I've been doing some deep soul-searching lately about church and religion. I know that I'm passionate about this religion, but why? Getting down to real specifics, what is my testimony, in terms of theology and going to church?
It's the latter I've been musing on lately. I believe in going to church. I know that it makes me a better person. Why? I had many thoughts floating around ... community, knowledge, spiritual practice ...
Last week, sitting in church, listening to Rabbi Shaman preach, it hit me.
I think church, ideally, is a salle.
In college, I was a member of the Women's Epee fencing team. I was okay. Not fabulous, but good enough to qualify for Nationals.
In fencing, you have a salle. It's the place you go to learn and to practice. You meet there with your teammates, your fellow club members, and you learn, and you drill. Over and over. You learn a new move.
"Circle C Riposte."
You are taught the move, very slowly. You do the move, very slowly. You begin drilling.
"Circle C Riposte! Again! Again! Again!"
You advance the long length of the salle, drilling, drilling.
You go to a tournament. In tournaments, the moves are faster than fast. You're (metaphorically) fencing for your life. Every once in a while, one of the moves that you've practiced a million times, actually comes out the way you've practiced it. Not often.
You return to your salle, a little bruised. You have a greater understanding for what works and how it works. You learn more moves. And drill.
Another tournament. You try to do a certain move. It's not working. You try again. Again. Your coach gets in your face. "If it's not working, STOP DOING IT!" Excellent advice that I still use to this day.
Everyone has to find their own meaning, their own metaphor, for church. For me and my vision of what church should be, this fits perfectly. Monday through Saturday, I go out into the world, trying out the things I learned and practiced at church. Sunday, I go back into my church, my salle, to talk about what worked, what didn't. I have wise people around me to (in a more gentle way than my fencing coach) remind that if something isn't working, maybe I should stop doing it. I learn new moves.
So I believe in church. Frankly, I wish more people would go, so they, too, could learn and practice how to do life.
En garde! Pret? Allez.