Going to church

Having been raised Roman Catholic, there's a lot of conscious and subconscious suffering, guilt, and focus on sin that's a part of the worship experience.  Not to mention the lack of respect for women within the church.  But, still, it's wonderful to be able to participate in a spiritual experience on Sundays, and attending Mass isn't the only way to go.

For a while, I attended Bodhi Spiritual Center, 2746 N. Magnolia Ave., a Chicago-based branch of the Center for Spiritual Living.  If you've ever read self-help authors in the mold of Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer, you'll be familiar with the beliefs that are espoused at Bodhi.  Every service is an uplifting experience.

My one caveat is:  Don't expect to make friends here.  I'd been attending Sunday services plus miscellaneous events for about two years, and it remained impossible to break into this community without attending instructional classes at the church at $200 and up for a series.

An acquaintance suggested that the best way to make friends is to volunteer for the welcome team, or sign-up for another volunteer group at the church.  If you're ready to make an immediate commitment to be all-in, this might be a great path to take.

Without putting in some elbow grease behind the scenes, it's kind of depressing to try to strike up a conversation over coffee in the fellowship hall after services. Feels a little like visiting from Mars.

But, even if you're not a joiner, you can still enjoy:
  • A hug at the door as you enter the sanctuary
  • Great, uplifting contemporary music at every service
  • Inspiring, thought-provoking sermons based on new-thought tenets such as positive thinking, affirmations, non-judgment of others, and gratitude
  • Brief one-on-one prayer after service with a licensed spiritual counselor
  • Oneness blessing after service, which is a lovely laying on of hands to transfer spiritual energy to the receiver (very powerful and energizing feeling)
If it sounds like a nice start to Sunday morning, see if there's a Center for Spiritual Living in your city.

All in all, a very pleasant worship experience -- without the hell and damnation -- and then on to the solo Sunday brunch with an inspirational book in tow, or maybe an internet date.