Here’s The Project:
I plan to visit all churches in my immediate area of any Christian variety. I will visit each church just once (for now) doing just one church per Sunday as I am able. I’ve decided to restrict myself to services on Sunday morning as those at other times can sometimes have a slightly different aim, and also because Sunday morning is generally the easiest time for me to attend. I will work outwards from my house starting with the church closest to me and ending with the farthest church, in distance order as well as I can figure. At this time I’m limiting my outward spiral to a ten mile radius (so far my calculations suggest this will take over a year, perhaps over two). After that I will decide how to proceed, if I still want to. I won’t leave any church out, even if I’ve been to it before. Repeats will occur only if I feel there is more to see at a particular church that I cannot obtain conveniently some other time.* I will record my immpressions from the visits on paper and later in this blog. This will be an overview of the faith communities in my area. It is not meant to be a review of each church, because I do not think a single visit would be enough to properly judge the merits or problems of a particular church.
I’ve been depressed for some time regarding my lack of spiritual connection with others. I’m not currently attending a church, something I may or may not explain later. At times I’ve tried searching for a ‘spiritual home’, but with my changing views and the swapping of pastors that happens in every church I’ve ever been to, I’m starting to wonder if that’s something I could realistically find.
Maybe the answer is more dynamic than that. Perhaps I don’t need to limit myself with a connection to just one church when it’s possible to connect with several. I don’t expect a project like this to find me a spiritual home. I guess I really think my spiritual home is inside me. But this project may give me more of what I crave: connection with faith that involves other people. Or, it could just inform me about the communities in my area without anything deeper happening for me. I’m not sure what to expect, and I know I’m potentially exposing myself to some really unfamiliar territory, which is scary. But I’m going to give it a try. If it works well I’d like to devote a blog specifically to this journey and even open it up to comments from anyone interested. (PS: this is that blog! exciting right?)
If there is a choice, I plan to attend the later service on Sunday, mostly because I work a second shift job and do not get to bed until late.
I will wear comfortable clothing that is not particularly dressy. I think that if any church has a real problem with me dressed casually, they don’t want me, just my clothes, and I’m not down with that. I don’t anticipate a problem with this. I hope I’m not surprised.
I will not give anything to the offering at each church. I thought about this for a while, but finally made up my mind because: 1) I donate money outside of church to causes I feel are worthwhile. 2) Some churches do not expect money from those who aren’t regular members. 3) I have no way of knowing how much the church might expect or need or what percentage goes to fund what. I would want to give an appropriate amount and the mental stuff I’d have to do to decide on a case by case basis is already hurting my brain. and 4) As with the clothing thing, I’d want to think the members of each church would welcome me regardless of how much money I might bring in with me.
Updated in part 1/6/12
Updated again 4/14/12*