Sunday I went to church as a customer, as in not to a wedding or a funeral. This has not happened in over 35 years. I had already committed to going to the Unitarian Universalist Church on that particular date because for a church not under the “organized religion” category, it’s so organized that speakers’ topics were months ahead on the website’s calendar. The presentation’s topic and speaker intrigued me.

This would be the only church environment I would be able to handle because you don’t have to believe in the blonde Jesus on the calendar to attend. And I definitely need community. And I definitely need wider viewpoints in my environment. And I definitely need to contribute. But, still, it was church and I was scared shit to go.

I didn’t count on the big divorce bombshell when I picked the church date, so I wasn’t in too great emotional shape when I went. But I went. I actually even went early to attend a forum of interest.

As I left my home, probably the only “unchurched” home for miles around, I shouted out “I’M GOING TO CHURCH, Y’ALL! ARE YOU HAPPY? I’M GOING TO CHURCH BEFORE Y’ALL!” I know that was immature but fun. If you only knew what I’ve gone through in the tolerance department living in the Bible Belt…

The first thing I noticed was that just about everybody looked familiar. These are the people I’ve been seeing at all the cool events in the city over the last 20 years. Now they’ll have names.

The forum was fascinating and the people were friendly and interesting. The bad citizenship quality I’ve acquired of late of not keeping up with current events will need to go. This is a place where everybody knows their shit.

But what really sold me right away was the coffee. Let Rastafarians have their THC– caffeine is my spiritual enhancer. Everywhere you went there was a big urn brewing, so I knew this was the church for me even if the upcoming service involved sacrificing live virgin goats without anesthesia.

At the beginning of the actual service, I started crying when they said they welcomed people of all beliefs or of no particular belief. Since it was a category that had no categories that weren’t in its category, I finally saw a potential to be a part of a community.

The people continued to be interesting and friendly. The speaker inspired me. The hymns were horrible except for the words. All the melodies sounded the same so it was easy to fake as you sang along. Not being from a Protestant background, I’m into groovin’ to that Pre-Baroque genre, gettin’ off on that incense swung around from a chain. But I was in church not being told I may go to hell, so it’s a trade-off.

Although I was invited, it wasn’t the day for the after-service mingling. I was crying off and on. I didn’t know how to sign the visitor’s book to get the newsletter since I didn’t know what my real name would be when it was time for them to mail the newsletters out.

I like it there. Something to look forward to…

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