So, I was picked up by several forums and other blogs yesterday and overnight last night, and wow, did I get a lot of visits to my blog.
I also got a lot of feedback, and since I promised to respond to respectful messages if I could, I’m going to do that here. There are just too many to respond individually, especially on one particular topic.
Which is this: Boy did you miss the point. (Paraphrased slightly).
Folks have told me that they disagree with my methods, over and over again, because it doesn’t grade the intent of the church. I’ve also been told that going to a church on just one single night, listening to just one sermon won’t give me any insight into that whole faith, nor will it tell me much about that one church.
You’re all right, of course.
But I don’t want to grade a church’s intent. And I don’t want to get a sense of what the faith is all about, and I don’t want to know much about that church.
I want to know what they actually say when they’re saying it.
In the places I’ve been, I’ve always talked with folks before the sermon to let them know that I’m paying particular attention to the message. I don’t always tell them I’m blogging about it, but I do try to convey what it is that I’m listening for. They tend to tell me that those things will be there, and often they aren’t. Then when I point that out, they tell me that I’ve missed the point.
To my way of thinking, it’s the opposite. That’s exactly what makes my point.
As an atheist, skeptic, and “free thinker” kind of guy, I don’t take it on faith that your church is going to be a good place, that encourages people to be good and do good deeds. I mean, I certainly hope it is. But I have to experience it myself before I can make a judgement.
I try to shed any preconceived notions I might have about a place before I go in. That’s really hard, by the way. We humans are a prejudicial lot. Knowing too much about Judaism or Catholicism or Whateverism before I go in could instill in me the very same bias that you yourself are experiencing. And I’m trying to be fair, to the extent that I am able.