A column dedicated to the folks in the pews.
Written by Dale Buchanan
I received an anonymous post from a self-described “pew person” a few days ago. I have been posting these “From the Pews” posts for several months and enjoying the interview process as maybe the best part of the whole thing. No one has volunteered, although most have acquiesced when approached to be interviewed. I have learned how to counter the stalls and objections. Gayle turns on the charm, we have lunch, and we get out story.
Your scribe has become more or less comfortable with this pattern and then suddenly there is this anonymous pew person. WHAT TO DO? After fruitless attempts to identify my unnamed author, it dawned on me that there are any number of folks that might be described as anonymous pew persons, and they need to be recognized for the vital part they play in the life of the Big Red Church.
The following are the unedited reflections of the surprise anonymous pew person:
I first arrived at Big Red several years ago angry and bitter. My church experience was—to say the very least—a disappointment. For many years I had limited my church going to weddings and funerals. I was invited here by a woman, and in truth, I was more interested in her than church. I agreed to come with her declaring that I would only come and would not under any circumstances get involved. I WAS TO ENTER AND REMAIN ANONYMOUS! I have done pretty good with that resolution, but along the way I have fallen in love with the warm and affectionate way I am greeted, and I have found the acceptance and lack of pressure to conform conducive to a pleasant environment and stress-free worship experience.
I have been trying for some time to understand this profound change in my attitude. I think I may have found the answer. I am in the middle of reading a novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany. In one section the author John Irving describes a Congregational minister: “Pastor Merrill made religion seem reasonable. And the trick of having faith, he said, was that it was necessary to believe in God without any great or even reassuring evidence that we do not inhabit a godless universe. . . Mr. Merrill was most appealing because he reassured us that doubt was the essence of faith, and not faith’s opposite.”
So Big Red Church family, bless you for allowing me my anonymity. Thank you for reassuring me that my doubts are “the essence of faith and not faith’s opposite.”
Dale Buchanan is a member of FCCF with a passion for stories and writing. In between penning his own memoirs, he is helping us get to know our members, one pew at a time.