Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's been an interesting weekend...

Last night I went to services at my Temple and had a great time. It was a pot luck dinner, which is always my favorite event, and then a musical service with added elements to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. We sang "We Shall Overcome" and the Junior Choir performed. Although the service didn't get the attendance we usually see at services with a pot luck, it was clearly a vibrant, multi-generational community with inspiring music and good discussion, people who know me and my family and remember to bring hard-boiled eggs to pot luck because my daughter loves them. And people bowing as they prayed to God.

This morning I found the local Humanist group. I was by far the youngest person there and one of only two people with children living at home (there were no children present and I don't expect there ever have been at these meetings.) A woman spoke about Robert Moses and there was a discussion about the implications of his work: the benefits of some of his projects balanced against the neighborhoods he destroyed and the utter devastation to communities wrought by some of the roads he planned. It was interesting and stimulating, and a pleasure to be with people who think about the ethics and consequences of things. I later went on their Facebook page and found links there to news about school prayer regulation, the death of Christopher Hitchens (more info about him at right) and the upcoming Lobby Day for Reason which is part of the Reason Rally that will take place in Washington at the end of March. And no songs, no children, no rituals.

So it's hard to know what to do. I firmly believe that people need rituals and music and ways to honor life-cycle events. Religion has existed for so long because it serves many purposes in our lives. The local Humanists are definitely a community and they welcomed me and encouraged me to return, and even to present if I like. I am sure that they are there for each other in difficult and joyous times and I think I may join them because I enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of being with them. Next time I may even join them for lunch. But this group cannot take the place that religion has held in my life all these years. I need more.

The folks at the Humanist meeting suggested I check out the local Ethical Culture Society. I've been resistant to that because they meet on Sundays. Somehow, going to a "religious" meeting on Sunday feels Christian to me, even if they are adamantly non-Christian, and that feels too alien to me. But it is worth a look. I will add it to my list of places to investigate. After all, Ethical Culture is one of the oldest forms of Humanism out there.

I have found something I like, even if it isn't everything I need, so that's a step. Next week I'm planning to return to the Reconstructionist Synagogue. The Rabbi there invited me to attend a Saturday morning service because she thought it might be more to my liking, so I feel I should give it another chance.

I'm starting to feel like researching the local religious (and non-religious) scene is my new hobby. It's certainly interesting, and I'm learning a lot.

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