Why Go to Church?
Why go to church? Don’t go. Unless you want to, or until you feel some tiny niggling desire. Or, until you feel that your kids might benefit from some weekly habits of spirituality. Or, until something devastating knocks you to your knees. It happens a lot in this life. I used to think that only do-gooders went to church. As a gay person, I had conflicted feelings about being ostracized in mainstream religion. There are many reasons that people feel unwelcome and uncomfortable.
There is good news. Times are changing and churches are changing. The demographics of traditional mainline denominations are in decline. But I believe there is much to be gained from a community of individuals who are seeking something bigger than themselves, a Power for good, uplifting words, music, and a sense of reverence. Many churches are doing great things. If we put aside the arguments that more wars have been caused by religion than by any other ideology, then we can simply look at some of the good things that happen in faith-based communities.
Growing up in the Midwest, I have always been touched by the sight of steeples, families heading to church, and people dressed up on a Saturday night or a Sunday morning. Recently I came across these words from screenwriter Niven Busch (The Postman Always Rings Twice.) “I can pray in a temple or a cathedral, where thousands of people pass in and out every day. They are all praying, too. They are taking the same ride I am. And in mingling my prayers with them, I join the fellowship of the world, in humility before the mysteries that surround the journey.”
It’s good to have company on the journey through life. There are hundreds of wonderful churches where people gather to be inspired and to try to live better lives. Check them out. Ask questions. Find one where you feel comfortable. Below are just a few of the great L.A. churches that I have found:
A New Song – San Dimas, CA
Agape International – Culver City, CA
All Saints Episcopal Church – Pasadena, CA
Burbank Methodist Church – Burbank, CA
Sanctuary for Spiritual Living – Covina, California
Excerpt from This I Believe, edited by Jan Allison and Dan Gediman, in association with NPR. (2007). Henry Holt and Company, LLC. New York: New York.