Three noteworthy things happened in church today:
1) A Carl Jung quote was used on the big screen to connect to the message.
2) A Friedrich Nietszche quote was used after that.
3) An associate pastor agreed to don a lacy dress for a skit that I've written for a large women's group. He said something like, "Why the hell not" right there to the side of his Ephesians class! I admire that!
I love my church. It's not staid or conservative. I can be creative, loved, smart, and unique to the Big Author's design. Merci, le Dieu encore!
Returning to church six years ago after a long absence gave me huge shivers. I imagined that they would manufacture me into the legalistic Church Lady that Dana Carvey spoofed on SNL.
Being reconciled to the dance [see leapin' in the cow lot] after my twenties by an injunction at work in an office caused by a question posed by a co-worker, I knew I'd need to devote time and focus to develop a trust again. A faith. An active imagination which encompassed more than the seen. A dependence. A letting go. A return to community.
I wrestled (a good biblical verb), and It wrestled, stumbling, falling, shrieking, submitting until I took my weakened will to church. A church that at least had excellent guitarists rivaling anyone at the Blue Note. A church that could apply a Cheryl Crow song to a sermon in an intelligent way.
One Thursday morning, I decided to go one step further then the occassional weekend service. I sank into the driver's seat and drove straight to T2, the church's women's ministry. I needed women friends desperately. For some reason, I had become friends with mainly writer type males. Nothing wrong with that. But, still, time for a change was in the air for various reasons. At the church, I sat in the parking lot, thinking frantically, "I didn't bring a Bible! I forgot my Bible! I can't go! They won't have me! Turn around! Drive away! Now's your chance!"
However, I challenged myself to walk in. A Lisa greeted me, helped me choose a class (out of eight), and I found myself circled by real women who didn't seem like Barbie or Church Lady.
One person, in particular, must have read my journals, in which I wished for a new female, intellectual, fun, skeptical friend who could talk books and philosophy with me. She was completely delivered to specifications in this new class of seven women. And, just her appearing like a gift of good will comprises one of my more 'tangible' reasons for a belief in a caring higher being. I was being baited to be taken care of.
My new friend and I forged ahead questioning everything and tuning it to what we needed: specific commitment; evidence of personal care, intelligent functioning. Goodness. Trust. Love. Our first 'get-together' was at the library, and she knew all the thinking Christian authors which I knew nothing about. She is a Catholic which also gave me a broader view of experiencing God.
For me alone, there was more wrestling with the idea of church and Christ-following, but I finally agreed to give it a try, to not be narrow-minded, to open myself up to a possibility. And, its been incredible since then; I've continued on the path, looking upward and inward to someone, unseen and alive. A cool peel of sight and sense. The community I've become part of is full of talented, smart, imperfect people. I have so many wonderful, interesting friends.
Now, I am in the leadership of the women's group. And guess what? Last year, I put on Church Lady's clothes (pieced lovingly together from Salvation Army and antique store supplies)and strutted around on stage, doing the self-righteous dance for laughs during a skit. There is a divine sense of humor to reckon with. Another proof of a metaphysical reality. Very cool.