cycling, sunny days, returning to old church stomping grounds – uh huh

Okay, yeah over cycled. But I like to think that over cycling now makes up for the winter months when I’m unemployed, bored eating and not exercising nearly as regularly. Something like that.

Feeling antsy as we know is my fairly chronic condition. Various levels of dread and the like. I’ve been meaning to check out the Vancouver Eastside Vineyard again. I went there from, let me see, 1995-2001 I think. What I always liked about it was the feeling of community and in many ways the intensity – the intensity of the music and the being prayed for/praying for. For an emotional person like me, it felt, well, intense. And that often felt good, almost addictive. Hard to explain. It’s like if you feel like there is a hole in your soul, the Vineyard experience is going to fill it up. Bad explanation. There is a book by psychological anthropologist, T.M. Luhrmann, called, “When God Talks Back,” that I recommend if you are interested in knowing more about the Vineyard and the experience of it. She spent a couple of years visiting a few different Vineyards in the U.S. I found that she really nailed the experience and it made me long for that time again. She is impressively non-judgmental I found.
I never could – I couldn’t really reconcile the experience with the reality of the Bible and so after about 13 years in evangelical Christianity, I left. I went to Anglican churches for awhile, then nowhere for a long time and then for quite awhile, The United Church. I’d say the United Church (in Canada, there is something similar in the U.S. but I’m not sure what denomination it is) is the closest to what makes sense for me anyway.
But then my wee United Church moved to East Van from four blocks from my apartment and many of the people left and etc. etc. I sometimes go to their East Van. location but not as often. I’ve dabbled a bit in Canadian Memorial United Church which is a bit closer to me. The minister was at the small United Church for awhile and is amazing. And yet . . . it is so liberal as to almost be Unitarian, not that there is anything wrong with that. And it is big and hard to get to know people.
Right after my mom died I tried an evangelical church near my abode but there too it was hard to get to know people. And I still didn’t believe what they believed and got antsy.
I’ve wanted to check out the Vineyard again for awhile. I’ve always liked the pastor and we’d met up a couple of months ago.
“If it is the gay issue that is the deal breaker for you, we no longer hate them,” he said. Well, he didn’t say it at all like that but that is what it boils down to. “The gay issue” is admittedly my litmus test for how much a church makes sense. Anyway, I got on my bike this morning, antsy, and cycled the hell of a way across town. I get there on time because I find it very difficult to be late for anything. Very small gathering – maybe 30 people – and I only knew a couple that had been there for years and years. They have three kids who are much older than I remember and they are super great folks. I didn’t really know anyone else – it is very transient this church and often filled with, well, the transient. That was a big draw for me – the least of these and all of that although it doesn’t make for stability really.
Mainly I was excited to see Dan and Kirsten. Dan let me talk his ear off during the coffee break and after the service. He and his family had spent a year in Rwanda while Kirsten worked on her PhD in international development.
“Wowza,” I said.
It has generally mellowed this Vineyard. No sobbing as far as the eye could see – not today anyway. They have incorporated a tiny bit of a more liturgical thing with some readings at the beginning. Still of course was a bit of people saying they’d gotten a word from god or that god was lifting up the people and etc.
It is a powerful thing of course to believe that God is using you to do this and that; a way of being known. Powerful. Heck, it’s what I’m searching for. And I see it in the Buddhist meditating and the Centering prayer and the Healing Touch and the people who read Elizabeth Gilbert (I can’t do it I can’t do it I can’t do that – she’s become Oprah-fied and to me is turning spirituality into a brand. As such, I should read, “Eat, Pray, Love” so that I can get off of my high horse.) I’ve been told of the Buddhist teaching of radical acceptance that reminds me a lot of certain aspects of the Vineyard and its ilk. And there is a sense in the Vineyard – in the one I went to today anyway and used to go to – of this radical acceptance. In some ways. In others, there are still trappings that I tried to shake off years ago.
Lots of young kids which is great. And after more than 13 years at its location in a Sally Ann church, it has to move. It might be moving into an unused Anglican church in a few weeks. The very Anglican church that shut and my friend had to leave because the Anglican church does that it seems – shuts its doors if there are only a smattering of folks leaving them to go wherever. Or it might not.
“Keep checking Facebook,” suggested the pastor.
They’ll know for sure soon.
What I want is a community of people that are my people. The place where people always know your name and are generally glad you showed up. Holding me back I think are a general laziness around cycling/busing to a location and also, a general I don’t know. Don’t know.
Do not know.
I’ll wait and see if the Vineyard finds themselves a building and maybe check it out again. In the fall there will be more people I imagine, more folks that I remember – well a few.
I’ll keep ya’ll posted (fan base of two but there was a high of 22 the other day; I think because I had a link to Arash’s blog).
Fall’s coming – job’s up, summer’s up, Kits. pool is up (shame that is). Dan told me to invite myself over one day to catch up, to hear about Rwanda, probably to eat their food. Like old times, that.

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