Monday, June 08, 2009


In my lifelong quest to find The Meaning of Life, I have been attending a Christian Science church near my apartment in downtown Chicago.

I have very fond memories of this faith. Since the age of ten, I was raised by my mom and grandmother who was a staunch Southern Baptist. However, her closest friends were all women of the Christian Science faith and were also dear, grandmothery figures to me.

In case you don’t know, the followers of Christian Science are those that are known for not believing in taking medication. (That's why it was ironic that taking a Vicodin on Sunday morning enabled me to attend) Since my grandmother’s friends lived to be, like, 117 years old, there must be something going for it.

One of them was also my piano teacher and the organist at the Christian Science church in my little-bitty home town in Texas. Whenever she needed a Sunday off, I would fill in for her ever since I was about thirteen years old. So, the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy are not unfamiliar to me - - as a matter of fact, they supply quite a bit of comforting nostalgia.

Having worked as an organist ever since college, if I could get a better-paying job at another church, be it Presbyterian or Episcopalian or non-denominational, I’d jump ship and get on their payroll. Subsequently, I think I’ve played for just about every Christian denomination that exists.

In hindsight, I think the reason I spent seven years in a monastery was for the peace, the solitude, and the fact that I’d receive a free education along with great medical benefits.

Anyway, here are some of the denominations where I’ve been employed as a church musician and a quick synopsis of their belief systems.

Southern Baptist: Every kid being raised in the SBC has heard the following a hundred times: “If you don’t get saved right now and leave church and get hit by a car, you’re going straight to Hell.” Then you sing seventeen verses of Just As I Am.

Presbyterian: Predestination used to be the identifying factor of the Presbyterians but now that’s been watered down so much that it really doesn’t exist anymore. It’s basically your garden-variety, white-bread Protestant church service.

Methodists: Methodists used to believe that your salvation occurred through a series of steps or by a “method”. Now, it’s basically your garden-variety, white-bread Protestant church service.

Disciples of Christ: I never really knew what they believed. So much so, that it really, really was your garden-variety, white-bread Protestant church service.

(One can attend a Presbyterian, Methodist, or Disciples of Christ church service and never ever know the difference - - really)

Episcopalian: The epitome of “High Church”. Very complex music. I worked very hard there.

Unity Church: Basically, your feel-good, Up-With-People, warm-fuzzy church, although anything religious is basically swept under the carpet. I swear, the opening song was often Zippa-Dee-Doo-Dah. And I’m not making this up. The greeting was never a handshake - - it was a full hug – sometimes even a kiss - - sometimes with tongue.

Church of Canada – Many of their hymns sound like Gaelic folk melodies. The Church of Canada is the basic equivalent to the Church of England only more middle-of-the-road.
Just like Canada.

So, aside from Roman Catholicism (which is a whole different story) those are some of the denominations where I’ve played.

Now, I’m back to attending the Christian Science church, at least for a while.

At least they don’t have any part in the service where I have to greet anyone. They have a good thing going there.

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At 10:22 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

"The greeting was never a handshake - - it was a full hug – sometimes even a kiss - - sometimes with tongue." LOL! :)

I was going to say I'd like the Unity Church, but I don't know about the whole tongue-kissing thing... *hee hee*

Oh, Dooder, John & I just saw the movie "Religulous" (sp?). I think you'd like it. :)

At 11:08 PM , Blogger MaryRuth said...

Thanks for the low-down. I was raised Roman Catholic so I never heard nuttin' about any of those other heathen religions. LOL. I think it is getting a little better though.
Have you ever been to a Taize service? My sister's (Catholic) parish had one during Lent that I was really cool! So much so that I went to another one here in my area. At a Unity church..which you describe accurately. Just Google Taize and check it out for yourself.

At 3:35 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

I hear ya about the greeting thing, It always feels so uncomfortable and a bit forced.

At 12:16 AM , Blogger Speck said...

I always thought Methodist meant there was a set method to the church services so they could get out for lunch on time so as to beat the Baptists to the best restaurants.


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