Finding a church...

We are not church elitists. We are theology elitists.
In a church we want quality but ordinary.
We want people not piousness...
We want to be challenged not petted...
We want trying not performing...

Sean and I have struggled and struggled in finding a parish community since we arrived in Seattle. And because we have struggled so much in finding a faith community we have also struggled to a greater degree with some of the teachings of the church. If we had a faith community to discern with or to feel in solidarity with some of the church's teachings would seem less oppressive, less hard and others would seem more accurate and life giving.

What we have been looking for has been

Architecture: when we go to a church and are sitting a million miles away from the altar. We can't pray let alone feel like we are part of the community. For both of us we would rather sit in a church basement "in the round" than in a beautiful ornate cruciform church a million miles from the altar or ambo.

Language: a church that sticks too close to "traditional" language is not for us. God is not a him and not a father- anymore than God is a her and is a mother. For our family it is really important that language is carefully thought out. That doesn't mean we have to agree with it- it means that we want the people in charge to recognize how language can really empower people or really mess them up.

Community: there is a fine line between overbearing and welcoming. But, I confess even overbearing is better than most Catholic church hospitality issues which tend to be cold and distant. We think its really important that people who are socially akward or not mainstream have a place in church too. It's more attractive to us that people who are "off" have a role than things to be "pretty"

Real: when music feels like a performance, or it feels rehearsed we want nothing of it. Honestly, a little bit of sloppiness is a good thing. If the choir doesn't quite know that song- that's fine as long as they are trying. If the kids don't know when to come up for the blessing but are happy to come forward when called by the leader- that's fine. It doesn't have to be perfect we just want people who are trying!

What these elements do for Sean and I is that they let us relax our theological minds and trust in what is happening. If we can trust that the language isn't going to hurt us, that the community (on some level) is aware of us and each other, that the vision of the church is concerned with social justice then we can really pray. We can turn off our inner critic and really enter in.

By the way. We found a parish.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts