Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fellowship

Mostly because I'm socially retarded, I haven't made many friends at my new church. The half a dozen folks in the Sunday school class I go to recognize me and at least the teacher knows my name, but other than that I pretty much just sit by myself during the service and leave quietly when it's done. I sign the register that's passed around every week and I've given them my contact info so I get newsletters in the mail and someone even called this Sunday evening to verify that the Mr. Fob at my new address is the same as the Mr. Fob at my old address (as if Fob is a common name...). Other than that, though, church has been a relatively solitary thing, and I'm okay with that; I'm not a hugely social person, and if I were then I probably wouldn't attend a church for a month and a half without introducing myself to anyone. On the other hand, part of my reason for attending any church is to have a sense of community, and while I do feel some sense of community simply by nature of being among people who are also there to come closer to God, I would probably feel a stronger sense of community if, say, I knew the name of the person sitting next to me.

So I was happy this Sunday to recognize a face in the choir--I wasn't sure because I was way in the back of the chapel, but it looked a lot like a librarian I work with. So today when I saw her at work, I asked if she sings in a choir. She said yes, and I told her that I'd seen her on Sunday. She was surprised that she'd never seen me at church, as she and her husband have been attending that church for nearly twenty years, as long as they've lived in Seattle. We talked a little bit about the choir--apparently it's a very good one, and has toured around the country and around the world--and then a bit about the church. I admit I was a bit hesitant to break the taboo of talking about religion at work, but I figured I was safe since she had, in fact, been singing in the choir.

About halfway through the conversation my friend smiled a little awkwardly and said, "I guess I just figured you were... Mormon."

I laughed and explained that her assumption was not too far off base.

We talked a little about University Congregational's lack of dogma, which is largely the reason why I enjoy it. She admitted that sometimes the church is a bit too liberal for her, but that overall she feels more comfortable than in the Baptist church she used to be in. She said that she and her husband had noticed the same tension between wanting to be open-minded and not wanting to dilute Christianity that I had.

She said she'd say hi next time she sees me at church. I find this very comforting. Now I have a friend at church. And I didn't even have to introduce myself to someone I don't know!

3 comments:

TK said...

Although being comfortable with the doctrine seems to be the major reason for going to a particular church, I've always thought that the fellowship makes it a lot more enjoyable, and maybe even a bit of a challenge to continue going if you don't enjoy some social interaction at your church. So it's nice you now know someone to say hi to. I'm sure that will increase with time, now.

When I read this post, I wondered why your fellow worker thought you were Mormon. Did she know you were from Utah?

Mr. Fob said...

Yes, and also that I went to BYU.

Sir Jupiter said...

“And I didn't even have to introduce myself to someone I don't know!”

It’s not *that* bad. My offer to shamelessly introduce you to people is still open.