to hear me. Too funny. She wanted to know, but then i guess the idea of it sort of grossed her out. haha. Good for you on how you handle it with your mom. i shall aspire to be like you. :-)

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