Posted by: gatheringwater | 2009/03/15

Church on Sunday No. 1

all-are-precious-in-his-sight-013I think it might be fun to share some photos of the many varied and interesting places of worship in and around Port Townsend on this and the next few Sundays and I’d like to start with the little country church that always gives me a lift when I drive by it on Swansonville Road. It isn’t far from Forest Hill Cemetery, which I mentioned in an earlier post, and, like the cemetery, it is hard to tell if it is ever still used. I’ve never seen anyone there on Sundays and yet someone seems to have done some recent minor repairs on the building.

country-bible-fellowship1I like signs on churches, because they say what people think is most important about their religion. “All are precious in His sight,” is a beautiful conviction to share and a testament, I think, to the people who made the sign and worshiped at this church.

As a child, I worshiped in many a “church in the wildwood” not so different, I imagine, from this one. A belief in God’s love for me was a real comfort when the value of my life wasn’t affirmed in other quarters. The idea that God valued human life served as a kind of placeholder: for me, until I could learn to value my own life and begin to realize I deserved something better than I had; and for others, when I could not see their value but had to try and treat them better than I might otherwise have done if I didn’t believe that they, too, were precious to God.

Later, I learned the limitations of God’s love, at least as expressed through his earthly representatives. God didn’t love me to the extent of questioning His judgement about killing children in the Hebrew Scriptures, for example, and he wasn’t exactly thrilled I turned out gay. Loving the sinner and hating the sin eventually rang hollow, especially since my “sin” as far as I could understand, was just being the way I was made. I’m no longer a Christian, but I’ve long ago made peace with the differing ways Christians interpret God’s love and I’m not ungrateful for the early exposure to the idea of all people having an inherent worth, whether or not I could see it.

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