Monday, December 12, 2005

bittersweet glorias

I played a church gig this weekend, which raised some of the confusion for me that it usually does. I usually start my musings wiht the thought, "I'm not religious, isn't it funny that I have a profession that essentially assures that I will have to attend and play at several Christmas/Easter/etc. gigs every single year?" I usually have a lot of time to sit and think while everybody is preaching or whatever. Eventually I get bored and start either listening or reading the program (especially if it's a multiple-service gig, like the one yesterday). And I start realizing that about half of what's on there makes perfect sense to me, and the other half is almost totally in opposition to the way I go through life. For example: "We all have to open our hearts, our hands, our lips, to others/and to God's mercy and Jesus' love." "I am grateful for the community and that we can share so much and be strong together/and spend our time together in the light of God's forgiveness." Things like that. And it makes me feel so weird inside, the conflict between the love of the community and giving and helping of others that so frequently seems to be a theme of the sermons and the thoughts and lives of the people that I talk to afterwards, and the split between us as I realize that all of this is predicated by a deep belief in something I don't believe in. I remember when I was younger I had a brief desire to belong to a church, not for the religion, but for the ceremony and community. I still have that desire, although I can't imagine that I could (or even truly want to) even bend myself enough to fit within an organized religious experience like the ones I observe. The services always result in a very bittersweet feeling for me, and a feeling that I am perhaps too close-minded when it comes to religion.


erica said...

the thing with christianity that makes me the most uncomfortable is the guilt and sense of flawed-ness that you seem to have to have to really believe--you have to think you've done something wrong to be "saved," right? and so that alone destroys the potential good in that religion for me. but it's interesting to hear you describe it...other than xmas eve, i haven't been to a church service in years, and i tend to forget what they're like. and it's always a bit of a shock to remember just how distant religious things are from my life...i dunno. it's interesting.

PocaCosa said...

I hear ya! You should take the quiz I just posted on my blog, and find that good ol' religious community you're striving for. :) By the way, I love the quotes; that's always how I feel at weddings. "Promise to love one another always [and devote your lives to Jesus Christ]." It's funny that there are even people out there who don't divide up those sentences at all!

Lauren E-C said...

Yeah, you nailed exactly how I feel about church. The first half of the sentences is the reason I have tried to find a good inspiring church through the years, and the second half of the sentences is why I finally gave up. I just can't identify with it and it makes me feel cold inside.
I seem to have found that sense of community and ceremony in things like music or dancing, or, . . .dancing at folk festivals. where you have that communal spirit and joy. it feels like how i've wanted church to feel, but it isn't church and I don't have to be christian to go there.