A Spot at the Table (Communion)

IMG_9313Communion. Eucharist. The Divine Meal. What does it all mean? Why do churches partake in this every Sunday, or twice a year, or in between church services the first Sunday of the month? Why are there so many arguments about what it means from a theological standpoint?

Throughout Christian history, so much has been said on Eucharist and what it means. I grew up Catholic, so Communion was very particular. We had a lot of rules and a lot of regulations. I took lessons for my First Communion when I was in 2nd grade, an event I wore a clean and white dress for. When I look back to that day, I remember feeling excluded by my peers, but I can’t remember why. I think they wouldn’t let me take a photo with them. My teacher was nice enough to take a photo with me. But then when I ate the paper flakes and drank the wine, it felt Holy.

I was an altar server for awhile, so I can’t tell you how many times I watched the Catholic Transfiguration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood. To this day, however, I still don’t quite understand the concept. What I did understand? That there were a LOT of rules. I had to do confession twice a year. I had to keep going to Mass. I couldn’t get married outside the church. I couldn’t get divorced. I couldn’t have sex. All of these things would limit access to the Eucharist.

When I went to Protestant churches later on, the little juice cups got passed around with the little bread pieces attached… or at chapels in college, I’d tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the juice. I no longer believed that I was eating the Body of Jesus Christ, but something kept drawing me back to it. Read More »

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Why I’m Exhausted by “A Church is not THE Church” and Why I’m Glad I Was Churchless

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Have you ever heard someone be very vulnerable and exposed, share their story about how the Church has hurt them, and then someone else said, “Listen, I get it. But you need to remember a church is not the church! You shouldn’t ditch the necessity of church just because of a few bad apples.”

Do you know the word for that?

Dismissive.

For the same reason, I’m exhausted by hearing “not all men are going to rape you, so stop being afraid”. I’m exhausted by basically hearing “you were vulnerable. someone hurt you. but stop having rational fears that relate to the pain you went through.”

“Not all men”

“Not all cops”

“Not all white people”

“Not all Christians”

Dismissive. Is your theory right? Sure. It is true that not all Christians will be like the ones who hurt you? Sure. But people are trying to protect themselves for damn good reason. The theory is right, but it isn’t helpful to say. In fact, it’s harmful.

Here’s why if you feel confused.

Church is an extremely vulnerable place. People don’t usually go to church because they’re bored. They go because their heart is longing for something more; they go because it’s a shot at healing; they go because they want to belong. These are all extremely vulnerable things to feel. There is no place for dismissiveness.

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