So you know what I've been thinking? I've been thinking that I have a ton of time this summer and nothing to do besides lay around and watch MTV True Life (which was basically my entire afternoon today). I need to find something productive to do with my life... something to keep me intellectually stimulated... something to push me outside of my comfort zone... something to give me some good experiences to beef up my resume. I was thinking about doing a project in which I spend the summer church hopping. I want to research and explore all types of faiths, and write about my experiences. I want to hit up my local library, learn about various religions, and visit their respective places of worship. I think it would be a real hootenanny.
I mean think of it. I would like to work with youth and young adults in a parish or campus setting. How the heck am I going to answer questions and give useful insight on perplexing religious issues if all I have is knowledge on our Judeo-Christian heritage? I mean, I know that knowledge is extremely necessary working in a preferably Catholic institution... however, not all youth and young adult are gung-ho about being Catholic. Maybe they *are* exploring other faiths. Maybe they *should* have a positive journey exploring these other faiths. Maybe I should open up my mind a little more. I do believe that it's important to get to know our neighbors. We don't have to agree with them, but we should be in conversation with them. I mean shoot. Jesus didn't just go around and say, "Hey. You're a Jew, right?" That didn't ever seem to be a prerequisite. Hot dog, Jesus just kind of went around and said, "Hey you, tax collector... yeah, let's be friends. No really. Friends. Like come to my house for dinner tonight. Mom's making a mean chicken broccoli casserole. What? You've never had a casserole before? Holy cow. Come over now. See the light." Okay he probably didn't say that exactly but you get the picture, right? I mean, Jesus even talked to the Gentiles. There's even a huge chunk of time where we have no freakin clue what the heck Jesus was doin with his big bad teenage self. Maybe Christopher Moore is onto something in his book "Lamb" when he suggested Jesus was going around learning other religious practices. Or maybe not. I mean you figure the guy is God and should know it all anyway. But I digress.
I do not know it all. I do know that Jesus has this unbelievable (but you better believe it!!!) message of love. He loves us too much to suggest we stay in the same state in which we met him... but he loves us enough to leave that option of change up to us. Jesus obviously got past social norms and loved everyone regardless of who they were or what their social status was. So why can't this love translate over modern boundaries? Why is it that I've been baptized and confirmed Catholic, but I've never been to a synagogue? Why not go to a Muslim mosque? Same God, right? Why not even go be a baptist or pentecostal for a day, and explore non-Catholic theologies? Why not go completely off the beaten path and go to some Hindu temple and observe without necessarily compromising my own beliefs by engaging in worship? Wouldn't that be fun? I mean, I don't want to convert, I don't want to evangelize my own faith. I just want to learn and open up my mind a little more. I want to build positive connections between other religious faiths and not be so ignorant. I want to relate to people better.
So I was thinking... maybe I'll research various places of worship in the general Chicagoland area. Maybe I'll go to some services. Maybe I'll check out my local library. Maybe I'll blog about it. What do you think? Would that be interesting to read? Do you have any comments or suggestions?