Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ON HOME ~ Faithful Options...

I have shared before here that I am not an especially religious Bumble.  I don't belong to any specific place of worship or participate in any one religion's organized gatherings.  It doesn't mean I have no faith - it just means that I do my practicing internally.  I've attended services in a variety of churches and temples throughout the East Coast.  I have been to countless wedding ceremonies spanning a spectrum of beliefs and traditions.  I find them all to be quite interesting.  Catholic services provide the biggest workout.  Lots of standing and sitting and kneeling going on there.  Greek Orthodox especially appreciate the trinity as well as the incense.  Presbyterians in general are less stuffy and ceremonial.  Baptists are the loudest.  Jews tell the best stories in their message.  I haven't encountered any Muslim or Buddhist temples yet.  I look forward to those experiences some day.

All religions have the same basic tenant at their core.  A belief in one guiding message with one wise leader showing its followers the way.  It always amazes me the many different ways the collection of humanity decides to practice their religion.  How two people brought up in one religion can end up interpreting that message in completely opposite ways.  How many wars are fought in the name of faith.  How much money is raised.  How many scandals occur.  How much giving is borne.  How many lessons are taught.  How much pride and confidence is gained.  Religions accept, they banish and they forgive.  The ability to recognize our differing allegiances and support our rights to follow them is what makes me most happy to live in the country that I do.

In this region Catholicism is the majority and not a minority.  But my town of Natick, MA offers many choices in the religious tapestry:
  • Albanian Orthodox
  • Baptist
  • Catholic
  • Christian Scientist
  • Congregational
  • Coptic Orthodox
  • Episcopal
  • Jehovah's Witness
  • Judaism
  • Lutheran
  • Methodist
  • Presbyterian
  • Unitarian
Massachusetts was settled by Puritans with an idea towards the freedom to worship as you saw fit - until of course the settlers decided to become missionaries to all the local Indians instead.  I'm sure that's why there are so many picturesque New England churches dotting our landscape.  Places of worship come in many different shapes and sizes, with any number of faiths displayed on the shingle outside.  Having the ability to pick and choose which one to follow is a great freedom.  Even if it means creating beliefs of your own.

Does your town have a variety of faiths represented?  Have you experienced another religion's way of worship?

5 comments: said...

We have just about every religion represented here that I can think of, including a Mosque. It is right next to one of the banks that I use and while it doesn't look like most of the mosques that I see on TV, it has the most beautifully designed grills over the windows. (I am assuming that they are a moorish design)

Unknown said...

When Roger Williams was booted out of Massachusetts for disagreeing with the Puritan leadership, he founded Providence as a place where everyone could worship as they believed.

Today, Rhode Island is the most Catholic state in the Union, and yet there is a house of worship of one type or other everywhere.

Since we're fans of architecture, we love to walk around, exploring these different buildings. Religion has inspired fantastic feats of architecture.

I've been to a few weddings and services at various types of places of worship, though I don't consider myself very religious either.

Sandy Nawrot said...

We are a melting pot down here...very few people are actually FROM here. So that means we have it all, but the prevailing religion is Baptist. The hubby is Polish, so he is a cradle Catholic, and because I was raised in a household of Christianity celebrated at Xmas, Easter, and when I stayed with grandparents, I converted before I had kids. It has been good for us - strong community, strong faith, good schooling.

kayerj said...

That is one thing I really enjoyed when I visited Boston, the beautiful old churches. Visiting the old North Church was very inspiring when one considers it's role in our nation's beginnings. We also spent some time at the Boston LDS temple while we were there (my faith). I too am grateful to live in a country that supports an atmosphere for so many religions to flourish.

Jenny Girl said...

I'm not very religious or Cathloic anymore so you are in good company.
I have been to a few different services over the years, most recently a Jewish wedding. It seemed like it had more significance, tradition, and meaning than a Catholic wedding. Very personal.
I also like to learn about different faiths and cultures. I should explore attending different services. Thanks for the idea.