Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Community vs. Me, Myself and I

I went to church on Sunday.

One of the only reasons I went is because I wanted to receive Communion. I wanted that solemn sacrament that I hear other Christians talk about, the body and blood that reminds them tangibly of Christ-here-and-now but I don't think I'll find that outside of a Catholic or high Anglican church. That's ok for now, but I really want that.

Sitting in church is becoming less fraught with wild emotions as time goes on. I sat there without a tinge of anger, indignation or guilt, which is a nice change.

I'm learning to embrace the kaleidoscope of ways in which people act out our faith and structure their services. There were no pews, only tables with chairs all around the outside, like a dining room for the hungry souls that we are. It entailed lots of eye contact and back-and-forth conversations with complete strangers. I liked it.

One of the songs had a line that referred to god as 'faithful friend' and I had to stop myself from crying, although I don't think I succeeded very well. No other part of that song moved me like that one brief line.
A fantastic woman spoke about community, and our irrepressible need for one another. About how we get closer to god the closer the get to one another.

And about how the more we cling to religion, the further we get from one another, until we are both of us crouched in opposite corners of the room, isolated. Alone.
I totally get that. I get how religion can change people who would otherwise be free and joyful with one another into being suspicious and distrusting with all but the smallest words of greetings and how are you's.

And isn't that a shame? Isn't it shameful how our belief in one radical god-man who commanded love to be our banner has turned us against one another? It makes me ill and I don't blame the world for being repulsed when the religious discussion gets going, when the Facebook statuses get strident and verses get lobbed about like hand grenades.

Boom! The Bible says....................Boom! It is plain and clear............................Boom! A true Christian........................

.........and the shrapnel reaches places far and wide and lodges itself into hearts and minds and we go about our merry day satisfied that we have done the Lord's work. We have 'reached out'. We have 'not compromised'. I am guilty of this too.

So when that fantastic woman spoke about our need for one another, it pierced through my muddy thoughts and I knew I had to listen even though all I want to do is protect myself from the discussions and the arguments and the silent judgments but I know I can't.
I know that I need a community. I need people, messy, beautiful, crazy, difficult, hilarious people to live this life with. And I want that, I really do.

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