This morning was my second at First Universalist Church in Minneapolis, MN. It would have been my third in a row had I not been out of town last week. There is a lot about the congregation I like, and I will keep visiting to determine if indeed it is a good fit for me. This much I know: the service at this particular Unitarian-Universalist (UU) congregation, in structure, much more closely resembles an evangelical Christian service than a mainline Christian service. It feels familiar. It “feels like church”, more so than a mainline service, and far more so than an unprogrammed Quaker service.
Until two weeks ago, I hadn’t attended a religious service in about 1 1/2 years, which, I say, is like most people not having gone to church for 15 years. In evangelical Christianity, the general expectation is that you go to worship services three times a week: Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. As such, it cannot help but be a very large part of one’s life. One of the challenges as I transitioned into liberal Christianity was that there was not that huge presence on my weekly calendar. Especially in the smaller mainline congregations, much of the church’s life begins and ends Sunday morning. Though I understand the reasons why each branch of the Christian religion does what it does, it is the former that makes the more sense to me, because of familiarity if for no other reason.
I say that I left evangelical Christianity for personal reasons, but left Christianity overall for theological reasons. I am, I think, a doubter by nature, and I appreciate it when I’m given space to think through ideas, rather than to just accept them wholesale. I am at a place where I will not make any definitive statements regarding the nature of God, or God’s connexion with the universe and with humankind. I have thus been leery of engaging in any religious services lately.
However, an acquaintance recently challenged me. He said that, even if I might very much want to chuck God and faith and all the rest, that I myself am, for whatever reason, a religious person, and that it will only do me good to find some way to “scratch that itch”. I’m hoping the good people at First Universalist may help me in that regard.