Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dual Citizenship

It's Sunday. Let's go to church!

On a typical Sunday, I spend about four and a half hours at church. First, I go to the 10:30 a.m. service at Lyndale United Church of Christ with my partner. That usually wraps up between 11:30 and noon. Then I head home, put on my suit and tie, grab my scriptures, and head over to the Lake Nokomis Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in time for Sacrament Meeting at 1:00 p.m. and stay right through the end of Priesthood Meeting, which usually wraps up around 4:00 p.m.

During the winter, when bike riding is impractical, I wear my suit and bring my scriptures with me to Lyndale, and then bus it from Lyndale to the Lake Nokomis Ward. The good Christian folk of Lyndale think I'm absolutely insane. I'm literally the only person there in a suit and tie. Even the minister does not wear a tie.

The Lake Nokomis Ward shares its building with two other wards, and it alternates its meeting times on a yearly basis. When Lake Nokomis' meeting schedule conflicts with Lyndale's, I alternate, one Sunday with my partner at Lyndale, one Sunday on my own at Lake Nokomis. Göran absolutely refuses to have anything to do with the Mormon Church.

My partner and I joined Lyndale United Church of Christ in 1994.

From the moment we first walked through the door, we both knew we were utterly, unconditionally welcomed, regardless of who we were. Our pastors were a straight man that everyone mistook for gay, and a woman in a relationship with a woman. The congregation is about 75% openly heterosexual.

At the time, we were involved in the Radical Faerie community. My radical faerie name was "Karen." When Pastor Cathie turned and called to a parishioner named Karen, I answered. There was confusion, then laughter, then explanations, then the realization that this was a very, very unique community.

That first Sunday, we danced in the sanctuary.

Lyndale Church is exactly what it claims to be: a church of Jesus Christ. A church where Christ is immediately recognizable because his love and generosity flow so instinctively and easily. Because all are welcome, no matter who they are, what they look like, what they wear, what they smell like, who they love. It is a church where truth is spoken, and where I often feel the Spirit like tongues of fire. It is a church where I am allowed to take communion because "Christ sets the table, and Christ welcomes all." It is a church where I am allowed to preach, where they love my preaching and where they love me. It is a church that shelters and feeds the homeless. It is a church that puts its money where its mouth is. It is a church that stands up for those who need standing up for. I love Lyndale Church.

I have been attending church at the Lake Nokomis Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since November 2005.

Some might ask, what's wrong with Lyndale Church that you feel obliged to go worship at the Mormon Church? I would say, Nothing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Lyndale Church, and a million things that are very, very right. I love that brave little church with all my heart. I go to the Mormon Church because that is where the Spirit is calling me to go. If the time ever came where I had to choose between the two, it would break my heart, though based on what I understand of what the Spirit has told me, I would have to choose the Mormon Church.

For the present, I enjoy dual citizenship. (Or technically, at the Mormon Church I'm more like a former citizen back on a green card. Or a convicted felon who's lost his voting rights. Or something I haven't figured out yet.)

1 comment:

n/a said...

wow church of christ and lds... I served in Texas where the church of christ hate lds... but thats cool at least somebody can understand both...