If you’ve known me for a minute, you’d know that what happened today is quite unusual. You see, I went to church.
Yep, you read it right.
Buuuuuuut don’t worry. The world isn’t ending, nothing is upside down. It all makes sense when you read the full story.
My stepchildren attend an orthodox church regularly with their grandma. Austin, who is part agnostic and part humanist, does not attend any church. And I, the Buddhist in the family, tried attending the Kadampa Meditation Center when I first moved to Fort Worth. Now I live even further away, making it difficult to motivate myself to go when my garden is right outside the door and my copy of several wonderful books (some of which I obtained through the KMC) rest close by on a shelf.
All of that to say that we don’t explore spirituality or examine our inner selves together, as a family. And Austin and I decided that we want to. That’s something we think would bring our family closer together. It would also allow our children to see multiple perspectives and methods for finding happiness in this life.
So, the love of my life and I went to church today. We decided to check out the Westside Universalist Unitarian Church, which is located in my old neighborhood. I’d heard good things through word of mouth various times over the years but never made the intention to go until recently.
It seems to be everything we need — an open-minded community that will help each member of our family grow in what ever path he/she chooses.
The moment we stepped in the doors, we were greeted by a warm smile and kind words. Plus, everywhere we looked and listened, we found messages that resonated with things we believe to be true.
Love is the doctrine of this church,
the quest of truth is its sacrament,
and service is its prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
to seek knowledge in freedom,
to serve others in community,
to the end that all souls
shall grow into harmony with creation,
thus do we covenant with one another.
~ Church Service Affirmation
Today’s sermon, which was delivered by an interim pastor, focused on Thanksgiving gratitude and grace. Rev. Alex said several things that resonated with me but the part about tribalism had the most impact. He discussed the idea that we are all part of many tribes — from our families to our social circles — and there are fences that surround these tribes. Some fences are easy to pass through and others have barbed wire.
The reverend posed the question: is there any way out of our deep seated tribalism?
And this made me wonder.
And THAT is why I can’t wait until the children can attend with us. The activities, many of which include physical movement and community projects, offered for kids and teenagers sound great, too.