Getting Out of Church

Photo by RC Designer
It has been a while since I’ve felt the need to go to church. Yes, I do go once in a while. In fact, I attended last Sunday because a friend of mine was speaking and I knew he’d talk sense. If he didn’t, at least I was confident that he wouldn’t drag things out to the point of boredom. But it has been a few years since I’ve really felt the need to “go to church” either for worship or fellowship or whatever.

Spirituality for me has become something very personal. It is not measured in how often I go to church or how involved I am in its activities. I used to think that way though, but no longer. Spirituality is in the moment. It is in the now. If you are not spiritual now, then you cannot be more spiritual in church (although it may feel that way). Spirituality is not a result of actions but comes by just being silent and still inside. It is an inner knowing of who you are — and a constant gratitude and celebration of your being.

When I was in high school (and still very much involved in church activities), I encountered a poem that I didn’t quite agree with at that time. But there was something in it that called to me. I kept that poem and even used it when I was teaching English literature a few years back. Reading it again now, I think I’ve come to understand it better, and I know why it called to me — because that was how I really felt in my soul.

Here’s the poem.

SUNDAY MORNING
by Oscar Peñaranda

Here I am again
sitting alone in my car
nostrils and mouth sucking wafts
of wind rushing through open side windows
on a cliff hanging over the bay there is
music from the radio

that green monster of a gelatin sea
kisses white tongues of foam kneeling
to lick the shore serenading the lone
oak tree
atop the jagged crags of rocks
there is music there also
they drown the chimes of distant chapel bells
come, take my hand
roll up your sleeves
and bare your chest before the naked sun

but

what I want to know is where
they ever got the barbaric gall
to call me
an unbeliever

this is how I pray

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