I grew up in rural Alberta. The sort of community where my mom once had to sit me down and explain that Catholics were real Christians, and that my friends and their parents were mistaken. But, I haven’t been to church since my early teens.
So visiting Southminster-Steinhauer United Church with four other atheists last Sunday was a bit of a shock to the system. When we arrived, Rev. Charles Bidwell sat down with us to answer questions we had about the church and what to expect. The shock started when he mentioned (within hearing distance of other church members) that he considers himself an atheist Christian. And then went on to explain that within the church, Jesus is considered someone who had some useful things to say, and wasn’t related to God (if there is a god) in any way. I expected that it would be one thing to have that conversation in limited company, but that the gathering (service) and the congregants in general would be more traditionally Christian.