15
   

Please tell me about the visitor policy at your place of worship.

 
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 03:58 am
@boomerang,
I think u shud take him to the annual convention www.IANDS.org
of the International Association of Near Death Studies
Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
http://www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1094778
and have him converse with people who have returned from death
in hospitals concerning what thay experienced & observed,
while thay were out of their human bodies.
Its usually very upbeat, cheerful reassuring and optimistic.
Kind of inspiring, too

Thay also have some very respected medical authorities there,
who have been studying the fenomenon.
I found it interesting.
Dress is informal; it lasts about 2 or 3 days.
U shud probably register for the convention b4 u go.
Does Mo like lectures ?





David

0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 06:37 am
If you're up to a trip across the pond you might want to vist Glastonbury. There's more religions there than anywhere else.

Quote:
A few years ago, a manifesto from a group describing themselves as the Unitarian Jihad appeared on the internet:


"There is only one God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favour of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary … "


The Unitarian Jihad is, of course, a spoof, but academia is increasingly starting to look at religious practices that go right – like the example above, bending over backwards to accommodate other faiths – rather than those that go wrong. In this context, "wrong" refers to things like terrorist offences, Northern Ireland and the more egregious forms of the southern Baptist denomination. "Right" is a little harder to pin down, but Glastonbury, where I live, is increasingly coming under the scrutiny of academia.

We have a lot of sacred sites here: the Chalice Well, the abbey, the tor, the Holy Thorn tree (prior to its guerrilla pruning), and the Glastonbury Zodiac. All of these have something in common – an extremely nebulous ontological role. Relatively few people (at least those with any sense) claim that Katherine Maltwood's landscape zodiac is objectively real, for example: it's a subjective interpretation of field boundaries and streams. The "labyrinth" around the tor is almost certainly a medieval field system. The Chalice Well and the White Spring were just that – water sources, and there's no evidence for any ancient pagan priesthood, still less priestesshood. King Arthur's bones are almost certainly not buried in the abbey grounds.

But what we are now seeing here is the use of all these sacred sites by different groups. Christians and pagans, Buddhists and new-agers all flock to the well, the tor and to the abbey. Each of them gleans a different meaning from the same phenomenon.

These places are multivalent, like a kaleidoscope that shifts when you turn it. Christians focus on Joseph of Arimathea and the Grail. Pagans focus on the goddess and the Arthurian mythos. Christians see an ancient seat of Christianity; pagans see an ancient seat of paganism (with rather less historical justification, but we're talking about belief here).

That in itself is interesting, but what is intriguing to academics is the relative lack of acrimony. These are "contested" spaces in that different groups lay claim to them, but it's less a fierce struggle for theological supremacy and more of an "after you/no, after you" dialogue. It's very British. There's none of the venom that attends contested sites such as the Wailing Wall. That's not to say that everyone is running around like Down with Skool's Fotherington-Thomas, bleating "Hullo trees" and hugging one other; it's more a case of politely ignoring other people.

This is partly due to the positive approach taken by the churches in Glastonbury and to those members of the pagan and other communities who regard diversity and tolerance as a necessity rather than as weakness of character. Increasingly, we're under the lens of academia to try to understand why this should be, but a fundamental belief in other people's right to practise their religion as they see fit, as long as that doesn't interfere with oneself, seems to be part of it. There isn't, as far as I know, a huge amount of dialogue between the various groups, but more of a belief in getting on with one's own thing, whatever that is, and leaving other people alone.

One might claim that the "multiverse" use of sacred space in certain modern pilgrimage sites is less a reflection of an increasingly pluralistic society and more of a case of not having enough room.

But Glastonbury isn't the only place where this happens. I once came across a building in Kazan, Russia, which was a mosque on Fridays and a church on Sundays. Everyone seemed happy with this arrangement, although you do wonder whether there were rows about using one another's mugs, for instance. I spoke to a researcher last week who commented on the blandness of current prayer rooms in airports, and he questioned whether this was really the way to go. Perhaps it's best to let people who demonstrate a mutual goodwill (rather than the fundamentalists of whatever persuasion) to just get on with it. In Glastonbury, at least, it seems to be working. The Unitarian Jihad would be proud.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/oct/17/glastonbury-shared-sacred-spaces

http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/sevenwonders/west/i/glastonbury302.jpg

There's also Wilkins Cider Farm in nearby Mudgley.

http://www.cephas.com/ImageThumbs/1225152/3/1225152_Workers_at_Wilkins_Cider_relax_and_enjoy_a_glass_of_cider_with_Roger_Wilkins__Landsend_Farm_Mudgley_.jpg
boomerang
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 07:31 am
The Unitarian church seems like the obvious place to begin and I'll probably try to steer Mo in that direction. I always enjoyed my visits there. I went Sufi dancing in their basement a lot and I remember a sort of sing along service -- lots of Cat Stevens and Joni Mitchell -- that they had one night a week.

