Category Archives: Philosophy and Religion

Matters of the Mind, exploring our religions traditions.

Serene Sunday


An enjoyable garden day was had yesterday, which was much needed. I found my new favorite rose:  the Ellen Willmott hybrid tea.  The flowers are very subtly colored, and the stems are a gorgeous dark reddish brown.  Looks very antique and “Victorian”.  And the bees loved it!


We went to church this morning as well.  We were a bit late, unfortunately, so we missed doing the whole palm procession thing, but otherwise it was a very enjoyable experience.  Now here’s the thing:  I’ve been debating with myself over going to church for a good long while now.  I used to take my son to a church way back when he was 3 or 4, and he had to go to the kid’s spiritual education while I went to the sanctuary.  It was nice, we both enjoyed it.  But in the last few years, the few remaining vestiges of my theistic beliefs have mainly fallen away.  I consider myself a secular humanist now, in fact.  Probably 98% of the way to atheist from agnostic. 

So why church?

And why a very traditional one, with full liturgy and all that?

The simple answer is:  I’m lonely.  I need community. 

I miss home.  My mom is a nice Lutheran lady, very Midwestern. 

I miss her terribly, as I haven’t been able to visit in a good long while.

So why church?  I spent so much of my teen years rebelling against that staid, musty old-school protestant stuff.  Decided that Christianity just didn’t fit me at all, couldn’t speak to my needs and concerns, and was just so darned uncool.

But now, I need community.  I need to feel like I’m a part of this world. I need to feel a connection to my past.

So I guess I’m a “cultural Lutheran” in the way that some of my friends are “cultural Jews”?

Yes, I think that’s apt.

I used to feel like such a hypocrite going to church with mom on holidays.  But the more secular I’ve become, the more I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to feel that way.  In fact, I need to jettison those feelings.  I have needs as a human being that can be met by the human institution of a church.  I can feel joy and sadness when listening to the sermon or to the readings.  These are human things, human reactions to human stories and human community.  

So I will go to church to honor my ancestors and my community.  I can find strength and solace there to replenish and increase the strength and solace I find in my own mind and heart when I meditate. 

And that’s a beautiful thing.