Monday, June 23, 2008

New Digs

So we've made the switch. To a new church, that is. It happened quickly and not how I thought it would. I started researching area gay-friendly churches. Turns out there aren't that many (shock) around here. Of the five I found, four were major denominations that had way too much tradition/ritual and not nearly enough of a children's program. The fifth was an MCC which is it's own denomination of GLBT churches. I just couldn't see being in one of those tiny, storefront churches with maybe four other kids, ya know?
We did a lot of talking about what we really wanted in a church before this switch. Jedd sees non-discrimination as important but he wasn't convinced we needed a church defined by their GLBT policy. We were out 3 weekends ago and he suggested the Saturday night service at a larger church we attended before we had kids. We both liked the idea of having Sunday off so we got some Chik Fil A and headed over.
The kids program was ideal from drop-off to pick-up. When we picked them up they were excited and could tell us what they learned. Not just what story they heard but a concept they were able to grasp. The adult teaching was refreshing. Relevant, new and challenging. So we went back the next week. We liked it again. Then Jedd told me that they had donated money to a gay "fix-it" organization. This does not exactly match up with my values, to say the least. So, I really felt like, "shit, there's just no way around this." I did feel a little more hopeful when I learned that it was a one-time donation in 2005.
This week we went back on Sunday as they were finishing up their Summer of Service (SOS) program. The program itself is pretty amazing and definitely different than the usual Christian summer youth conferences. The minister shared some stories from the week and it was cool to see how these kids went beyond handing out water and washing cars to a real understanding of service. Really, the stories were exciting. Then he got to his last story. A group of about 20 or so kids who wanted to do a service project related to abortion. (Cue my inner nail-biter) So they bought a whole bunch of flowers and went to Planned Parenthood. Understand, this is a touchy issue for me. I believe that abortion ends the life of a human. I also believe the church hasn't done ANYTHING remotely helpful for the women facing this decision. I also love this clinic where I once had the gentlest pelvic exam by the nicest doctor and where we confirmed my first pregnancy.
So their idea was that maybe the staff could give the flowers to their clients. The staff said it was against policy. So the kids went outside and talked things over. They had decided to give the flowers to the staff. During their discussion they started to feel really awful about the high fences and other grand security measures. Why? Because they realized that these people had to come to work this way in large part because of Christians. They felt that was wrong. They decided to go in and apologize. APOLOGIZE. (Cue my outer bawling pregnant lady)
On the car ride home over to the mall I said, "Well, I'm sold." Jedd agreed and Elliet wanted to know what that meant. I told her that it meant we liked the new church (Bailey's church she calls it for her friend that goes there) and wanted it to be our church. "Oh, I'm sold too!"

5 comments:

  1. I disagree w/ the choice, but (who knew?) it's not about me! So, I'm happy you found some place to your liking.

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  2. Heh, I don't agree with your choice(s) either so I guess that's fair!
    This will have to do for now. Of course, if they bring the guy from Exodus back to speak again (I guess he was there in 05) I won't be able to stay.
    You would think that there would be GLBT friendly churches that were independent. Maybe they're out there and I'll find them one day. I did tell Jedd I thought it was important to keep looking bc the more people join those churches the more mainstream they will become.

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  3. Well, Cincinnati isn't really known for its overwhelming hospitality to GLBTs. Which is funny since the city does actually have decent-sized community.

    The only churches I can remember are the ones you cite. And I can definitely understand your inclination for something else. The Episcopal church is a HUGE switch. I rather like it, but I can see how it's not for everybody. As for the MCC, I'm not too into it that -- mostly because identity-issues are are normally too centralized there.

    My primary issue with evangelical churches who are talk about "tolerance" is that it often boils down to the sentiment, "We'll put up w/ this, in love, until you see the light and change." Or, "We'll change your mind via kindness." Love and kindness are great, and it's far & away better than throwing bricks, or worse, of course. But, I still remain very wary. Consider it post-traumatic church syndrome.

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  4. PTCS is great! Did you coin that yourself? We agree on these points. The measure is who is allowed to serve/lead in the church. Tolerance becomes a dirty word. I do like the Episcopals...in fact the only church I really considered and may still visit is Church of Our Savior (http://www.forministry.com/USOHECUSACOOSC/)
    in Mt Auburn. They have a strong mission of community service that I like.

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  5. I did, in fact, coin that. Though I've not yet Googled it to see if somebody has beaten me to the punch. If it is in fact original, maybe THAT is my elusive book idea! It wouldn't even require a lot of research!

    The Episcopal Church is nice. It's just a really hard time for them right now -- what w/ the possibility of the Anglican Church split hanging over them. That might be purely a clergy issue, though, and not really even a issue for everybody else.

    Then, of course, there is the liturgy. That's a big barrier for some, because it feels stifling. I came to prefer it, though. I got tired of being "wow'd" by novelty in church services. Not because I'm somehow morally above it, but because I would find myself constantly rating its effectiveness. In the end, that just seemed like a really cynical, if commonplace (for a certain breed of bible college know-it-all's), perspective. If it wasn't poisonous to the churches, it was to me.

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