filling the "God-shaped vacuum"… with waffles?

Damn. It’s hard to get to church* (*p.s. their website sucks – can I offer up a redesign?) every Sunday with Two Tinys. It involves a lot of nursing, rocking, distraction, and heavy lifting (in the case of my bewheeeemoth yearling son). But I think it’s well worth it. Since Ash Wednesday we (or at least I and the child[ren]) have had perfect attendance and it is paying off for our family. It feels good to be tapped-in again. We’re too busy not to go to church.

Another Sunday event we attend regularly before services is a communal breakfast hosted at a friend’s house. While both events have similarities – warmth, fellowship, philosophy, and decent coffee – I find it very strange and a bit jarring when we transition from one event to the other. It’s the Smug Liberals vs. the Comfortable Christians.

The hip Spirituality in these parts (amongst the agnostic / New Age-y / spiritually lazy / what-have-you crowd) seems to consist of a smattering of “love and light”, happy-horseshit vagary, intellectual arrogance, and some Philosophy 101 without too much investment in study, prayer, and stewardship to those outside their own comfortable circle. This group derives their smugness (and hence recieves permission to blast religious types) by their self-held tenet that their personal credos don’t presume to tell others how to live their life (except, perhaps, not to be so intellectually foolhardy as to perscribe to a particular faith with utter sincerity). Hence anything as mundane as Protestantism (or even Christianity in general) is looked upon as dour and unsophisticated and a bit embarrassing (while the same snobbery is not applied to anything Eastern or general “dabbling”). Well, fair ’nuff – a backlash, I suppose, to all the pro-JC bumper stickers and pontifications by vocal-minority far-right politicians.

So then on to my church family, where I encounter a different set of vexations which may or may not have roots in the same anger, fears, and stored-up hurts that I suspect my “pagan” friends are manifesting. In my church circle the Wiccans / New Agers / Seekers / Just Plain Assholes etc. are looked upon as spiritually lost, lonely, egotistical, and beneath it all: feared and vilified. The party line is we are supposed to invite them to church, help them in their needs, pray for them, and seek intimacy with them; but a few years ago at a Christian dinner group when I revealed I actually *roomed* with one and considered her a friend I was met with gasps of horror (and, to be fair, a certain degree of curiosity and a good group discussion after the inital reaction passed). The churchies long to meet others at their needs and share their experience of Christ, yet are overly afraid of what it might mean to really open up to those different than they.

There’s endless justification and backstory behind why both groups hate and fear one another. These days I am wont to listen to my friends and try to figure out how to integrate my separate lives. One problem is when I “come out” to either group I am either regarded with vague disdain (or out-and-out hostility) for the personal bit of naivete I’ve offered or dropped as a trusted friend (this by the liberals), or suspected of being a fairweather Christian for my political leanings (by my churchies). <sigh!> The funniest, yet saddest piece of it all is that both groups are levelling equal amounts of vitriol, inflated righteousness, and ignorance at the other – all the while nursing old wounds and failing in their self-assigned missions to learn to care for one another.

So. Yeah, I feel unheard as the odd girl out sometimes. For now, my family is doing it old-school: going to church every Sunday and throwing in with the heathen mobs the rest of the week. Perhaps one day a friend from one group will cross over with us to The Other Side.

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