Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Try out 12 new churches, an update

One of my items is to try out 12 new churches. The goal of this is to eventually find a place that I would be comfortable having a regular spiritual practice. I don't really know what I'm looking for in a church which makes it kind of hard. Here are some of my criteria that actually limit the list down pretty rapidly:

  • Okay with gay marriage - this one eliminates a whole heck of a lot right off the bat.
  • Okay with women in the ministry - surprisingly, this one also eliminates a lot (I'm looking at you Presbyterians)
  • Lack of emphasis on music during the service - I hate singing in church and most of the "contemporary" bands just suck
  • Sermons that actually have some substance
  • Has a decent number of people around my own age
  • Mid-sized congregation
I'm sure I have more but those are the main ones that eliminate quite a few churches.

I felt that in doing this item on my list, I should branch out beyond Christianity in order to bring a more well-rounded view to the table. Additionally, it would bring my spiritual beliefs in line with my actions.

Overall, I do not believe in ONE spiritual truth. Think of it this way, try to describe the feeling of hunger. It's somewhat nebulous if the other person didn't implicitly know what it was. Now, translate your description a few hundred times over the course of a couple of thousand years. How well has your description been kept intact?

Now, describing hunger might difficult, but describing God is immeasurably more-so. This is really why I don't think ANY religion has the "truth". I think they all have some things right and some things wrong. Plain and simple, we can't possibly grasp what God is, but I do believe it's important to believe in something.

That being said, I've decided to mainly stick to Christianity but to try out a few different religions as well. Here's my list so far for ones I'm planning on going to and ones I've attended, as well as a grade that I gave them based on my enjoyment. As you can see, there are only 10 on this list, so if you have other suggestions, let me know.

  1. Shadow Lake Church - B+ - Very casual atmosphere. I was impressed with the pastor's response to some of my questions I had in the guest book online.
  2. Stony Brook Church - B - Sister church of Shadow Lake. Nice pastor, nothing too ground breaking.
  3. Country Side Community Church - A- - This is probably my favorite church I've been to in Omaha. Great sermon that day (though now I can't remember the topic), fantastic music, and good demographics of the congregation.
  4. Omaha Zen Center (Buddhist) - A- - Took a 3 hour intro to Zen class here. I could have done a whole post on this (and might in the future). Very interesting and will definitely be developing a meditation practice in the future.
  5. St. Paul's Lutheran - C+ - Ugh, standard boring service. No substance sermon and tired music.
  6. Rejoice! - C+ - same as St. Paul's. Boring.
Planning on Attending
  1. Hindu Temple of Omaha - They provide tours!
  2. Islamic Center of Omaha - I'm quite glad that they have a section on how to behave while visiting on their site. I most definitely would have offended someone otherwise.
  3. Omaha Friends Meeting (Quakers) - I'm actually super nervous about this one. From what I've read, a Quaker service is usually just an hour of potential silence. If you want to speak then you can, but it could just be silent.
  4. Some synagogue - Look! There's more than one in Omaha! I'll have to make a choice. If anyone has suggestions, let me know.


superhusker said...

St Bernard's. Right off of Military Ave and 6th St (I think) 35 minute mass on Sunday 8am.

superhusker said...

64th I mean

Mandy Kubicek said...

This is really interesting! I want to hear more about your zen class.

I guess it's Presbyterian, but my co-worker is really involved in his church. They have a traditional and modern service. Might be of interest. http://cpcomaha.org/connect/worship-times-descriptions/

Matthew Brand said...

Thanks for the church ideas. I'll be sure to check them out.