Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Advent Challenge

Yes this is my third post in two days. Unusual (and inconsequential to the masses that don't read this blog) but for the sake of my own chronology, I am documenting this new challenge.

My advent challenge for myself is to visit and document a different Catholic parish for every Sunday of advent in an attempt to find my new home parish and become a functioning member of a Catholic community. Here is my list of parishes to possibly visit:

1. Blessed Sacrament (2 blocks from my apt. and my first assignment) - Dominican, U-district
2. St. Joe's (Capitol hill and 2nd assignment) - Jesuit, Capitol Hill
3. St. Bridget (a few miles from my apt. unsure about when or if I will visit)
4. St. Ignatius (Chapel at Seattle U) Jesuit, Capitol Hill
5. St. James (First Hill) The big one

There are 38 parishes in Seattle. I have picked 5 to start. Only 5. But there are 4 Sundays before Christmas, and I don't want to visit more than one parish per Sunday, with the exception of 1 Sunday. Mostly because I don't want to overdo it. I also know that I will have to visit more than one service to really find out which parish I want to attend. I am a fan of Sunday morning worship, but I know that I may find myself more at home at a Sunday evening service. So I will see what I see and report back.

I am also struggling with my attendance at ABC. I have to be honest. I love the people at that church so much it hurts to contemplate leaving, but I have been to church once in the last 2 months because the drive is such a chore. 2 hours round trip for 2 hours with people I love but never see because they live so far away that I can't invest in their lives and they cannot invest in mine. But I don't know if I know how to leave that community. I mean to whom will I turn when life really gets rough? They know me so well that I don't have to explain the background of stories every time something happens with my family. They are there, always. How do I turn away from that because of something as small as distance? I have struggled with this question since I left Covington. I also struggle because I don't fit there. And let me tell you, that is the worst excuse to leave a church, but I don't. I feel, more often than not, that I present more of a (and excuse the use of this very christian term) "stumbling block" than the growth agent I want to be. I feel guilty (yes guilt, that dirty word, but it is my feeling and I honestly believe that it is okay and right to sometimes feel it) for even thinking about leaving, and every Sunday I don't go to church I feel I must justify myself, because (and this may be ridiculous but bear with me) I can't rationalize not fully participating in a community that has so invested in me. And I believe so firmly that this community needs people like me, my age, my relationship status, my belief system. I think that this church is going to slowly die, slowly become more and more middle aged and elderly (as it already is) if it does not and cannot accept and challenge my generation. Jenn and Brian are there, they stay, but everyone else left, for reasons not so dissimilar from my own. And that again makes me feel all the more that I must be the one to stay. I love the people, but it is guilt and obligation that makes me attend, when I do attend. And so yes, I am a horrible person.

So give me advice. Someone. Anyone.

To challenges, and advent, and catholicism, and Catholicism.


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