Sunday, December 9, 2012
going to church with my boyfriend
Last night, the choir I sing with put on a concert at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Portland (pictured above). After the concert, Ryan and I decided it would be interesting to attend Sunday services. A big part of the reason for me wanting to attend is that it's a gorgeous church with a fantastic organ and beautiful stained glass windows. I kind of wish Mormon churches weren't so cookie cutter and utilitarian. There's something about worshiping in a beautiful space that's so much more appealing to me. Another reason for wanting to attend is that it's a progressive Christian church and is up front in its messaging about being LGBT friendly. As I've thought about it, it's interesting (read: sad) that churches need to specify that they are welcoming to diversity. I'm sure the LDS church would say that it also welcomes diversity, but maybe doesn't realize how some of their actions/messaging speak louder to the contrary.
I haven't really attended many other church services in my life. I went to a Catholic funeral in high school and I went to maybe one or two evangelical church services on my mission in Brazil, but that's about it. Possibly one of the my favorite parts of the service was singing happy birthday to Agnes, who turned 95 today. Agnes was beaming and held up both hands and waved at everyone. Completely precious. The music was also so much better. Having a professional play a real organ with guest musicians playing Vivaldi and Dvorak in a string quartet didn't hurt. It was also nice that any time politics crept into the shared messages, it was politics that I agreed with. I'm used to cringing or bracing myself any time politics comes up in talks or lessons at church. It was also just nice to be at church with my boyfriend. My (Mormon) bishop has told me that Ryan is welcome to come to church with me, which is nice, but there's something about the idea of being there with him and knowing that many or most of my fellow ward members would consider the relationship inherently broken, unhealthy or sinful that doesn't sound appealing. It was nice to be with him in a church setting that sees the relationship as just as good and healthy as any other relationship.
I suppose it sounds like I'm ready to ditch Mormonism for the UCC. I wouldn't say that. There is some bizarre (and perhaps masochistic) part of myself that enjoys swimming upstream in Mormonism. I also think there is some richness and mystery to Mormon theology that isn't present elsewhere. I guess my approach to truth could be summed up in the following excerpt from one of Joseph Smith's sermons: "Have the Presbyterians any truth? Embrace that. Have the Baptists, Methodists and so forth? Embrace that. Get all the good in the world, and you will come out a pure Mormon."
Posted by JonJon at 2:35 PM