My name is Chad, if you don't already know that. I'm using this blog to track my 2014 New Year's resolution. My resolution is simple: visit a different church, temple, religious meeting, or spiritual meetup every week in the year 2014 and blog about it. 52 religions in 52 weeks.
1. No criticizing the doctrines of the group. As many of you know, I don't hold any belief in any religious dogma or doctrine. Therefore, going and criticizing such things would simply be childish. I will write about general beliefs if I find them fascinating. Churches' social positions and political leanings are fair game.
2. No duplication of denominations. I want this to be as diverse a group of religious gatherings as I can find. This means I want faiths that are fundamentalist, progressive, high church, low church, traditional, contemporary, etc. This rule doesn't apply to denominations that are distinct from one another in the same faith tradition. For example, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod are both from the Lutheran faith tradition, but in practice are quite different churches.
3. I am to try my best to blend into the congregations and not make a scene. This means keeping my mouth shut, not rolling my eyes, and just observing. I'm there to learn. Respect is key to any true dialogue.
4. Blogs should be up every week 2 times a week. 1 blog should be posted the day I attend just before leaving detailing my research on the religious group I will be attending. Another blog will be posted after attending the service.
Those rules, having been established, let's talk about my first church of 2014: The United Church of Christ (Congregational) in Ogden.
In doing a bit of research on this denomination, I have found that they are a Mainline Protestant church with a very long history. The Church is a union of 2 churches back in 1957: The Evangelical and Reformed Church, and the Congregational Christian Church. These churches themselves were results of previous church mergers among various Congregationalist churches which trace their roots to the Puritans.
Theologically, the group categorizes themselves as Progressive Christians. This means they tend to favor diversity of opinion and religious discussion.
The congregation I'll be attending this morning is literally across the street from my house with an informal (according to their website) worship service at 11. It is the first Sunday of the month, which according to their website, means that it's a communion service today.
I will let you know how this all goes in my next blog.