Thought  with this post I’d list a few of the reasons why I still attend a Lutheran church in spite of not actually being a Christian anymore. The concept can be confusing sometimes, I know. Hey, it could be worse; I could have been serving a term as a church council member during the period when I switched definitively to atheism and formally allowed myself to adopt a Pagan mindset – oh, wait. Right.

Also, I started writing this post back in March. I haven’t posted in a while, because it’s been hard to write. Not because of depression, just because of time. One of the upsides of the meds working better is that I’m more interested in doing things I always liked to do before, which means I’m doing a lot less sitting on the computer. Which does mean doing less writing. But hey, I’m working on an awesome afghan right now!

So, why do I take my son with me to St. Peter’s at about the same frequency that I attended while I was still a believer (about 25% of the time, in case you were wondering)? There’s a few reasons, but they basically all boil down to “they’s good people there.”

  • These people helped take care of me while I was away at school for the first time. Since they’re so close to the school (literally across the street from campus, which ain’t exactly large) and there are quite a few alumni there, they have a soft spot for students and deliberately try to reach out. Yes, we like it when students get more involved in the church, so that is one of the motivators. But having been on the other side of the Campus Ministry Committee now, I know that in large part the motivation is that they know it can be hard to be away from home, to be on your own (as much as college students are these days, at least), and they want to provide a soft place to land.
  • When my younger brother stunned the hell out of all of us by joining the Marines out of a clear blue sky? And I started to get bombarded with requests/demands to talk him out of it and figure out how to change his mind? And I was torn between wanting him the hell out of the military and also wanting us all to respect the first goddamn major decision he’d made for himself since forever and ALSO wondering how the hell I was supposed to have this much influence over him? St. Peter’s is where I went to break down, and St. Peter’s is where somebody took a solid hour out of their busy day, having had no advance warning, to sit with me and talk with me and just be with me.
  • I picked up my pentacle necklace at the Ren Faire shortly after I joined the church council. Wore it probably 90% of the time after that for the next three years. Closest anybody came to batting an eye at it was when I had to lead devotions at council for the first time and prior to the meeting asked the pastor, essentially, “What the hell do I have to DO on Tuesday?” She filled me in (it’s pretty generic) and then just before she finished, sort of eyed the pentacle and amended, “It should be a *Christian* reading…” (Note: I may have imagined the eyeing. I was having a shitty week and everything was magnified.)
  • Actually, now that I think about it, I tended to argue the skeptic/atheist’s point of view pretty often during whatever group discussion, council meeting or adult Sunday school or whatever, and nobody really gave me a hard time about it. They just listened, and responded, and to what I actually said rather than to what they imagined I said.
  • One “Women of the ELCA Sunday” stands out for me in particular. (I probably wasn’t there for most of them, given my attendance.) All the kids went up for the children’s sermon, which was given that day by the pastor’s husband. He asked them if any of them had ever thought about being a pastor, and then explained how when Pastor Roberts was their age, she couldn’t because women weren’t allowed to be pastors. But lots of people worked hard and pushed for change and now women can be pastors (she was one of the first women ordained in the Lutheran church, actually; I think in the second or third year after the rules changed). And then he went on to say that just like women had to fight for their rights in church, now gay people are fighting for their right to belong and we need to change the rules again. And I was just like, “How fucking awesome is St. Peter’s?”
  • February 2009, Darwin Day. Darwin’s 200th birthday was a Sunday. That morning, Pastor Roberts preached about her trip to the Galapagos Islands, and how awe-inspiring it was to be in the same place and see the same animals that led Darwin to begin formulating his theories. That’s still a golden moment for me, four years later.

I know I had more specific things in mind when I started this post, but since that was three months ago, I’ve forgotten them. I should have written them down, huh? Ha ha!

It feels a little odd to be revisiting this now, since I haven’t been to St. Peter’s since summer hours started. In part, that’s because if we go there then I miss the best hours for getting stuff at the farmer’s market, and that we just cannot have. But I honestly think part of it is also reactionary. One thing I definitely did not like while I was on council was the pressure pressure pressure to attend services more, to come to this event and that event and “show up and be leaders of the church.” I was like, “Ok, when you asked me to join council I pointed out I’m only here like 25% of the time and that wasn’t going to change, and you were all ‘Oh, no, that doesn’t matter!’ and so I did, and now suddenly it does matter?” So now that I can miss Sunday mornings without being made to feel guilty about it the second Tuesday of every month, I totally am. It’s like middle school gym class after the swimming unit ended. I had to shave every day or every other day or whatever, because we had swimming, and it was so annoying and when swimming was over I was like “THANK GOD I AM NEVER SHAVING AGAIN SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS.” I really probably didn’t curse as much in middle school though.

I feel kind of weird hitting “Publish” on this post; it’s been so long since I’ve written one. @_@