I put a challenge to the Bright Reverend A tonight. We'll see if she takes it! For that matter, we'll see if I take it...
Here's the challenge: To visit several faith communities over the next 6-9 weeks with the goal of finding a place to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. The real intention of the challenge is to explore the faith communities in our area - a heavy challenge that we've both been procrastinating.
Since emailing the challenge to A, I leaped into my homework to find places that are within public transit access for me. I located 2 mainline Christian churches, 2 Buddhist centers, and 2 Quaker meetings. I'll post updates on the visits as they progress.
I also posed an alternate challenge, that speaks to another aspect of the search for a faith community. The alternate is that if the search is utterly unsatisfying, then the challenge is to create and host a worship celebration at home. I think this speaks to the desire for shared worship that is meaningful to us in the particulars - the details of what we believe, how we live, who we live with... and all of that together on a significant holiday. The challenge, here, is to express that at home with the people we already share our regular lives with, in a new and personal way.
For me, these challenges really complement each other. Giving either one a cursory thought I can say to myself, 'Oh, the other one is so much easier.' It's easier to look for community someplace else to plug into, than it is to patiently, with vulnerability, cultivate it where I am. It's easier to stay home with familiar people, than it is to travel someplace new and attempt new relationships. It's easier to criticize or dismiss that group that doesn't meet my expectations, than it is to live with the differences, the ambiguity, the learning from each other in relationships. It's easier to engage my spirituality out with others, than it is to reveal all my questions and my hope, expose my inconsistency, and disagree about what it means & how to live it all with my loved ones.
Right now I think that it is better to believe wrongly, to risk your orthodoxy, than to stay in one place trying to get the doctrine perfect. Part of that is choosing time and place to worship, celebrate, learn and serve with others. Another part is working out the daily life part of it that is most closely witnessed at home. Combined, these compose orthopraxy - something I'm only starting to tentatively touch but I think it's where the motion of faith is - or for me, where the forward motion in my life is. This church hop challenge is me leaning forward over the edge and what comes next?