August 2nd, 2007
So I haven’t found a wizard. I got a few shot in the dark leads to a Chinese Fortune Teller a la “I know my girlfriend might have an auntie who knows someone in Walnut.”
But I have found ways towards navigating the future. Though it’s all still confusing.
I found myself last Sunday taking matters in my own hands and doing something I never thought I’d do.
(Ba dum Ba dum Ba dum!)
I went to church on Sunday. By myself. On my own. Without being forced.
Even on the phone with people on the way there I said increduously, “Wow! I’m going to church? Whoa.”
I couldn’t believe I went to church. The original plan was to go to a Buddhist Temple in West LA to hollaback to my Buddhist/Taoist roots, but instead I found myself at church. I only go to church when someone is getting married. And I was quite surprised that when I walked in (in a strapless dress no less) that the place didn’t burst into flames, people did not point at me screaming, “Witch! Heretic!” and I was actually quite welcome and happy to be there.
The “church” I went to is Agape, which is not so much a Christian Church as it is an “International Spiritual Center.” The Founder and Spiritual Director is Michael Beckwith from “The Secret”. And also Lisa Nichols from that movie also goes and speaks and teaches there. Since that movie came out, the attendance at Agape has exploded.
So it’s not so much a “Jesus died for your sins! Now feel guilty and don’t have sex before marriage! Straight marriage that is!” kind of church, as much as it is the “Church of the Secret.” No pews. No bibles. No bible quoting. All sorts of religious/ spiritual iconography on the walls, and all sorts of people (gay/straight, multi-cultural, multi-demoninational, and multi-generational) in attendance. More spiritual songs and a motivational speech kind of sermon about letting go of fear. There are slight Christian undertones (a few amens, hallelujahs and some ambiguous references to “god,” some equivalents to “Peace be with you”), but for the most part if felt like it was centered on the individual and our capacity to live life to its fullest.
I think it’s the only “church” where people scream from the pulpit, “Lisa Nichols from The Secret is in the house!”
I was coaxed into coming to a “young hip “Christian church once by a high school friend. It was so boring. You can dress up the joint with cute Ikea couches and add a DJ to the sermon and a fancy Christian rock band, but it don’t fool me.
Agape has got quite the operation. It’s a spiritual supercenter. They have over 3000 people come to the one I was at and have three services on Sunday. Often they can’t fit the latecomers in and so they have tents outside where they watch the service on a TV.
To quote Colleen, “That sounds so LA!”
And it is. It totally is.
It was perhaps the best experience I’ve had with spirituality and faith my whole life. Though there aren’t too many positive experiences it had to compete with. It’s really where I think religion should update itself to be. It felt contemporary and relevant to be at Agape. For the first time religion (perhaps I should say “spirituality”) wasn’t scary, did not breed guilt, and did not bore me. I found myself singing and standing without trying. I didn’t get yet to the point where I was raising my hands up to the Lord or anything. But I was totally crying by the end of the sermon which was all about letting go of fear and your regrets about your history and life circumstances and blooming where you are planted.
It was amazing and I want to go back. And next time I’ll try to put more than 65 cents in the collection plate.
I feel so nutty as I ask my friends, “Would you like to come to church with me? I go to this new church and it’s so much fun and so awesome.”
Pretty soon, you’ll see me walking down your block in a nice Sunday dress trying to pawn off issues of “Awake!” on your neighbors.
But anyway. That’s what’s up with me now. I’m currently trying to tear my way through this grant due tomorrow and I am totally stuck. In about half an hour I’m going to be on the radio in Toronto. I think I’m going to sneak in a request that any available Canadian marry me so I can get health insurance. Yes, health insurance is one thing Agape spirituality will not help me figure out as I just spent $250 (this week) on medicine because my crappy pants health insurance wouldn’t cover it. Ridiculous.
In other news, I went to a grunion run on Monday night. I saw a lot of them going at it! I wore my gollashes and got laughed at by drunk people. But I don’t like feeling fish f*cking under my feet.
And here’s a scarf I finished and sent to my friend Jami last week. I hope she received it ok. I didn’t put insurance or confirmation on the package. I’m sure she’ll have plenty of use for it for an East Coast summer.