One Year in Your Religion

path_of_one

Embracing the Mystery
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I was reading "The Year of Living Biblically" and began to wonder how much a person could learn about another religion in a single year if they acted as an average devout member. I've long been interested in comparative religion and have taken lots of college courses on various religions, done a lot of reading, and of course yapped here for a few years. But none of that gets into the experiential, practical end of religion. That is, especially because I'm an anthropologist, I am interested in what it is like to be in this or that religion. What do people do? How do they feel doing it? How does what you do influence your worldview? Stuff like that.

I had this crazy idea that it would be fun, exhilerating, exhausting, and stressful... but ultimately potentially very enlightening, to participate in each of the major religious systems for one year. Read the scriptures/teachings, participate with a congregation, go to study sessions. But unlike the usual anthropological approach, to do not so much theoretical analysis as open learning. Just... what would I learn? And how would it compare with what I am used to? What might I find that united people? That divided them? Brought out the best and worst in us?

So... whether I go through with it or not (it would, after all, take 6 years just to cover the five major world religions and Paganism)...

What would someone be likely to do, feel, and see in one year of your religion?

Do you believe someone could learn something valuable from a year in your religion, even if they weren't signing up to be in it permanently?

Would your religious community (church, mosque, synagogue, sangha, coven, or what have you) be offended by such a journey, or welcome it? Why? What would be the appropriate way to approach your religion if I wanted to hang out with you for a year?

Would you want to grab my hand and walk along that path with me for a year, or would you think it pointless unless I was a "real" convert from the beginning? Would you be hoping you won me over, hoping I came away with something meaningful, or totally indifferent to the process?

Is there anything you'd want from me, the religious "rolling stone"?

ETA: Yeah, I know I've spent time in lots of Christian churches, but if you are Christian and are willing to answer, humor me anyway for the sake of conversation. Perhaps tell me the specifics about your denomination and church- they're all so different. Pretend this is coming from someone unfamiliar with Christianity outside of college classes...
 
Hi,

A year is really nothing, try living God's will for a lifetime, whose day is our year and whose year is a lifetime.

Also, try reading Reginald A. Ray, Ph.D 'Touching Enlightenment'. Oh my and your and our Gods, or God, I love that book, so, so, so deeps, or deep. ;)
 
Would you want to grab my hand and walk along that path with me for a year, or would you think it pointless unless I was a "real" convert from the beginning? Would you be hoping you won me over, hoping I came away with something meaningful, or totally indifferent to the process?

Why I'd be happy to hold (grabbing is so crass) your hand to walk the path with you for a year. I wouldn't be totally indifferent to the process, as your well-being would be my concern. However, your decision as to which religion you'd follow would not affect my feelings. People come in a rainbow of fruity flavors and your choice is an indication of which religion is right for you, not which religion is right.
 
A few more fantastic authors are Mark Epstein, Sharon Salzberg, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Joseph Campbell, and, um, that should get ya onto the path pretty quick, if a year is all you have and you read everything these authors wrote, if you have more time I'll write down like 7 or so more, authors. You might be a fast reader, and awakener.

There's a herd of deer out back I have to watch
 
A few more fantastic authors are Mark Epstein, Sharon Salzberg, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Joseph Campbell, and, um, that should get ya onto the path pretty quick, if a year is all you have and you read everything these authors wrote, if you have more time I'll write down like 7 or so more, authors. You might be a fast reader, and awakener.

There's a herd of deer out back I have to watch
Namaste Wb,

great authors but I think poo's concept would be quite interesting...

I never dedicated the year, but I tood some trips to variousl beliefs over the years. I've often considered something along your lines, but still never considered a year. Currently I am so much in bliss where I am I couldn't hardly consider to break myself away.

Now if you were to spend a year in my church...from our discussions over time I'd say we'd be a few percent off of where you are....ie you'd find yourself quite at home.

I do have a friend, since I've known him he has gone, and when I say gone I mean head over heals full blown preaching from the rooftops into a number of things...an evangelical, then an atheist, then a satanist, then a born again bible thumper, and now a jew. (did I say he was at one time a virulent antisemite?) His kids are homeschooled in conjunction with an orthodox hebrew school. Oh and before I knew him he was raised lutheran, and must've been hindu for a while as he married an Indian gal...

btw I don't see how he has gained much...he denies completely his past level of commitment to his various incarnations.
 
