Disclaimer: This post is about religion from my perspective. Just putting that out there.
That’s about the amount of time that’s passed since I’ve stepped foot in a church. I’ve been to temples to watch monks meditate. I’ve posed for photos in front of ancient shrines to gods I never knew. But no church.
If you’ve read my memoir you’re probably wondering what could bring this Vulcan back into the lord’s house? Well there’s one thing churches are good for: giving us an opportunity to finally let go of our losses.
Two aunts of mine died in late-July. Although we weren’t in the slightest way close (I have a huge family), it’s weird to think that someone who was always there, could just disappear forever. Although I never really knew them well, or seen them in years, the idea of their disappearance felt weird to me.
So here I am, in a church pew I never thought I’d be in. The whole time trying to shut my Vulcan, analytical-self up and just enjoy the service.
But it didn’t feel the same as it felt when I was a kid. I was on the outside looking in at a shared experience, and came away with some interesting takeaways.
1. Religion is Epic Storytelling
Maybe this is the screenwriter coming out in me, but while listening to the pastor preach, I noticed how grand the tales in the Bible are. More so, the telling of the tales—how the pastor speaks, his actions and emotions—adds to their “epic-ness”. You gotta admit, the stories they tell make out Jesus to be a pretty cool dude. Wouldn’t you be amazed if you saw an average-looking guy performing David Blaine-esque feats on the regular? And the suffering, all the suffering Jesus went through, is so metaphorical of the trials we face in our own lives. Maybe all the great religions are simply the stories people loved to hear over and over again in ancient times.
2. Black Christianity is a Bit Ironic
It’s unfortunate how many traditions were lost in the slave trade. What surprises me is how much African religions seemed to be completely wiped out as black bodies were exported to the Americas.
In the same way, it only seems fitting that most African-Americans are Christians. It fits so well with our own “epic story”.
When given scraps, our ancestors made soul food.
When the masters called us niggers, we reclaimed and warped the word for our own use.
And our ancestors took their masters’ Protestant religions to represent their own stories of pain, suffering, and triumph.
3. Music Supersedes All Beliefs
As areligious and agnostic as I am, the only thing that really touched me the most at both funerals was the music. Music is just one of the few things in the world that has the power to go beyond trivial things—race, religion, ideology—and bring us together. It’s also one of the few things I have trouble looking at analytically. It’s awe-inspiringly wonderful, and I don’t get why!
Maybe Music is my religion?
Whatever your background, we all need a safe haven that will allow you to discuss ideas and concerns, share positive thoughts, and be your best you. It’s in our DNA.
We all got us.
*As always, I don’t write to offend, but I do write what I feel. If I did offend you in any way with this post, just know that everyone’s truth is different. I’m always open to share ideas with anyone in the comments section/direct message.
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk