- I used to sing with my eyes closed. There were a few hymns at Christmas time that really did if for me. I sang harmonies a little louder than good taste would call for. Sometimes the priest would sing the Eucharist, and I knew every melody. I’d sing along quietly to myself, just under my breath.
- I was the parishioner who showed up early to get a good seat.
- I was the one who raised his hand in the Adult Forum class and said, “But, wait….”
- I was the guy doing Morning Prayer alone in the chapel on a Tuesday evening.
- I didn’t understand why certain biblical passages needed to be read. The church I belonged to, the Episcopal church, organizes its Sunday readings around a rotating three-year liturgical calendar. This insures that every church in the denomination is reading and reflecting on the same passages at roughly the same time. It forges a kind of unity that I was attempting to replicate (albeit loosely) with the formation of the Solitary Druid Fellowship.
My confusion about the passages, though, had more to do with their discontinuity. I felt like the imposition of this liturgical structure forced the priest to take great leaps when making meaning out of the ancient text. Her bias was always present. And some passages simply were impossible to reconcile.
- I bowed when the cross passed by my pew. I didn’t know why at first, or who I was doing that for (aside from myself).
Acts of reverence like this aren’t always for the benefit of a benevolent god. They’re an extension of practice. They teach you something. They allow you to embody the experiences of respect and humility. There’s great value in that.
- I spoke the Confession of Sin tentatively at times, and passionately at others. I was never really sold on the idea that my sin was of my birth, or that I was fatally flawed. The transactional savior concept was a little lost on me. But that didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate the opportunity to own up to all of myself, even the stuff I didn’t want to admit to. The Confession was an invitation into wholeness.
- I loved picking apart the Gospel of Mark, becuase it rooted the story of Jesus in a specific culture. It broke apart some of the illusion that all of the Bible is essentially “one story”. That’s such a small way of thinking, and it isn’t true.
- I thought the Historical Jesus was interesting, but I still wanted him to a be a little bit God.
- I got angry at fundamentalism.
- I felt angry that there was some expectation that as a gay Christian I had an even greater responsibility to show good face. My gayness was even more political than if I was churchless. That seemed profoundly unfair to me.
I wanted to have sex. I wanted to feel love. I wanted the stories about sex and love to be about me, too.
- I had a really difficult time during Lent. I felt heavy. Sorrowful. Holy Week was the worst…
But Easter was amazing.
- I was the kind of Christian who didn’t fit comfortably into any pre-fab molds. At least, it didn’t feel that way. I was always a little on the outside.
That is…except during the Eurcharist.
I knew I was always welcome then.
Coming soon: The Kind of Pagan I Am
Photo by gaspi *yg