Confession: I Love Church

By Sunday, February 3, 2008 8 0

Most of us have a closeted part of ourselves, a part we don’t readily reveal. For some, it is sexual orientation, or political beliefs. But for me, it is the fact that I love church and love to worship God there, with others.

Why am I shy about this, when I am not known for shyness in general? There’s more than one reason, but just one I can tackle before I walk over to my Methodist church at 6161 SE Stark (I’m writing on Sunday morning).

A progressive church-lover in Portland, Oregon (that would be me) is somewhat like a black person in a white school — prior to integration. There are few of us, and we find ourselves on the defensive. Our progressive friends associate church with political stances toward the poor, for example, that are the polar opposite of what Jesus actually taught. My friends are outraged. And I am too, but at those political stances, not at Jesus or God.

My confession here to the secular blogoshere is that I believe with all my heart in a loving Creator that cherishes you and me and every living thing on earth. At church, I’m practicing that belief. I feel it most strongly while singing the hymns (and if you want to experience some kick-ass lyrics, just pick up a copy of the New Century Hymnal and start reading).

My experience is that a person can find both comfort and fierce joy in this church thing. Anne Lamott, one of my favorite writers, describes it well in her nonfiction books, and even makes us laugh in the process.

I am a churchgoing believer, at the same time that I’m committed to sustainability and progressive politics. That is my confession. I’ll be delighted if you post a comment. I’ll publish it after I walk back from church. Related post: Consuming Jesus and the Diamond-Cut Life.

  • Grn Pwr Man
    February 3, 2008

    I respect your need to break away from the secular and move towards the sacred! Great posting

  • Marcie
    February 27, 2008

    Yay! Another person who wants to live Green AND is a Jesus Lover too! I’m adding you to my green blog buddies list!

  • Shirley
    December 22, 2008

    There is a whole movement of Christians who believe in going Green and/or Sustainability. We/they have held those beliefs long before Green or Sustainability became buzz words. Currently it is called Earth Stewardship and similar titles in churches. Here is a 2006 example in the Oregonian of church led initiatives.

    If you reach out, even in Portland, you will find many people of similar beliefs in both church and sustainability.

    Please contact me thru my website if you’d be interested in discussing this further.

  • Jenn
    December 23, 2008

    Thanks for this… at times, it’s hard to remember that I’m not the only member of the “religious left” in Portland, Oregon. My friends think it’s quaint and old fashioned of me, and aquantances are quite shocked when they find out I’m a church go-er by choice and not by obligation.

    It’s just all in how you interpret the Word, and I choose to believe in loving each other, forgiveness, and being a steward of God’s resources.

    Great post!

  • I Love You Quotes
    September 13, 2011

    That is awesome…. I am trying to love church as much as you do.

  • e. wagner
    February 26, 2012

    great post! Would love to hear some of your insight on churches in the area where people like you are attending!

  • Liam See
    June 29, 2014

    Yay, Allison. I have discovered a similar progressive church community and thank you for your declaration; the one I find most appealing to me is Sts. Peter and Paul/Pablo y Paolo at SE 82nd and Ash.
    This group embraces its local community through feeding weekly street people, the Hispanic community and Rahab’s Sisters (a service to the streetwalking women) for over 10 years.

    • Alison
      July 1, 2014

      Liam, the church community you describe sounds wonderful. It is emulating how Jesus lived, i.e. practicing community and generosity, particularly with marginalized people.

      In a similar vein, this afternoon I get to help serve a big, delicious meal to dollar-poor folks at a church here in Ashland. They are not poor in spirit! Doing this will be the riches, most joyful part of my day. At the end, I always sit down and eat and have some great conversations.

      Thanks for commenting, Liam. I love hearing from you.

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