Oh, wil,

Have your friend read Ernest Becker 'Escape from Evil', Thom Hartmann 'The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight, and John Welwood "Toward a Psychology of Awakening'... oooh that was a good read. ;)
 
Caroline Myss has a web site where she offers hours and hours, and hours of free instruction in spirituality/enlightenment. There is a section of guest lecturers one a native American somewhere in the desert southwest, where he essentially lives alone pursuing a dedicated life close to nature/god. He was dynamic, original.
 
Oh, wil,

Have your friend read Ernest Becker 'Escape from Evil', Thom Hartmann 'The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight, and John Welwood "Toward a Psychology of Awakening'... oooh that was a good read. ;)

There is a book called the Bible which is also a good read.
 
And then there are always the Gnostic Gospels to balance things off well. :D

It always happens. I go away to work and while I'm gone Will be starts talking in complete sentences.

I hate missing those special moments.
 
So... Citizenzen would hang out with me and walk along with me. So would Wil, but cautions I shouldn't incarnate too many times. LOL No worries on that front, I would think. I've studied other religions for so many years I've already asked myself "am I X, Y, or Z?" and concluded that thus far, I am nothing, everything, a little in between.

I'm more interested in getting the feel of different religions and how they impact me if I'm self-reflective through the process. It's the little things- like how since I moved to Seattle I have been covered more or less head to toe with clothing (2 years now) and on the one nice day last week when I finally got out the shorts and cami, I felt exposed. I wonder how exposed this southern California girl, someone used to bikinis and mini skirts in the land of sun, would feel after a year fo wearing hijab. Stuff like that.

Other than that, seems like I have a long list of reading from Will be (but I'm really looking for more- I've already studied religion for over 10 years and read a lot)...

Nick A apparently suggests the Bible, but I've been reading that since I learned to read. So I guess I can check that one off the list... :)
 
Path on one wrote:

What would someone be likely to do, feel, and see in one year of your religion?

My comment:

Well Baha'is use a different calendar through out the year with each month and day named after an attribute of God.. also there are nine Holy Days scattered over the year. One of the months involves a nineteen day fast from sunrise to sunset.

Also each day involves special obligatory prayers. So the Baha'i year would probably be an experience.

Path wrote:

Do you believe someone could learn something valuable from a year in your religion, even if they weren't signing up to be in it permanently?

My comment:

I think being involved in the Baha'i community for a year could be of interest as there are social principles that are somewhat unique to our community including race unity, equality of men and women and being non-partisan, accepting other religions and participating in inter-faith work could also be of interest. Also we have no professional clergy.

Path wrote:

Would your religious community (church, mosque, synagogue, sangha, coven, or what have you) be offended by such a journey, or welcome it? Why? What would be the appropriate way to approach your religion if I wanted to hang out with you for a year?

My reply:

Baha'i communities are scattered pretty widely and are always open for people to inquire or participate in our devotional meetings and public meetings.. All you need do is contact the local Baha'is or the nearest community. If you live in the US call 1-800-22-UNITE.

- Art


 
Hi Path —
I was reading "The Year of Living Biblically" and began to wonder how much a person could learn about another religion in a single year if they acted as an average devout member.
In Catholicism this would mean following the Liturgical Year, which actually runs on a three-year cycle of readings ... but one year would suffice.

But none of that gets into the experiential, practical end of religion. That is, especially because I'm an anthropologist, I am interested in what it is like to be in this or that religion. What do people do? How do they feel doing it? How does what you do influence your worldview? Stuff like that.
Can't do it ... what you're talking about is conversion. In reality you'd be going through the motions, but there'd be no metanoia, no change of heart, so as far as experience goes, the closest you'd get is talking to those who do it.

You would not be able to participate in the Sacramental Life of the Catholic, for example ... and that is what it's all about.

I had this crazy idea that it would be fun, exhilerating, exhausting, and stressful... but ultimately potentially very enlightening, to participate in each of the major religious systems for one year.
Depends on you, I suppose ...

Just... what would I learn? And how would it compare with what I am used to?
My mum knows a couple, she's Catholic, he's not. They're not young, and he often comes and sits in Church with his wife, but that's as far as it goes ... then, one day ... he decides to become a Catholic. Everyone, including his wife, was gob-smacked. Mum asked him what had happened? Nothing, he replied. Then why now? He shrugged ... it was the right time, was all he offered.

There's some things you'll never be able to fathom.

