Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions and a Non-Denominational Adventure

I love New Year's Resolutions. Heck, I make New Week's Resolutions on occasion! So, I'm going to share with you what I'm hoping to accomplish this year:
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  1. Do school work for 3 hours per day
  2. Work on muscle tone for my arms and abs especially
  3. Get up to jogging 3 miles per day in 30 minutes (even when I have been able to run the distance in the past I think the fastest I ever got was around a 12 minute mile-speed will be a factor this year)
  4. Volunteer for VITA
  5. Take the H&R Block tax class
  6. Get an internship or entry-level accounting position
  7. Make a chore chart and stick to it this year (instead of waiting til things get unbearably messy)
  8. Aside from the Fiscal Friday posts on my finance blog, I want to consistently blog at least one other time during the week
  9. Become proficient in Teeline Shorthand
  10. Learn how to change a tire and have everything I'd need to do it in my car so I'm prepared
I'm already working on a few of these, like the Teeline Shorthand one and the VITA one. It's gonna be a good year :)

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

In other news, I woke up a lot earlier than I was thought I would today and decided to finally check out the Non-Denominational church here in Provo. It was okay. It was different. I do feel like I should reserve judgement until I've tried it out a few more times though.
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When I walked in the door I smelled coffee. A woman with programs named Geenie (Genie?) greeted me at the door. She was the pastor's wife and she asked me a little about myself and what brought me to the church this morning. I told her I'd seen it while I was driving by several times and I'd always meant to check it out. She introduced me to her husband, Steve (nickname "Mac"), and a girl, Amy. She invited me to get some coffee if I wanted and to look around. In the front area there was essentially a gift shop where you could purchase CDs, Bibles and other Christian literature, even t-shirts. It was foreign to me and I have to say that it didn't seem right at first, but I understand that not every church is has a lot of money like the Mormon church does. Here in Provo, I'm sure many other churches might need to get a little creative with how they raise funds. It wasn't like they were preaching consumerism from the pulpit or pushing a free gift with purchase and they weren't selling miracle water/prayer cloths/manna. It just seemed strange initially but it's not so off-putting when you think about it. I guess you could say that the LDS church sells more and better AND over the pulpit at that. But they do a lot of good and they're able to use it to help a lot of people. Money can be a good thing when it's used as a tool not just as the goal. Anyway, I'm just saying it didn't bother me after I thought about it a little.

I basically went straight back to the church part of the building. There was a stage and a band at the front and a sound booth at the back. As the service was starting, Amy came up and sat next to me. She was sweet and pointed out that she left the house wearing her slippers. The congregation was pretty diverse. There was a family toward the front, a few couples, a man with a big beard toward the back, a guy with gauges, people dressed up and dressed down. The music started and almost everyone stood up. Amy did too and invited me to as well. I was feeling very "when in Rome" so I did. But it did bother me a little. The standing seemed disingenuous because no one really acted like the music had moved them to that extent. There was one woman who was swaying and dancing around and singing the words, but she was it.

The band wasn't my favorite either. I've heard enough Christian rock to know that I don't categorically dislike it. I like plenty of Christian songs not just for the messages but for the music. But this band, to me, almost sounded like a parody of Christian music. Listening to it reminded me of one of my old vocal coaches  calling it 7-11 music because it's the same seven words repeated eleven times and also of the South Park episode where Cartman starts a Christian Rock band. In the episode, Cartman takes regular songs and just replaces words like "baby" with "Jesus" to make them Christian. It wasn't such terrible music that you were embarrassed for the performers or anything like that. They were talented musicians. I was just disappointed that none of the songs spoke to me.

The sermon was alright. You always see these really smarmy, charismatic preachers on TV but it wasn't like that at all. Mac's brother gave it, and he seemed like a pretty normal guy. The message was about examining yourself for salvation. It was a little long and I felt bad toward the end because my lack of sleep caught up with me and I yawned a few times. It did make me miss that in the LDS church 3 different people usually  speak which breaks things up and can make it more interesting. It was a good message though.

My initial reaction is that it doesn't seem like the right fit for me. I don't think it's fair to judge it just based on visiting once though, so I plan on visiting again. What I do want though is to get a Bible that isn't the King James Version. Everybody already knows the Bible has been jacked up enough over the years that the KJV probably isn't going to be any less contradictory that newer translations. I've been wanting to read the Old Testament. Recently, my friend Patrick Kintz let me borrow his copy of an Eric Samuelson play called "The Plan" that focuses on the LDS plan of salvation (of course) but through Old Testament stories with a focus on the perspectives of the women in them. It was an amazing play and I bawled my eyes out almost all the way through. It just made me want to read the Old Testament really bad.

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