You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. --Elizabeth Bibesco

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Religious Bucket List in Chicago, Part 5: Unity Temple Oak Park

Perhaps just to form the starkest contrast possible with our trip to the Mormons, this time my Woman and I went the the Unitarian Universalist Unity Temple in Oak Park, Illinois. In fairness, there was one thing that the two had in common: we couldn't find the sanctuary at first in the Unity Temple either! Eventually, right before the service started, we just followed the stream of people, but it really is an odd little set-up.

Speaking of odd set-ups, that's the best way to describe the sanctuary inside too. It wasn't bad, it was just very unusual, although it did remind me a bit of Saint Clare's in Ann Arbor because of the seating in the round. But this was a little bit like someone had taken Saint Clare's and put it in a kaleidoscope. There was a main-level seating area where the pews just faced the front which had a dais for the pastor and such. Then around that there were 3 levels of balconies with pews in them, staggered at odd intervals. The first level was below the main level, so your heads were about on par with those people's knees. The second level was just above them, so your knees were on level with their heads and the third one was higher still. It worked, but I would have felt a little odd in the lowest level, I think, although it was closest to the exit so perhaps it worked best for people with fussy children or who don't like to sit still for very long.

I'll admit now that I don't ever feel quite right in a Unitarian church. I've always found them to be lovely people, but I like rules. And that (might) be the one thing (most) Unitarians could agree to oppose! (I kid, sort of.)

Anyway, the hymns were pretty, if totally unfamiliar to me because they didn't mention God. The sermon was primarily about introversion versus extroversion with a reading from The Phantom Tollbooth, which is one of my Woman's favorite books. That got our attention and it provided me with a lot to think about. For example: I identify as an introvert. My Woman thinks that's poppycock because I am so much more extroverted than her. After listening to the sermon and thinking about it for a while, I think I am much more towards the middle, but definitely still on the side of the introvert.

The whole thing left us feeling bubbly and happy, I think, but it didn't feel like church. Although, maybe that's kind of silly, because where else do people sing in public these days? I think the Unity Temple provided the community aspect of church, but for me it didn't provide the worship aspect, which is really important in my world. It was beautiful, though, and moving, so I'd totally recommend it, if it sounds like your cup of tea.


Post a Comment