Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Just Want Some Chicken Soup

As I previously mentioned, I am searching for a church to be a part of. I continued that search at work today and was delightfully surprised with what I was finding, and have picked the first service I will attend. Because I am looking for something to supplement my own faith and spirituality, religious domination is in no way factoring into my search. I do not care if the church is Baptist, Lutheran, or Methodist as long as the values match my own, and the messages speak to me. I am so attached to the music and sermons of my home church that I am sure I will never find an adequate substitute, but I need something more in my life that is currently so busy with school and work. Hopefully this church is a good fit, and if not I’ll try a new one next week until something clicks.

I have read several mission statements to get a feel for what each church is about because there are certain things I want to get out of my worship service. Acceptance of GLBT and queer bodies is an important point for me and is part of the liberal outlook I am searching for.

My hometown’s paper wrote an article this past summer about one of the local Lutheran churches withdrew from the ELCA because of a difference in opinion concerning gay rights. The ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) voted in August 2009 and created a social statement accepting individuals regardless of sexual orientation and welcoming everyone into the Lutheran congregation. The statement places importance on mutual respect despite disagreements. Several churches did not accept this statement and refused to welcome GLBT individuals and their families into their congregation. They ended their relationship with the ELCA in an abrupt break because of their differing views which was very upsetting to me.

I am always amazed in this day and age to come across people this close-minded. I wish I could find the actual article because it gave some numbers from a vote in the church on whether not to secede or not – something like 80% of the congregation agreed with the split (don’t quote me on that, it was just a surprising number). I find it extremely un-Christian to exclude people for whatever reason. If one thinks their purpose is to spread the word of God, and follows the Bible’s direction to “love thy neighbor” how can they possibly think this agrees with their faith? “Love thy neighbor” basically means “don’t discriminate” yet sexuality remains a point of contention for many churches. Being a Christian is about so much more than going to church, yet so many feel that this action makes up for their less savory thoughts and actions . It is important to me to find a church whose statement matches their actions, and that they both mesh with my own values because I am not just looking for a building, I am looking for some “chicken soup for the soul” as it were.

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