So, my husband and I gave up church out of pure discouragement about a year ago.
Last Sunday, however, I wanted to go to church.
While poking around on the internet, I found a website for an Unitarian Universalist Church in our area. In college, I had a friend who attended one while he was growing up, and I always wondered what they heck would you sing and read during the service? I mean you can’t mention Christ, or the Bible even. You couldn’t bring up Buddha, Mohammed, Abraham… pretty much anything. I mean they ask even atheists to attend church (why would an atheist want to? I’m still confused on that…), but also druids, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Krishnas… the list goes on and on. I just kept checking things off in my mind that I couldn’t talk about or joke about, but couldn’t fill it up with any viable topics. Anyway, when I woke up for church I though, I thought about what every woman thinks about… what the heck does one wear to a church like this? I thought, well if they ask everybody to come, they probably are a come as you are kind of place, and so I wore corduroys.
When we got there, I was kind of surprised because it actually looked like a church. They had a stand where visitors signed in and were greeted and given paperwork, just like a church. There was a sanctuary, and seats all facing the front where there was a pulpit. So far, it wasn’t as crazy as I thought it would be. We sang some folk songs about a generic feeling of power outside oneself, and heard a message on not being so opinionated. It all seemed so sane, and I thought … hm, if you didn’t call it church I could come here and grow as a person.
But they do consider it church. The people were so kind and encouraging and helpful. The whole time I was thinking: Wow, so this is what church is supposed to feel like. It’s not supposed to be backward glances and “so you’re coming here again now huh?” It was supposed to be a body of believers gathering together to manifest the God they serve. I’d just heard a sermon online Saturday night about grace, truth and love. The man said that Truth without Grace is Legalism; Grace without Truth is License (I can do what I want and still be saved); and lastly, Truth with Grace was Love. So, on our way to our car my husband and I were talking and I told him that if we came here twice a month and went to another church twice a month we’d have Love, because most of the churches we went to were pure Truth and that place was pure Grace. Put them both together and we’ll have balance. One can help me as a person and the other can help… well I guess re-teach me stuff I’ve heard my whole life.
Anyway, it was a fascinating experience and we’re going back next week. After all, I need a really big dose of Grace because the Truth only Legalism has nearly beaten the faith right out of me.