Today marks a year since I have been to church. We started attending services in 2006, joined in 2009, and attended regularly until the first week of February of last year. Honey has visited once since then.
When people find out we are no longer going, they instantly assume something happened to offend one of us. That is absolutely not the case. I can’t recall ever having anything but kindness shown to my partner and myself as we attended church over a span of almost seven years. The issue, my issue, always boils down to a combination of lack of faith and problems with organized religion.
Regular readers of this blog will know some of my history with Christianity. I grew up in a very small Pentecostal Holiness church. Although there were many restrictions on dress and behavior, I believe most of the people I grew up worshiping with were good people who were sincere in their beliefs. My problems with that denomination arose when I became a young man and realized there simply wasn’t a place in the pews for people like me.
Last night, on YouTube, I stumbled across a video of a Holiness woman preaching (female preachers were common in the denomination of my youth). This was the same woman who met with me a few days after coming out to my family to inform me that gays occupy the lowest level of hell. I realized something while watching her last night; she might be charismatic and eloquent, but she likes to use fear and her loud voice as weapons of intimidation. I actually felt sorry for her.
The church we are both members of now is a far cry from the Holiness church. Aware of the UCC’s beliefs on homosexuality, I knew before we even entered the building on our first visit that we should have no problems in that regard. We never did. We were embraced as a couple and as whole people who didn’t need “fixing.”
So, why did I stop going? Again, it all came back to my issues with faith and religion. I felt like a hypocrite sitting in the pews on Sunday morning, tossing prayers toward heaven without any conviction they were reaching further than the rafters. Sure, there were times when I felt more connected to God, but overall my faith in religion has been in decline for several years.
I don’t know what I believe in any more. I want to believe there is a God who loves me and has the answers to all the universal questions we have, but maybe that is just a selfish part of being human and wanting to feel significant. Maybe all we have is what we see, and perhaps we will never know the answers to why we are here and how in the heck space can be infinite. It could very well be that we get this amazing life to live for a few decades and then we die and that’s it. And, really, isn’t that enough?
On this anniversary of sorts, I feel reflective but contented. I love spending Sundays at home with my partner and our spoiled kitties. We sleep in, watch movies, visit with friends, and cook dinner. When it’s warm enough, I often find myself working in the yard. When it’s cold, I often catch myself daydreaming and planning about what I am going to do when it’s warm enough to work in the yard. There are few things I enjoy more.
So, my Sundays are still sacred – just in a different way. And that’s perfectly fine with me.