spirits that speak


into the rest of life

i stopped going to church, unofficially, back in may or june of 2009. i had been going to a church for about 6 or 7 years that just didn't seem right. lots of good people, but the church and i just weren't clicking. i didn't seem to be fitting in anywhere, even with those in my peer group.

after a summer of almost never going, i was "challenged" (as my priest has now defined it). the warden and i were talking about church and the fact that i hadn't really been going. essentially, she said "you don't have to go to our church, but you're not getting away with never going to church anymore." so i decided to visit this church i'd been aware of for some time.

i had been wanting to visit for quite some time because, over the last few years, i was aware of it and knew several people who attended there. i also attended some events spear-headed by the priest of this particular church. things like a lecture about j.r.r. tolkien, and a round-table type dicussion about "christian" media. it turns out this church does things like that regularly. i don't think anything, in particular, kept me from visiting this whole time. just laziness i guess. so, with that "challenge" having been left in my court, i finally went to the anglican church i had been thinking about for a few years.

actually, i'm not sure i was ever visitng. now that i've been there, it feels like it's where i always should have been, and where i would always go as long as i live where i do. once was enough to keep me there. if you're reading this and you're familiar with the feeling of coming or being home, that's what i feel in this place.

i'm not sure if it's any one element. the incense; the bells; the style of communion; the reverence offered by long-standing tradition...they all help focus me on what i, and all the faithful, should always do with our lives: worship. i've also become aware, thanks to this home-coming i think, that i've been letting my faith become lapsed over the past couple of years. it was gradual, it seems. a kind of erosion. but i think that's being repaired now. don't call it a comeback, it's been here for years. i've only recently been reminded that it's there. the faith, that is.

it doesn't hurt that my priest is one of the coolest dudes i know. someone who understands that a person of faith should integrate into his or her community and culture. although he would likely seek humility by shrugging it off, i think he's one definition of the role model concept and i have the utmost respect for him. it makes meeting with him to discuss life that much more meaningful. it also helps me understand, even more than i did before, why it's so devastating in some faith communities when people find out how human their clergy is. so while i do see my priest as a role model, i must also understand that he is human and makes mistakes. i must pray for him and, should i ever witness one of those mistakes, pray for him twice as much. that he will recognize the mistake and seek forgiveness.

and that takes me to my conclusion. i think one of the other things that is now keeping me in a consistent relationship with this particular anglican church is the understanding of humanity that our priest demonstrates. in communion we are all invited. regardless of how failed we feel or are, and how much forgiveness we need, we are invited. it's helped me understand that, sometimes, before someone will ask for forgiveness they need to know that they are part of a community that can show them what it means to live under God's mercy.

people need to be part of a community that will provide and environment in which they can come and confess their life to the Lord and seek the forgiveness they need in order to facilitate repentance. and we are all part of that community, whether priest or parishoner.


  • I never felt like I fit either.

    I visted your "new" church several times, LOVED the music, loved the setting, but my poor allergies couldn't handle the incense, massive headaches, so I gave it up after 4 tries. The ambiance was the thing I liked, didn't feel the connection you do with the priest, his style didn't connect with me.

    The only church (as in the kind you "go to")back in your neck of the woods the I'd attend now, would be The House of Prayer. I really connected with their style.

    For all intents and purposes I stopped going to church when we moved here. We have a "home" church, great people, but I'm not into the "sunday go to meeting" style of church. I stick my head in once every 3-4 months, and oddly have made some connections with people inspite of my lack of attendance. For me, the best experiences I have with the church happen more casually, every converstaion with a believer, every coffee date listening to another person, taking about God ... I had some of my best "church" moments with my autism mom friends at Baked Expectations ... God was just part of the conversation. Honestly I found it easier to talk to others about God there then at our church ... it was like pulling teeth to get people to talk.

    I was mentally ready to leave our church about 3 years before we did, but I kept trying to make it work .... I read a book called "So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore" by Wayne Jacobsen ... and it was a breath of fresh air to me.

    Anyway, there is my ramble! I am really glad you found a place that you connect and helps you focus on God!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:24  

  • hi jill. thanks for reading and commenting.

    yeah, tanya isn't crazy about the incense either, but i've always loved the smell of most incense. the priest is pretty laid back, so i can see why some may not feel that connection. you're right about the music though. it's pretty unique and, i think, that makes all the difference. it's just basically folk music with inspiring lyrics.

    i do hope you find a service you can relate to, but it's certainly good to hear that you're finding God in your connections with others.

    By Blogger johnny m, at 00:01  

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