Wednesday, December 25, 2019

I wondered if the star of Bethlehem was a super nova



In this picture, UCC Church in Pullman, WA. looked kind of like it did during my childhood. Photo taken 1997.

I grew up in a liberal church which I still have a lot of respect for. The UCC Congregational Church, in Pullman.

The life of Jesus, all the way from Christmas stories to the death and resurrection part was shared like it was a set of mysterious tales and inspirational parables. It wasn't presented as rigid fact. It had a mystique about it. Ancient tales from Roman times. That made it all the more intriguing; in a way.

Back then, I might have thought about it the way I view questions about the origin of the universe. What may have come before the big bang? Was there a "before?"

The Roman Empire was kind of intriguing, to me, as well. So different than the world I was experiencing. There was the census and Caesar Augustus, the manger and the star of Bethlehem. I thought that star could have been a supernova. A large star, out in the galaxy, exploding as it reached the end of it's supply of hydrogen.

Then there was a story, I heard, about the old furnace in the basement of the church. When it ran out of fuel, one day, it supposedly, blew the door off the furnace room. I was kind of scared to walk past that door for several years.

My parents didn't march us all to church each Sunday. They just went when it was convenient for them. During my early childhood, I did kind of resent going to church, however. It all seemed old, musty and archaic.

Back in the early 1960's people still dressed up to go to church, or even just to go downtown. I didn't like the polyester type slacks I was expected to wear. When I got home from church, I was expected to change back into more informal clothing, but it was an annoying chore.

One time I tried to find a shortcut to having to take off my shoes before changing my pants. I pulled my pant legs off over my shoes, but the pant legs got stuck. Being determined to continue down that road, I shuffled out to my dad's shop, and grabbed the oil can. I tried to lubricate the pant legs so they would slip off over the shoes. It just made an even bigger mess.

By the time I got to high school, I started understanding theological discussions more. My impressions of the church improved significantly as I started participating in some free wheeling and speculative discussions there.

I still feel welcome in UCC and other liberal churches today even though I don't go to Sunday morning things due, mostly, to working night shift.