Thanks, Roberta, I'll keep that in mind. I don't want to take him somewhere that will baffle him and/or make him or the congregation uncomfortable.

That sounds like an interesting seminar, David, but I don't think it's for Mo. He hates lectures. At this point I'm only willing to drive across town to indulge his curiosity about religion.

Unless maybe its a trip to Glastonbury!

This is an interesting thought:

Quote:

One might claim that the "multiverse" use of sacred space in certain modern pilgrimage sites is less a reflection of an increasingly pluralistic society and more of a case of not having enough room.


I'm going to chew on that a bit, along with Setanta's thoughts on church leadership.....
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 07:39 am
@boomerang,
Definitely agree re: church leadership vs. religion/ denomination. I've been to three Lutheran churches that were all quite different from each other, about four Catholic churches that were different from each other, several temples/ synagogues, all different, etc.

I do think Unitarians are more uniform in their "come one, come all" approach.

As a separate thing, I think there is generally a difference between how a new member is approached vs. how a visitor -- who doesn't actually intend to start attending that church -- is approached.

My worst experiences have been when I was expected to be there because I was likely to start attending that church, and then was discovered to be there just because I was interested. I didn't usually lead with that, but I didn't feel comfortable lying, either, if I was asked point-blank (which happened). This wasn't always an issue, but when I had less-than-welcoming experiences, it was often related to that.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 07:43 am
@boomerang,
I go to Glastonbury about 4-5 times a year. It's great, and there's no shortage of characters.

http://www.nexusalpha.com/glastonbury_images/13%20Glastonbury%20Blog%202010%20Plate%20Collection%2001-00pm.jpg
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 09:17 am
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
That sounds like an interesting seminar, David,
but I don't think it's for Mo. He hates lectures.
At this point I'm only willing to drive across town
to indulge his curiosity about religion.
Yes.
Well, in the alternative, for a more convenient n comfortable source
of direct n personal information (as distinct from book-learning)
u and Mo can see what people have said of their experiences
( I don't consider them to be lecturing ) when thay got
knocked out of their human bodies for a while,
what thay saw and discussed n what happened,
before thay got back inside and returned to human life in hospitals.

Here 's a link, to watch on-line for free:
http://www.biography.com/tv/i-survived-beyond-and-back/

The upshot of it is ( or part of the upshot of it) is
that at the end of our human lives,
we each judge our incarnate life by 2 criteria:

1. Love

and

2. learning

and there is no dying, no loss of consciousness:
its only molting and it feels good, like an out-of-body-experience.





David
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 11:02 am
@izzythepush,
I always loved the story of the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley, CA. At one point in the 1970s, it moved to the neighboring town of Kensington, where the rent was cheaper. But it kept the old name because, as its minister put it, "First Unitarian Church of Kensington would have made for a bad acronym." But I digress. Sorry.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 11:12 am
@boomerang,
As this is a Sunday, i have some advice regarding church visits. Today or tomorrow, contact the minister of the church you wish to visit next, to find out what you will need to know, and to let him/her know you will be coming. He or she might then contact a congregant who can help you when you get there, as well as being the best source on any dress code and the behavior expected of you.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 11:21 am
@Roberta,
Roberta wrote:

Bear in mind that at conservative temples (also orthodox), the men sit on one side and the women on the other. I don't know what's expected of someone Mo's age.


Only the orthodox do the gender segregation thing. I was brought up in conservative temple worship and we all commingled.

At an orthodox synagogue, not only are the genders kept separate, but women do not lead the service, whereas they may in conservative and reform worship. Reform has a lot more English, conservative has less but still quite a bit. Orthodox has very little - it might be dull to just listen to a lot of Hebrew with no translations. There is also a lot of standing. Dunno if people would be expected to participate. But it might generate inquiries (which is fine). The standing is done for reasons of respect.

Going to any synagogue, of any stripe, Mo should keep his head covered. You don't need to be a Jew in order to do that. And that's another area where men and women are treated differently.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 07:10 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:

Do you think we should go to the service at the Temple or should we go for the small service at the Rabbi's house?


