Wednesday, January 6, 2010




1 : a private or subordinate place of worship
2 : an assembly at an educational institution usually including devotional exercises
3 : a place of worship used by a Christian group other than an established church

as mentioned in the previous blog, i did not grow up with religion. my minimal experiences of actually being inside church-like religious facilities occurred as follows*:

- attending church with a friend's family after having incidentally slept over on a saturday night. this totaled maybe 5-7 times.
- my brother's piano recitals, which i usually spent in the children's playroom watching my infant sister and listening to the piano pieces over the scratchy intercom system
- three of the seven weddings i have attended
- one funeral
- a couple times going inside St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC
- one confirmation (i think)
- my sister's baptism (her father insisted; i was too young to remember, but i've seen the evidence in photographs)

i always felt uncomfortable in these places, like a fraud. i felt like everyone could tell that i wasn't religious, and they were all about to run me the hell out of there. on one occasion, attending a sunday morning service with a friend's family, i stayed behind in the pew while they all went up to receive their...communion? wafer? anyway, i swung my legs around to let people pass by me, and a wretched old woman yelled at me for "daring to put my feet on the seat in god's house." this was a common issue for me, as there were very few etiquette restrictions in my own home. i was often doing things in other people's houses that were considered totally unacceptable: resting elbows on the table, walking around with shoes on, talking with my mouthful, not showering with the correct towel on the floor outside the tub, eating with the wrong fork, coming inside dripping wet from the swimming pool, accidentally cussing, etc. the fact that i was doing something wrong in a church did not surprise me. but i did feel guilty and somewhat persecuted. i was just trying to let people comfortably pass by on the way to their god-snack. that was the last time i went to a sunday morning service.

because of my general lack of worship experience, i don't really associate anything particular with the word CHAPEL. although, it does immediately make me think of small weddings. the first one that came to mind was julie and mike's. i did some research trying to remember where exactly they got married—i think it was at a small place called Oaks Pioneer Church. julie and mike aren't religious, and neither was this establishment. it was small and totally tasteful—a steeple, some pews, and some stained glass windows. there were a total of five people in attendance including the couple and the justice of the peace. i was the wedding photographer. the ceremony took a total of probably twenty minutes. then we went back to their house and ate some cake and i think the boys played video games.

this was, by a landslide, the smallest and simplest wedding i have ever been to. frankly, it was a relief. and nobody yelled at me for cussing or sitting the wrong way. and i got to fuck around with the church's cool old organ.

*i'm not including all of the jewish events i had to attend with josh. temples just look like ornate conference rooms. much more practical and inviting.

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