Thursday, August 20, 2009

The G.S.E.: Church D

The Great Sociological Experiment churns onward! The philosopher and I crossed the Tiber last Sunday and visited a local Catholic church. Now, I must preface this with a qualifier: We Are Not Catholic. We don't want to *be* Catholic. We both believe that one must agree with a church's teachngs on all the first order issues. And we have some disagreements with the Catholic Church. At our core, we are Protestant. Conservatively Protestant, even. Heck, we are ANGLICAN! But we also know that, if we can't go to an Anglican church locally, then we need to find another place to worship with a body of believers. (And you've read all this before, because I've said it more than once. Sorry for the repetition!)

Anyway, the closest thing to Anglican liturgy is Catholic liturgy. So off we went. This is the "parish church" of the county, so the sanctuary was completely full. Which was good, because there were no bulletins and no way to really follow the service. So we relied on watching the folks next to us to do the whole sit-stand-kneel thing. The music was uninspired, and we did get a couple of the bad 60s Catholic folk hymns. I don't claim they're any worse than some of the vapid modern praise choruses, but I also don't claim they're any better either. There also wasn't much in the way of Sunday school or small group offerings.

Another interesting observation: there also wasn't much in the way of welcoming visitors. We were far-to-overwhelmed with welcome at Church A, what with special visitor parking and golf cart transportation. Church C had the deacons point out the visitors to the pastor during the "passing of the peace" and the pastor came to say hello. And the other churches we visited had greeters at the door and encouraged us to fill out a visitor card (both so they could know we visited and so we could get more information if we wanted it). Here? Neither. So to me that was a bit odd too. Of course, none of this is a deal breaker. Not being able to take communion unless you're a Catholic, that's a bit more prickly. I'm not an advocate of open communion - I believe you need to profess Christ before taking of His body and blood. But I also have issue with the Catholics not accepting most other forms of Christianity.

The Anglican Catholic Church, our former church in Virginia, is in an interesting position in regard to the Catholic Church along those lines. There's a Catholic canon law that allows communion for non-Catholics of certain other churches with the permission of the Bishop. And the ACC is potentially one of them. Since we're still a member of the ACC (we never transferred our membership) we could conceivably ask for special dispensation to receive communion.

So our Experiment continues. We may go back to Church B this weekend, unless the philosopher has something else in mind. He was saying something about finding a Greek Orthodox congregation, but I'm hoping he was just kidding. ::weak grin::

As an aside, we had a nice long talk about what is "important" or "necessary" or just "nice to have" in a church home. If I can remember all the philosophical terms he used, that might just become another post.

1 comment:

Darren said...

At least Orthodox know how to use incense :)