Communidad

We’re not pew-jumpers. I promise.

One of the more egregious sins hurled over in the  Protestant direction by Roman Catholics is the “parishioners-gone-wild” nature of our propensity to change churches. Take a dislike to the organist? Bolt. What was that craziness about serving in VBS? Vamoose. No labeled parking place for “visitors” (even though we’ve been attending four years)? Checking out.

And I have to admit- there may be people like this. I just haven’t met them.

Living biracially, biculturally, and bi-religiously has been a challenge, one only complicated by both R’s and my religious education. We actually do care about things like election and sacramentalism. We get fired up and fling names about the living room like Pascal, Bonhoeffer, and Kierkegaard. We’ll spend an entire evening debating total depravity and transubstantiation. I know. You can’t wait for the video.

But what won us over were the brownies.

We heard about a bilingual church in the area, a church plant from a larger one with which we were familiar. As a linguist I was intrigued, with a million questions about codeswitching and turn-taking. As an armchair sociologist I was interested in the social dynamics of hispanic/white, legal/illegal, English/Spanish. And as a believer, I wondered what the theology was.

They meet in a local high school’s band room, and it’s cozy and familiar. The people are Cuban, Mexican, American, and from a number of South American countries (even Colombia, from R’s hometown nonetheless!). At the front of the room, where I usually stand in class, they have their instruments for the singing. To the left is a long table, filled with platters of food from numerous countries to be shared in communion, which forms an integral part of each service.

The kids run wild- very Hispanic. People stand and sit at the appropriate times- very “Anglo”. The pastor’s walking us through Genesis, verse by verse, nuance by nuance (good theology, BTW). And I’m intrigued- not by the place or the food or the novelty, but by the people.

From the minute we walked into the band room, we knew we were “en familia”. Here were people like us, with values like us- diversity, family, solid teaching. The chairs were filled with people rambling in Spanish, or English, or a combination of the two. There were parents from the old countries, kids who looked like our daughter, and young couples dangling with children. People talked and ate, picked up our kids, gave me hugs though they had just met me, and addressed R in tones that sounded remarkably like his own.

And we knew we were en nuestra casa- not our own, of course, but that unique place where His casa is Our casa. En comunidad.

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This entry was posted in Catholic, children, christianity, Colombia, ecumenism, faith, family, intercultural, interfaith, language, mission, mixed marriage and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Communidad

  1. KathyB! says:

    “From the minute we walked into the band room, we knew we were “en familia”. Here were people like us, with values like us- diversity, family, solid teaching. The chairs were filled with people rambling in Spanish, or English, or a combination of the two. There were parents from the old countries, kids who looked like our daughter, and young couples dangling with children. People talked and ate, picked up our kids, gave me hugs though they had just met me, and addressed R in tones that sounded remarkably like his own”

    I love that you found this as it sounds perfect for you… the community is as integral as the worship itself. It’s the foundation up which greater things are built.

  2. erin says:

    😦 for me
    trying to be 🙂 for you

  3. myra36 says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to come into a community and feel right at home?

    We’re a biracial family too. My hubby is Caucasian (mixed German, Irish, and Scottish ancestry from way back) and I’m Filipino. We’re both Catholic but we have extended family members who are Atheist, Jehovah’s Witness, and Muslim. Our family get-togethers are very interesting and chaotic but filled with love and acceptance. I can’t wait to have our son learn about all these cultures.

    It’s fate that you found this church. 🙂

  4. faemom says:

    That is so awesome. It’s nice to find a good fit when it comes to a church. I’m so happy for you.

  5. Eva says:

    That’s so great. I’m glad to hear it!

  6. ck says:

    That’s wonderful. It makes all the difference when you have welcoming surroundings to go with a good message. I’m really happy for you guys!

  7. Sounds like you found an amazing place! things happen for a reason….

  8. Adriana says:

    Glad to see you found a place you feel at home at. Finding the right church has always been problematic for me. It takes some trial and error, and sometimes some divine intervention.

    Now that we are moving to Rochesters, I’m dreading starting the church hunting again; specially after five years at the same church which I love.

    Looking forward to hearing more stories about this church, in particular if the pastor/priest breaks out in a Spanglish sermon.

  9. Pingback: I’ve been… « Evenshine’s Weblog

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