Dixie Darr

Take Me to Church

In spirituality on May 10, 2017 at 12:17 pm

I started going to church because of Bill O’Reilly and the late Fred Phelps, two men with whom I agree about, well, nothing.

In the months following 9/11, I was searching for – something. I saw the always mean-spirited former Fox News host peddling one of his books on a late night show, and he said he went to church because he thought it was a good idea to work on his spirituality for one hour a week.

Okay, maybe I do agree with him about one thing, although I learned pretty quickly that participating in church life takes more than one hour a week.

My family did not attend church much when I was a kid, although sometimes we went to a Methodist church, and I was baptized Methodist. Feeling nervous and unsure, I decided to give the only Methodist church I knew of in North Denver, Highlands UMC, a try.

I had only one requirement for a church—I would not attend a church that preached hate.

My first Sunday at Highlands, a woman told me I should have come the previous week because Fred Phelps had been there picketing. When I didn’t immediately recognize the name, she reminded me that he was the head of the Awful Westboro Baptist Church. That should be the official name, don’t you think?

I figured if he was protesting Highlands, I had found my church home.

That was January of 2002, and I’ve been going ever since. I don’t miss very many Sundays. I came with a head full of questions and found a few answers and even more questions, which is fine. I’ve always been more seeker than seer.

I’ve learned that four elements form the Methodist faith: scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. That’s right. God gave us brains and expects us to use them. Nobody tells me what I should believe.

Neither O’Reilly nor Phelps would probably agree with either of those things, and they probably wouldn’t appreciate it when I thank them for leading me to Highlands, but I do. Thank you.

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