Is there an app for this? I think I need one.
I stalk real estate. It’s a little weird. Inevitably, whenever I find a cute neighborhood in town or visit another city, I picture what life would be like if I lived there. Savannah, Denver, parts of Oregon, Napa Valey. I open up Zillow and create a new search in that area and end up with a list of adorable future homes. I have more searches saved than is reasonable.
My travels right now are outside of cute neighborhoods. My travels are a little more spiritual and I’m considering what it would be like to have a home in this place I’m traveling. It’s not easy. I need a little help.
I don’t like church. It’s infrequent that I’ve attended a service and didn't feel horribly awkward and out of place. It’s for this reason that I have opted for playing Mahalia Jackson records on Sunday and calling it day.
I’m a bit of an explorer, though. As with anything I choose to explore, I want to learn as much as I can. When that thing is God and spirituality, I struggle without some kind of help. I am completely lost.
I was listening to a podcast today where an Episcopalian bishop was interviewed and he talked about the community of church. I’m unfamiliar. I have not been able to find a service that is what I’m looking for.
Why don’t they have an app for this? There’s an app for damn near everything else.
I can plug criteria into my phone and find a date but I can’t find a place to go sit in spiritual commune with other people? That seems odd.
This would be a tremendous help. I feel like trying to blindly find a spiritual home could end in me owning a whole lot more gospel albums and hiding every Sunday for the rest of my life. I need to weed out the unwanted experiences.
The music. Please, Dear Lord, do not make me listen to a band of middle-aged men in Dockers playing Christian rock. Let me hear a lesson about the kindness of Jesus and then go home to my house where rock belongs and put on a Stones album. The same goes for a choir of all soprano old ladies with lots of vibratos. Pass. Large choir with people of color feeling the spirit move through them? All in.
The attire. Finding the time to get to a church on Sunday is hard. I’ll be honest. That’s leg day at the gym. Can I filter out churches that require flowery dresses and find a church that just wants me to show up, regardless of the fact that it might mean I’m in leggings with chalk dust on them? I want people that let me come as I am. The God I choose to believe in would not mind my “Hustle for the Muscle” tank top.
Square footage. If there is a bowling alley in the church, I’m not going. I want the kind of church where the pastor stands up and offers thanks to Ted for coming in on Saturday and helping the church by fixing the toilet in the women’s bathroom. I’m not sure why, but that feels good to me. Jumbotrons? Not so much.
The greeting: You know that part of the service where you turn to greet the people next to you with a good morning? That moment that is inevitably 15 seconds longer than it should be where you stand there at the end looking at a pew because you’ve already said some forced greeting to everyone in a 6-foot radius of you? Do not sign me up for that. Instead, have decent coffee and let us linger.
Bible Study location. Edna’s living room or wine bar? Wine is an important part of Christianity. Fight me. I don’t want Bible Study that feels like Sunday school. I want to dig in. Give me something to think about and allow me to connect with other people based on human experience. I’m more of a charcuterie plate and Jesus than an Entenmann’s and Jesus kind of girl.
Gays or no gays? If there is never going to be a gay person sitting next to me in a pew because they’re not welcome, I’m not going. If a church is cool with me having two divorces under my belt but not cool with Kelly and Holly attending service with their adopted black kid, I’m not going. I need a bigger table, not bigger doors.
I want a church that is a little less rigid. I want to see joy in worship. Isn’t that what it’s about? Shouldn’t we celebrate faith? I like my good news with a little less Wall Street Journal.
Nadia Bolz-Webber is an Evangelical Lutheran Pastor that does things a little differently. On Easter Sunday, her congregation, House for All Saints and Sinners in Denver, turns the baptismal font into a chocolate fountain. I can get on board with this.
Can I interview churches? Is that a thing? I mean, I don’t want to send them a list of my demands like it’s a hostage negotiation but I feel it’s important to have an idea of whether or not service will include Gary with a crazy tie each week.
I like the idea of Gary. If his tie lights up with the image of a cross, I’m all in. If you know where I can find Gary, let me know. Better yet, if you know an app developer, send them my way. I need help.