You can’t go home again

At least, I can’t.

I’m not a church-goer. My entire family is and I was raised in the church – three times a week and more if they’d let us. But, yesterday was Easter and, along with those handful of times that I return to my home town with my mom, I went to church with my family. Familial obligation fulfilled. We took up three pews with all the kids and grandkids and great-grandkids coming when normally they do not. Most of the time, my attention was spent playing with my cousin’s baby as he sat next to me on his mom’s lap. All you had to do was look at this baby and he just broke into a giggle. It kept me from paying too close attention to the songs and sermon. Every time I go, it is difficult. I just no longer understand it. I listen to them talk about the bondage we all live in until Jesus saves us, how we are vile creatures living in darkness. Jesus paid the debt for us on the cross and we must praise him for it. This just is not how I see it at all.

Take away all debate over myth and the existence of God. The very text doesn’t seem to bare out the conclusions that are drawn. I’m no bible scholar. I went to church all my life and even went to “god-school” all the way through high school, but I’m still amazed at how little I really know about what’s in the book. What I do know is that the Jesus in the book wouldn’t really get into all this church stuff. What I remember is how he flouted all the rules of Pharisees, how he threw the money changers out of the temple. Perhaps the bible is a Rorschach test, you see what you want to see. I see a guy who was saying that we didn’t need all these rules and priests, but that god was accessible. I see a guy who was saying we could be free – of the church. He wasn’t saying worship me, he was saying follow my example. It just struck me sitting there how completely turned on its head it all seemed.

I can never go home again. Not really. Not like my brother who had a heart attack and now attends church every Sunday – which he hadn’t done in a quarter century. He use to be with me, just attending on those obligatory holidays. Not like my other brother who had a re-conversion a few years back. Not like my cousin – this one just blows my mind. He literally has been wandering in the desert for 25 years (Arizona) and has returned home and is going to church. This is the guy that I use to kick back and drink with as we talked about philosophy and listened to Hendrix. I just don’t get it.

It’s more than just the church thing, though. We went to my brother’s for Easter dinner and the dinner conversation turned to current events. I bit my tongue until I just blurted out “I don’t belong in this family.” They laughed. They know that I don’t believe in anything they do. It’s all so sad. They think it’s funny and like to goad me on. I think they’re narrow minded living in a city, a state surrounded by narrow-minded fools.

I just can’t go home again.


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