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Decisions, Decisions.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Decisions, Decisions....
Eleanor went off before 8 this morning to her Sunday session of chanting. I had to decide  between another Sunday of Dog Church and trying out a different faith practice of my own. In the end, I got to do both.

The day dawned rainy, but our hardy band of humans decided to meet at the dog park anyway. Much less crowded, but also much muddier.  I got Ebony off-leash as soon as we were inside and for the first few minutes, she was fine, romping up to, and being romped up to by, all sorts of new friends.  One was a St. Bernard:

Me: Where's your brandy?
St B's owner: We drank it last night.

We roamed a bit more; not as much time to take pictures, although I did get this one of Ann as The Lovely Carol Merrill, in front of a turtle carving we hadn't seen last time:

Not long past that, we came upon a couple of dogs heading the other way. One was a cute new husky. Ebony was in love- and headed back toward the entrance with them. No amount of calling, or chasing, got her to stop her pursuit.  She finally stopped right before the entrance-exit gate, where I got her back on leash as her lost love headed home.  Ann and Dave came round from the other end of the path and we re-met, but the hour was cut short between that and the rain and Jazz not seeming to be doing so well.  I brought Ebony home, threw on some clean clothes, and headed down Delaware Avenue to yet another station on my path.


I've been aware of Unity Church, both here and in Rochester, for years. Both are in the arts neighborhoods of their respective cities, and while calling themselves churches, have always shied away from the dogma and the Scary Jesus shit that I could never stand.  The one here was specifically recommended by a fellow disaffected Methodist; I'd gone through two rounds of lay speaking classes with her, before she became totally alienated from her congregation even as I was being subjected to a death of a thousand paper cuts from the same old bulletins at mine.  As with Friday's Buddhist experience which talked very little about the Buddha, there was talk here of Jesus, but way more about achieving growth and peace in yourself rather than worshiping the guy with his name on the door.

Also as with Friday, there was a far more diverse crowd here than you see in any typical suburban Protestant church.  Older, all in all- but that was part of the fun of it. One of their long-time members was celebrating his 90th birthday this morning, and much of the focus was on his life- not only how long, but how well he's managed to live it. The congregation's only other resident nonagenarian- a feisty African American woman named Georgia- semi-roasted him from the front in a style evoking more Moms Mabley than Grandma Moses- don't you forget, I've got seniority!- and I felt far more joy over this occasion, directed at a guy I've never met, than I have many times at similar celebrations for oldsters who, upon leaving church, turn into the cranky old guy at the bank.

The service itself wasn't as unfamiliar as chanting, but the differences were just subtle and significant enough to be appreciated.  No choir (though that is likely a summers-off thing, as it is with most churches), but one musician alternating between traditional and electric piano.  The second song sung was "Teach Your Children"- meaningful to me, because I just ordered an album by a band which does an awesome cover of it. The soloist's anthem was Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," and there was no doubt that this performance would get the ovation that it deserved, unlike the timidity of the Repressed Suburban White People I've been hanging with on Sundays all my life.  The Lord's Prayer is slightly altered and sung, to a traditional Protestant tune (Hydryfol, number 196 in your hymnal), and is followed by Louis Armstrong singing "Wonderful World."

Today there was beef on weck and cake, but I think that's only on 90th birthdays.

I will speak more with them about their particular visions for how faith can be carried out.  They have outreach programs and classes to explain it all- and today they had a full parking lot, which is always a good sign.

Maybe there's even a cute husky for Ebony to hang out with;)
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