Google+ Two-Wheeled Tourist: How to make religion fun again - with motorcycles.


How to make religion fun again - with motorcycles.

I've had some interesting run-ins with Christian based motorcycle groups.

One of my favorite stories was my rest stop at Zion Harley-Davidson in Washington, Utah in 2009. I was riding from Los Angeles to Columbus, OH and parked at this dealership to take a break. (When you're a long-distance rider, you learn very quickly that H-D dealerships along interstates are great places of refuge, regardless of what motorcycle you ride!) I was still two hours from my final destination for the night in Salina, UT, and as I got up to leave, a representative from the local Christian Motorcyclist Association chapter stopped me and invited me over for a BBQ they were roasting near the dealership's front entrance. I ended up sticking around for another half hour and chatted it up with other riders about my journeys while filling myself up with a free dinner. My experience was so positive that I even got out of there with H-D dip dot* from that location stuck to my bike's fairing and is still there to this very day.

*NOTE: A dip dot is a small emblem that is placed over a Harley-Davidson motorcycle's oil dipstick cover. Dealerships have their own dip dots that help identify the origin of the bike's sale. Riders have been known to collect these as a reminder of where they've traveled on their bikes. Here's an example (left).

Anyway, the easiest way to make something relevant and motivational to a group of people is to (1) be happy and positive, (2) find a common theme or interest that binds everyone together, and (3) hold activities that brings everyone together. In this case, the draw for this group is the love for two wheels, the chance to ride down the open road with others, and charitable work that benefits others with special needs and/or are less fortunate. When I was growing up, the only church fundraisers in my Catholic parish (which I will not name to save them the embarrassment) I dealt with only benefited the church's maintenance department and paying for some priest's vacation - no joke.

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Saturday Night Biker Blessing event hosted by the GEARS Motorcycle Ministry who are based out of the Grove City Church of the Nazarene.

I'm standing in the worship center in my Aerostitch suit and surrounded by other like-minded motorcyclists in their respective vests, colors, and patches while watching a choir and full-blown concert. And these guys are really into it too!

One of the few places where your church clothes is your riding gear. WIN.
I will admit that I'm not at the point in my life to seek any sort of religious group or return to a regular routine of weekly worship - I'm still suffering from the scars of a decade of deceit and hypocrisy that have separated me from the people who are biologically related to me. However, it is refreshing to know that there are people out there who still use Christianity as a banner of goodwill and charity toward other human beings regardless of their faith (or lack thereof), which Catholicism has failed at miserably over the last several years and still continues to do.

GEARS is one of several motorcycle-based ministries in the Columbus region. Other wonderful groups I have had the opportunity to meet are Leave a Mark Ministries and Sons of Thunder. I recommending checking them out to see what they're about, and at the minimum, meet a few new friends.

If you'd like to continue hearing about my issues with my former "faith" (and aren't easily offended by personal opinion), you can continue clicking below. Otherwise, go out there and make some new friends at a motorcycle ministry.

I spent years on end wondering why I had to sit (and most of the time, sleep) through the mumblings and spikes of incense of a Catholic church only because I couldn't drive my own car. When I was in college, I did make a last attempt to find some sort of meaning to this stuff, but by that time, I was at the point that using the pulpit for political debate and group bashing was getting quite old.

Here are several (of quite a few) reasons why I do not actively practice Catholicism:
1. I cannot be forced to follow something blindly without a valid explanation or reason.
2. I can't stand exclusivity and outright hate of others who are different despite the shallowly preached message of "loving one another," and the Catholic Church is awesome at that.
3. Religion and politics don't mix, EVER. I don't want to be constantly reminded that I'm dammed to hell because of my own personal opinions about lifestyle and health.
4. Not being an asshole doesn't require bureaucracy.
5. When I've been tossed/disowned out of my own family solely because of my personal decision to not marry in the Catholic church because neither me or my husband wanted to do it, that doesn't motivate me much to try to return to this nonsense and apologize for nothing.

I could continue on this rant, but there's no reason. I don't need to say anything for the truth to come out.