my regular religious service consists of reading facebook friend mike coglan’s emailed sermons (today’s was about the 1962 world series), barging into catholic churches to light candles for my boys, and begging the Lord’s foriveness for everything when i’m having an anxiety attack or when the plane is taxiing down the runway. i think of myself as a seeker but i haven’t put enough concerted effort into it. f2fb #83 larry barkley has always struck me as having followed a path of his own design.
larry and i were first introduced through his second wife suzanne who was a rotarian. after they broke up and suzanne moved to colorado, i didn’t see as much of larry. but whenever i do, he has a good smile and kind words. he’s either got peace of mind or really great drugs!
he was raised catholic, flirted with baptists, and was introduced to the principles of the unity church by the mother of his first wife. usually, mother in law’s aren’t noted for the joy they bring into a man’s life. but larry was open to the gift. and he is now a member of the unity church. i was supposed to go to a sunday service with him and with f2fb #66 fadel haowat-halliwell who has also been a seeker. we were going to meet at the church at 9:15.
i was getting some caffeine at caribou when i saw f2fb #28 tom evans and i invited him to join us. tom is ordinarily a congregationalist but something today urged him to accept adventure. we drove downtown to the unity church at 1925 west thorne avenue. larry and tom had seen each other in winnetka but had never been introduced:
in a room off the main sanctuary was an exhibit of pictures of hearts created by the artist arianne vota smeets. the exhibit, called aorta transformata, was deeply moving. i saw three pictures that i think were directly about me.
it has been said that sunday morning is the most segregated time in america–and that’s supposed to be a comment about how congregations are often of the same race, the same orientation. but this church was clearly welcoming to all races, genders, orientations. and the service was one of joy and love.
one time my facebook friend mike coglan asked me to imagine how i would feel, how i would think, how i would be different, if i truly believed that God loved me exactly as i am, even with every fault and weakness considered charming or essential or forgivable. i could only sustain that feeling for a few seconds before crying. and that’s how i felt in this church.
afterwards i found out that the heart pictures are for sale and can be purchased–go to votasmeets.com to see more of them. also, if you want more information on the church, go to their website at UnityChicago.org and they believe they are a church of light, love and laughter.
larry has found a special place to worship. his fiancee ramona is part of the congregation as well and i hope that i will be invited to the friday night services which sound like the services of the nineteenth century shakers.
larry, thank you friend for sharing this part of you with me! and sorry, fadel. i turned my cell phone on after i entered the church and forgot to turn it back on until i got home!