PortlandNeighborhood.com

Welcome to YOUR Portland Neighborhood Community

I'm about to use a word that strikes most people with either fear or elation, or at least a sudden urge to leave the room. Even elated persons might find their momentary joy deflate into dread, because this word, though ubiquitous in its usage, is a powerful one, and often hearing it out of another's mouth may cause some awful wrothful (say it three times fast!) consternation when it's not uttered just so, even when those hearing it use the word quite frequently.

Here it is: Church.

Oh come back here. I'm not about to proselytize, I have no agenda that requires conversion, no funny hats or robes, no burning candles or crosses or books. I'm only going to write about churches in the strictly physical brick-and-mortar sense. I like churches. Actually, I love them, inside and out. I'm in love with the aesthetic, with the instant hush they command, with the aroma of worn pages in the hymnals and the sense of reverence they evoke. I'm not religious in the traditional sense of the word; my mother briefly sent my brother and me to Sunday school while my sister attended services at a Baptist church in Roswell, New Mexico, but I suspect it was in hopes someone else would would have to clean up after me while she caught a nap. Or maybe she felt we needed divine intervention (I know my sister thought so). Anyway, it was there that I came to love the echo-y sound of the upright piano and the smell of the fat colored chalk the youth director used to limn the joys and sorrows on the blackboard, and later where I found serenity in the sanctuary that, to me, felt wholly removed from any saintly figure and seemed to have a presence of its own.

First Unitarian Church

On the outside, I prefer the gothic structures of large stone churches. Those edifices loom larger than life to me, and are as inspiring as their interiors. These structures, more than any other, say without words that something important, even monumental, is happening within the walls, bigger than you, bigger than me, at least as large as Creation Itself. No other human-crafted structure speaks this way. Even when the messages they convey conflict with my own, they are powerful and undeniable. To stand in the shadow of a church is to understand that my opinion may be taken under advisement but with no promises.

First Presbyterian Church

Inside, serenity. Rustle of clothes on the seats of the pews, whispers, quiet smiles and greetings. Notice how in our modern world conversation anywhere else is of the raucous variety, voices raised so they can be heard above others nearby, some of whom are chattering on their phones to people not even in the same state, or even continent? Even in my neighborhood library people have taken to speaking loudly as if on the street outside. Everyone does this anymore, contending with the charp-charp-charp of being in the presence of fellow humans. In a church, it goes away. Everyone knows: Be quiet! You're in church!

Views: 189

Comment

You need to be a member of PortlandNeighborhood.com to add comments!

Join PortlandNeighborhood.com

Comment by Rob Creighton Garrison on March 18, 2012 at 4:44pm

I love First Unitarian.  I haven't been in quite some time but I want to start attending again.  Thanks, Lorri.  :o)

Comment by Lorri E. on March 16, 2012 at 7:46pm

I have always loved churches for the same reason - they are beautiful and peaceful.  I have fond memories of my Grandma taking me to church each Sunday as a child.

Latest Activity

Ike Harrell posted events
yesterday
Lea McWhorter posted an event

Artistic Portland Welcomes the Year of The Rooster at First Thursday Gallery Art Walk at Artistic Portland

February 2, 2017 from 4pm to 6pm
Artist co-operative Artistic Portland will celebrate the Year of The Rooster on Thursday, February 2, 2017 between 4-6 pm. Lore says that roosters are a social and talkative lot so many of the Co-op’s participating artists will be welcoming patrons to visit and answer any questions they might have about their art. Refreshments will be provided to brush off the chill of winter.Bull Run Distilling will be a returning vendor of adult beverages which include small-batch crafted vodka, whiskey and…See More
Jan 13
Ann Singer posted an event
Thumbnail

Stories From MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility at Sellwood Playhouse

January 20, 2017 at 7:30pm to January 28, 2017 at 7:30pm
FERTILE GROUND EVENT: SELLWOODWHERE:       Sellwood Playhouse, 901 SE Spokane,  Portland, OR  97202WHEN:         Jan. 20, 21, 27 & 28 @7;30 pm TICKETS:     $10 online, $15 at door, $12 students and seniors: http://www.roguepack.orgRogue Pack presents “Stories from MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility" for young men in the custody of Oregon Youth Authority. Ten youth, ages 18–24, will share their personal stories written during workshops conducted by…See More
Jan 12
Kathy Boyd posted a blog post

Kathy Boyd Wins Silver in 2016 Global Music Awards

The Pacific Northwest’s “little band that could” added yet another award to their shelf this week when the 2016 Global Music Award winners were announced and Kathy Boyd & Phoenix Risings band leader Kathy Boyd brought home a Silver Medal for Outstanding Achievement for her original song “Who Will Pray For Me” in the categories of song and lyrics/songwriter.  “The song “Who Will Pray for Me” was written during a time when my Mother passed away and then my brother died a mere four months…See More
Jan 4
Harper Schantz posted a discussion

Neighborhood Suggestions?

I'm a self-employed artist, and will be moving to Portland in the Fall. I'd like to live in a neighborhood where there are other creative folks, doing their thing. Other factors that are important to me in a neighborhood are a sense of community, proximity to parks and bike paths, and easy access to public transportation; someplace that has plenty of social gathering spots, such as cafes, pubs, little restaurants, etc. and activities available like yoga, dance, open-mike and music jams. Any…See More
Jan 4
Profile IconMarc Chamberland, Asia Collins, Cynthia and 15 more joined PortlandNeighborhood.com
Jan 4
Willamette Women Democrats posted an event
Thumbnail

Oregon's Legislative Agenda for 2017 at Celebrate Conference Center

January 12, 2017 from 4pm to 6pm
W2D is pleased to have Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, State Representative Margaret Doherty and House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson come talk about the 2017 Oregon legislative agenda.Oregon faces many known and unknown challenges in the months ahead. There certainly may be unforeseen consequences for states as a result of the change in leadership at the federal level. And at the state level, the defeat of Measure 97 means major challenges in funding government programs including…See More
Jan 3
BodyVox posted an event
Thumbnail

Urban Meadow at BodyVox Dance Center

January 19, 2017 at 7:30pm to January 21, 2017 at 7:30pm
A celebration of BodyVox's most popular works, Urban Meadow features dances of sweeping beauty, intense physicality, and irreverent humor. Ranging from the mysterious to the romantic to the hilarious, Urban Meadow represents all the facets of BodyVox in an unforgettable program of dance theater that includes a surprise that the company is keeping top secret and under wraps. Invite your friends and family for a real treat to start the New Year!See More
Dec 29, 2016

Top Content 

Badge

Loading…

Powell's Books Picks

© 2017   Created by Lorri E..   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service