Yesterday, after the sad event of the morning, we went to the circus. It was odd and fun (and helpfully distracting for the adults), but what I want to write about here has nothing to do with the circus. It has to do with what happened as we were leaving. It was late, and Maybelle was giddy with over-tiredness, careening madly through the field as we made our way toward our car.
"Maybe she'll sleep in," I said to Biffle. "All we have planned for tomorrow morning is church."
Then we both looked at each other, making squinty, dismayed faces. "That's so weird that I can say something like that!" I exclaimed. "We need to call it something else. Like, 'You know, we have that meeting tomorrow morning.'"
And yet, regardless of what you call it, the Biffle-Piepmeier family has, indeed, been going to church. It's actually a regular practice now. We started sometime early in February, and here it is, early in April, and we're still going. We're going to the downtown Unitarian church, and here are some of the things I like about it:
- Their main emphasis is social justice. Really, social justice is far more prevalent in the church conversations and writings than God is. Apparently the last minister got the boot because he talked about God a little too much.
- No emphasis at all on dreadful consequences if you don't follow their rules. In one of the first services Biffle and I attended, they did a reading that was about how some groups create communities in which their children have fear always hovering over them, casting shadows like clouds. They said they want to be a community that creates light for children, with no shadows.
- You get to hear a lot of women's voices, both in the service and in the various readings.
- The church is preparing its float for this year's LGBT Pride Parade. They were apparently the biggest group at last year's parade.
- At the end of our very first visit there, I was leaving the nursery where I'd dropped Maybelle off. One of my students was leaving another room. "Hey!" I said. "What are you doing here?" "Oh," the student said, "I got invited to come talk to the middle school Sunday school class about my experience as a person who's intersex." Whoa, I thought, that's what Sunday school is like for Unitarian kids? I think I may have found my place!
But on the whole we find it quite satisfying. Riding our bikes to church on Sunday mornings is a delight. We like the folks there. Maybelle eagerly runs to the door of the nursery, and on more than one occasion we've interrupted a dance party when we've picked her up. We like the things the congregation believes and emphasizes. So, for now, we seem to be a churchgoing family.