I go to kind of a wacky church. It isn't Bible-based, though sometimes we use the Bible. It is Christian, though not Jesus-died-for-your-sins Christian. Maybe it's not that Christian. Or maybe we're just open to other faith traditions. We are not a dogmatic church.
I was saying to my prayer minister, M., the other day, that I thought no one would have a problem if someone came to our church and said "I don't believe any of this crap, but I want to come here."
"Of course," she said.
It's THAT kind of church.
I tend to take it kind of lightly. It doesn't seem like a Big Deal.
But today our minister gave a talk about her brother, who is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease at age 50.
She grew up in our church and, because of the philosophy, tends to put a positive spin on everything. She made it almost all the way through the talk, telling about the Important Lessons everyone was learning - live each day to its fullest, etc etc. The usual.
But toward the end, she started reading something from her brother's book, a quote from Thomas Sugrue from "There is a River," and when she got the last line, which says "And when you rest, let Him hold you. When you reach out, touch his hand and then put your arm around a friend."
She got to "when you rest" and then stopped. We could all feel her emotion and suddenly everyone was praying for her. No one said anything but it was palpable. We were all praying for her strength and crying.
After the service, I was manning the bookstore. Ok, it is a table, but it is the only place we sell books, so it is our "bookstore."
I looked up at everyone talking and having snacks and suddenly I realized "This is my spiritual family" and I loved them all, each one in their own way.
I knew to the depths of my being that these people want the best for me. They want me to be healthy and happy and loved and loving and at peace.
What if we don't have a dogma or a creed? What if we can't call ourselves a denomination like Presbyterian or Lutheran, but instead say we are "students"?
Healthy and happy and loved and loving and at peace. That's a good enough religion for me.