Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stuck in gear

I seem to be stuck wandering among Episcopal churches attending Inquirers' Classes but never managing to go the next step and join. I keep asking myself if that represents courage or cowardice. An interesting entry I found among some old scribblings: "Dec. 13, 1988: Lately--starting Sunday at Mass, in fact--I've had one of those ideas that's hard to track--is it a thought planted by God, or did it come from somewhere else? Should I act on it or overcome it? The thought was that if I really had courage, I'd find a different church, one that comes closer to being what Jesus established. I'm still not sure what to do with that one."

I guess I still don't know what to do with it, and reading that made me a little sad. If I'd gone over sooner, who knows what might have been?

I went to my latest Inquirer's session last night, a dinner gathering organized by the Episcopal church I've been attending for the past few weeks. The usual suspects were there, people looking for something: hospitality, acceptance, a dignified and satisfying style of worship. Of course each one of them is more complicated than a single phrase can convey, but you get the idea.

And me? I'm trying to find a faith community that is managing to be church in a way that makes sense to me, that is as close as humanly possible to what Jesus intended. I've read and thought and prayed and experienced and I sure do like the Anglican model, but I keep running into this deep part of myself that I don't really understand and don't know how (or whether) to change, where I find that I just am Roman Catholic.

Of the six of us "inquirers," I think five will probably proceed to be received into the Episcopal church when the bishop pays us his next visit. There was a moment last night when I felt the faintest stirring of possibility that I might go, too, but it still feels unlikely.

Of the six of us inquirers, we were all but one raised in the Roman Catholic church, as were the church members who hosted the dinner, another woman who just joined another Episcopal church, the priest who is vicar of this church, and one of two other priests who came to speak with us. Interesting, isn't it.

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