What is this?
Thank you for asking.
I've spent most of my life towing the line between being an atheist and an agnostic. Growing up, I had no experience with faith. My parents both attended church as children (my mom as a Methodist and my dad as a Baptist), but it wasn't a part of their adult lives and therefore not a part of mine. The only experiences I had with church were incidental - attending a friend's vacation bible school with them or going to church with my aunt during the weeks in the summer I would stay with her. It was something that would make me profoundly uncomfortable. I didn't know how to behave. I wanted to respect it, but I didn't know how. I somehow felt inherently wrong by being there. I wasn't really a Christian, and I didn't understand anything the preacher was trying to tell me. I was there by coincidence. The older I got, the more fake I felt stepping into a church. Eventually, I drew a line in the sand. I was an atheist, don't ask me to go to your church, stop inviting me to your bible study, get off my lawn.
But age and experience have helped me realize I don't know much of anything. Every day life shoves something new at me that makes me question what I am doing, what I believe to be true, and how I live my life. And for every awful thing I have seen or heard of a Christian doing in the name of serving God, I have seen a beautiful act of love or service by someone in the name of the same God.
And so blossomed this question: Can I definitively not be a Christian if I don't know what it is like to be one?
Can I get over my inherent distrust of organized religion? Can I find some kind of faith? Would going to church make me feel like a better person? Would it actually make me a better person? Would I be more compassionate? Or, just the opposite, would attending church for a full year make me more cynical? Would I become angrier?
This year is going to be a journey for me, for better or for worse, and you're invited along with me. The premise: 52 weeks, 52 different churches or religious activities. I'll attend services with friends, family, and alone. I'll write about what I hear and how I feel. I'll confront my hang ups with religion and, hopefully, be able to tell some interesting stories.
Stay tuned, friends.