Friday, March 23rd. The 31st day of Lent.
It’s a fascinating thing to try and make your way into the culture of a church. For years I watched this from the inside. Because who is more in the fold than the preacher, right? But now I am an outsider, attending services and wondering if there is a place for me in this church we’ve been visiting.
The great news is that I’m coming at this from such a position of grace. I don’t expect or even want them to go out of their way to make this easy for me. It’s not easy to become part of a spiritual community, nor should it be. Any sort of human community takes some effort to join. Churches that are too friendly and fawn all over visitors give me a creepy feeling anyway. I don’t trust that. Because in real life, if you are going to enter into a relationship with a group of people, well, you have to put forth some effort. And they have to become willing to trust you enough to be vulnerable and all of that.
So I’ve been attending the Episcopal 101 course on Sunday mornings. And going to worship as well. I’ve been paying attention and trying to learn the ins and outs and the theological underpinings of the Episcopal Church.
But I’m ready to take things up a notch. Sunday, I’m going to play on their softball team. It’s not a very intense league with practices and all of that. Just a fun, co-ed softball league that pits various Episcopal congregations against one another.
So Sunday at 2pm, I’m going out there with my glove and see what these Episcopalians are like when they get down with a little friendly competition.
I’m expecting everyone to be dreadfully polite. Not like Baptist softball. Baptists – in my experience which is fairly significant – can be real dicks when it comes to softball. I once played in a church league game where two men had to be ejected for profanity and violence. It was INSANE. You don’t see that in regular softball leagues. There’s something about when Christians mix with sports that just gets ugly.
But I’m sure the Episcopalians will be wonderful. They’re so nice and polite, you know? I wonder if the Verger comes out to clear the basepaths of any Baptist riff-raff who might have gotten their leagues mixed up?