The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Stephanie Pearson: A time to experiment

I've been doing the Lutheran thing for so long," says Stephanie Pearson, "that I felt it was time for me to see if there is another expression that might better fit my needs."

Since returning to Santa Fe, N.M., almost two years ago (after three years in Minnesota and a divorce after six years of marriage), Stephanie, 32, has been exploring her spirituality and involvement with religion in ways other than belonging to a Lutheran congregation. "I'm doing the hippie-dippie thing and experimenting with Buddhism and meditation and other ways to reach my spiritual core," she says.

What gets her down now about religion, she says, is "the whole premise that you're striving for infinite goodness" and feeling as if no matter how committed she was to a church, she could always commit more. Stephanie's schedule as a magazine editor is quite busy, with late nights, so occasional Sunday attendance is about as much as she can offer. "I'll give what I can, but I can't feel pressured to do more than I have time for or I'll begin to resent it," she says.

Neither of her city's two ELCA congregations fits her personality or ideals. So in addition to her spiritual experimentations, Stephanie worships twice a month with Unity, a nondenominational congregation that understands her commitment limits. She says she likes Unity because it sticks to the basic tenets of Christianity, lacks dogma, blends traditions and welcomes the alternative ways of life of the people in the community.

Stephanie hasn't ruled out returning to a Lutheran church — in fact, she sometimes misses the liturgy — but for now, "no pressure" is her mantra, and Unity helps her find inner peace.


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