Sunday, May 2, 2010

not going to church

My first Sunday of retirement and I didn't go to church. I didn't feel guilty in the least. (That, by the way, is one of the problems Episcopalians have--we've lost the capacity to feel guilty about not going to church!!!)

I did wonder what was going on at St. John's, but not as much as I thought I would.

Someone asked me the other day, "Where will you be going to church?"

I responded, "That implies I will be..."

I've told people who asked me why I pursued ordination that "I want to make sure I go to church...."

I actually like 'doing church' a lot, lot better than 'going'. I love preaching and liturgy and I know I'll be doing more of that in the future--supply priest, part-time in some large parish or priest in charge in a small one. Filling in. Stuff like that. Someone at the Diocese suggested I let it be known I'd be glad to fill in for people on Sabbatical. That would mean I'd go to the same parish for a month or two. I thought that was a great idea.

Then she said, "You do take some getting used to...." A compliment of sorts, I guess.

Or not.

I'm still on the email list for various meetings at St. John's. They should probably take me off so I won't just abscent-mindedly show up and because I really am going to try to 'vacate' myself from the inner workings of the place. It's none of my business any more.

I was going to go to church at the local parish--St. Peter's--but I only wanted to go to the 8 a.m. service and I couldn't remember when it was. (That's not a joke--I know it isn't at's 7:45 or 8:15. There was an Episcopal Church in West Virginia that had on it's display board:

8 a.m.-------8:15
Holy Eucharist---10 a.m.
I couldn't make that up. Episcopalians simply believe the early service is the 8 a.m. Service.

And I won't go next week, most likely, since we'll be in Vermont.

My theory has always been that church attendance is 'habitual'. You don't do it out of the goodness of your heart or because you want to but because it is a habit...much akin to brushing your teeth before bed. Your mouth just doesn't feel right if you don't....

I've told people the 'habit of church' takes at least 3 months to form...if not more given modern attention spans...and about 3 weeks to break. We'll see about me....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.