Friday, March 23, 2007

Pretty deep.

I like church. It's pretty.

No, I'm not particularly religious. I mean, I tend to agree with the basics of Judeo-Christian ethics and morality, but I'm very undecided on the specifics of most church teachings. It seems to me there are reasonable sociological explanations for most of the Christianity story. Furthermore, organized religion has been and is too often used to exclude, oppress, injure and kill. I won't even get into the economics of the whole phenomenon.

But I was raised a certain way. My paternal grandparents are quietly and devoutly Roman Catholic, as was my maternal grandfather, so I was often taken to Catholic services. My maternal grandmother, however, is a devout pentecostal, and as a child I generally went to church with her at a tiny Assembly of God parish around the corner.

My parents were not observant of much anything, so on the rare Sunday morning when I was home with them, we usually had donuts and a big brunch. So while I learned all about Jesus during the many weekends spent with my grandmother, I didn't have my parents really encouraging me to believe deeply. The result is a spiritual agnosticism. Yes, I'm a Christian. But I do not feel strongly that Christianity is the one true way. Whatever god is, it's not a power that humanity can begin to understand. The forms I use to get in touch with god are a result of my upbringing and I follow them because they work for me.

For me, church is pretty. Pictured above is the interior of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Times Square. I believe it's one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The liturgy is equal to the space. When I'm there I am serene, reflective, and peaceful. I hear sermons containing ideas I can put to use in my own life, like love, welcome, patience, forgiveness, and thankfulness.

This Lent I have been going to church a lot. I'm excited for Easter. I no longer feel conflicted about doing so and still keeping my agnostic beliefs. I go there because it makes me happy, and that's all that matters.

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