A brief annoyance.

Our church has switched to a summer schedule, going from three services (8:00, 9:00, and 11:00) to two (8:00 and 10:00).  This, frankly, sucks. We usually go to the 11:00 service, which allows us to get up around 8:30 and spend a leisurely hour having breakfast and coffee before getting ready and driving over. Now our leisurely Sunday morning hour has suddenly disappeared.  I realize that when this baby comes, that 8:30 wake-up time — and lazing about — will seem sinfully indulgent, but for now, we really like our Sunday morning lie-in.  The result is that we’ve skipped more church than we’ve gone to in the last month and a half. Sigh.

(NB: We managed to make it this morning, but I think purely out of guilt.)

Church shopping

We tried a new church this morning. Or, rather, it was new for Mr. D. — I had gone last weekend while he was out of town. I didn’t love it last weekend, but I had to admit that it had a certain charm, and I thought that if Mr. D. liked the place, too, I could tolerate the mostly off-key music and less-than-inspiring sermon for the sake of being in a place that had such a strong sense of community.

But one visit was enough for Mr. D. to say “no.”  He didn’t care for it much at all, not least because last week’s rather humdrum sermon morphed into this week’s politically charged sermon — with an acknowledgement by the rector that the sermon was politically charged and she had no problem with that.  But we do.

I certainly can’t disagree with the sentiment that no one was more political than Jesus, which this rector gave as her rationale for refusing not to preach politics. After all, he was a political prisoner, executed by an occupying government that was afraid he was going to foment rebellion. But the problem is that Jesus wasn’t a Democrat or a Republican — or a socialist or a communist or any kind of -ist at all in today’s political spectrum. Preaching today’s politics under the aegis of preaching from the Gospel just ignores that.  Everyone claims parts of the Gospel for their own political ideology.  Well, guess what? They are all right, and they all wrong.

What happens when a sermon is politically charged is that the people in the pews who already tilt that way politically pat themselves on the back for being good little liberals or good little conservatives, and figure they don’t need to do much more to keep living the Gospel.  Meanwhile, the people on the other side of the aisle (figuratively) feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, like they can’t live out the Gospel because their politics are wrong.  But the sermon should instead challenge everyone equally and no one should feel self-satisfied at the end of it.

So, needless to say, I don’t think we’ll be going back there.  Which is too bad, because it’s very close to our house and they have a really well-formed and close-knit community.  I thought that becoming regulars at a neighborhood parish would be a way that we could get to know the people in our community and make some friends. But I guess I’d rather drive a little farther to be in a place where I don’t dread the sermon every week, even if it means not going to church with our actual neighbors. (And, to be honest, where the music doesn’t make me cringe. I don’t want to be too picky about music because if I am, we’ll never find a church, but I think I can maybe be a little more selective than if we settled on this place.)

We’ll keep trying and hopefully we’ll find a place where we can both be happy.