“I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.” Khalil Gibran
Have you rolled out of bed after a night of bar-hopping to a merciless hangover? Yes, a head-throbbing headache, vomit, unquenching thirst and not knowing where the hell you are or what happened the night before?
Now, can you imagine a morning filled with strength, hope, peace and enlightenment?
You’re kidding right?
No, my friend, I’m talking about church-hopping and no better place to have discovered this activity than the colonial, spiritual city of Granada.
The city of Granada, Nicaragua stands out for it’s colonial architecture, historical heritage and yes, beautiful churches! I’ve found this to be an extremely spiritual city as well.
Not only is the landscape filled with sacred churches, (I walk past exactly 5 each day to Spanish class) but the people here emit a kind of spiritual vibrancy.
What’s a church-hopper?
If you hopped bars on a Saturday night, you’re a bar-hopper, but what if you hop through churches instead?
I’m going to call you a church hopper if you frequent churches, temples, and places of worship like you do your favorite watering hole.
Church hoppers maybe religious-junkies, spirituality-addicts or you’re probably thinking, lost souls who are going to spend their afterlife in a very hot place.
I would classify church-hoppers as people who frequent religious establishments as a religious or spiritual practice. People who realize that God’s everywhere and no religion has a monopoly on God; that God can be found in all places of worship.
Why church hop?
Having grown up in a Hindu household, I now do religion like you do all-you-can-eat buffets. Hinduism teaches us that there’s only one truth (or God) (or entree as the case may be) but many paths (religious or spiritual practices) to help get us there.
Since there are no Hindu temples here, I have no problem visiting and worshiping in some of the sacred churches of Granada.
In fact, I drop into one or two a day for a little prayer, reflection and meditation. A brief visit to one of the area church’s can give you a little boost of energy for the day, peace of mind and awareness. A little prayer in life, I’ve always found, to instill hope, strength and wisdom into my life.
As a church-hopper, you also get the variety of different religious practices and traditions. Church-hopping shakes up your regular worship routine.
Is this for real Vishnu or are you smoking some ganja in the Nicaraguan barrio?
Listen friends, this isn’t for everyone. If you believe that only your faith or religion has the true connection to God, then by all means attend your church. If you belong to an organization which demands absolute loyalty, a uniform and compound to live, by all means stay
I’m not advocating this as a path for everyone but if you’re thinking it’s time to give religion a go again, time to try a different religious or spiritual path or just want to get a feel of another religious establishment, then by all means go for it.
This can be a spiritual, cultural and travel adventure of sorts if you’d like! Plus, this is absolutely free and at many Eastern temples and places of worship, you get fed!!! (That’s probably half the reason I’m considering converting to Sikhism)
And come on – worshiping in someone else’s church or temple doesn’t simply mean you’re abandoning your beliefs, faith and traditions. I take it to mean that you’re so confident in your faith that you have no problem worshiping outside of tradition and your comfort zone.
Vishnu, are you going to hell?
In some folks eyes, this could seem as complete heresy, blasphemy and a one way ticket to hell.
But I’m three steps ahead of you. One, I’m increasing my odds of getting to heaven by spreading my risk – there’s less chance I’m embracing the wrong religion if I embrace them all. In fact, I’m probably increasing my chances of escaping hell and making it to heaven.
And if all else fails, as a Hindu, I’m just going to embrace the theory of reincarnation and plan to return in my next life to figure this one out.
Now before you head over to the comments and start giving me a earful, let me use these Nicaraguan church photos as a way to distract you.
If you enjoyed those photos, check out this video I captured for you last night of the spiritual vibrancy here. It’s a street parade & celebration of a revered nun in Nicaragua.
What do you think? And I especially want to hear from the militant religious-type fanatics out there:) Is church-hopping absolutely ridiculous or can worshiping in any religious establishment be ok?