Posted by: emjb | August 20, 2006

God the Mother, and a baby parade

So I went to church this morning. I know! Crazy! It was a Unity church, which is not Unitarian, but rather (if you follow the link) a group that focuses on a more mystical, less smitey sort of God. This particular church is tremendously involved in its community; a lot of charity work, Habitat for Humanity, supporting desperate families, and so on. They’re a lot more concerned about such things then about whether some gay person, somewhere, is getting it on in an unauthorized way. Which I find refreshing.

It was very strange but also sort of neat to hear the familiar cadences of a preacher being pronounced in a woman’s voice, too. And to hear God being referred to as a mother as well as a father by someone who was not wearing (as far as I knew) faux-Celtic tattoos.
The pastor and assistant pastor are both women, as is the choir director.*

The pastor was decent, especially during the prayer/meditation section of the ceremony. Her sermon scripture was Exodus, and since I’ve always found the Old Testament a little dry, didn’t grab me all that much. But her main point, about God finding you where you are in your life, is something I absolutely think is true.**

The bonus was at the end, though. I had dropped Nathan off in the nursery with a little trepidation; the nursery lady’s name was Brigitta and she had ze Austrian aczent, mein Herr. But seemed nice. She gave me a pager in case of emergency/baby meltdown, so I wouldn’t spend the whole service wanting to check on him. It didn’t go off, and so by the end of the sermon, I was eager to go back and pick him up. And then the pastor said “And now let’s hear from the children,” and in they trooped, all the Sunday schoolers, while the congregation kept singing. Nathan was the only baby, although he easily outweighed the next-oldest toddler, and so was being pushed along at the head of a baby parade in a rainbow-colored stroller, like Caesar in his chariot, but utterly confused. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes, though you couldn’t hear me over the singing. It was the most preposterous thing I had ever seen.

He did all right at first, squashed into his stroller, looking around at all the people and the bright lights as Brigitta told the congregation about the Sunday School lesson, which was something about angels, and showed off the glitter-covered angels everyone had made. There was one for Nathan too. And then it was time for the last song, and that was it for Nathan. He howled in panic at the music and the strangers and the lights and probably Brigitta. It was all too much, and I rushed forward and picked him up while everyone smiled to reassure me it was all right. He kept howling after the music stopped and the pastor had to accept my hurried thanks while I hustled him to the car.

But it was nice. Unity is a non-proseltyzing faith, so I have no fear of strangers showing up at my doorstep with a paperback Bible and probing into my spiritual state of mind so it can be categorized (A: Saved; B: Unsaved) and acted on accordingly. So I may go back, though I might leave Nathan at home till he’s old enough for the baby parade.

*The choir, sadly, was terrible. They tried so hard, but yet, the notes could not be found. I think the music director writes his own music, though, so maybe it was his fault.

**On days when I believe, that is.



  1. Church gives you cancer, everyone knows that…

  2. Poor little Nate. Strange that there were no other babies there.

    Seems like an odd sect in any case. Almost more eastern than western. And, you know, mystical. Ick.

  3. Lots of sects formed during the 19th century that were more eastern; the Transcendentalists, Unitarians, Shakers, various utopian societies. Also 7th Day Adventists and Mormons. At least this one doesn’t require polygamy or celibacy….

  4. “Joseph Smith dumb dumb dumb. Dumb da dumb dumb dumb”

  5. I’ve been listening to podcasts from the local Unity church here in Austin. They sound pretty interesting. I hear you about the Unitarians being overly-focused on homosexuals…

  6. Oh hey, I don’t think the Unitarians were homophobic? Actually I have no idea. I was really meaning just some churches, in general, are all freaked out by gay people, I think because they believe it’s contagious.

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