I think we have found a church to call home, and we feel pretty excited about it. It is this church, which is a fairly new church plant of Imago Dei, a church in Portland you may have heard of because it is where Donald Miller goes and he mentions it in Blue Like Jazz. (Which is fabulous! And everybody should read it!) Anyway, it is a really interesting, refreshing faith community and I feel so enthusiastic about being a part of it. See this video? Oh, I just love it. I've had a hard time with church life for the past couple years because of various cultural quirks of big Texas evangelical churches so I feel very happy to have found a really different kind of place where I feel more in tune with the community. Speaking of Donald Miller, actually, I read Blue Like Jazz when I was perhaps at my peak of church-y unhappiness and he has a chapter entitled "Church: How I Go Without Getting Angry" that both did and did not help me at the time. He talked about a lot of things that resonated with me ("it was like going to church at the Gap") but the answer he gave to the question presented by his chapter title was, in the end, to find a church that was a good match for you as an individual and then let go of any bad attitude toward other churches that are not good matches for your personality, priorities, etc. This was not very helpful to me when I was going to a Dallas mega-church, as you might guess, but I feel quite differently here at the beginning of my relationship with a church that seems like it reflects my interests and values.
It is a very young church, both in the sense that it has only been meeting since Easter of this year and in the sense that Rob and I suspect we are among the oldest people there. It's not that there is nobody older than us, but we are definitely on the upper end of the age distribution-- loooooots of people in their 20s.
This church is so new that it doesn't have a building yet so it is meeting at various random places around the city like people's houses and this amazing bakery (closed on Sundays and thus those amazing pastries tantalize us the whole time we are there but we are unable to purchase/devour any) and the student union at the university. It meets at 4pm on Sundays, which I must say is a huge paradigm shift me. For my ENTIRE life, Sunday morning = church and it is blowing my mind a little to have Sunday mornings free. Is this what it is like to not be a churchgoer? Instead of getting up with an alarm clock and scuttling the whole morning to get yourself and your children fed and dressed in some appropriate way and out the door, you sleep in and are lazy and go to a lovely Sunday morning yoga class? I can see the appeal. Seriously, though, I have been going to this great yoga class on Sunday mornings now and if this church ever gets a regular building and has Sunday morning services, I am going to miss it.
For the record, there were probably 5 different churches here in Salt Lake City that would have been great for us, one of which is where I am going to MOPS now. We had a bit of concern about this before we moved here, because all the people we knew here were agnostics/atheists/skeptics/etc and faith and spirituality weren't big priorities for them. All these people were/are really happy in this city and we thought we would be too because we have a lot in common with these various friends of ours, but we were a little worried that the only church-goers in the whole city were Mormon and we would have a hard time finding a spot for us. Not the case, however-- the churches here are smaller and newer than what we were used to in Texas (OH NOES <- sarcasm) but they are thriving and vibrant. So, to sum up, this is not a reason to avoid Salt Lake City. Nor are the Mormons, really; to be honest, I haven't met many LDS people since moving here. This is, of course, because of where I've been spending my days since we moved here in July-- the liberal neighborhoods around the university where we live and go to the park and Grace does gymnastics and we go to restaurants and shop, the Jewish Community Center where Grace goes to preschool and I use the gym, various churches we've been visiting. I hear tell that the suburbs are a vast swath of LDS folks as far as the eye can see, but the only reasons I go to the suburbs are IKEA and In-N-Out Burger. (Yeah, we are not very good quasi-vegetarians.)