A thing neither of us ever expected to do. We joined a church. A Christian church, at that.
I grew up Catholic, spent some years at Friends’ (Quaker) Meetings, and am agnostic. Jalan grew up evangelical conservative, rejected the narrowness of that world and especially its treatment of her as a woman, and has not sought a church since, though still identified as Christian.
I’m still agnostic. She still has a lot of history with and emotional loading about churches and especially their hierarchies. But the one we found is ok with all that.
We first learned of it when we moved to North Carolina a few years ago, and it had made the news filing a First Amendment infringement lawsuit against North Carolina’s Amendment One (“marriage shall be between a man and a woman,” etc.). We looked them up online and found the broadest, most progressive statement of inclusiveness I’ve ever seen for a Christian church, let alone in the South–it included gender identity, mental illness, and so many other things. That was enough to get us to try it.
It is a welcoming place. They’ve had an interim pastor for the last two years who happens to be lesbian. She’s formerly Southern Baptist. (I remember noticing she wore a slightly tailored cassock–gathered at the back. Then I had to figure out why that seemed strange to me. Oh, yeah, Catholic. Right.) Their most recent ministerial intern transitioned to his gender while in the role. There are same-sex couples, there are nonbinary folks. There are young and old. Families, and at least one person who has attended the church at that location since before this denomination existed. As they put it, if you think you belong with them, then they think so, too.
They are not just welcoming, they are active. They are social justice warriors (and clerics). They preach and practice the values I was taught as Christian. They’re in the neighborhoods, in the soup kitchens, and yes, in the courtrooms.
They have a new senior pastor now, and today was their first “New Member” Sunday since we started attending.
So we joined. Jalan participates. I stay respectfully quiet for the parts of the liturgy I can’t say in good faith (no pun intended). We both participate in the community of the congregation. This is the community we want #Dragonlet to grow up in.
It feels right.