I’m a religiously curious person. While I had some loose upbringings in the Mexican Catholic tradition, ended up at an Episcopal High School in South Texas and have certainly felt the presence of God (that’s a story for another time), I am totally institutionally undecided in every way.
There are a whole bunch of unaffiliated people in the world these days and sometimes I think it can feel overwhelming to even begin looking for a place to go to worship. So, I had an idea. I decided I’d go to several places of worship, each unique in their history, settings, attendees and practices. Maybe these visits would help me discern unique differences between communities.
Religion is a touchy subject for most people. Because of its touchiness, though, we often don’t have the right information about what a religion believes or why we should go to a certain place to worship or.
I study religion every day. It is my honest-to-(insert deity) passion. As a religious studies major, I am connected with a lot of people who are world-class experts who know about everything from modern-day Catholicism to the history of Judaism. I certainly don’t know everything, but I know a lot of teachers, friends and family members — religious, non-religious, scholarly and lay — who know a lot. They say it takes a village to raise a child.
I have no evangelizing mission here. I’m not trying to convert anyone to anything. This project can be a space for informed interreligious dialogue or interesting interfaith dialogues. I’m not looking for anything in particular, except simply hoping to share my experience so that others might make experiences of their own.
As I begin to explore places of worship each week, here are my promises. I’ll give you facts about the tradition and an honest account of my experience in the best way I can. I will not walk into a tradition that I didn’t grow up around and attempt to report about it without consulting someone who is a member of that tradition and having an earnest conversation about how I can best represent that faith. I will report with goodwill, doing my best to be aware of any bias I (no doubt) hold. And, above all, I will remain respectful, lighthearted and humorous about the prospect of finding a tradition I can cling to.
This is for the person that went to church growing up but hasn’t been since moving to college. This is for the person who’s never been to church/synagogue/mosque/temple/etc. and doesn’t know where to start. This is for the queer, outcast, non-affiliated, unsure, hurt-by-religion reader.
If you’re interested, read on. If not, that’s okay too. If you hate me, oh well. If I misrepresent you or your tradition, please let me know. I’m going to do my best and I’d like your help. If you have any suggestions of places of worship I should visit, or faith communities I can look into, let me know using this form.