The All-Positive Religion Thread

Hey, got something good to say about a belief, faith, religion, or creed (yours or someone else’s)? How about a thread for that! There are other threads for critiques, debates, stories of faith gone sour, and dispiriting news. Only good stuff here! And totally inclusive–if it’s religion to you, share it here. Humor is very welcome, but not at anyone’s expense.

I’ve wanted to start this for awhile, but have been waiting for the right contribution of my own to kick it off with. Then I was reading @scottagibson and @TheWombat’s lovely discussion in another (good, but less positive) thread, about being visitors at churches and mosques in foreign places.

Their conversation reminded me of one of my favorite things, which is attending mass at local Catholic churches when traveling.

It’s really the perfect mix of the strange and familiar (at least for me). Even if the language is not mine, I know the basic patterns well enough to feel comfortable. But there are always local peculiarities, or even just an environment that is different–whether a spectacular cathedral or a modest little chapel. I’ve been to mass in a repurposed movie theater in a mountain town in the Colorado Rockies.

I remember attending GDC in San Francisco and walking to an evening mass at St. Patrick’s Church on Mission Street just after getting settled in to my hotel room. When mass ended, the Filipino ladies had to go and kiss the feet of every single saint statue standing at the base of every pillar running down the nave.

Must have been for E3 that I walked to the Los Angeles Cathedral for a weekday morning mass, and sat in the pews of that funky modernist sanctuary with Hispanic grandmas and men in suits about to start their work day at this or that firm downtown. On either side of us–larger than life but in otherwise very down-to-earth depictions–were John Nava’s portraits of saints from across history, looking in anticipation to the altar just like the rest of us.

I could go off on the amazing architecture and art to be experienced in Catholic churches, but that’s its own topic. Today my enthusiasm is for the way Catholic culture is like a thread that gets dyed a unique color or textured differently in every place it gets woven into, but remains a single thread, effectively connecting nearly every place where humans live.

Please share any reflections of your own, big or small, when they occur to you!

I’ve always liked how the Puritan belief that every congregation should make their own doctrinal decisions, with 300 years of baking, turned their ultra strict religion into progressive non-denominational humanism.

The different ways humans connect with their spiritual side are, in the main, beautiful and moving, though not always in obvious ways. The different ways humans organize, bureaucratize, codify, and enforce the frameworks that nominally structure that connection are, on the other hand, almost universally horrible. If not at their inception, by the time they mature into institutions.

So, when one speaks of religion, it is important to clarify what one is talking about I suppose!

I like that everyone is going to heaven. Sadly, that means everyone. Universalism has its downsides.

Also, the Quakers were low key awesome.

On a complete sepearate plus side, one of the families at our church hosted their Thanksgiving last Sunday in our Multi Purpose room. I didn’t realize that they had some many people showing up, that they can’t host them all in any one’s home, so they do it at our church every year. I’m under the impression that it’s a lot cheaper to do things like reunions or Girl/Boy Scout events in Churches because regular charge is a whole lot less than more commercially oriented institutions.

Or punk shows