Sunday, January 30, 2011

Food for Thought

I awoke Saturday morning to a room littered with French Fries. They were everywhere. On my desk, under my bed, inside my pillowcase, even atop my Omron home blood pressure machine. Fried shrapnel from an interesting evening. It's a great story.

Sunday morning, I found myself in an even stranger environment: St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Raised a traditional Catholic, the bulk of my church experience was largely focused on the laundry list of actions that would cause me to burn in hell for all eternity. As I got older, it became tougher to reconcile the expanding distance between my own beliefs and those of the church. With a doctrine that stands against legal and safe abortions for rape victims, fiercely denounces homosexuality, yet still manages to find time to ignore predatory priests in its own parishes, my church attendance dwindled from the weekly services of my childhood, to the yearly Christmas Mass, before stopping altogether.

I can’t say exactly what brought me back there. It might have been the fond memories of being served wine at 9:00am but I suspect it's the mild but growing dissatisfaction with my current priority set. Don't misunderstand, I love DC. But it's easy to get caught up in its pace of life -time is money, grab the bull by the horns - and forgot to take it all with a grain of salt. From billable hours, to Metro's two minute transfer intervals, to the General Schedule, DC is always reminding you to get yours and pick up the pace before you're left behind. Metro commuters will trample over one another to catch a train that saves two minutes, not because we're racing to the hospital for a sick loved one, but as the ordinary course of business on a regular workday. We justify it with the concept that it's all part of being in the city, that the work here is harder, faster, more significant, and mindfulness isn't part of the game.

I think for many people, church falls off our radar as a place we can go to keep perspective. Religious gobbledy guk aside, just the notion that if Jesus wasn't an asshole, there's no reason for us to be one, is worth second look.

Now for all I know, half of the congregation went home to beat their children, steal from their company, or slam heroin in the church parking lot. One Sunday at church isn’t a spiritual awakening or religious enlightenment, but for me, it was enough of an experience that, in lieu of the entertaining, salacious, but not especially substantive tale involving French Fries, I had planned to post, I wanted to talk about this instead.