The year: 2002. The place: All Saints Episcopalian Church in Beverly Hills. The venue: some meeting room/cafeteria. I was there attending the first in a series of Alpha Classes teaching about the Episcopalian Church for those of us with an interest in joining. I was really excited because the first part was a lecture and then you got to sit at smaller group tables and eat dinner while you discussed what you learned. I had been attending All Saints for a few months and part of what I really liked about it was the thinking aspect of the church. It seemed to be a place where alternative view points were not only tolerated but encouraged. My table had all just sat down with our food when I said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if Jesus was not actually the son of God? Wouldn’t it be then an ever greater leap of faith to embrace Christianity?”………………………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………………………………………………………. Even the Episcopalian crickets were silent.
Everyone stared at me for what seemed like an eternity before the facilitator at our table moved the discussion in a different direction.
When I returned home I told Don what had happened and how I was disappointed because no one wanted to even think about it. Don reminded me that I had attacked the very center of the Christian religion, the Virgin Birth being the most fundamental part of the whole thingymabob (my word) and all. I did not join the Episcopalian Church and they were not sorry.
As I told you I was really in to the the election of the Pope. I was pulling up to an AA meeting yesterday when Anderson Cooper announced that there was white smoke! I was worried the new Pope would appear before the meeting was over and because I am basically cured of alcoholism and don’t really need to go to meetings anymore (ask anyone) I drove home to watch. I came in the house yelling, “Habemus Papem!” and asked Beatriz, our housekeeper, if she wanted to come and watch with me. Beatriz doesn’t know I know she secretly makes the sign of the cross over our children to bless them. Come to think of it maybe she is doing it to protect herself from them. I don’t know and either way is fine with me. Beatriz and I also watched Pope Benedict elected eight years ago. It’s a tradition! I made Andrew come watch with us and I think he thought it was a little weird I was so nervous and excited considering we are not Catholic. I was even more excited than Beatriz, a previously devout Catholic who hasn’t attended church in over three years because she can not forgive the church for the sexual abuse against children.
The truth is I really wish I was Catholic or Jewish or Morman or Muslim. I yearn for the ability to put away all rational thought and embrace a belief. I really want to belong to a group of people who know and care about my family. I want someone who actually knows me to eulogize me when I die. I can’t find it. I could quite possibly put aside the Virgin Birth stuff but I can not put aside the treatment of women and gay people. I certainly can not put aside how some so called loving Christians use the cross as a weapon, far more dangerous than any gun, to excuse behavior and believe the stupid theory that God is on “our side”. I have considered converting to Catholicism, Judaism, and Mormonism, but I know that once I was in I would then spend the rest of my life trying to reform it. I should just leave them alone.
I wish I could find a place that would take a semi-believer like me. I believe there is a God and I believe she loves me. The world is too wonderful and I have experienced too many miracles that I can only attribute to divine intervention to think God in some form does not exist. The problem I have is most churches are pretty black and white with their beliefs. I have always found God is in the gray where I don’t have to make sense of everything and it doesn’t matter that I don’t have the answers. If you find a church like that please let me know.