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JUST ANOTHER TRIP AROUND THE SUN

 

 

 

Sunday, April 28, 2002 - Trinity Episcopal Church Visit 01 of 52

 

Buddy, our yellow Labrador Retriever ran off again - our time to leave for church.

 

Made announcement at Church - Testimony meeting.

1. Gratitude

2. Plans for the year. Taking a sabbatical will be a non-Mormon for a year.

a. Go to 52 different churches and other groups of people with common beliefs..

b. Learn to play the violin.

c. Learn American Sign Language.

d. Try to find people who believe as I - that God is good only.

3. Limited Testimony - Essentially that the Savior is only good - not as described in the Old Testament.

 

Got message that Buddy had come to the Church at 9th and Chestnut -

A family going to church there took Buddy home with them - in San Marcos.

Robin had called. Met Robin, husband, and two kids. Nice people. They loved Buddy. Told them about my plan - and said I would like to visit their church next Sunday. It meets at 10:00. They appeared delighted to have me visit.

 

Thoughts during week:

 

When we speak of the necessity for authority (for a baptism, for example), what are we really taking about? When Wes was baptized in his church, he says he made commitments to the Savior. We don't doubt that - no authority is required for him to make his promises - and none is needed for him to keep his promises.

 

So the "authority" is required for God to make and keep His promises. He simply won't make or keep them for Wes, even though Wes keeps his.

 

Can we really believe this? It's like saying a marriage is not real if the person who performed the ceremony was improperly credentialed. That marriage contract is between the husband and the wife. Who performs the "ceremony" does not change this. California requires some amount of credential for someone to do this - to assure proper paperwork. If the credentials are not there, but the proper paperwork is done, there is no problem for the couple. There could be a problem for the performer - especially if he or she is charging a fee.

 

The promises made at baptism are between the one baptized and God. No authority is required for these promises to be made, and none for them to be kept. We may trust that God will make and keep His promises if we keep ours, period.

 

 

The Visit:

 

Sunday, May 5, 2002 (Church Number 01 of 52)

 

Attended Trinity Episcopal Church at 9th and Chestnut.

 

(Buddy had visited here the week before.)

 

Robin and family were not there - home with a sick child - they had left a message to expect me - and to treat me good.

 

They had an interesting combination of some things more formal and fixed - and other things more open and relaxed compared with Mormons. There was much verbiage repeated in unison by the congregation and minister - back and forth - similar to the Catholics. On the other hand - they invite all who have accepted the savior to participate in the Eucharist (Our Sacrament.) They do not feel a need for re-baptism. They refer to "The One True Catholic Church," and that is on the plaque in front of the chapel. That was a surprise to me. Catholic means "All in One," roughly, and I believe the term came about in the time of Constantine - uniting all the churches by edict.

 

There is a mesmerizing effect to the rote verbiage - I noticed even myself (much resistive to such as this) feeling a certain bonding or belonging. This is a powerful thing, which is a large part of our temple ceremonies, but in our church not so much on a week-to-week basis as was apparent in this Episcopal Church.

 

Fellowshipping is enhanced by a short social directly after the formal service. There I was greeted and introduced to dozens of friendly people. It was about a half-hour deal - with cookies and lemonade and coffee. We have to get someone back to a separate social - making the logistics more difficult. We could learn from this. (What is the Sabbath about?)

 

They referred to me as "The guy with the dog." They had all met Buddy, as he came during last week's social - went right inside and met everyone. They said they knew he liked them and their church - because he went from person to person meeting everyone, and then immediately went outside and baptized himself in the fountain out in the patio.

 

The minister was a nice and very talented woman (another bit of freedom) - and her talk was extremely positive, savior oriented, and enthusiastic. A great message centered about Paul's encounter with "The Unknown God." This was the God, said Paul, who did not need sacrifices as a bribe - as did the Greek Gods of the time.

 

During the Eucharist ceremony, while we were reading our parts (some had it memorized) - She also did her part from memory - but changed one word, which I thought interesting.

 

The booklet said,

 

"THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT WHICH IS POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR ALL."

 

But she said,

 

"THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW COVENANT WHICH IS POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY."

 

I don't know if this was purposeful, false memory, or another version of the accepted verbiage.

 

There was a beautiful sculpture of the savior on the cross with (probably) John and Mary looking up. John and Mary's feet were off the ground, as though they were suspended. It reminded me of our depiction of God and Jesus appearing in the grove. This was off to the left side of the chapel. Another sculpture, this one in the very center, was also of Jesus. But this was the resurrected Jesus - similar to our "Christus," though not so beautifully muscled. It had a similar feel to it, with the hands gently outstretched. What appeared "featured" in the chapel was the resurrection, rather than the crucifixion. The marks - were only in the hands and feet - not in the wrists.

 

Note: I believe our "Christus" also has marks only in the hands and feet - not in the wrists. (I have never understood the "secrecy.") The relatively new movie, shown in Salt Lake only, called "The Testaments," shows the marks in the wrists - I thought this touching for more than one reason. The image of what happened that day - and the relaxing of our "secret." (To any members who have not seen this movie - please see to it that you see it.) It is very well done - and inspiring.) I think some of the secrecy is going away. We no longer commit members to secrecy by their stated acceptance of "penalties" in the temple. Rather than stated, the promises were repeated directly - or from memory (not one's own words.) This, as with the Eucharist ceremony here among the Episcopal folks, is not the same as a real statement that one decides to make.

 

There were several other speakers (Other than the minister), apparently ordinary members. Dress varied from suits and ties to sweatshirts, even among the speakers. (Another bit of noticed freedom from required conformity.) There appeared to be more suits as age increased - perhaps habits (or values) of the past?

 

Talking with a man after, he said that this was a church where people are not requested to "Check their brains at the door." I didn't go very far to discover how much freedom of thought was available, but they do not require everyone to believe the same. (Evolution?) (Rejection of a literal Old Testament?) I thought I may not be able to visit 52 churches. I may have to do some repeating to learn more detail. If so, I'll still list the visits as 01 to 52. This was 01 of 52. It was quite pleasant.

 

They have told me it would be ok to come back and take pictures in the chapel, which I will do.

 

01 of 52 Trinity Episcopal Church

 

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