What would someone be likely to do, feel, and see in one year of your religion?
Everyone would tell you something different.

Do you believe someone could learn something valuable from a year in your religion, even if they weren't signing up to be in it permanently?
Impossible to say ... from the story above, it's possible to attend for years, and nothing happen at all.

Would your religious community (church, mosque, synagogue, sangha, coven, or what have you) be offended by such a journey, or welcome it? Why? What would be the appropriate way to approach your religion if I wanted to hang out with you for a year?
You'd be welcome.

Midnight Mass on Christmas Day, there are a significant number of visitors, and the celebrant makes a point of welcoming them. Many participate in the Eucharist, which is of course somewhat offensive to Catholics, but we do not police who comes up (I only know of one occasion in my experience when someone was refused the Eucharist, and that was a non-Catholic who'd signed on to my degree course).

I have watched those who leave the altar giggling, treating the whole thing as a joke, and also watched those who have palmed the Eucharist, which can be somewhat more disturbing.

All that would be required, I reckon, is to inform the Parish priest, and maybe have someone as a 'reference point' for questions?

On my course, we asked a priest to celebrate the Mass according to the Old Rite (pre 1963) — the Liturgy as it has been professed for over a millenia, all in Latin, etc. etc. Some Catholics have never seen it, but those with a sense of symbolism respond positively ... the Church in the UK is generally against it, as it's a lot more involved, and the priest would have to learn how to do it, etc.

The argument is that it makes the Mass inaccessible, which seems something of a nonsense as it was sufficient for Christianity for hundreds of years ... to me it all smacks of the 'dumbing down' of culture, and the need to make everything instantly gratifying ... perish the thought that a sacred Rite should require any effort on ther part of those involved.

Would you want to grab my hand and walk along that path with me for a year ...
Gladly.

or would you think it pointless unless I was a "real" convert from the beginning?
Nope. 'Real converts' can be a bit of a pain for the ol' cradle types ... I mean, so earnest, chill, bro'! Gimme a break! :eek:

Would you be hoping you won me over, hoping I came away with something meaningful, or totally indifferent to the process?
I'd hope you get to know Him a little better.

Is there anything you'd want from me, the religious "rolling stone"?
An open mind?

Thomas
 
Karma is a big word. Forget about any thoughts of disconnection from God/god\gods (every day one is born again, it is what you eat, breathe, think that matters), or needed effort to become reconnected, because it's already there as being karmic, the karmic connection. With each person we meet, we have met before, (we individually make strangers of others, even our emotions), in how we see other people, doesn't have to even be an interaction. It's a flow, Eckhart Tolle, 'The Power Of Now'.

Ok, some things I do to reconnect with creating "good" karma is, are, talk less, eat less junk food, invest more compassion with thoughts which contain anger, growing a beard, turn off unnecessary lights, cut out all alcohol, and... not think so much, less worry.
 
Like playing with the Bahai, one can get a little of various religions by playing with the Sufi Dances of Universal Peace...

But again, that would be spending a year with the Bahai, or a year with the Sufi...not quite the same as what you are proposing...

Sort of like reading the book, but not getting the full experience...

Now if you spent the time as proposed...

You'd have one heck of a book in 12 years...
 
Like playing with the Bahai, one can get a little of various religions by playing with the Sufi Dances of Universal Peace...

But again, that would be spending a year with the Bahai, or a year with the Sufi...not quite the same as what you are proposing...

Sort of like reading the book, but not getting the full experience...

Now if you spent the time as proposed...

You'd have one heck of a book in 12 years...

And one helluva a target market.... $K-ching!!
 
Oh, wil,

Have your friend read Ernest Becker 'Escape from Evil', Thom Hartmann 'The Last Hours Of Ancient Sunlight, and John Welwood "Toward a Psychology of Awakening'... oooh that was a good read. ;)

I just finished The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. Absolutely devastating! I ordered The Birth and Death of Meaning and Escape From Evil from Amazon.

Chris
 
Like playing with the Bahai, one can get a little of various religions by playing with the Sufi Dances of Universal Peace...

But again, that would be spending a year with the Bahai, or a year with the Sufi...not quite the same as what you are proposing...

Sort of like reading the book, but not getting the full experience...

Now if you spent the time as proposed...

You'd have one heck of a book in 12 years...

I don't think the book would be that different to any other book in size if the dogmatics bits were cut out.
 
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