Last week we dove in a little deeper into what being an ethnographer is. Ethnography is the writings about people, it is when you investigate peoples lives, usually a group and then you write about those lives to represent them to other people. This semester we’ve become little mini ethnographers. We’ve done this through our two congregation visits and our interview with a religious specialist. We brought the knowledge that we learned on those visits and and shared it with the class so we could all acquire the knowledge of each individual congregation in Redlands. I was driving around town this weekend and I kept passing so many of the congregations that had been talked about in the last congregation visit as well as the first one. I feel like those presentations and those visits have brought us closer to the community of Redlands and have made us more knowledgeable about the place in which we currently live. I think that’s kind of the point of ethnography and sociology to learn about society share it with others and then grow from it and learn from it.
This weekend I also went to go visit my sisters who were in town for Coachella so I drove about an hour to their Airbnb to see them. On the way down I was driving on the freeway and I passed a church with the sign Calvary Chapel. The name of the church just stood out to me automatically because I remember learning about it in one of the books that a group taught the class. So even though that group didn’t go out and do the ethnography themselves, they were still able to come back and teach us what someone else had learned. Everything that other classmates have taught me this semester and everything I’ve learned through the lectures I believe will stay with me throughout my years here. Religion is constantly changing and ethnography and the sociology of religion is an amazing tool and an amazing way for us to learn about it. As this semester comes to a close I just wanted to mention how I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this class and how all of the concepts will stick with me as I learn about other religions and religion in America.