“Take Me to Church” might as well been my theme song last week as I found myself accidentally enrolling in Religious Education 101.
It started with a trip to a little Baptist church in Atlanta where my angry Facebook feed took human form and started yelling about current events while screening exhausted memes. I quickly became overwhelmed with the fear mongering, exegetical inaccuracies, and realization that places like this actually exist outside of my imagination. I heard nothing but “Bad News” and wondered when realization of this style’s ineffectiveness would reach the faithful few.
My journey continued with a tour of the new Mormon Temple in Carmel. The temple was hosting a week-long open house with up to 8,000 daily visitors before being blessed and sealed. Not wanting to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, I slipped on my booties and watched the short video before surrounding myself with tall ceilings, sparkling chandeliers, and expert craftsmanship. I was awed by the artwork and by the understanding that nothing can prevent me from being baptized into the Mormon church after my death.
My education was not complete without a visit to the revamped St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Downtown Indianapolis. As the result of a dwindling congregation, the neighborhood establishment has been transformed into a brewery and public house serving saints and sinners alike with drinks such as “Confessional Pale Ale” and “Benevolent Belgium Blond”. My Catholic friends assume me that a brewery in a church is definitely not a contradiction, which is one of the many reasons I have such love for them. Sadly, I am not a beer fan and had to stick with a margarita.
I ended my week safe and sound in my own little church where I claim to belong. No news clips, no chandeliers, and no beer. No angry rants, no secret ceremonies, no disco lights, no introduction video, and no hip-hop prelude. Just quiet people catching up, sitting down, and trying to figure out life together. People opening the Bible and trying to understand what it says. People sharing successes and failures. People trying to love God and love others.
I think I’ll stay.