I went to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbia, SC, for the first time today. It was, well it was church, which is to say it was mostly boring. Someone recognized my name as being a blog, though, so that was pretty cool. And everyone was super nice, friendly, and non-proselytizey. Additionally, the minister laughed at something funny I said, so that was good.
I like the people who go to the church and what they stand for and the sermon was pretty interesting — I mean, the minister is an atheist, so it’s not really anything like church church, but it still involved the stand up, sit down, sing this, dunk the baby in water thing. Basically, all the rituals that made church seem ridiculous and boring when I was a teenager. It turns out, I didn’t ever grow out of this phase, to the shock of absolutely no one.
I grew up in the Episcopal Church, which I didn’t particularly like, though I have some respect for in terms of its politics and liberalness. Church involved getting forced to wake up early, wear uncomfortable clothes, sit in incredibly uncomfortable chairs and listen to things you couldn’t care less about with the constant threat of disciplinary action if you did something interesting like read or draw — and frankly I got enough of that at school. My instinctive feeling that church is similar to prison is, therefore, not working in its favor.
So what I learned is that church without the creepy Jesus bits is still pretty churchy.
However, after the service, I got to spend some time with a lot of the people there, and they are interesting, snarky liberals whose company I enjoy. And the thing I did like about the service was that it was a relatively small congregation, so it was sort of informal and absolutely nothing like going to a service at Trinity Cathedral (read: pompous). So, hopefully there are ways to get to know the people that don’t involve the hellish torture of listening to “If I had a Hammer” ever, ever again. Ever.
People assume, for some unfathomable reason, that because I’m a progressive, liberal type person that I am also into hippie-dippie, touchy-feely, hand-holding, peacenik circle jerks singing Kumbaya and saving the Earth by composting and like loving animals and nature. I am not that person. I think 90% of my dislike of service would be fixed if the music wasn’t… what it is. *shudder*
Not that church has ever been something I’ve missed or particularly wanted in my life, but it’d be nice to get to know some like-minded people.