I'm reading Barbara Brown Taylor's book, "An Altar in the World." She was a priest until the church wore her out, and now she teaches comparative religion at a Georgia university. She asks some interesting questions about church as a building:
"Do we build God a house so that we can choose when to go see God? Do we build God a house in lieu of having God stay in ours? Plus, what happens to the rest of the world when we build four walls--even four gorgeous walls--cap them with a steepled roof, and designate that the House of God? What happens to the riverbanks, the mountaintops, the deserts, and the trees? What happens to the people who never show up in our house of God?"
You'd hardly notice that the author never uses the "He" pronoun to talk about God, unless, like me, God has been a "She" for a long time. More interesting is the unspoken answer to her questions: surely God makes a home in the whole world not just in the buildings we designate for Her.
On Sunday mornings, Alan goes to the local Methodist church, and I go to my "church." I visit with my friend Julie to do some kind of textile work. Today we had a peaceable time hand sewing and talking.
Then I swim laps for 30 minutes. A swimming pool is definitely a sacred place for me, where I'm immersed in water and gratitude. After showering, I leave the gym feeling light and clean.
What more could one expect from a church but loving fellowship, such as I find with Julie, along with the renewal I experience from swimming?