Ever since I was condemned for wearing shorts into the house of God around the age of eight—or perhaps since the time someone tried to “save” me when I was seven and not only did I not understand what the hell was going on, but I also felt like I was about to be kidnapped—I haven’t been on friendly terms with churches. I’m not religious—spiritual, but not religious, as I like to say—and I don’t enjoy them. Even seeing the churches in Europe was a bittersweet experience, knowing how many people had died because of these institutions, with or without their beauty.
But lately I have realized how much time we spend in churches, and I have to say that I appreciate the space. Oh, we pay for it; it’s not free. Our music class is in a church, and part of our fee covers the rental space for our teacher. Our co-op yearly dues help rent out church space. But it’s pretty damn cheap, especially compared with alternatives that run $200 or more for a day’s rental!
Still, as much as I appreciate this, I can’t help but wonder at how ludicrous this is—how ingrained these religious buildings are into our culture. I guess meetings were often held in churches over time, but what about cheap halls, community centers? We do have a rec center, but renting a meeting room is expensive. Even renting a city pavilion is $25 every single time, which is more than a year’s dues at the co-op for a whole family!
You have to admit that this is insanely stupid. The only place we can affordably meet is a church? Does anyone not see the irony of our supposed separation of church and state here, or perhaps nearly being forced to meet in churches for ulterior motives? We need places to gather as people to discuss ideas, make crafts and run around in groups, and organize. Perhaps that’s the whole idea; the government is scared that we will start organizing if given free space. You have to laugh at that one.
As we seek a space for our 4-H meetings, I am leaning toward meeting at my home—which isn’t perfect, but it’s free, at least, and I won’t worry about administrators or other Powers That Be freaking out over our noise. I just think that we really need common local, secular ground to use to meet at for free.