yeah, not so sure how i feel about the lonestar in the upper left hand corner. i am, however, sure that i had a freaking amazing experience today.
about 3 months ago or so, i read an article about this methodist church that had melded 2 churches together--1 white and 1 african-american--after katrina. hook. the article spoke about how the choir had recently sung "seasons of love" from rent, the broadway musical (though it's soon to be off broadway! :( *). line. and did i mention that it brought 2 different races together, intentionally to increase their diversity? sinker, sinker, sinker.
now, i ain't no methodist, but i like to think, more importantly, that i ain't closed-minded either. i've been thinking about this church (first grace united methodist--one used to be first umc, the other grace umc...i don't know how the hell they got the new name) a lot lately, and today was my first day going. two words to describe my reaction: oh my.
let's just say that it was perfect pretty much from the beginning (about 100 people, including young adults, families, some older folks, etc., probably about half & half white & black, w/ a minority of Latina). but anything that i thought made it not-quite-perfect suddenly appeared. for instance...of course there was a white preacher, an african-american preacher, and a latino preacher, all sharing equal parts of the service....pretty awesome. my thought: why don't they have a woman up there? well, toward the end of the service, i lean over to my new friend doris to ask whose name is on the front of the bulletin, & she says, "oh, that's LeTisha (I think...), she's the co-preacher...the one who used to head the Af. Amer. church." Right. So the music is great, the sermon (spoken mostly in english, w/ a little in Spanish...i guess a little preview to the full-out bilingual service at 2pm) referenced points in acts and genesis and revelations, where it's clear that god's plan for us is to include EVERYONE (mostly in the context of race here). Awesome, "but why do they only refer to God as "He?" Enter the Lord's Prayer, where Rev. So & So (we're not there yet) starts, "Our Mother and Our Father..." Check. And let's not forget that they have a compost pile for their garden (really?) and an "ecological committee" who's responsible for the recycling baskets in the back for the bulletins. Come on.
as if that's not enough...did they really sing an awesome rock-ish song (i totally thought i'd remember it!) at the end? And just wait....really....they really had to announce that their bible study this month is focusing on spirituality and mental health? come on, people...you've got to be kidding me (but please don't be). "The first one will focus on depression, the second on raising children in an age of ritalin, and one with a focus on divorce, as that has touched many of us." dafidnfdie??????!!!!!!!! WHAT???!
Oh man, I was spent by the end of it, to say the least. I think I may have found my niche...though the lay-person-led catholic worker-esque "masses" every other sunday (which i just found out about from my supervisor) aren't soundin' so bad either. so i'll try to remain open to a new church, though i know one thing...it won't be in texas.
*the first off-broadway performance of rent in new orleans at le petit theater???! Really...what is my life?