I had kind of an interesting experience last night. Interesting and cool.
The boyfriend and I decided to go for a walk before dinner. It was finally a nice night weather-wise and I like to walk to the park and watch the dogs play. Anyway, we happened down a block that we don't usually walk, and could hear this great music. We looked around and determined that it was coming from a church on the next block, that had its windows open. So, we walked around the block to the front of the church.
And there, right where I had never noticed it before, was a big Baptist church. Well, I guess I had noticed it, because I've looked for parking on that street, but I never really looked up at the church. It was a big pretty old church. Both of the front doors were propped open and coming from inside was some very loud, very excited gospel music.
Although the doors were propped open, we couldn't see in from the street because there was a tall set of stairs leading up to the front door. I suggested that we walk up the stairs so we could see in, but the boyfriend thought it might be disrespectful. I didn't think it would be - isn't that why they have the doors and windows open, to share their music? (Or, maybe it was just getting hot with all the dancing and singing.) And don't most congregations want people to come in and check it out? (Although, my church has some sort of sign outside that says something like "Please join us, all are welcome." and I didn't really see anything at this church. But maybe that's just implied by being a church with open doors, literally.) Maybe this would be a good place for a blogpoll - who thinks it would've been disrespectful to go up the stairs and take a peek in? Granted, I can see the flip side. It would be disrespectful to just come by and gawk. And even though that's not what I was doing, I suppose that's how it could be taken.
Anyway, because I don't listen to the boyfriend that much anyway, (Just kidding! Sort of.), I went up just a few stairs so I could take a look in. Going up a few steps I saw that it must have been some type of choir rehearsal, not a service, because the rest of the church was empty. One of the men in the front of the choir saw me, though, and waved for me to come in. So, we did.
We went in and sat in the backrow for one very awesome jam. They had an organ, a drum set (the teenager on the drums was great), and, as far as I could tell, they weren't following any music, they were just jamming along as it came to them. (Well, at least, "jamming" is what we raised by hippies would call it.) The choir members were dancing, clapping, and (again, as far as I could tell) just shouting out or singing whatever lyrics came to them. Now, compare this to my church: The choir, although diverse, comes to the front of their church with their sheet music held neatly in matching binders, they sing their song and if it's an upbeat one there might be a little bit of toe-tapping or maybe finger-snapping in the audience. I mean, me too of course, I'd feel a little silly going into all-out-dance-mode-shouting-Hallelujah while everyone else tapped their toes. And our hymns don't usually lend themselves to all-out-dance-mode either. But I thought this was just great.
I was a little afraid that someone might come out to us and make a hard sell for their church. Which is what probably would have happened in many churches (yes, including mine). I wasn't too worried, but I was already figuring that we would tell them that we go to the church down the street. But they just let us hang out and listen. We stayed for one fairly long song, and then left.
But all night I kept thinking, "That was really cool. I wish our church had that much energy."
On the way home, I asked the boyfriend, "Do you think that if we went to that church on a Sunday, we'd be the only white people there?"
"Probably." he said. "But they'd probably welcome us."
And I spent the rest of the night thinking, "That's pretty cool."