Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gettin' Me Some Religion

I can be a bit irreverent when it comes to religion. I think I came out of the womb a spiritual person--I've always enjoyed thinking about God (in whatever manifestation I was comfortable with at the time) and taking time to think about the wider world and universe I inhabit and why I'm here. Very deep stuff. And while I've had my periods of total disdain for church or even Christianity in general (I spent a couple of years as a Wiccan), I'm finding a strong desire to rejoin a religious community.

DOH is Catholic. I was raised as a Protestant. And while we aren't reenacting scenes from Northern Ireland, we definitely have different views on certain things. I'm also pretty freaking liberal (I was also a self-proclaimed Communist around the same time I was a Wiccan--I'm sure you can imagine how excited my parents were). I don't do well around people who are so absorbed by their religious views that they can't function in the wider, non-denominational world or get past the fact that there are, in fact, other people who believe differently, and, guess what, they probably aren't going to burn in that fiery, bad place for believing differently.

But the point of this post isn't to get too religious. It's to talk about the fact that I, for the first time in a long time, really want to go back to church. I've been hankering for a place where we can go to worship and be a part of a community as a family,  and with this move coming up in June, I figured it's a good opportunity to find a place to go.

For a short period of time this fall, we were attending church at the Congregational church in our current town. I loved it, but services started really early for us (9:30 AM) and Lizzie had a hard time going down to the nursery (she was the only little one there). I also didn't really want to send her there, I liked being together, but I felt a bit of pressure to have her go down, which annoyed me a bit. Overall, though, I really enjoyed the church, but it just wasn't working out. I also figured I didn't want to get involved in a church that we likely wouldn't stay at since we planned on moving after I graduated from college.

The town we're moving to has a few different options for where we can go just within the town. There is a Universalists church which is kind of right up my alley. They have a variety of services that cater to lots of different belief systems, which I love. It's also very liberal and openly supports the GLBT community, which I very openly support. I also feel as though my and DOH's different belief systems (as similar as they are) will both be respected and neither one of us will feel left out.

There is also a Congregationalists church, which I have heard wonderful things about, having had friends who attended it growing up. I think it's a more traditional church, but like most Congregational churches that are associated with the UCC (United Church of Christ), they're pretty open-minded (at least that is what I've found here in Maine). I would have no problem attending this church, and I don't think my husband would be against it either, but then again, it's different from what he's used to (granted, the Universalists church would be, too), and he sometimes has a hard time with "different."

Then there is the Catholic church, which I've actually attended (I was an honorary Catholic there for a bit, as I went to youth group with one of my good friends). I like it a lot. It has a big, active congregation, the kids do an awful lot, and a good chunk of the Catholics in the area go there (and there are a lot of Catholics in Western Maine). My husband would LOVE to go to a Catholic church. I'm pretty certain he'd be really happy if I said I was converting to Catholicism (but that's probably never going to happen). And I would actually be okay going to a Catholic church. Would it be my first choice? No, but only because I don't plan on converting and that status of non-Catholic would probably start to make me feel uncomfortable after a while. But, I would be willing to try if DOH didn't feel comfortable at any other church.

There are lots of other churches in other towns, including the ones our families go to. I don't know that there is anything on this planet, even the salvation of my soul, that could convince me to join the church that my mother-in-law attends (there are LOTS for reasons for this), but I will never say that I wouldn't attend just to visit. My parents go to a Congregational church in the town they live in (and it's the church where I went through confirmation and all that, though the reverend has long since left). I wouldn't mind attending with them, but I think my husband feels the same as I do about attending church with his mom when it comes to going to church with my parents (but for different reasons).

This turned out to be considerably longer than I had intended (and probably way boring), but it's nice to get these thoughts out and organized. It gives you better perspective on where you want to be, and choosing a place of worship, in my opinion, is a decision that needs to be made carefully (I actually think what religion you are or how you feel spiritually is the decision you need to make very carefully).

Sorry if you trudged through this and expected some sort of epiphany at the end--this most was mostly for me, :-) However, if you were curious, I think I'm leaning more towards the Universalists church, though we'll have to actually attend some services before we make a decision.


Isha Ethera Tirawa said...

I vote for finding a new sweet hobby, religions end to complicate things, but if you MUST universalist does sound interestingly open minded, which is always lovely. :)

-btw My names Isha im a new follower, found your blog through TMC :)


Kirsten said...

Haha, maybe a sweet new hobby will be my plan B if this whole church search doesn't pan out. And I agree, religions do complicate everything, but I suppose I like complications :-) That's what you get from a liberal, rather agnostic chick who marries a somewhat conservative Catholic. Can't make anything easy for myself, haha.

Thanks for the comment and following!

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