Sunday, October 21, 2007

My So Called Church Life


I know that the title of this post might seem to be a stretch, but I'm compelled to write about Sunday mornings and give a shout out to "My So Called Life" - the best damn television show from the last twenty years (in my humble opinion).

MSCL (as the kids called it) has been re-released on DVD. Not sure what happened to the prior release from a few years back, but who cares. The show rocked. It presented teens as they truly were in the early nineties and for the last several years for that matter. "90210" was soapy trash. "Party of Five" was cooked the moment that Charlie showed up in the second episode with the same stubble from the previous episode. And, besides, no family goes through that much tragedy without being profiled on Dateline NBC or being turned into a Lifetime movie. "Saved By The Bell" was the crap that Dan Schneider would have produced if he weren't living down Dennis Blunden and sadistically preparing to unleash over a decades' worth of awful, young comedians via Nickolodeon (another Viacom outlet which sold its soul by moving away from "Pete and Pete" and toward the dookie-fests that were and are "All That", "Keenan and Kel", "Amanda", "Josh and Drake", the list goes on - apologies to Keenan who does a mean Bill Cosby).

If I have a point, it is that MSCL destroyed all of those shows in quality. It was probably too realistic for the folks that flocked elsewhere. Too painful to see people who were living as they too were living. This show spoke to me. I was 4 years removed from high school and 8 years older than protaganist, Angela Chase when I started watching the show. I moved schedules around to catch it. If DVR's had been around then, 19 hours of this program would still be protected on the hard drive. If you haven't watched the show, if you've blown it off before, put it into your Netflix cue and smoke it.

The family and I have begun, yet again, to go to church regularly. Since PGirlJr. has been attending Sunday school at the local Catholic elementary, it just made sense to start going to mass just before the class. Plus, I just think it was meant to be this way. I believe that things happen for reasons - good and bad. The opportunity for Kate to begin a journey towards Communion, Confirmation, Confession, etc, was the spark under our asses to do this again. It has been about twenty years since I've attended on a weekly basis.

I don't recall attending mass until I was 8 years old and beginnin CCD classes. Still attending public school, I'd go to classes on weeknights at St. Barbara's church in Kentucky. The teachers were cool, I was able to draw a lot, and the stories from the Bible were okay by me. I don't think I fully understood what taking Communion was, but I got to wear a suit that first time (and got into trouble with Saint Eileen for wearing the suit vest over a dress shirt on a future trip up the aisle and strutting back to my seat).

Two years later, I began to go to Catholic School at St. Henry and continued through their high school. As a student, I attended Mass weekly and had religion classes as part of the curriculum. I remember going to Mass on Sundays infrequently as we spent most weekends with The Colonel. By the time I could drive, I was splitting weekends between households and driving the Mick to church when not a my mother's house.

Throughout all this time, I never really got anything out of mass that I was aware of. Mostly I'd daydream about girls, replay movies in my head or think about "Saturday Night Live" from the night before. I was annoyed by the singers who would hold notes longer than everyone else. They seemed to be showing off to me. The homily was basically a wash and I didn't read along with the Gospel or the other readings. I was just there.

Throughout college and grad school, I was a virtual no-show, attending only one Easter and Christmas. I began to go again once I met PGirl. Luckily she is the love of my life and being Catholic made things easier for both of us. We didn't go every Sunday, but when we did, I'd read along and listen to the homily. I took a lesson away from it every week and tried to apply it where I could. I was still annoyed by singing (mostly by the cantor who just seemed to be so damn smug), but stuck with it.

Once we moved to Jamestown with the girl, we tried again. But the last six years have been rough. Our church is older and doesn't have a cry-room, so we have to stick it out. Around the time that my daughter could sit through a service, my son began to get squirmy. Another 3 years went by.

Now, for the time being, both kids can be occupied for an hour with little fuss. GalootJr's fascination with bathrooms has subsided, so I don't have to miss out on the homily anymore. The peace is holding. I figure we have about 8 years before PGirlJr.:
1. Decides to stick with going to church because she gets something out of it.
2. Starts the Barry trend of lapsing for several years.
3. Decides to stick with going to church because there will be a boy (or girl - did I mention that I'm not a hardline Catholic?) to fixate on a few pews up.

And I can still daydream and get the message. Only, the daydreams aren't about girls anymore. Just whatever snack I'll eat during the game. And for those of you who might be getting riled up about the lack of the Big JC in my post. Here ya go:

Be more like him. Peace!


Tracy Crowe Jones said...

Steve and I LOVED our church and our church family in Kansas City. They were real people with real lives and we didn't just do the Sunday thing - we got to hang out with them. And not just in a churchy way - we'd go camping, take trips, I'd go scuba diving with a group of them every year, and when Steve and I were going through our "dark time" they were totally there for both of us and loved on us through our entire journey - no judgement, just love.

It's been really hard "getting back out there" to find a church in Mid-MO. It's much easier to stay home and not make the risk of being surrounded by strangers as we try to find a place where we fit in.

I'm really glad to hear you are going back to church. Hopefully, we're not too far behind you.

princess slea said...

i would have totally given my "innocence" to jordan!

Julia said...

MSCL was a bit of a salvation for me and my friends. I had one friend who I watched the show with via phone. Great stuff. God bless them for re-releasing it on DVD.

Thanks for the church discussion. That led to a decent lunchtime chat about the differences between Catholicism and other Christian religions. And it wasn't a "all organized religions suck" kind of chat either, which was a rare, nice surprise.

3carnations said...

Hubby and I have gone to church pretty consistently since we've been together. Lately we've struggled a bit about exactly WHERE to go...but we're finding our way. :)

I've never seen MSCL. Might have to check it out from Netflix, per your suggestion.

TM said...

I just started taking the RCIA classes..."church school", as I call it.

I never saw MSCL when it was on the air, for whatever reason, but when MTV showed it a bit later, I was hooked. It wasn't "my life", but it was as close to real life as I had experienced on the screen.

Galoot said...

Welcome to the church TM! Pretty soon you'll be confirmed which is like a bar mitzvah, but with fewer gifts.