Tuesday, June 20

Spirit of Peace

I was brave last night and I went to church on my own! I found a group online that I wanted to check out. They're called Spirit of Peace and they're part of the United Church (not uniting...don't think they're the same). They have a female reverend (although she's away at the moment) and a strong focus on social justice.

Now I'm shy and terrified when it comes to this kind of thing...but I was brave. The first hurdle is that the church is located under that intersection of doom that I showed you a while back. That intersection is scary to cross, but try working out how to get underneath it! I left super early though so I had time (it's a 5pm Sunday thing...very civilised). It was made more complicated by the fact that the exit I had planned to take was closed because of the incessant road works, but I found it fine, eventually.

The service was great. They were a very small group, but friendly and interesting. I was overly awkward, since I couldn't hide in a small group, and became even more awkward when I realised they'd run a stall at "San Antonio Pridefest" the day before and probably though I'd come as a result of that, but I guess that's not so bad. The service was short (Catholic length) and the sermon was excellent, about the many faces of Paul (or the many writers *gasp*) and focused on radical Paul (using Philemon). A few souls may have been horrified by the line "I mean, some of Titus is just offensive" but the focus was on believing in a God revealed through the bible, not the bible itself (the word of God filtered through the words of men). The byline of the UCC is "God is still speaking". All good ^_^

The other thing I really liked was that the entire service was focused on social justice, on putting this stuff into practice rather than endlessly debating the finer points. The message seemed to be that perhaps we don't all agree on the nitty gritty, but we probably never will, so lets move on and enjoy life, love people and do some good, eh?

The downside to the who event, other than trying to sing stilted hymns from a book I almost couldn't lift, was the awkward 10 minutes after the service (the news-sheet says "please stay for refreshments and a chat") where I stood about, clearly not knowing anyone, in a small space and was (pointedly?) avoided by all and sundry. Maybe my imagination, but it was awkward and uncomfortable and after wandering aimlessly reading all the posters etc I eventually slipped away quietly. But, experience says you have to give these things a few tries so I'll be back ^_^


b&C said...

Wow. That church sounds really great. I like the stuff about putting things into practice rather than debating the finer points of the written text. Maybe we could come visit too when we (eventually) get to the states?

I'm just about to head off for two hours at Handmark. Unfortunately that job is turning out to be more of a thorn than a rose. Looking after people's lunch breaks doesn't exactly make me feel like I'm putting seven years worth of fine art study into good practice. Oh well, at least Kathmandu is turning out to be really worthwhile (and quite fun).

BigA said...

Well done Jac! I would have found a hundred excuses not to go by myself. Give them another chance on the fellowship side; they are probably shy too. Now I'll have to check out Titus and see if it offends me! I'm preaching this weekend (and next): "Me and God in hard times". Moi? I don't think I've had any. I guess it's all relative.

Andhe said...

...but what is it that they are against? It is all all well and good to nominate oneself as a "progressive Christian" and stand against "evil and injustice" but with rare exception, outside truly malign souls, everybody is against pain, suffering and cruelty.
Being inclusive and anti-dogmatic is well and good but there must be something absolute where the is only room for rejection. Evil after all will what means is necessary to achieve its goals.

Having said that and hopefully not sounded too much like Paul, I'm glad you've found a place of worship.

mothersupex said...

Very proud of you that you have at least checked out a place of worship. I thought you would be longing to find something, and I am pleased to read, that you will give it another go. Perhaps they were shy too, but they should practice what they preach and welcome you, with open arms. Well done :-}