January 26, 2011

27 Jan

On this snowy Wednesday night, I decided to go to church. I stopped regularly going to church when I was around 15. I was raised in the Lutheran church, and my family was always heavily involved in church activities. However, when I became a teenager, it no longer fit into my life and into my beliefs. In times of confusion in my life, I find myself going back. It started in Seattle when I realized I lived so close to a Lutheran church. In the five years I lived in Seattle, I probably attended this church five or six times. It was comforting to say those same prayers and sing those same hymns I knew as a child. Everyone is always kind and welcoming, and they give you free coffee if you stay the whole time. I also particularly liked the pastor at the church who was rather liberal. She spoke out against war abroad, about protecting the environment , about equal rights for everyone despite sexual orientation. I enjoyed hearing a group of religious people embracing the bible as a text meant to be continuously re-interpreted and re-examined in order to deal with modern issues in a responsible way. This church visit was not as successful. I was one of only four people who showed up for the weekday night service, and I was the only one for a good long while. There were no songs, and the pastor went on and on about loving God. It fell flat for me. I know that is the first commandment. But it feels like too great an abstraction. I’m supposed to sit around and focus on loving a being that I can neither comprehend nor believe to be truly there. When it comes to religion, I try to just be good. To do good in this world and appreciate the wonderful life I have. I believe that in basking in the glow of a beautiful moment or by helping out a stranger, I am honoring the “Creator” more than sitting in a musky church focusing on love. That is what I seek in religion, finding peace and happiness with what I have. Unfortunately this church is not the place for me to do that.

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