Monday, November 19, 2007

From sinner to member…..

This recovering Catholic is officially no longer a Catholic. YIKES! An identity that I carried through 12 years of Catholic education and many years in college, one that suppressed me and helped me grow at the same time, is no longer. I am now a card-carrying (well a coffee mug carrying, they gave us mugs) member of the United Church of Christ. Yup, S and I joined a church yesterday.

Don’t get me wrong, my family was never the, “you are dammed to hell you if you question the Pope” kind of family. We were the arrive 10 min late to the 12:30 pm Sunday mass or work really hard to get it out of the way on Saturday at 6:00 pm family. My parents listened to doubts but incorporated prayer before dinner. The education was stellar in the Catholic schools I attended. I am grateful to them for all the choices they made in sending me to that school and letting me develop my own spirituality at the same time. Besides, what other choice did they have but to raise me Catholic in the Catholic schools since my mother was once a nun. Yup folks, you read that right my mom was a nun for somewhere around 9 years. And, no, my dad did not woo her out of it. My mom decided the match wasn’t right and decided to impact the world outside the nunnery, which she did by teaching overseas, marrying my dad, having my brother and I, and in so many other ways. (I speak in past tense about her because she passed away 16 years ago not because she does not still do these things. She does it in a much more indirect and magical way.)

The Catholics are strange, and I’m sorry if that offends anyone. I kinda mean a good strange. So many of my friends are Catholic (i.e. high school friends). My dad, brother, and sister-in-law are still practicing Catholics, as are many of my extended family members. These people are all supportive of the family S and I are building and do not take the Pope’s words regarding us as vial sinners to heart, and I thank them for that. This is why Catholics are so strange; so many people that walk in the Catholic Church doors come with a broadminded interpretation of the Cannon Laws and the Pope’s dictations, all while under the pretense of following the guidance of the Pope. J You have to admit; it is a bit strange but in a good way. Some would deem freethinking Catholics an oxymoron.

All that said, the Catholic Church itself had turned me off to church altogether. That is till my wife talked about how much she would really like to get back to church. All I could think about was standing in church being bored, mindlessly reciting words ingrained in my head since childhood, and listening to the priest drone on about his old world views of today’s world. YIKES! Since then, we have found the United Church of Christ where they talk about the reality of today’s world, our impact on it, and how our actions are a representation of God’s work here on earth.

So, yesterday we stood before the congregation and were welcomed as an openly lesbian couple into the their community without a question or doubt from them. It was nice to see people take on the teachings of a man named Jesus in their actions, to welcome all who strive to be closer to God. Even more to the point, instead of a sermon this church (which has members that are old enough to be my great grandmother and young enough to be growing in S’s belly) had the PROUD Theater Group (a theater troupe of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and ally kids middle school to high school age) perform a set of monologues on religion and sexuality, doubt and devotion, fear and pride, and most of all about me an my journey back to a church.

Recovering Catholic no more, now a UCC member. As the UCC motto states, God is still speaking……s/he didn’t forget me while I was away, s/he was and is always speaking. Thanks S for encouraging me to go back. I’m looking forward to raising our baby with the support of this community.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

congratulations! i'm glad you've found a church that welcomes and inspires you and your growing family. we miss you ladies! love ~C

Anonymous said...

From a fellow recovering Catholic who still has a hard time with the idea of "church", I am very happy that you and S have found a place that is both welcoming, and exactly what a "church" should be! A warm, loving, accepting, and caring community working to make this world a better place sounds like something I could get behind too.
love ya lots - lil c

tbean said...

So glad that you have found such a comfortable and welcoming community there!

Alissa said...

Congratulations and I'm so glad you found a community of people who strive to live exactly how Jesus did, loving each and every one of us exactly the same.

Jamie said...

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school too. I still haven't reach the point where I am ready to embrace another religion. Congratulations on making that step!!

I totally understand your reasoning behind not wanting to be a Catholic. I do not understand how a religion can be so judgemental about so many things... I guess that is why every war in history has a religious base.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you have found a welcoming, supportive group with whom spirituality is celebrated in a community that appreciates the diversity of humankind. My goodness, how will you manage without all of the guilt trips, edicts, and mumblings of the papacy? Does this mean that I have to give up my petitioning and gerrymandering of the Pope to admit that God is a woman......and gay?
God is smiling on Sara, Tot and you just because you are good people.....just like you always have been. Love you. Dad

Ali said...

From one UCCer to another, Welcome!
I was raised Baptist and have found the UCC to be refreshing and real, compassionate and challenging and an overall good fit for me. I love it that the UCC represent social justice not rules.

So glad you have found a fit for your family too!

Holly said...

Congrats!
Lois and I both had a tough time with how to introduce our child into church since we were both (former) Catholics. We were this close to never going to a church anywhere ever again when we found a wonderful and incredibly accepting Episcopal church and we love it!
A warm and embracing church community - it's weird, isn't it.

kwillmetta said...

Goodness, you have each other, tot family, friends and now a nurturing church community... Maybe it's not a village anymore, it sounds like a major town. Congratulations

ajs4ever said...

Congrats! I think all religions are great as long as you find the one that fits you! I'm so glad you found that place:) Have a great Turkey Day!!

ohchicken said...

congratulations! i teared up when i read this. it made me miss feeling at home in a church community.

CD & SP said...

i have currently sworn off organized religion due to residual Catholic discomfort, but laud your decision to become part of another community. maybe one day..it is so nice to belong, right?

sandra said...

I tend to think that religions aren't closed-minded -- people are -- and that you've found a group of people who are not...which is kind of amazing. Also, I heart your dad.