I haven’t been to any church in a year and even before that, my attendance was spotty. I can honestly say that I haven’t missed it and don’t feel like it’s a void in my life.
You might think that J going through chemo would either strengthen my belief in God or turn me completely away from God in bitterness. But in truth, neither one happened.
What I have realized is that I believe in some kind of God, maybe even the Christian one. I prayed regularly, just like little conversations with God as I understand it (I don’t believe that God is male or female) while my husband was going through chemo. I feel like my prayers were answered but I also don’t feel like God is a genie who always gives you what you want.
The interesting thing to me is that my husband is going in a different direction. He’s starting to explore the Episcopal church, which is practically Catholic but doesn’t have so many rules about who’s worthy to receive communion.
I may have the exact details slightly wrong on this, but my understanding of the reason for his exploration was because cancer made him realize that if he had a Catholic funeral, literally nobody present would be allowed to take communion.
The Episcopal church is nearly identical in practice to the Catholic church but welcomes everybody. That also means that anyone is welcome to take communion. One of the Episcopal churches around here has a sign with rainbow letters that says something like “all are welcome, no exceptions.” That’s where we’re going tomorrow night.
But the church he’s leaning toward attending regularly is a different one that has a specific transgender support group, both for trans people themselves and for their families. I doubt my trans daughter will attend with us, but J got a personal invite to attend when he explained to someone he chatted with that he had a trans kid. So I guess we’re going to that on Sunday afternoon.
He also came home with a pamphlet for the local PFLAG group. I’m not sure yet if we’ll get involved with that or not. Some of my more recent friends I’ve met are through a Facebook group for local parents of transgender kids. I sense that that’s going to become my primary source of meeting new friends. LGBT rights have taken a larger priority for me since my daughter came out and I will fight to defend her.
I’m really pleased with the fact that the Catholic church’s stance on LGBT issues was another one of the reasons for my husband’s desire to find an alternative. That issue, as I’ve written about before, was ultimately what drove me out of both the Catholic church and the evangelical church I was attending three years ago.
I still don’t have much personal desire to attend church again and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I suppose maybe that could change if I make a lot of friends J meets through there. I don’t have the appreciation for liturgical services that my husband does. The similarity of the Episcopal church to the Catholic church isn’t a good thing for me, like it is for him. I don’t care much about church history but he does.
But I can really respect that he’s going in this direction. It seems closer and more true to the kind of person he’s always been. Any church that excludes people is not one I want to be involved in and I’m glad that he seems to have reached the same conclusion himself.