I would go to the Rabbi's house. If for no other reason to meet the people who will see me as someone interested in another faith.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  0  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 07:17 pm
All I need to utilize my house of worship is my public library card. That is my house of worship. I guess I worship the God of Literacy.
0 Replies
 
IRFRANK
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Jul, 2012 10:05 pm
One afternoon at our Buddhist temple (not a fancy temple, just a room with a Buddha) during our studies a homeless man wandered in and fell asleep on the couch in the waiting room. Afterward he woke up and shared our snacks and drinks. We all listened to his stories and welcomed him back. He was welcome to hang around as much as he wanted. No we wouldn't let him stay the night. We aren't a shelter and some of our members (ladies) sleep there in an apartment next door. No, we didn't try to convert him either.

Visitors are welcome anytime. Just remove your shoes before entering the room for our meditation. Ask questions, anything you want.

Our nun holds meetings and talks at several places throughout the state. There are a lot of non-buddhists who attend.

There are a lot of buddhist centers around the country. Try the internet.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jul, 2012 01:18 am
@jespah,
The last time I went to temple (a long time ago), it was conservative, and there were separate sections for men and women. Changing times? Different practices in different places? Dunno.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jul, 2012 03:29 pm
@boomerang,
Are people welcome off the street? Yes - visitors are encouraged

What should they know before wandering in? Nothing that I can think of - although it is a conservative church, everyone is friendly

Is it dress up or casual? both - I went last week in shorts and flip flops - in non-summer there is both a more formal and casual service (although they wouldn't throw you out if you were dressed casually in the formal service)

How long does the service last? about an hour

Are visitors expected to participate in any ritual? it would be nice, but there is no expectation; the one thing though is it would seem odd if during the greet one another you didn't say anything or shake someone's hand when they greet you - besides that I don't think that other people are watching how others act

Should they sit in the back, quietly, without participating? Sit where ever there is an available seat or where you feel comfortable - although I wouldn't suggest you make loud noises or distract others.

What should one expect? lots of music and singing at the beginning; sometimes standing when singing/reading Bible verses (you can participate if you want by standing or singing or not - no one will give you the evil eyes); usually some entertaining stories - the minister tries to make the sermon applicable to every day life, by giving examples oftens of own experience; I'd bring crayons for the kids especially in the summer where there is no kids church; communion the last Sunday of the month - which you do not have to participate; people often arrive late

Should we call in advance? No - not unless you have any questions or want to know the time of service or any details;
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jul, 2012 03:31 pm
@sozobe,
Quote:
I went to one church (Baptist, I think) that definitely would frown on anyone just stopping by.


funny I go to a Baptist church and they regularly get new visitors - they even welcome you to fill out a card and visit the visitor center afterwards if you want. I've never heard at any church - I've been to several where they don't seem happy to see a new face.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jul, 2012 03:33 pm
@boomerang,
I wonder if some of the different reactions are as much as the local culture as the religion.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jul, 2012 03:35 pm
@boomerang,
I'd ask the rabbi if you could. To be honest whatever your beliefs, I cannot imagine a place of worship (unless it was really a cult) not welcoming anyone as long as those attending are respectful.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Jul, 2012 06:02 pm
Thanks, all, for your replies.

I've really been thinking a lot about when my disconnect happened -- when I stopped feeling like I could just walk in and observe, that I was welcome to explore.

I always went along with friends so maybe that's what made me feel so welcome.....

Or maybe they just welcomed people.....

Maybe it just seems that things are so polarized around religion right now but I was exploring back in the 60s and 70s and surely it was polarized then. Maybe even more than today. But maybe not as viciously. But then again, maybe it was even more vicious.

I don't know. Who here remembers? Fill me in.

Anyway, I don't remember anyone trying to "save" me back then. The only time I've been invited to church with someone since I moved to Oregon (almost 20 years ago) it turned out to be kind of a tricky "save someone" sort of deal and I was kind of pissed about it.

And there was the time that the wee evangelicals told Mo he was going to roast in the fiery furnace of hell because he didn't believe in Jesus....

Maybe I just don't feel welcome in Oregon churches......
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jul, 2012 10:13 pm
@boomerang,
How did Mo begin to take an interest in this ?
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Jul, 2012 05:51 am
@Roberta,
I dunno. I didn't see separation of men and women when I was a kid unless I went to my grandmother's temple - she was Orthodox. I am definitely recalling commingling in the late 60s at a conservative temple. Perhaps it was a function of the times, too.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
Copyright © 2024 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.06 seconds on 04/24/2024 at 12:56:15