Tuesday, February 14, 2012
But I Still Have Never Smoked Pot In My Life!
In my 37.5 years as a Catholic I had never before attended a non-Catholic *mass*.
Yeah I'd been to a couple of Protestant wedding ceremonies, I've even donned a beanie at a Jewish wedding, and I've probably been to more than 40 different Catholic Churches before.
That is until this past Sunday when I attended my buddy's non-denominational church down here in Naples.
It really was a terrific experience and we'll be back each week this month.
I really had no idea what to expect going in. The facility was modern, lush, and gorgeous. There was coffee and donuts everywhere. The kids were all whisked off into classrooms for the service. I sat on a chair so comfortable one could sleep on - as opposed to a splinter-shooting wooden pew...
It started off with singing, lots of singing. A modern band played about 5 long songs - songs that you'll never hear in a Catholic Church or on the radio north of the Mason-Dixon line - while the thought-inducing, soul-searching lyrics flashed on an overhead screen.
There were a few short readings from Scripture....and then the minister delivered a very good 20 minute sermon. And that was it. No ceremony. No tacky money collecting. Nobody ran for the door at the conclusion; people actually hung out for a long time afterwards (kids were running around the playground and the gymnasium).
Oh yeah, and my kids ASKED if they could go back next week!
Three years ago this same friend had asked me to join his family there when we were snowbirding but I admit I was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of going into a foreign Christian(!) church. It half felt like a betrayal of my Catholic faith. Plus there's always a latent fear of the unknown.
But I've done a lot of Bible-reading and soul searching over the past handful of years and now my initial discomfort seems absolutely ridiculous. I mean the people that I meet, in general, from non-denominational churches are pretty much the nicest, most-welcoming, non-judgmental people I ever have the pleasure of dealing with.
See also - Finally Done!