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.