Check out this sign, attached to a quaint, white church-type building in downtown Encinitas, CA. Encinitas is the New Age capital of the universe; just about every other downtown area business is a an aura repair place, or a harmonic balance restorer, or chakra adjustment center. While-U-Wait Crystal Buffing While-U-Wait. Drive-through cosmic alignment. All that sort of thing. It’s pretty amazing.
So the Chapel of Awareness Spiritual Church is definitely right at home in downtown Encinitas.
If you can’t read the text at the bottom of the top part of the window, it says, “LEARN ABOUT KARMA, AURAS, HEALING, EVOLUTION & MORE.” Evolution! And more!
Could I make this up?
Now, to be clear: I know a lot of deeply compassionate, thoughtful, intellectually disciplined, highly moral New Agers. My best friend, actually, is a Universal Unitarian, and you can’t get any New Agier than that if you changed your name to Guru Humakosmictuneinyerpants. My reason for showing the sign is just to share it with people who might live in normal parts of the country, and to note how stuck the people who run this place are/were with the word “church.”
I figure they couldn’t have wanted to use that word, right? Because it so instantly connotes Christianity. But what other word could they use? What were they going to call their place, Chapel of Awareness Spiritual Place? Chapel of Awareness Spiritual Building That Looks Just Like a Regular Church But Isn’t?
Oh, wait. Duh. Center.
Why didn’t they call it Chapel of Awareness Spiritual Center? Why did they use the word church?
Ah. I just went to look at their website (!), and there discovered that they’re a “California Non-Profit Religious and Educational Corporation.”
Which I think clears up the mystery of why they’d want to be known as a “church.” And also why they make a point of how they teach evolution—which seemed super-weird.
Well: America! You gotta love it. Or at least try not to let it drive you too crazy.