Sunday, November 05, 2006

Journey, Part I

So, it's 11:15 and I'm not in church. Again. Sigh.

My sleep has been really disturbed lately. I used to have no trouble getting up by 9:30 to get ready for church. But when you don't fall asleep until after 7 a.m., that's kind of difficult. I wish I could sleep in the bedroom, but alas, I can't (that is a really, really long story). I bet I would sleep better. Sigh. Maybe I can get a new mattress early next year.

So since I am not at church, I'm going to write the entry I should have written on Tuesday, which was Reformation Day - the day Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg. I am going to write about what led me away from the Catholic church and to the Lutheran Church.

Now, if you dig through my archives, you might think that it was my experience working for a church that led me down this path. I suppose that was the catalyst, but I think this was a long time coming. I will say, though, that there is nothing like working directly for the Catholic church (or any other church, I suppose) to bring to light all of its warts.

But really, my journey away from the Catholic church started when I was in fourth grade. That was the year in my parish when boys could become altar servers. Now, keep in mind I had been to church with my Lutheran mother, and I had seen girls serve at the altar. They wore the same things our servers did, and they seemed to do the same things as well.

Well, one day Fr. David Kriss came into our classroom, to make his pitch for boys to become altar boys (I used his real name because he is dead, and I really don't care if people know I harbor some animosity toward him. That is a long story as well). He specifically said he was there to talk to the boys, and the girls didn't have to listen. Then he talked about what an honor it was to serve the Lord at the altar, and how altar servers would learn all about the Mass from the inside, and how it would lead to success later in life. Now, all that sounded good to me. I was a pious little kid. I liked church. I prayed voluntarily on my own. I tried to read the Bible. I sincerely wanted to be a server.

So, after Fr. Kriss finished his spiel, he took questions. I waited until all the boys had asked whatever questions they had, then I raised my hand. He called on me, which actually surprised me. I asked him why girls couldn't serve at the altar. He told me that it was because being an altar server was the first step in becoming a priest, and women couldn't be priests. I responded that not all altar boys go on to be priests. He said that some do, and it was just the first step in the process. I asked him then why women couldn't be priests. He said that it was because that's the way Jesus wanted it, and that's why he chose only men to be His apostles. I said that wasn't fair. He said that he thought he had to have a talk with my father about my smart mouth. That was the first of many times he left me in tears over the next four years. My dad could be a bit...hard when it came to religion. He actually considered the priesthood when he got out of the Army, so he was very serious about that stuff.

It turned out that I didn't have anything to worry about. There was no love lost between my dad and Fr. Kriss. When he first came to our parish, he once delivered an hour long homily about how evil popular music was. My dad timed it. It was exactly an hour. Now, Catholics are used to homilies that are, at most, 10-15 minutes long. My dad complained about that homily for a long time, both for its length and its content. Not that he didn't think that pop music was bad; I wasn't allowed to listen to the popular stations until I was a junior in high school. But my dad also believed in free speech, and believed that it was up to parents to decided what their kids were exposed to, with no interference. He resented Fr. Kriss telling parents what to allow or not to allow their children to listen to. He didn't like priests in generally sticking their noses into marriage or parenting. So when Fr. Kriss talked to him the following Sunday, he pretty much ignored him.

Oh, and that was the beginning of my dad's efforts to avoid the Masses that "Fr. Little Priest" said. We seemed to go to a different mass every week so my dad wouldn't have to deal with him.

The frustration I felt at not being able to serve Jesus and the church was the beginning of the end for me.

I shall write more later. I should probably actually get something done today to make up for yesterday.

1 comment:

Little Miss said...

How interesting. I wish you well on your continued journey through religion. From your story, I gather there's a Part II, so I'll check back!

and btw, I didn't make it to church today either because I had a massive headache. Now I just feel like I have a hangover.