It is easy to see why religions don’t logically make sense until you find one that speaks to you. I am a liberal who was raised Catholic, a religion that never spoke to me as it seemed to oppose everything I supported politically. There was a period of time that I thought I was an atheist, that there was no way anything or anyone could be out there greater than ourselves. Then I attended First Christian Church in Des Moines, IA and found myself enjoying every service, sermon, and person that I have come in contact with. Here’s why.
- It’s not about the money.
Never once have I been asked for money within this congregation. While they believe that finances are important, they believe that service towards others for the greater good is far more important than money. They have an offering at every service but the reverend has never once said anything about the financial situation of the church, welcoming those who would be disheartened to not contribute in other congregations.
- There is no gender.
I sing in the choir at First Christian Church and I frequently find myself crossing out and replacing lyrics. This is because the church believes that God transcends all gender. Though there are many illusions to God being the ‘Father’ within scripture, we often interchange this word with ‘Creator’ to show God’s gender neutrality. To make readings inclusive of all genders, the phrase ‘all of mankind’ is typically changed to something like ‘all of our kind’.
- All other religions are accepted and understood, no exceptions.
I attended Sunday mass the day after the mass shooting at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando. It was possibly the most sorrowful sermon I have ever experienced. I asked the pastor, Reverend Ryan Arnold, for this final quote from his sermon and it was this, “We denounce hate and violence in a thoughtful manner so as to avoid inadvertently veering into another form of hate and violence… Islamophobia.” No one spoke for the remainder of the service in reverence to those that were lost as well as for the fear and hatred that was soon to follow.
- White privilege is recognized and discussed.
As a predominately white congregation, they work hard to find solutions to the problems that exist due to the carelessness of those that share their skin color. There have been many sermons regarding the violence used by white people to assert dominance over other races. Though it is acknowledged that it will take unsurmountable time and effort on all fronts, they know that when all people find peace, we will be equal as we were meant to be.
- Love always wins.
Have you ever been in a church that supports gay marriage and the LGBTQ community? There’s one right down the street! The reverends and members of the church are very open about their support and there are many members of the congregation who are open about their own sexuality and are fully accepted without judgement or criticism. The church is about building a strong community of faith and joy-filled love with those who wish to be a part of it, not a prestigious and exclusive entity with qualifications.
- There is no limit to community
Here are some other reasons why I have come to embrace the community of First Christian Church that are less relevant to social liberalism:
- They have a Fellowship Hall which is used after Sunday service for members of the church to gather and enjoy a cup of coffee while talking to all of their friends
- Baptisms aren’t done until the sixth grade so the children have some kind of say as to if they want to be a part of the church or not
- Music is a large part of the service. Whether it be the band, the choir, the organist, or a dance troupe, music is always celebrated
- They believe in evolution! Yay science!
- As someone who isn’t a very social being, everyone wants to be your friend and is genuinely interested in your wellbeing
If you’re at all like I was before I found this community, you would be skeptical of this post. All it takes is one Sunday at 10:30 AM to see if this is where you belong as well. If you’re still hesitant and are looking for more information on the First Christian Church and what they stand for, please follow one of the links below: