show and tell sunday: currently

Show and Tell Sunday: Currently/Losing My Religion

Show and Tell Sunday Went to Church on Friday

I took a personal day from work on Friday to take my dad to church. (No, the building didn’t fall down.)

church collage window and altar

My mother passed away on October 8, 1999, and each year at the anniversary, my father has a Mass said for her. My sister usually accompanies him to that church service. This year, she asked me if I would take him because she had a work conference that conflicted. And so I was at First Friday Mass at 7:30 AM.

I don’t talk too much about my Catholic background here, mostly because it is  “background.” I have not been a regular churchgoer for most of my years in California. I’ve had my issues with Church practices for most of my adult life. It’s really not a matter of “faith” for me anymore–Catholicism (and religion in general) is more a subject of intellectual interest than a matter of practice now.

Still, I was raised and educated Catholic. Those traditions still inform my sense of self, and on the rare occasions I do attend Mass, I’m always struck by how easily it all comes back. For one thing, the ritual has not changed significantly in decades (I was born just in time to miss the Mass in Latin). I can sing many of the hymns and parts from memory–thanks, school choir!–and follow everything without a missal. I’m always surprised to rediscover what I remember. (I’m always reminded that I miss singing regularly somewhere other than in my car.)

If the ritual itself were all, I might go back more often…but it’s not. It all stands for something, and I can’t wholly accept everything it stands for. I came into the Catholic Church as it was beginning to implement the reforms of Vatican II, and I still resent the conservative retreat from those steps toward progress.

Whenever I do go back to church, I reflect on all of this. I’m rarely surprised when I conclude that I won’t return again anytime soon.

currently sunday

Reading: I’m doubling up on October fiction with Caroline Leavitt’s Cruel Beautiful World and Only Daughter by Anna Snoekestra. My library hold came in for Margot Lee Shetterley’s Hidden Figuresand I’m about halfway through the audiobook. It has an insanely long subtitle–“The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race”–and it’s a fascinating story.

‘Riting: I’m working on reviews of the audiobook version Alexander Hamilton and the linked-stories collection Bertrand Court this weekend.

Randoming:  My favorite TV shows are coming back! Sadly, I’m still too sucked into real-life political drama to follow much else right now. Watching the debates has given me renewed appreciation for Twitter, though, and here’s this week’s current events reading list,

Bonus link–also timely, but much more inspiring: “Hamilton” is the new “Star Wars”: My sons’ epic love for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Founding Fathers musical

AND…The Book Bridge is open! The Call for Submissions for October will be open through October 17

Gratuitous Photo of the Week: the arrival of #bookmailbox No. 2! New books and bookish goodies!

book mail september 2016

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  1. I am so over the upcoming election I could scream. I just want it to be over already.

  2. My wife and I once were Catholic too and while we identify as Episcopalian now, we haven’t attended church recently either. Sometimes I’m sad about that, but other times I’m not as I enjoy reading blog posts like yours (and others) on Sunday mornings

    1. I remember when you and Kim were Catholics for a bit. Even if I did decide I wanted to become a regular churchgoer again, I’d either be going on my own or with my sister’s family–Paul’s Catholicism is WAY more lapsed than mine, and he’s even less interested in revisiting it.

  3. Interesting that you feel it hasn’t changed much. I guess it wasn’t a huge change, but the words changed a couple years ago and they still throw me off sometimes. I go to Mass pretty much every week and my religion is in my foreground, though I’m pretty interested in it intellectually as well. For instance, I’m reading the Bible cover-to-cover next year, and I expect to focus on the literary merit rather than on its spiritual merit.

    My boyfriend is a pretty conservative Catholic (politically and religiously) and I’m very liberal, so sometimes it seems like we’re a different religion. lol

    1. You’re right–there were small differences in some of the responses, and I wasn’t sure whether those were just the way things were done in this parish. I just kept my voice low and said what I was used to :-).

      Although some aspects of the Church have been pretty conservative for most of my life, I feel like the more liberal social-justice emphasis I grew up with has receded, and that’s one of my points of disagreement.

  4. These election cycles seem to get longer and longer. I really cannot wait for this to be over! I love politics — it is what I studied in college — but this is not politics … it’s a cage match of the ridiculous

  5. Oh my land, during the debates I am as busy following Twitter as I am watching the debate. I do sometimes miss the comfort that the church used to provide for me but in the past 30 years I have yet to find a church that gave me what I got from the church I grew up in. More and more I find those who profess to be very religious are the most judgmental, narrow-minded people I know. No need for me to be around people like that.