Toward the end of last year, I started drifting a bit in terms of our new-ish church. Well, “drifting” is a euphemism. I just stopped going. Some of ya’ll may remember that we attended this church for the first time last January and then joined in Apr-09. I was trying, really trying, to be a dedicated, regular church-goer.
Then in October, they casually announced “Pink Sunday” and invited everyone to don their pink for breast cancer awareness month. I got up and left, leaving Bobby to scramble behind me, and didn’t darken the door again for 6 weeks. Maybe longer. I have issues with pink-washing. And that’s another subject.
Bottom line was that I became (or reverted to?) a slacker and a critic. Even when we went back, I didn’ t engage. We started skipping Sunday School because it just didn’t feel worth getting up an hour earlier. The honeymoon phase of “Yay, we found a church!” had officially worn off, and all I was left with was my old cynical, critical self.
After we made it through the holidays & all they entail, Bobby & I were invited to a dinner party by one of the church staff members. She’s one of my favorites, actually — she’s very opinionated, very open-minded, and very sassy. I like. As we were leaving, she pulled me aside and mentioned Sunday School. With a frankness that comes with two glasses of wine, I told her that we didn’t like our SS class anymore… that it didn’t seem worth losing an hour of sleep. Yeah, nothing like just putting it out there, Sarah. She took it very well, however — responded that there was another SS class that wasn’t publicized that we might enjoy. She called it “The Heretics” and laughed.
I looked up “heretic” when I got home. It’s defined as “one who dissents from an accepted belief or doctrine, or nonconformist.” Hmmmm. I was intrigued.
So Bobby and I got up early the following Sunday & wandered around until we found this mysterious little class tucked away in the far upper corner of the building. They *seriously* don’t advertise. It’s like a secret society of sorts. But after making sure that we weren’t looking for the young adults class, they welcomed us right in. We’re by far the youngest people there… most of the members are the age of our grandparents.
Love it. Love, love, love it. These people are so stinkin’ smart. They’re professors and medical doctors and scientists, they’re thinkers and critics and questioners. They drink coffee, talk about current events, and disagree with each other and sometimes themselves. The class is structured as a book study, and the book they’re reading/discussing now is “Saving Jesus from the Church.”
I feel like I’ve found the religious equivalent of Dr Jerry — someone who pushes me, who makes me think, who knows WAY more than I do. Bobby and I go to lunch after “big church” (as Bobby calls the actual church service), and we’re having the kind of conversations we used to have in grad school. I didn’t even realize how much I missed those “thinking” conversations.
And finding this class has reinvigorated my initial positive impression of this church. The fact that the church leadership is allowing a group of dissenters to exist within the church walls, to pull and pick apart the widely accepted doctrines, to deviate away from the widely accepted Sunday School formats, supporting the outliers rather than feeling threatened… yep, it reaffirms that this is a really good place for us.