I attend the First Congregational Church in Martinez, but only for the last couple years. Before that, I couldn’t find a church I liked. An ex-friend told me that I’d go to hell if I didn’t attend church, but I don’t think it works like that.
I’ve always been a spiritual person. Life gave me a lot of hard knocks and I was transformed through them. Nature is the most spiritual place for me. I love to hike and when I do I feel a connection to all things. For me there’s a tangible sense of being at one when I am in nature. I feel connected to all life, to the spirit of the flowers and alligator lizards. I enter the world of nature with awe and wonder. I have a sense that all life in the world is radiating at once, in this moment, and I feel filled with complete peace, calm, and overwhelming harmony until… Two people walk by and one of them is yammering about their niece’s “very successful boyfriend” or their new kitchen cabinets and I’m thrown back into a world where what really matters in life is how loudly you can talk about nothing endlessly!
That’s what made me want to go back to church: to find like minded people who want to feel that connection with God.
The fact is that people don’t go to church as much as they used to. I wonder why. For me the value going to church brings (versus being spiritual) is a sense of community. At church I’m interacting with like minded people, I’m getting involved in serving the community, and I’m part of a wonderful community of people. An added benefit of going to church is learning. I learn so much in church on so many different levels at church.
On the second Sunday of every month the First Congregational Church (FCC) has been offering an “Inter Faith Dialog.” Tomorrow, November 11, they will have Jaleh Kilpatrick of the Baha’i faith. I don’t know anything about that faith and I’m looking forward to finding out more. It’s part of our regular services, which starts at 10:00am.
Last month the “Interfaith Dialog” featured Austin Hill Shaw who gave us insights into his Buddhist faith. He is a designer and author who recently published, “The Shoreline of Wonder: On Being Creative.” What captured me was his energy. Of course he is fascinating, brilliant, unique, but it was his enthusiasm that really inspired me. He brought so much passion to everything he said, and you can see he lives with that kind of passion. Just listening to him made me feel like I was part of something greater, and something I never even knew about. Similar to my experience walking in nature, Austin set a path of ideas before me where I could walk and contemplate something meaningful and real.
Our Pastor, Norm Luecke has created a path like that for me on many Sundays. It’s a path that connects me to the meaning I am looking for in my life. His sermons are on our web site, if you want to see what I mean. You can also listen to Austin Hill Shaw’s lecture there.
Starting this Sunday we welcome the Solid Rock Cathedral of Faith. They will have their services in the sanctuary on Sunday afternoons. Please check their web site for more information, but from what I know they are a group mostly made up of veterans, and they worshiped in Vallejo, but now they are here in Martinez.
I like this church, the people, and all that if offers me. But it took me some time to find it. I'll always have nature to find myself, my spirt, and meaning in life, but going to church also gives me a connection to the community. I learn so much at church. More than I could ever describe with words. Everyone is welcome to attend FCC. That's another thing I like about my church.
Why do you go to church? Or why do you not go to church? Is your church a shrine, temple, or an ancient oak tree on a hillside or...?