Now that I have moved to the South Shore, I am once again looking for a church.
It’s not that I’m particularly religious or even spiritual, but I do know the value of being a part of a community concerned with making a better world, if not a better people.
First Church in Cambridge, my previous sanctuary, one that I will always consider home, is two-plus-hours away given the vagaries of public transportation on a Sunday. I have been looking closer to home, but finding a church within walking distance would seem to qualify as a minor miracle. I actually bought a home in a city without a proper bookstore. Is it too late to give back my keys?
My quest for God’s people, if not God, led me to a church 20 minutes away by bus.
This was a beautiful old building, with those great wooden pews able to seat perhaps 500.
And there were 25 people attending the service, tops.
At least everyone got their own pew.
But that was my first tip that perhaps this church wasn’t as healthy as I’d like it or need it to be.
When the children were called to Sunday school, two rose and were followed out by four adult attendants. You can’t beat that student-teacher ratio.
The scripture reading from the New Testament warned that since Eve was deceived by Satan, women must remain silent and defer to men in all things. They can find their way to the kingdom of heaven if they know their role and bear children.
And me in the last row: Umm, what now?
The Bible is a 2,000-year-old book that says a lot of crazy stuff, but someone in this church singled out that particular reading that stated women are good for breeding stock and decided to share it with the congregation on this day, without any context or discussion.
The minister seemed like a sweet old soul. His sermon was titled “Never Be a Crowd Follower.”
Apparently “Close Your Damn Mouth While You Chew” was too controversial.
The preacher fell into a discussion of our political climate. He doesn’t like our two presidential candidates. He has problems with both of them. Both are the same in his eyes.
Now I don’t expect or need political commentary from the pulpit, but it’s a disservice to suggest the two candidates for the highest office in our nation are equivalent.
One has decades of political and diplomatic experience; the other had a reality TV show, a few bankruptcies and seems likely to plunge us into World War III if someone trolls him on Twitter.
Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
Donald Trump has shown us who he is – a misogynist, racist narcissist who makes up his own facts on the fly and doubles-down on them.
He has insulted Mexicans, Muslims, women and Gold Star families. He was the de facto leader of the Birther movement, which sought to force our first African-American president from office.
He finally admitted Friday that President Obama was born in the United States and then said Hillary Clinton started the birther conspiracy. That was another lie.
Our political climate is absolutely terrifying right now, and to suggest our two candidates offer the same choice, the same future, is not only absurd, it’s dangerous.
I will pray for this church.
But I won’t pray at it.