Friday, June 04, 2010

Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Agnostic

Those are my choices.
The Help invited me to a bible study with some people from his church and I had a good time but a minor, very minor issue was the fact I was Catholic and everybody else was Presbyterian. At one point during the eating/meal part of the gathering one fellow was telling how his father led others to Christ and how the people of the town were not Christian. The people were Catholic and engaging in some odd little patron saint thing, which I guess was to illustrate their idolatry. I wasn't offended, as so much, I don't know. I decided to interpret it as the people being wrapped up in a cultural activity that had very little to do with the Gospels. The job of the saints is to point us to Christ, apparently this saint wasn't doing his job.
The more I think of it I know well in my heart I am not a Presbyterian, nor will I ever be. For one, I can only take the worship services in occasional bites. The sermons are too long to me. If you can't make your point in 10-20 minutes, you're droning. That's what drove me from the Baptist church. The sermons were long and at times didn't seem to have a point. They lost me. Thank G-d, literally, he manged to sweep me up into the crowd going to St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Gainesville, when I was on a mission to go to Burger King. It was either my freshmen or sophomore year (as I was still living in the dorms) and by that time, not going to church. When I was living with my parents, I kinda went to church, but I remember there was a point when I stopped going altogether. College, didn't go at all, until that weekend when I got swept into St. Augustines.
I did RCIA but didn't take the plunge. I was also checking out Grace Episcopal in G'ville. And come to think it is amazing I stuck with the Episcopal church then because my first encounter was with huggy hippies at the Episcopal student center across the street from campus. Ewww, hippies. My desire was to get the F*ck away from them when I saw their idea of the peace. I'm older now, now, I'd be firmer with extending my hand. Grace was cool. Grace was downtown, away from the campus. I liked them and got something out of it. I alternated between Catholic and Episcopal during my undergrad and my grad programs.
During my second grad program I didn't get to church often. I tried St. Andrew's in College Park, but didn't care for it, and didn't find it worth dealing with the metrobus in PG County nor the hills of Hyattsville to keep going. I tried to make it to St. George's in Virginia Sq, where I had been going prior to grad school, but Sunday's on a fractured green line, was a no go. So I really didn't go to church much those two years. I wasn't thinking much about theological issues much either.
After grad school I moved closer to a metro rail line. St. Andrew's was still uninteresting and I think, I'm not sure, returned to St. Georges. I can't remember when I returned to St. Georges. It might have been when I moved into DC, when going from the green to the orange lines on a Sunday morning was less a pain in the ass. But still a pain.
Somewhere in there I met up with Roland who then pointed me to the Church of the Really, Really Blond People and the Church of the Gay Lawyer (which upon last visit seemed to be getting more hetro). Though longer than I'd like, I did enjoy the CotGL, but the CotRRBP was a straight shot from the house on bike, had the best coffee hour, a kick-ass adult forum and a cool soup kitchen.
My appearances at Baptist churches pretty much came down to weddings, funerals, and instances where I had no choice (see, relatives). There are things about the Baptist Church that I enjoy, but my interest in the Lord, falls asleep, like the rest of me would if it weren't for dumb mind games I play to stay awake during the sermon. Sadly I found myself doing the same at the Help's church.
At Anglican/Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches I feel myself growing closer to G-d and I genuinely enjoy worship, even when the music is crap. At the black Baptist churches of my family, the music is good. If someone died, so is the food. The sermons are 'eh' and remind me why I left. At my grandmother's funeral (the mean one) I stayed interested in the sermon by picking out everything that was wrong. The pastor saying that she not saying one unkind word to anyone was the biggest lie. A kind lie, but a lie none the less. Note, she was the mean one.
And with the Baptist church I have all sorts of familial ties that make it a choice over any other protestant denomination outside of Anglicanism (and maybe the Lutheran church on a good day). My favorite uncle is the deacon of the baptist church where my grandfather served as deacon. My half-sister's husband is the pastor at some small baptist church in Florida. My father, just recently turning his life over to the Lord, serves on the men's choir and some church board at the baptist church where I was baptized. It is the same church that it seems many of our family has attended for decades (dare I say 100 years?). My mother serves on the usher board at another baptist church. Closer to here my aunts belong to a baptist church about 5 blocks from my home, and in helping one aunt with church activities, I've been dragged to that church and other baptist churches in DC ever since I was a teenager visiting. If it weren't for falling asleep and loosing interest, I might have remained a Baptist. If it weren't for the draw and the utter joy I feel in participating in the mass or the holy Eucharist in the RC and Anglican church I might have become an agnostic. But there is nothing (short of my struggling love of the Help) that would have drawn me to the Presbyterian Church.

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