Keeping the Faith
I was raised Catholic, and have yet to actually struggle with reconciling being gay and Catholic until RR came along. Even before she was born, I was plotting ways to get her baptized. Plotting, you say? Well.. see, those Catholic churches won’t baptize a baby being raised up in a same-sex parental household because, well, baptizing your kid is saying, “Hey! We’ll bring her up good and Catholic.. thumbs up!” And bringing her up good and Catholic with two mommies is contrary, at the least. So my first plot was to have her baptized in a private ceremony up in DC by the Dignity folks up there. Then, my other plot was to have her baptized in my hometown church, which is thankfully, liberal enough to overlook the whole gay thing long enough to dunk and bless her. In her eight months of existence, neither has materialized, for one reason or another.
That said, it’s left me with more than enough time to rethink this whole religion stuff. Not that I feel any less Catholic these days, but I don’t want RR to be brought up in a religion that will insist that her moms fundamentally suck. And are going to hell. Handbasket optional. That will so wholeheartedly disapprove of her family. Our family. My family.
So what was sheer laziness in getting her baptized Catholic has come to a screeching, squealing, intentional hault.
So now what? I suppose church-shopping is a good word for what’s next. See, I like church. I like the weekly services. I like praying. I like the pews, the quiet, the singing, and the smell of candles. I want RR to go to Sunday school. I want her to make friends who aren’t just the kids in her class. I want her to have a supportive community of people who know her family, and approve. Here in rural Virginia, it’s even more important that she have these things. I also want to make friends. Non-work friends. Non-gay friends. So joining a church seems to be a good idea, right? Sure.
I did some research last week, and set forth yesterday morning in the pouring down rain to the local Unitarian Universalist church. From what I read, it looked promising. But… well, I couldn’t get into it. I sat for the hour and fifteen minute long service, and then was pounced by a couple of new-people-greeters right after the service. They were all super friendly, and talked to me about their religious education classes for toddlers through high school, and I got a tour of the nursery. For an 11:15am service, I got into my car just before 1pm.
Without going into a ton of gory, religious details, I wanted to like the UU service, mainly because they’re super gay friendly and inclusive, and that’s super nice and awesome. At the same time, I didn’t feel 100% comfortable, and left feeling a little hollow. I grew up in a house with a crucifix on every wall and a statue of Mary on ever surface. I was even an acolyte at my church when I was a kid. So maybe it was a bit too much like going cold turkey.
That said, I think I might need a little more “church” in my church. So here is where the church-shopping begins. When did I turn into such an adult? When my wife and I are spending our Sunday nights doing research on the differences within all of the Protestant churches. Rumor in town is that the local Presbyterians are just as gay-friendly as the UU’s. But the “Which religion are you?” quizzes online say I’m a closeted Episcopalian!
So I’ve set forth to try out all of the potential gay-friendly churches in town. Or, at least, not the gay-shunning ones. Here’s hoping that one fits. I’ll even go back to the UU church, just to give it a chance to grow on me, but I’m afraid I’m gonna need at lease one or two crosses in my church. It’s becoming increasingly important to have a church in my life, but more importantly, in RR’s life. And if that means a little faith-reassessment, that’s OK by me. Wish me luck!