Okay, here's the background. I grew up a Methodist. My mother was choir director, and I sang. Really, that's the only reason I went, besides being forced.

Fast forward 50 years and my two (twin) sisters are involved at the same church--one plays organ and piano, the other directs the choir. Being that my parents anniversary was on Sunday, Dec. 22, I asked my father if he wanted to go to church to: a) honor mother (who died in '01), b) listen to and support his daughters doing music, and c) see old friends and be seen. He declined with a plethora of excuses (bottom line: he didn't want to go through the effort).

However, I had already commited to going. We were still honoring the memory of our mother. I haven't been to my old church in umpteen years. I was greeted like the "second coming"! Mercy.

Nothing has changed. Time stands still in church (almost literally!). It was pretty agonizing. I felt totally out of place. Announcements, prayer requests, dedications (my mother). We sang the same old Christmas songs. We (they) recited in unison the same old Lord's Prayer, and "We believe in the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost...", blah, blah, blah, etc.  There was the usual Scripture reading (Mathew's version of the virgin birth), a childrens "sermon", and a regular sermon (which really wasn't half bad!). And "special" music from the choir and a flute ensemble.

I had to suffer through a lot just to honor my mother and listen to my sisters perform, but, I survived. Let me say, I hope to die before I attend another church service. Gee I hate the doxology: "Praise God from whom all blessings flow....".   (Stay tuned for part 2)

(If anybody here does happen to celebrate Christmas, well, Merry. I've done celebrated--the Solstice.)

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Comment by k.h. ky on December 27, 2013 at 10:50pm

I'd go to a wedding in a church. Did just a couple weeks ago.  But if it's gonna turn into a sermon I'd have to leave.  I left a funeral service about a year ago when the when the preaching started.  That was the craziest funeral I was ever at.

I think people think I make this shit up. My imagination isn't that good.

Comment by Luara on December 27, 2013 at 8:37am

@Randall

If you liked

UU why did you stop going?

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 27, 2013 at 6:26am

No, it's a pity, I'd enjoy a UU church nearby, Maybe I could start one??  :-D~

Though I think it funny that we get Ads for Christian Singles on A/N,  LOL

Wonder how many A/N members have joined Christian Singles.

I did for a laugh.

Comment by Larry Taylor on December 26, 2013 at 10:05pm
I always felt the Unitarian Universalist Church was a bunch of atheists playing "pretend church."
Anyway, I grew up--sort of--in the methodist church. My evil brother is a methodist minister. Your description of services gave me horrible flashbacks! I tell my more progressive christian friends that if I ever set foot in a church the place would burst into flames.
Comment by Randall Smith on December 26, 2013 at 7:36am

For DD: I admit to have been a regular attending member of the Unitarian Universalist Church for 12 years (ending in 2000). There were a lot of atheists there. For reasons I'm going to post a blog about, I enjoyed going. But the main reason was the people, many of which were university tied, intelligent and worthy of conversation. Any chance of a UU church being near you?

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 26, 2013 at 5:46am

BTW: The workshop has 4 Indian workers, two of them are Sikhs, the others are Christian and atheist, but they get the drift and don't talk about religion at work, most of the other workers are Chinese and Thai,  with only two Caucasian Australians present.   We are a bit of a mixture.

Though our bosses are Thai, and they are extremely humorous, always trying to tell jokes in broken English, which even sounds very amusing when the jokes themselves are not funny.

LOL, though I like going to the bosses house which is full of Catholic paraphernalia, but he has expensive guitars and amplifiers which are far better than my own instruments, so we rock the neighborhood together.  LOL  Even though being in their music room is like being in a church, though that is also familiar to moi, since my first heavy metal band practiced in a church when there were no services.  The priest used to give me the keys to return after we finished practice. He was a fantastic bloke, regardless of his faith.

Again, we don't ever discuss religion, he and his extremely Catholic wife are okay with my atheism.

This is how Australia is becoming, we don't proselytize others in our environment and we respect their differences, because, if we were all the same, there'd be no variety and variety is the spice of living. Yet. we do get the occasional loon who does try to preach to us, but we all ignore them or tell them to either focus on their work or leave, as the boss did the next day to our Indian friend.  He hasn't uttered a word about his Christianity ever since.

If we were all atheists, it would lose some of it's interest.

:-D~ 

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 26, 2013 at 5:28am

Well, Christians appear to be a minority here, though those that have only arrived in Australia recently don't realize how out-of-place they are.  We had one worker, an Indian Christian who only arrived in Australia last year and he was at work making a big deal of going to church and using the silly cross-the-heart hand symbolism, as if it meant something. The workers gathered together after he left the workshop and all agreed this Indian was a bit of a loon.

Even the boss, whose wife is a church going Catholic, agreed the Indian worker is a bit of a basket case.

Yet, I attended church regularly for a time as an atheist, for business networking reasons, since a wealthy client was a church going Christian and the best place to meet him was at church, since we could discuss business casually, without having his office staff interrupting constantly and since I was a fellow church attendee, he looked at me as being a good friend.  So churches have their uses.  I got a lot of business from attending churches, maybe I could start doing that again, since business has dropped off this last couple of months.

Though there are not many attendees in churches these days, his church has folded due to lack of membership though a few devotees still meet in private houses.

The only churches that still exist in any number are the Catholic, Jehovah Witnesses and a wacky Pentecostal movement which has ventured into becoming a business enterprise, because they have branched out of religion to running cafe's, restaurants, second hand merchants and other enterprises, possibly still not paying taxes on the profits.

At least they read the writing on the wall and diversified away from being only a religious body.

LOL  :-D~  Not many business prospects in any of them, might attend them all as I once did twenty years ago. 

Comment by Idaho Spud on December 24, 2013 at 3:01pm

Like Sentient, I would consider visiting a mormon church again like visiting hell.  Would not do it for anyone.

Years ago, as I started telling my relatives that I didn't believe anymore, and didn't want to pray at their meals, they still invited me to baptisms, missionary farewells, and such.  I finally got tired of saying no, and made it very clear that I would never again have anything to do with the cult.  That I knew it was totally false.  That it annoyed me and made me sad they they were still in the brainwashed state.  Haven't had an invite since.

Comment by Sentient Biped on December 24, 2013 at 9:24am
Randall I dont envy you! You are stronger or nicer than I am. The thought of visiting the church where I grew up would give me nightmares! Looks like you had the same doxology as my old baptist church, at least the beginning.

And theres a part 2! Cant wait... hands over eyes, peeking between fingers!
Comment by Loren Miller on December 24, 2013 at 8:29am

I wonder if this would be the time to assert your atheism and say, "Yes, it was nice and all ... but that was the last time.  We can meet under other auspices or circumstances, but church will no longer be one of the options I will consider."

Just a thought.

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