Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

The Hunt for a Tribe – Part 2


The reason I don’t say that I feel lonely is because, to me, loneliness connotes a bit of melancholy.  I’m not melancholy at all.  I just thoroughly enjoy face to face interaction.  I like being a part of a group.  I mentioned before how I had a lot of friends that I did things with before they weren’t solely my friends.  They were our friends. Mine and my former spouse’s.  We had friends.  And DagoodS pointed out something I hadn’t really realized until he said it.

“As I am the extrovert, we obtained most of our friendships through me.”

The exception to what he said was that I would prompt the invitations.  “Do we have plans?  Let’s invite so-and-so over for dinner.” As I realize it now, with the exception of one couple, I wasn’t particularly close to any of them.  We just had them over for dinner or we went to their house for dinner.  I was pretty much cut off from them in anything other than a “couples” situation.

So now I’m left with a couple of options.  I can give up the thing I love to do.  Or I can get over my shyness of first meeting people and start afresh.  Given those two options I choose number two.  I see it as a challenge.  Remember I said I’m tenacious? It is in that spirit I decided to give the local Unitarian Universalist Church a go.

I got up one Sunday morning, put on my Sunday best, and made the trek just outside of town to their nice wooded locale.  I’d arrived a few minutes behind most everyone else, thinking I’d have a chance to speak with, perhaps, a few people after the service.  As I drove into the shady dirt parking area it was pretty full, mostly with cars with out-of-town tags.  They were Honda Civics and Toyota Priuseses.  Is that even a word? How do you pluralize Prius? Here I came bustin’ up in there with my crossover SUV.  There were even a couple of cars that had Flying Spaghetti Monster and Darwin emblems stuck to the trunk where an Ichthys usually is.  I would have snapped a couple of pics with my phone but a)I was running a little late and b)I was afraid the folks might think I was up to something.

Dashing inside to get seated before the services started I rushed past the table where they asked for visitors to sign in.  They began with Children’s Church the children’s feature where they had all the little ones in a circle with a story time.  This was Conservationist Sunday so the story was, accordingly, about how God had left a well for all the animals to use.  But he or she felt the need to appoint a guardian of the well.  A lizard.  Who was selfish and wouldn’t allow any of the other animals to get water.  So God, he or she, banished the lizard from the well and appointed the frog in it’s stead.

Then there was a bit of music.  Traditional sounding hymns sung in praise of mother earth and how we are destroying her.  Instead of praise reports and prayer concerns there were joys and just plain ole concerns.  In the middle of the congregation were votive candles where, during the allotted time, members could light a candle for a joy or a concern.  After the candles were lit, instead of prayer, there was a moment of silence which was probably about three minutes but felt like ten.  We just sat there, our heads bowed, our eyes closed.  Well…they were supposed to be closed.  I got antsy and opened mine and began to look around.  I know. I’m bad.  I couldn’t help myself. I was way overdressed.  Everyone else had on shorts and flip-flops or jeans. There was one couple that wore something that appeared to be traditional cultural dress but I don’t know which. Then a lay-member snuffed each candle and allowed the smoke to rise into the air as a sacrifice to god the universe I don’t know what.

Then there was the sermon lecture talk.  Yes, talk.  A lay-member spoke about water conservation and what that means for our city and our state.  It was really rather interesting.  Our state’s water supply is fed off of the Flint and Oconee Rivers and there has been a big tri-state fight over water rights.  It’s a mess really.  But she showed us some interesting maps of places that are water rich now and what they well be like ten and twenty years from now.  The maps made it appear that within twenty years we’ll all be a desert land. Then we sang another song to mother earth and it was over.

I had first thought I’d hand around for a few minutes to socialize, but that particular Sunday they were having a business meeting following the service, so I spoke briefly to the minister of the church and then made my exit.  If I’m honest with myself I don’t think that was particularly for me.  It felt strange to be doing worshipful stuff but not really worshiping.  Not that I wanted to.  I don’t feel inclined to.  It just was odd to me to be all worshippy without worshiping.  Who knows? Maybe I’ll give it another go.  Maybe it would grow on me.  Or maybe I should give something else a try.  Yeah, I think it’s that one.  Something else….what will it be?





13 thoughts on “The Hunt for a Tribe – Part 2

  1. You and the Tour Guide ever get over to Dallas, drop me a line; we’ll take you out to dinner. Or beers; whatever.


    • We might just take you up on that! The Tour Guide and I have plans to do some traveling. Thanks!


    • Wow thank you excellent plan for the future .. I could even get to meet Bobby and Sue Ellen finally hehe


      • You have been practicing your horsemanship, right? “Driving” is something the rest of the country does ’cause they don’t know any better. Here in Texas, it’s horses to work and back every day.


        • I might be a little saddle rusty but.. “yaah” and heel kick to the ribs = go and “whoooo boy” and a tug on the reigns = stop rite ?? lol seriously tho I`ve done a bit of riding and loved it, that was many moons ago however, as long as we don’t break out of a walk I’m good to go lol


  2. Wow. That’s… odd. I think I would have a difficult time warming up to that, too. It’s definitely outside my comfort zone with the worshippy non-worship. Plus, I think my residual inner Christian would be screaming “PAGANS!” the whole time. 😛

    It sounds like a neat adventure though. Kudos for reaching out to new experiences!


    • The inner fundamentalist in me kept screaming. “DELUDED!”. Anyway, that’s not a judgement on the folks that enjoy the church, fellowship, worship, whatever they call it. It’s more a measure of the fact that I still have a ways to go to dump all that religious nutter baggage. I collected luggage for a while.

      It was quite an adventure. One I likely won’t soon forget.


  3. sounds similar to my UU experience. Overall, I enjoyed it. However, singing to mother earth was just strange for me. And my Christian parts did balk at some of it. My favorite part was the sermon, which drew from several different faith traditions. We actually had a sermon. The structure of the service was similar to what you described. I noticed a difference in bumper stickers too. I saw lots of the coexist stickers. I look forward to hearing what else you’ll try.

    And I’ll add that you and The Tour Guide/LankyBritt are always welcome to visit us here in Memphis.


    • Well thanks, DoOrDoNot! We might just make it up that way sometime and we’d love to look you up.

      I do think that my prior Christian experience largely “tainted” my view of the service. If there had been an actual sermon maybe it would have linked it all together a bit better than having the lay-person speaking off topic. Maybe? I dunno. *shrug* Then again it might have further made me cringe. I’m not sure how I feel about unchurch church.


  4. I left a comment and the Internet ate it. 😦

    I’ve thought about visiting a UU church but that’s as far as I got. Thinking about it.

    If on your travels with the Tour Guide you ever make your way to Oklahoma I’d love to say hello.


  5. We’ve visited a UU church a few times. The music was a mix of folk, jazz and hymn. One of the services, there was an open mike to talk about a memorable experience that happened outdoors. It felt like a campfire, but on a Sunday morning. I like it and would go back, but Sunday mornings are so nice to have


    • That does sound nice. There was a man there who played an acoustic guitar and sang about how we’ve raped the earth and destroyed her. Kind of folksy.

      I agree Sunday mornings are nice to lie in and take a break. Isn’t it supposed to be a day of rest? Church seemed more like work(not that I did it begrudgingly, just had lots of jobs) to me.


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