I’ve never been a religious guy. I don’t believe in God. I see a lot of the crap that goes down in the world in the name of one God or Another, and it doesn’t do much to change my opinion. My mother used to take me to church when I was little (she took the whole family), but all I got from it was an abiding love for sugar cubes and a memory of a burning bush collage I once made.
As a young and not so young adult, I dabbled in churching, but nothing ever stuck. I married Catholic, so we tried that (shout out to Sacred Heart in Omaha!) but we also checked out the Methodists and several Unitarian Universalist congregations.
But you know what? Going to church every freakin’ week is hard. So we didn’t.
Then we had kids. Coupled with our recent move to Kansas City—a move we hope and plan to be our last—that set us to church hunting again. The local Catholic parish is pretty strictly conservative, so they were out. We tried a UCC congregation in the neighborhood, as they are pretty inclusive, yet still Christian (something we wanted to try on for size), but between feeling like fresh meat and their public reciting of the creed (which I will paraphrase as “do good in the name of Christ”), we did not feel completely comfortable.
So we went back to the well, and looked up the local Unitarian Universalist church. The Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church (SMUUCh, and if that isn’t reason enough to join…)
The first time we visited, we found it full of people. Young, old, families. There was singing, and food afterwards, Sunday school and a sermon. It was like real church! As we walked up to the front door, seeing Priuses in the parking lot, the hipster glasses on the woman greeting us at the door, I turned to Tiffany and joked, “these are Our People.”
But I was right, I think. Four months later, we are members (if you know us, you know we don’t buy ice cubes without researching them for a month prior). The community is large, vibrant, engaged and engaging. They have extensive religious education classes, extensive adult groups, and a strong community service ethic. The church is active in the national UU organization.
And, if you’ll pardon the language… they are Liberal as fuck.
So, we’ve found a community. It happens to be a church. They have accepted us despite our foibles, as they accept everyone. They will help us learn and grow and most important of all, they will help our children learn and grow and be Good People.
I still don’t believe in God, but I have always believed in something. Now I can go, once a week, to be with people who also believe in something. This isn’t our first time at a UU church. They vary widely, and depend significantly on the minister at the front of the room. But more importantly, the community behind the church is what drives it (and, more prosaically, hires and fires the minister…) That community is what we were looking for, what we have found, and what we have joined.
I wish you all the best of luck finding a community you can connect with, churchy or not.