I quit church. Years ago.
The start of the ending came when the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany started to deduct 8% from my first salary. That’s the system there – the moment you officially state your confession, they take that amount from your income (before taxes!) and give it to the church. One of the reasons, btw, why so many ppl in Germany have quit church.
It wasn’t about the money though.
While as a child, I was always dragged along to church, to museums, uninteresting exhibitions and other stuff your parents do and of which they think it might have a positive and long lasting effect on you. I hated it. I hated being forced to do something, and I still hate being forced into a certain group. And I thought singing would be “uncool”. I couldn’t stand it. I was afraid of it.
I never needed that “group membership”. I never wanted to be part of any grouping or exclusive club. And neither did I ever become a member of a political party for the very same reason.
When my parents organized exhibitions, I prefered staying in the background, having a nice view on everything. I never wanted to be seated in the first row. I am shy, and this blog is one way of communicating my thoughts. People come here and read this because they want to – no one ever forced them. I believe in this freedom of choice. And there’s a reason why i rented my internet domain uhuru.de way back in 1999.
So today I went to church. Not to any church, but to one I had never been to before. I wanted to explore it, feel it, and feel the community spirit. And I liked it.
It’s a catholic church.
My father is sick and old these days, and we have managed to organize a place for him at a catholic nursing home. This is the best place for him, and besides of my mum visting him every day, they are taking very good care of him. I like that. I like it how they actually put this charity as their first priority, and how they accepted him as part of their community.
The other day I had an argument with some friends on what makes you be a “real Christian”. Am I not a Christian in my heart when I don’t read the Bible frequently? Am I not a Christian when I don’t go to church and sing within a community? It was a strange discussion. On one hand these people who regularly worship their God with different liturgies, and on the other hand me, the lost soul who always opted to be the maverick.
I guess there’s no answer to this. Only, I never wanted to celebrate any rituals or liturgies, I never wanted to kiss the Bible or any other holy book to show my appreciation for any written wisdom or other rules that help to organize a society and keep it within a certain frame. It scares me. Weren’t we born with a brain so that we make use of it? Do I need any external guidance to show me a way on how to live my life?
When I went to church today, I felt the community spirit, and I even sang. It was this feeling that I missed. Singing is uncool? No. It’s just uncool trying to be cool all the time. And it’s nice to be among people who don’t give a damn about being shy – you just feel like to let it go. Being free, inside, where it matters.
Being at peace with yourself.