Sunday, March 29, 2009

Unitarian Church - First Impressions

People have been advising me to get out of the house more, and someone recommended going to church, so I decided to attend a service at First Unitarian Society of Madison.

Some background ... I went through a serious "Born Again Christian" thing a few years ago, but I've backed off from the whole "thing" since last year. I have a really hard time with the doctrine of conservative "evangelical" Christianity. (I could write a separate rant on that, that would go on forever, but alas...) I still strongly believe in some kind of spiritual reality that transcends the merely physical, and I believe God is somewhere out there, but I've given up on the "Jesus is the only way" philosophy.

The Unitarian/Universalists intrigued me. Religion without doctrine. I like it. Spirituality, morality, ethics, community ... without commandments or rules or divisive tactics. I like that they don't knee-jerkly condemn gay people to never-ending torture in Hell. I like that they talk about science, art, social issues, and spirituality, and attempt to weave it all together. Madison has a Unitarian "megachurch," so I figured I check it out.

First impressions are underwhelming. Nobody greeted me, introduced themselves to me, talked to me, nothing. Just the obligatory "greeting of neighbors" at the beginning of the service. I felt very awkward and uncomfortable (like I usually do in big social settings), and nobody seemed to notice or care.

The service itself was like the Methodist services I grew up with. Stand, sing, shake hands, sit, listen to the choir, listen to the sermon, one last hymn, see ya next week. You know, but without the doctrine.

It might be a good thing for me to keep attending in the long run. But for now, for the immediate problem of getting me out of the house to feel less miserably alone, the result was FAIL. Oh well.

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