Faith: Part Three

Rod: Keep firing; convert the heathens!

Bart: Got him!

Rod: No, you just winged him and made him a Unitarian

The Simpsons

It wasn’t until the wee lad came along that I began to think about faith again. It was a non-starter that he would be baptised. We weren’t going to stand in front of a crowd and make a bunch of faith statements that we didn’t believe.

A friend suggested that we try out her family church, the Unitarian Church of Montreal. There, we could have a dedication ceremony. I didn’t know all that much about Unitarians, or as they are more properly known, Unitarian-Universalists, other than that some of my cousins in Massachusetts were members. So before he was born, I did a little research and we started going.

There was a lot I liked about it: the drawing on sources of enlightenment from across the religious and philosophical world, the meditation, the music, and the sermons. I like the principles. I feel better after having gone and not, as I do in the United Church, simply hungry because it’s lunchtime.

But in the sense, to quote Groucho Marx, that I would never belong to any club that would have me as a member, I feel a bit distant from the place. It’s in one of Montreal’s wealthiest neighbourhoods and the congregation reflects that. I may be one of the few people there who isn’t employed at a university. A U*U minister in the US once wrote about this, casting it a class problem. And while I’m being pedantic, the hymns they sing hit a lot of high notes because they weren’t written by men in the 19th century and that’s a bit tough for me to sing. And for the number of accusatory Post-It’s I’ve seen, I’ve privately nicknamed the church ‘Our Lady of the Passive-Aggressive Notes’.

Still, their hearts are in the right place and they’ve become the closest thing to a spiritual home that I’ve found in a long while. But I haven’t made the big leap and become a member yet and I’m not sure that I will, perhaps I’ll be content to simply attend. The fact is, that for various reasons, we can’t make it there every week so it’s hard to make that commitment. There’s a church in Saint John. Maybe when we move there, we’ll become members.

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