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: 181

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

Vine and Dine posted an event

Multnomah Village Vine & Dine 2016 at Multnomah Village Arts Center

August 21, 2016 from 1pm to 6pm
Join us for Multnomah Village's Fourth Annual Northwest Wine and Food Festival!  Over 35 superb NW wine and food stars will provide an afternoon of wine tastings paired with sweet & savory bites.  Enhance your wine tasting skills with the unique interactive aroma sampling exhibit.  Practice finding aromatic elements in your glass. Guests will taste wines and chat with our local winemakers and chefs.  Purchase bottles of the wines you love to go!  Check out the great wineries here!  …See More
14 hours ago
All Families Surrogacy posted an event
Thumbnail

Interested in Surrogacy? All Families Surrogacy Open House at Lucky Labrador Public House - 7675 Southwest Capitol Highway, Portland, OR 97219

June 30, 2016 from 6pm to 8pm
Join us for a fun, casual gathering of women to learn more about becoming a gestational surrogate. Pizza and salad will be served with an open bar.HEN:       Saturday, July 30, 2016TIME:      6:00PM - 8:00PMWHERE:   Lucky Labrador Tap Room               7675 SW Capitol Hwy               Portland, OR 97219Please RSVP here to let us know you will attend!The team from All Families Surrogacy (most of whom are…See More
Thursday
Mercy Corps Action Center posted an event

Finding Place: Street Art by Displaced Youth from Syria and Gaza on Display at Nau at Nau Portland Store

July 7, 2016 at 5pm to July 31, 2016 at 5pm
Finding Place depicts the imaginations and aspirations of youth from Syria and Gaza who have been forced to flee their homes because of violence. The exhibit demonstrates how Mercy Corps and aptART partner to engage youth in activities that not only help them process the trauma of displacement, but brings flashes of bold color and hope inside the confines of refugee camps and…See More
Tuesday
Dan Smith is now a member of PortlandNeighborhood.com
Jun 16
BodyVox posted an event
Thumbnail

Death and Delight at BodyVox Dance Center

July 14, 2016 at 7pm to July 23, 2016 at 7pm
BodyVox and Chamber Music Northwest return for their eighth collaboration in Death and Delight. This season BodyVox takes on the retelling of The Bard's "Romeo and Juliet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream," created by BodyVox Artistic Directors Ashley Roland and Jamey Hampton paired with the exceptional playing of Chamber Music Northwest's pianist Melvin Chen and Protégé artist Hilda Huang. See More
Jun 9
Lea McWhorter posted an event

Artistic Portland’s First Thursday Gallery Art Walk — July 7th, 2016 at Artistic Portland Co-Op

July 7, 2016 from 4pm to 7pm
The theme will be Red Hot and Rolling at Artistic Portland’s First Thursday (http://www.firstthursdayportland.com) Gallery Art Walk on July 7, 2016 between 4-7 p.m. The art community will be celebrating its second year at the SW Taylor Street location, and many of the artists will be welcoming patrons to visit and answer any questions they might have about their art.Special guest Eastside Distilling will be offering a selection of their…See More
Jun 9
Robert Kingdom posted events
Jun 8
Karly Denes is now a member of PortlandNeighborhood.com
Jun 5

Badge

Loading…

Powell's Books Picks

© 2016   Created by Lorri E..   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service