As all of you who've been around here for awhile know, I... have a complicated relationship with organized religion.
I was brought up in a very conservative, religious church of Christ background. If you're not familiar with the churches of Christ, I'd recommend looking at this website
. It gives a pretty clear picture of just what it was like for me to turn my back on what I was raised in.
Anyway, when I moved to Maryland just shy of five years ago, I basically stopped attending church pretty quickly. I tried attending a few different congregations from a variety of Christian denominations the first few months, but most of them were both too different and too similar from coC to work for me. (They were similar enough that my brain couldn't help pointing out everything that it read as being "wrong" even though, you know, there wasn't actually any issues with it.)
Some of you here on DW/LJ kept suggesting that I try out a Unitarian Universalist congregation, because it was different enough from what I grew up with that it might not trigger that "wrong" instinct for me. I put it off for awhile, but last fall I decided to give it a shot and give the UU congregation near my apartment a chance.
... and to the surprise of no one, it was a good fit for me.
It's a very diverse congregation. There are some people who grew up UU, of course, but there are people from all sorts of backgrounds: many different Protestant congregations, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, agnostic, atheist, various flavors of pagan, etc. It's extremely different from what I grew up, in a lot of different ways. Not even getting into the "strict religious dogma" versus "believe whatever you want" aspects, but in other ways.
It's a larger congregation, with somewhere around 500 members. They have lots of musical groups that perform during the services, with instruments ranging from the more traditional (piano, flute, guitar) to the not-so-much (dulcimer, ocarina). The reverend is a woman. The meeting hall has three glass walls and is filled with chairs that can be moved around, taken out of the way, etc. Even without getting into the actual service, just the set-up in itself was different enough to make it work for me.
Anyway, I've been attending this congregation off-and-on for a year now. I very much don't make it every week, but I was one of the charter members of a young adults group that we started at the beginning of this year so I do hang out with the dozen or so people who show up to those meetings fairly often. We mainly get together once or a month or so for potlucks, playing Cards Against Humanity, watching movies, etc. but it's still fun.
... so, yes, this post did have a point before I started rambling.
I officially joined the congregation a few weeks ago, which was nice. I can't really post about it on Facebook or tell my family, of course. (I'm pretty sure my mom has a vague idea that I'm attending a UU congregation, but I'm not sure if she really
gets what that means.) I've definitely missed the community, though, even if I'm totally not taking them up on the offer to join them for Thanksgiving (because too many people