On the way to the airport this morning, my visiting friend, Amir, asked me if our family goes to church. That might seem like an odd question from a close friend, since that's usually the sort of thing that close friends already know about one another. But we are both sort of floundering spirits, not espousing any particular religion or belonging to any single church, although we kind of wish we did. I'll speak for myself, at least.
We did attend a church here for a few years, awhile back. I started going to women's bible studies and we signed up to be door greeters, in an effort to get involved. As a girl who grew up in a home completely void of religion, organized or otherwise, choosing to follow one as an adult wasn't easy. I wasn't drawn so much to the actual religion as I was to that church; I was all about the rock band at the start up of each service and the attending families who appeared to be perfectly normal. I even enjoyed the bible study groups, interestingly enough. I'm a horrible skeptic, plus, I'm not very good about taking the parts I like and leaving the parts I don't - a strategy my husband taught me for surviving church as a non-religious person. Sooner or later, though, I knew I was doomed to fail. In the end, I think every organized religion is going to offer something I don't agree with and I won't be able to get past it. This one was a four-week sermon on fixing gay people. See ya!
Since then, I haven't put much effort into trying a different church. I'm not sure what I'd look for, or what I'd hope to find. How can you choose something like that, if you have no idea what you're in need of? Part of me just likes the thought of having that Sunday morning ritual, giving Jack some background at least, from which he can explore other things later in life. I don't fault my parents at all for not raising us in church, but it would be a lot easier to be something if I could say what I did or didn't want to be.
Amir's seven year old daughter, Ellie, has it right, I think. In a conversation loosely based on how Jewish people don't believe in Christmas, she defined the perfect religion, as far as I'm concerned.
"Daddy, I believe..." she said, "...in Jesus Christ, Santa Claus and Dinosaurs."
Amen. Sign me up for that church.