Sunday, January 25, 2009

Losing my religion... or finding it... whatever

I am going to church this morning. Not to do their accounting (although I do plan to work on that this afternoon.) I am going to the church service. Then, later, to a class on How to Be An Episcopalian. I don't think that's the title. I think the title is something like, "Inquirer's Class." That's nice, I'm all about inquiring.

As I mentioned at some point, I was raised sort of Catholic at the behest of a father who didn't believe in God, but did believe, a little, in the Catholic church. And who recognized that in SC the first question someone asks is "What church do you go to?" and you better have an answer. My mother, also an atheist, was raised in Congregationalist, Methodist, and Unitarian churches. She didn't care, as long as we didn't answer the phone on Sunday morning.

I realized a long time ago that although there are some things I like about the Catholic Church --- the Marys, for instance, there are a lot of things I don't like. One of them is the Pope. That, my dears, is a deal breaker in the Catholic Church. You can be a cafeteria Catholic, but you have to take the Pope.

My husband's family is Methodist, and so I tried that. The people are loving and kind. They were (at least at this church) socially active in a way I liked. They have nice music, in a "white people can really ruin gospel" kind of way. But to me, there wasn't enough "there" there. And nobody knows the Marys much, except at Christmas and Easter, when they trot them out like a very very old grandmother or aunt. Nice, but no one is sure how they are related.

I had avoided Episcopalians for a couple of reasons. One reason is that it is a very established church in SC and has been known to attract social climbers. I'm not a social climber. I'm not even a social step-ladder climber. I'm afraid of heights.

The other reason is that my father's family is IRISH Catholic, and that part of me lived in constant civil war with my mother's WASP ancestry. It took me a long time to realize that my ancestors came to America for a reason, and it was not so I could carry on ancient blood feuds in my own body. Screw that. I am what I am (to quote Popeye.)

And so, lead by a good friend, by way of a good job, I have felt welcomed at this church. I am looking around (inquiring, as it were) to find a place where I can share my beliefs and maybe get help clarifying and refining them.

And here we are. I'll keep you posted.


annie kelleher said...

the episcopalians are nice. they're openminded and mostly decent folks - although in the past i've heard them referred to as "the frozen chosen." but those are mostly the waspy-high church episcopalians. i mostly liked the time i spent as an episcopalian - i even taught sunday school, goddess help me - but i have to say the path i found led me away from them too. here's a joke you might enjoy:

a lady died and went to heaven and as she approached the pearly gates, she saw st peter motioning her in. she hurried through and was so happy when he welcomed her. "now come along with me, my dear," he said. "there's a lot of people who are going to be very happy to see you." so he leads her down a grassy path and on the way he's telling her about the great party waiting for her and all the dead relatives and friends waiting to see her, and then, they pass a pit. and inside are all these people, moaning and groaning. the lady says, oh my st peter, who are those people?
oh, says st peter... those are the catholics who ate fish on friday. we let them stay there until they realize they can come out. oh my, says the lady, and they continue down the wide grassy path. so then they come to another pit.. and inside are more people moaning and groaning and she says, well, st peter, who are tHESE people? and he says, oh, these are the baptists who drank and swore. oh my, says the lady and they continue on their way. so finally they come to another pit, and its the biggest of all so far and inside the people are really carrying on and she says, oh my st peter, who are THESE people? and he says... these are the episcopalians who ate their salads with their dessert forks. :)

Kim said...

Peace on the journey - may you find what works for you.