When I first became a Christian it was in a group the definitely had a strong sense of community. Every Sunday after church, nearly all of us would go to lunch together. We’d talk and hangout for hours. Sometimes it was difficult to leave church because we are all to busy talking and could never decide where lunch should be had. Sometimes I’d stay behind with a hand full of other musicians and we’d play music in the youth room for hours and hours on end.
These are some of the best memories of that time in my life.
If you followed my coming out story, each one of the guys I came out to was part of that community. It is an amazing thing to go to church and not want to leave because you and your friends are enjoying each others company and conversations. One of the more frustrating experience of becoming a parent is that your children cut these moments short by demanding you feed them, or change their diaper, or fix their boredom. Young parents who go to church know what I’m talking about.
This last Sunday was one of those experiences. Where you just keep talking and laughing with people. Sometimes the topic is spiritual or biblical nature but often times it’s about that funny thing someone posted on facebook, or did you see that last episode, or OMG I can’t believe she fell asleep in her chair last night…
We stayed nearly an hour and a half after church ended just hanging with church folk. We didn’t even bother leaving the sanctuary. Had I not been broke I probably would have suggested we all go to [that one famous restaurant].
I’m going to miss that.
I know friends exist outside the church circles, but once you reach a certain age and enough responsibility in life, you just don’t make friends like you did when you were 20.
Suddenly the Unitarian/Universalist Church makes sense.
As a Christian pastor I always looked down upon the U/U churches and members.
So you don’t actually believe in a god or the bible? Then why the hell would you get up early on a Sunday morning to listen to bad music and a boring sermon?
But then I realized that sooo much of church isn’t about religion, it’s about community and friendship. Why would someone who doesn’t believe in God get up early on a Sunday morning? Perhaps because they like staying later after church with people they enjoy talking to. It’s a human connection with people we may not see at work, in our neighborhood, or from our families. Lunch after church can be awesome. I think I’ll miss that the most.
I know there have been some explicitly atheist attempts at this. There’s the “Sunday Assembly” and the “Oasis” movements. I get why they exist now, more so than before. Would I ever go to one?
I don’t know, I still like the prospect of sleeping in. And apparently the closest one to me is like 100 miles away.
Sorry, no resolution here. Just thinking “out loud”.