Questions Arisen

A proper church

THERE HAS ARISEN some question, perhaps among newer followers of this page, about my posts from The Church O’ The Pines. As to the nature of the church, and whether it is even a proper church at all. And so on. I have been issuing Sunday bulletins and reports from our little woodland chapel for about 10 years now, and as official Caretaker and unofficial parson I can report that indeed it is. A proper church. Mostly.

We have a fine congregation—what is often called an ecumenical gathering—meaning we have wide representation. We have members from both the furred and feathered denominations, as well as finned, scaled, clawed, hoofed, leafed, bloomed and rooted. We have a fine steeple—the tallest tree in the forest—and the chapel itself is unusually green and beautiful. Although we do have some incorrigible members who leap and bound around in the beams and rafters during services. We take it in stride. We have deacons—the tall and dignified pines themselves—excellent pews and aisles—and for the important social times we have Fellowship Hall, where all gather for coffee and bear claws and donuts—and sunflower seeds.

We have a fine choir, and an excellent church soloist—Sparky the Cardinal. In one corner the Holy Water resides, in a nicely sculpted bird bath. We have an altar—the sacred ground itself. Our congregation is unusually virtuous, as it is given them to understand it. And they largely make space for one another’s differences, foibles, and idiosyncrasies. This, in fact, is one of the main features of our membership—that they share no one particular style of clothing, or creed, or dogma, or skin color (or feathers) or region of origin, or language, or ‘orientation’ of one sort or another. Instead they are bound together by a sort of woodland version of the ‘golden rule.’ True, some members occasionally eat others—but this is done without malice, and with the acknowledgement that all lives one day will pass, but that we share a much broader and deeper common life together.

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that some other churches of our day seem somewhat lacking and could use some spiritual renewal or reclamation. This was questioned, and certainly is not true of all churches. But it is our opinion that some churches and faiths of our day are indeed in dire need of reclamation, for they seem to have forgotten or forsaken the simplest of principles. Namely that all of good heart and good faith are welcomed, and we must strive to see ourselves in one another. And while we at the Church O The Pines are too modest to hold ourselves up as exemplars of perfection, yet we feel that our humble gathering of souls tries to hew closely to this standard. The meekest and most lowly perhaps closest of all.

Finally, we note that we take no offense at any questioning of our faith and philosophy, our spiritual path and simple accouterments, for that is what any good church is about—questions regarding the deepest and most enduring aspects of Life. We indeed seek them out here, by our church moat—the Mississippi River—and under the boughs of the sheltering pines. And we wish all a very Good Sabbath.

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