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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 atheist visitors.)

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. 7055

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