Churches and Religion
There is a church for everyone in the US. Even for non-Christian
folks, there are choices. And, the Constitution guarantees
all of us the right to worship in any manner we choose,
including the right to NOT worship! (For our
Now, before everyone goes nutso, let me say that I am indeed
a Christian (of the Protestant variety, if you must know),
and I attend church on a very regular basis. However, I am
not one of those Christians that thinks that
Christianity is the ONLY way to worship God. Christianity
is right for me, but other people come from other traditions,
and far be it for me to spit on those traditions. Likewise,
I expect that others who are different from me will respect
my right to worship as I choose. Also, people are
in various places in this journey we call life, and their
undersatnding of God is not my understanding of God, and
that's OK, too.
I believe that the Christian Church has the obligation
to speak out about social justice issues. If no one speaks
out about an issue, how will those in power know what we
think? Now, those in power may not care, or may be reluctant
to do anything about whatever the issue is, but that
is on their head. It is upon our head to speak
out about what we believe to be right or wrong. I truly
believe that is part of being a Christian. If you think I
am wrong, maybe I am! But before you decide, go re-read the
New Testament, especially the Gospels.
In our modern era, "church" can take many forms. There is
the traditional church, in a building specially designated
for that purpose. This is usually associated with a
particular Christian "denomination". There are churches
that are very insular, which also tend to be very
conservative, such as the Mormons or certain off-shoots of
the _______. In the case of the latter, women and girls
are required to wear dresses and keep their hair long; and
no makeup or jewelry may be worn, without risking censure
by the congregation. Some churches meet in any space they
can rent, such as a Masonic Hall, and some churches meet
in homes. Each has a different feel, and pros and cons.
There really is no "right" way to worship God, as long as
you are sincere in your beliefs and the way you live them.
I'm going to take a moment here to comment on the Amish.
Even though the culture of the US is a direct decendent of many
European cultures, Europe is culturally a very different place
from the US. And the history - Lisbon (Portugal), and it's history
as a trading center; Seville (Spain), with it's Arabic-influenced
spires and carved facades; and Berlin (Germany), with it's
involvement in World War I and II, as well as the long, facinating
history of the Germanic Tribes. And these are just a few of the
European locales which are steeped in history.
It is a sad but true fact that the average American worker gets
11.37 days a year of paid vacation time. Use some of that time to
explore our cultural cousin, Europe.