Last week in class we presented on our sectarian congregation visits, and attended a talk in Orton about mental health and religious activism. On Monday, everyone presented on their sectarian visits, and talked about their experience while attending the service. I expected my sectarian visit to be similar to my denominational visit, but they were very different. The sectarian church I went to was called Redlands Church of Christ, and they are an evangelical Protestant group. Their beliefs are very conservative and traditional, which was very interesting to me as I have never attended an evangelical service prior to this. This group takes the Bible literally and believes that it is inerrant. I could feel some tension within this group, as they believe that the rest of the world will be damned when Christ comes again. I got a sense of an “us vs. them” mindset, and I really felt like an outsider, although they did their best to welcome me. I think the other people who attended an evangelical service also felt the “us vs. them” mindset during the service.
On Wednesday, we attended a talk in Orton that subsituted for our class. We saw two speakers, one of which was our professor. The first speaker talked about mental health and how important it is to remove the stigma surrounding it. I really enjoyed her presentation because mental health does not get the attention it deserves, and when it does it is in a negative light. Many people suffer from mental health issues, and removing the stigma that surrounds mental health would be an important step for our society. Jim was the next person to talk, and he talked about religious activism, especially among Catholic groups. This was very interesting because I was raised Catholic myself, and a lot of time people have misconceptions that all Catholics are traditional in their beliefs and very conservative, which is not the case. It was nice to see someone highlight a group of devout Catholics who were fighting for human rights, even if it went against what the Catholic church believes in.