Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 084 (Abiding Way)

After my drunken experience on Friday, I decided to go to my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Tom and Ryan went with me for support. The cover story for my "problem" is that it was an assignment for The Sacred and the Substance. For anyone that's not keeping track, I've had to do more strange things for that class than I've ever had to for any other class I've ever taken. So far I've read an article about cannibalism, made a pot of chicken noodle soup, listen to a rap song about making crack, write a paper on My So-Called Life, read a book on zombies, and go to an AA meeting.

The AA meeting was so depressing! I just felt sorry for all of the people talking about how many days they had sober and the horror stories that brought them to AA in the first place. I totally take it for granted that I can have a fun drunken night and think nothing of it. These people can't do that. The weird thing is that AA totally functions as a religion. I almost felt like I was at a church service.

Speaking of church services, I went to Abiding Way for church this morning. I think I may have found my new church home away from home for my time up here, but there's just one little hiccup. They're Southern Baptist. Now, I'm not saying Souther Baptists are bad people; my youth leaders when I was in high school were a Southern Baptist couple from Tennessee, who I love dearly, but this does pose some problems. Not only is Southern Baptist theology very different from Presbyterian theology, but as far as I know, they're not very accepting of the GLBT community. I feel drawn to it as a possible "home" church because the people were very welcoming and friendly and the praise band was really good, if a little bit more mellow than I'm used to. No offense to anyone out there, but I don't like hymns. Like, at all. They just do nothing for me spiritually. The pastor delivered a great sermon, but he spoke for much longer than a typical Presbyterian minister would. He was very dynamic though, so I didn't mind. I initially thought Abiding Way was a non-denominational congregation, but as the pastor continued to preach, I started to get the feeling that the he might be Baptist. They served lunch, which is something I think they do every week, and we got confirmation that the church was in fact associated with the Southern Baptist denomination. Now, what this means in conjunction with the fact that they are situated in Marin County, one of the most secular places in the United States, is anyone's guess.

I wanted to ask the pastor how open they were to the GLBT community, but I didn't feel like asking it while we were all sitting in a group. I was going to preface the question by letting him know his answer wouldn't necessarily affect whether I would come back, but I thought it would be important for me to ask just so that everyone would be on the same page. I feel really drawn to that church, and I struggled with the whole Southern Baptist thing for a while, but I'm starting to think that's where God wants me to be. The message of love and tolerance is not for the Presbyterian Church alone, after all. I'll probably go back there next week and try to have a private word with the pastor. I'll let you all know how it goes.

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