i believed in god when i was younger, but then he changed. it used to be about the music.
Now this statement is funny, very funny. In fact, it was so funny that I had to get in touch with Brandon and ask him if I could quote him.
It alludes to the rock star that sold out. One who just doesn't put his heart and soul into his craft anymore.
But the funny thing is when I was a child church was all about the music.
When I was very young I often tagged along to a very straight laced very fundamentalist church with my best friend from elementary school. The church rules included a strict dress code and didn't allow dancing, but boy did this church have hymns that you could sing. I mean really belt it out, feel the spirit move through your body songs. Once a week or so l got to feel that glorious feeling.
I enjoyed the music of the church.
When I got older, I went less and less. One of the reasons was probably because I found music out in the world that affected me the very same way. Music that I could belt out and would move through me and make my spirit sing. All kinds of music. All kinds of people singing it. I could feel this feeling any time I wanted.
I enjoyed the music of the world even more.
Then I found other people who liked the same kind of music I liked. Who also felt passionately about music. I started to commune with those people.
I enjoyed a community of friends who loved music.
I went for a long long time without going to a church service.
And it's not because I don't believe in a higher power. I am very spiritual. I just don't necessarily have to commune with the universe inside a particular building at a particular time.
A recent move made me consider making new acquaintances by going to church.
I found a Unitarian Universalist Church that looked interesting.
I pulled into the parking lot and noticed that the car next to me had a bumper sticker. I read the bumper sticker, and agreed with it. I noticed that the car next to it, and next to it, and next to it each had bumper stickers as well. I walked the row reading bumper stickers and agreeing with them.
My car was the only car in four rows without a bumper sticker.
It's not that I don't feel passionately about things, it's just that I don't like the idea of someone rear ending me while trying to get a handle on my political agenda. I've also scraped a couple off of cars, and it's a pain.
All of these cars had owners who not only cared passionately about displaying their bumper stuck views to the world they didn't care if they got tennis elbow scraping them off or into an accident with a near sighted tailgater.
I remember thinking, my god, I've found my people.
I went inside and was greeted pleasantly. I sat in a pew and looked around. I was in a big airy room with a lot of light and many lush living plants.
The minister started speaking. He was interesting, thought provoking, funny, quoted Einstein and Buddha in the same paragraph and had a folksy way about him.
Then we were asked to join him in song.
I opened my hymnal to the required page and began to sing with the congregation.
Now I don't know a lot about this particular denomination. I do know that they aren't bible thumpers and that their teaching leans toward the liberal. So, no fire and brimstone, no holy trinity, no confession, no need for praying to the higher power through an intermediary. You could wear jeans to church and not lift an eyebrow. All things that I related to.
But their music sucked.
It was very careful music. Very unconfrontational music.
I read through a few more songs during the offering and although each song obviously had been written by someone with intelligence, they had no oomph. They were hard to sing and lacked passion.
I went a few more times to this church. I did meet a few nice people, some of whom became friends.
But ultimately I decided that if I was going to drive forty minutes on a Sunday morning to do something good for my soul, it would have to be something that made my spirit sing.
Like a great park, a beautiful museum, a live concert, a brunch with friends, an amazing movie, laying on the ground with a good book and looking around me and seeing god in the details.
Or I could just stay home and blast Aretha.
For me church is all about the music.