In the last year, I have become a member of Middle Collegiate Church. I have done this despite the fact that I identify as a Jewish person, albeit one who was not bat mitzvahed, never learned Hebrew, has a gentile mother who only half-converted, and admires Jesus and both Marys as profound practitioners of radical receptivity.
Being Jewish feels as intrinsic to my being as eyes that change color and intellectual impatience, but I feel no more comfortable in synagogue, where I’m generally tolerated rather than accepted, as I do in the Catholic and Unitarian churches and Quaker meeting houses and Buddhist temples and ashrams that I’ve frequented in my un-abiding metaphysical thirst. My whole life, I have longed for a spiritual collective that has not felt like a cult and Middle preserves everything uplifting about religion while eschewing all of its exclusionary toxicity. It gives me strength when nothing else does, features beautiful words and beautiful music, boasts a minster who is brilliant and transparent, and a congregation comprised of every possible gender and sexual identification, ethnicity, class, occupation; our only commonality is a wholly and holy positive intent. This is a church in the purest, most unifying sense of that term, and I attend Sunday services whenever I am not working. Sadly, that’s not very often, but I was able to go yesterday for the first time since returning from Cape Cod. The timing was not coincidental. If there’s ever been a moment in which I need extra doses of divine and human compassion it is now. We all do. Continue Reading →