I was at Church on 99th for my friend Babil's baptism, which was very important to her, and therefore to me.
[Babil, I decided not to censor my evaluation of this experience because of our friendship. You know the only reason I was there was you. You might want to stop reading now, just to be safe]
In the spirit of being honest in all my relationships, I will reiterate how creeped out I am by organized religion, and how convinced I am that this is all just an excuse for a peer group.
There was a stage, stage lighting, two huge screens that actually run commercials for the church and its events(yes, they call them commercials themselves), and a Christian Rock band in skater clothes and spiky hair. There is a ton of forced social interaction(turn around and introduce yourself to three or four people! NOW! ), and lots of singing(I don't matter, I am small, I am unimportant, I live only for god, god is great, he is my lord, he is my saviour, he is my majesty; wash, rinse, repeat) and raising hands to ceilings.
The sermon was about confidence, and the essence was that we should approach absolutely everything in life with the expectation that the outcome will be positive, and derive that expectation from trust in God. We also shouldn't be surrounding ourselves with negative people, or the people who bear bad news and talk about the unpleasant things in life. I was there once before, and I remember the sermon then was about why porn should be illegal because human beings don't have the strength to resist it when it's right there in front of their eyes.
All in all, a totally depowering and eyeclosing message.
We also watched a movie clip on those big screens- Martin Luther, which made me very angry. Martin Luther was German. Very much so. I am Lutheran by birth, not by conviction, and have gone through all the Christian initiation processes like confirmation and the likes- trust me.
Back to the movie though:
WHY THE FUCK DOES EVERYBODY IN THAT MOVIE HAVE A BRITISH ACCENT? THE MOVIE WASN'T EVEN MADE BY A BRITISH COMPANY! IN FACT, IT WAS A GERMAN COMPANY! I MEAN, WHAT THE HECK WERE YOU THINKING?
Oh wait, I know: British accents are hot, and so is Ralph Fiennes, and German accents are not, and subtitles aren't either, and that's how we're going to get people to watch a movie about some German guy who is partly famous for introducing very crude and colourful sayings into the German language and farting a lot. No, I am not kidding- Martin Luther was not a dignified hottie by today's standards.
As for a peer group, I'll take council over church any day. At least most of the people there don't have creepily blissful smiles on their faces and raise their arms to the ceiling while singing the UofA cheer song.