Getting Naked at Church
I may love skinny dipping more than the average person, but at church I’m all about blending in.
This year the wave-making mama in me collided with the quiet pew sitter.
As the mom of a child with a significant developmental disability, I’m comfortable making you a little bit uncomfortable. I have no problem commenting on accessibility, or offering suggestions about how to talk to Aidan (just start with “hi”), or allowing him to lean into your space because he wants to connect with you. I’m always game for educating people about my son’s disability and how to best include him. “Different” is not “bad” and I will repeat that as many times as necessary because I believe my son deserves community. I will create room for him.
But do I believe when it comes to Church that “different” is not “bad” and am I willing to be uncomfortable? While I can give a resounding yes to the former, I can give an equally emphatic no to the latter. We are taught that the Church is One Body, that we are held together even in our differences. Is that really true?
This year I decided to strip off my complacency and get out of my comfort zone in order to find out. I went on church field trips.
I attended churches where the music started in your hips, where the liturgy is sung, where people kneeled in prayer, where people dipped communion into a common chalice, where life-sized puppets were used to tell a story, where the pastor asked questions and expected responses, where the children danced.
I sat at the wrong times, felt freedom in the music, got lost in the Book of Common Prayer, had to push through cootie-phobia to appreciate communion, was mesmerized by the children. It was hard not to see how much energy we put into making ourselves feel separate, special perhaps. I refrained from assessment to appreciate being part of One Body. I saw that different is stronger, true, good, unifying and offers a wider space for love. People made room for me.
Who do you need to make room for and what do you need to strip off to become a part of your larger community?
Shared at Joy in this Journey