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Do you ever go to church?

Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I was raised by two people who were raised Catholic and didn't like it much. They decided to "let me decide" what I believed when I grew up. As children and teenagers both do, I rejected this as unsatisfactory and became interested in religion. Sort of as a hobby, it all seemed interesting and dramatic to me but I always felt like an outsider, like a tourist or a sociologist on a research mission. I went to church or temple with my friends every time they invited me. Eventually as a teen I found the Unitarian Universalist congregation and felt like I belonged with all the other unusual and kind and stubborn people I found there. During college I had other things to do on Sunday mornings but when my daughter was five she asked if we could go to church. I took her tout-de-suite to the local UU congregation and nine years later I still go almost every weekend. I married a Quaker, so sometimes we go to his Quaker meeting together. Very different Sunday morning experience, but I enjoy both and get a lot out of both.

I like the dropping-of-routine, I like going out on a relatively quiet morning to sit still somewhere (except when I'm teaching Sunday School!) and making time for a contemplative mindset. Life is busy on the ol homestead.

At the UU I like the friendly faces, the music, the kindness of a loving community, and the open minded theology. I like a sermon that makes me both laugh and cry. A good ratio is a couple of laughs, one good little tear of understanding and one big guffaw. I love my kids hearing the music. I love them seeing the same friendly faces in the congregation every week. I would help these people in their time of need and they would help us. We get a lot of good things done together.

The Quakers, properly known as the Religious Society of Friends, have a really unique Sunday morning experience. Mostly silence for an hour and fifteen, no formal speaker. Everyone sits in silence (the pew/bench things are arranged facing towrd the center, not all facing the pulpit like most churches) for a good while, at least twenty minutes. After that sometimes someone from the congregation is moved to speak. A few sentences, a paragraph at most. Some days noone gets up to speak. On a busy day three people speak. As a denomination they have a fascinating and bizarre history. My husband comes from Quakers on both sides and he has some of the classic Quaker traits. Man of few words with a pithy wit, a rebel spirit and sincerity. The UUs and Quakers meet up at many social justice actions.

So I'm just curious, I know there's a broooooad variety of religious and spiritual feeling out there in the permie world- do you ever go to church/mass/mosque/temple/meeting? Why? I'm less interested in the why not or opinions about other people's worship habits. I'm interested in your own experience of the benefits and pleasures of a religious community.
Posts: 900
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7B/8A
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I just now saw this "religion and spirituality" forum, I was very surprised to see considering that discussion of religion has always been pretty well discouraged here.

I grew up in a "holy roller" family, pentecostal/evangelical or whatever. I can't even think how to describe that, the particular denomination we attended is sometimes called a "cult" by
other Christian denominations. I liked feeling like I was part of something bigger than myself, but basically my whole life revolved around my church life. I had no friends outside of church,
and pretty much afraid of the outside world.

Long story short- In my late teens I moved to another state to live with my mom, who is of a much more laid-back religious nature, and I just let religion go for 10 years or so.
I occasionally went to some Baptist, Primitive Baptist, Catholic, and other churches with family or friends, but pretty much stopped.
In my 20's I started playing in rock bands, playing in bars, hanging out with hippies and weirdos and pot heads, did psychedelic drugs- basically made up for my isolated religious youth.

Later for about 6 years I went to a tiny country Presbyterian church, but then I started studying comparative religion, philosophy, logic, science, history,etc.etc.etc.
After lots of contemplation, discussion, reading,etc. I've finally got to the point where I consider myself a Secular Humanist.

After growing up with some kind of regular religious practices, I've felt drawn to do SOMETHING "spiritual" so I toyed with the idea of trying out a UU church or something like that,
but I think for me, I am not a really social person- I don't NEED social interaction to recharge me from week to week. The idea of "religious community" doesn't attract me anymore.

Presently, my "church" on Sunday mornings is me hanging out with my dogs and puttering around in the garden or walking in nature.

Posts: 3143
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We go about 1/3 to 1/2 of the time. I was raised strict Catholic so we went every Sunday. I studied religious studies in college because I was always fascinated by it. My wife is very formally educated in the Catholic church and still teaches at a Catholic school. I am not very excited by the hierarchy in the church, but I really like the pope we've got right now. Francis was also her favorite saint. I like all of the religious traditions so in that way, I'm kind of like a UU. However, I like being from a particular group, even if I'm not always happy with it. There seems to be a rigor present when you have a particular concept that you can talk about. When I went to UU, it felt like I was in a large group of nice people, but that I wasn't really sure why I was there. I know UU is the church for a lot of people and I support them in that. I also think about history and all my family before me, so I guess in that way I'm kind of a Chinese/Native American ancestor worshipper. I often think about if my ancestors would be proud of what I'm doing, or if Jesus would like what I'm doing. My relation to nature, to the poor and to my impact on the world influences heavily my spiritual outlook. So I guess I'm kind of an alternative Catholic.
John S
Posts: 4328
Location: Anjou ,France
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I would prefer a Redwood cathedral as in this song about John Muir

I asked the Master Builder, why did he make John Muir
From the seed of a man so hard and unforgiving?
A father who tried to use the Gospel to ensure
That his son's life would never be worth living
And the Lord's voice whispered on the high Sierra wind
From the mountains where the clear waters lie
Saying "Hold the bravest heart above the gravest of sins
And I'll show you how to make a hero rise"

"Leave Calvin and the Bible to the parish of Dunbar
Give a blind man back his eyes to find the brightest of the stars
And lead him to the altar of a better God by far
In the vale of the Redwood Cathedral"

I asked the Master Builder how did he find a way
To put the man in the mountain and the mountain in the man?
How long did he search to find the uncommon clay
That he needed for his Master Builder's plan?
And the Lord's voice came down from the high Sierra skies
Saying, "Take a heart of hard Scottish stone
Plant the seed of a wild place deep down inside
And I'll show you how to call a hero home"

As I stand by the thunder of the roaring mountain falls
And I hear California call you saviour
I cannot help but wonder had a different fortune called
Would you have done the same for Scotland the Brave
Your home and your father's?

God lives above the redwoods so they say
Looking down straight and true at the best of all his treasures
And if a man should stand among them to pray
It's against them the lord will take his measure
And who grew straighter than long Johnny Muir
A redwood of flesh, blood and bone
Filled by the Master Builder with a passion so pure
For the mountains that no one can ever own

For me nature is my church where every living thing has its place .
I have thought long and hard about the GOD question and can find for myself no convincing argument either way there fore the only position is to be agnostic . I see Atheism as a belief position too , the belief that there is no god .
I find these days more drawn to Islam with the Quran being more a clear guide to morality than the bible .

Posts: 735
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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I am Christian and believe that we were placed here to be stewards of the land and everything in it.
What better way to worship and honour the creator of the universe than tending to the masterpiece that is the creation.

But to answer your question - yes.

I believe that I am part of the church and the church is in me. The church isn't actually a building but the body of Christ, but I understand your question and so yes, I also go to a building once a week to meet with other Christians and worship together.
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