Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Episcopal Church

Although we do profess to be Christians, Amber and I aren't the most religious people out there. My personal opinion on church attendance is that it's there shouldn't really be any obligation to go on a weekly basis, and that it's always there when you need it. Over the last few years we've been going to church on Christmas and Easter only. Until now, that's been sufficient. But now that we have a daughter, we'll be going to church much more frequently than only twice a year.

Both Amber and I grew up in church-going Christian households, although in different denominations. Speaking for myself, it has certainly been a positive influence in my life, and it's something we would like to pass on to our daughter, Marla. Admittedly, if I had grown up in a completely secular household with no religious influence whatsoever, Christianity - or any other religion for that matter - would probably be a tough sell for me at this point. So from that standpoint, we're going to raise Marla the way we were raised: Christian. And that means going to church at least semi-regularly from now on.

The next question is, which type of Christian church to we take her to? I grew up Catholic - Amber, Lutheran - but there are a couple of things that bother me about the Catholic church. One is their emphasis on "silly rules" and "obligations". Another is the Catholic Church's "this is our doctrine and what you're supposed to believe, take it or leave it" sort of attitude. I never really cared about all of the details of the Catholic doctrine beyond the important stuff (faith in God and Jesus Christ, and general teachings on "right and wrong"). For example, I don't think it should really matter on a day-to-day basis, say, whether there really is such a thing as purgatory. There are also the Catholic Church's conservative stances on various social issues like birth control, women in the clergy, and homosexuality, all of which I think are outdated and strongly disagree with. At the same time, I did grow accustomed to the standard Catholic rites and rituals, and I prefer that kind of traditional church service over some of the more "charismatic" services you get with other popular branches of Christianity. Going to a church where everyone is, like, REALLY into it and stuff...nothing against those types of services, but that's not us.

Now enter the Episcopal Church. Robin Williams once described the Episcopal Church as "Catholic Lite. Same rituals, half the guilt!" Sounds perfect! I think that's fairly accurate, too. I also appreciate the Episcopal Church's more laid-back attitude, as well as their more progressive stance on the afore-mentioned social and political issues. Confident that the Episcopal Church is the right one for us, we found one reasonably close to home, started attending on a semi-regular basis a few months ago, eventually talked with the priest (which affirmed my confidence in the church further), and are now full-fledged "members" of the church. I think. At the very least, I'm now on their email list.

And let me tell you, they are very excited to have us. Most people our age who are inclined to go to church usually end up at the more charismatic types of Christian services I talked about earlier, rather than the more traditional (i.e. boring) ones. So, suffice to say that the "over 50" crowd tends to dominate the membership here. But the membership also has its share of young 30-something parents, so we're not totally alone. The challenge for us is actually going up to and meeting some of these folks. (Amber and I are a bit introverted among people we don't know.)

But like I said, this is more about Marla than us. Marla will be baptized within the next few months (haven't decided exactly when yet). Church will be a regular part of her Sunday routine (well, most Sundays). And, the teachings of Jesus Christ will be an influence throughout her childhood. And she'll be better off for it, probably.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I will say this, I have been a member of a Baptist, Methodist and now Presbyterian church. I will say I BY far go with the Presbyterian. Maybe its just my church itself. But they have NEVER judged anyone, told anyone if you do not believe you go to hell, they do not scream in church, they do not bring snakes (lol) nor speak in tongues. I find the sermons, funny, uplifting and inspiring even. So like I said not sure if its just mine, but I LOVE my Presbyterian church!! But NOT going does not make you nor your family bad.