The most dreaded words in the Churbuck lexicon are: “Everybody get on your feet and put your hands together.” I am an unwilling, stolid, and confused participant in most group activities.
From square-dancing to collegiate acapella singing groups – David Churbuck is not your man. I dislike physical contact with strangers, am an awkward wooden hugger, air-kiss Europeans like a head injury victim, and get embarrassed by physical therapy sessions and trips to the chiropractor. I am, in short, the perfect repressed WASP who is content to let others sing and dance and who is happy to suffer in silence rather than submit to the sketchy intimacy of a massage or the group conviviality of line dancing.
My wife and children know this, and love to torment me in volunteering me for trips to the stage to be sawn in half by the magician. I have a severe autonomic physical reaction to this stress – a sort of perspiring performance anxiety – which escalates the more I am exhorted to sing, which I am reluctant to do as my only comfortable singing voice in somewhere in the key of Kermit the Frog.
Being an intrepid liturgical explorer, I woke early this morning in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood and decided to knock off this week’s church visit by simply going to the closest church in the neighborhood. Hence today was my first walk-to-church experience, one I am most grateful for because it underscores the founding question behind this project: I wonder what goes on inside of that place on any given Sunday?