Secular Congregation Visit

Last Wednesday night, I attended my second congregation visit at the Redlands Christian Center. Because I am not a Christian and have never attended a secular church service before, I  was a little anxious and curious to see what it would be like. I had certain expectations set because of the movie we watched in class, “Born Again”, but I wanted to walk in with an open and to fully embrace the people and the atmosphere of the church. When we walked in we were immediately greeted and hugged by two women at the front of the small church. Everyone in the church introduced themselves and immediately told us that we were welcomed anytime. The service started with three songs performed by the pastor, his son, and the two women that greeted us in the beginning. The rest of the service was a sermon given by the pastor that followed teachings directly from the bible. He compared the Bible to an instruction manual for a machine and that we were to follow it as literally and as directly as possible. He compared their congregation and other followers of God, to the rest of the people of the world and described them as sinners who had been led astray by Satan. These two aspects of the teachings were very different from the other more progressive congregation we went to, The United Church of Christ and actually resembled some of the ideas shown in the, “Born Again” movie. Ideas from McGuire’s book, such as a woman’s more subservient role in a church were also apparent in this congregation as we saw the differences between the jobs of the women and the men in the church. Overall, it was a good learning opportunity, but it was definitely different from other services and congregations I have been to.