Today I took a step outside my comfort zone. I visited and toured our local Church of Scientology here in Atlanta, GA.

A bit of context. I’m a member of the Sandy Springs Interfaith Clergy Association. The group meets monthly, and this month’s meeting happened to be at the Church of Scientology located in Sandy Springs. That’s how I ended up there.

And to be honest, visiting a house of study and prayer of another faith tradition isn’t exactly outside of my comfort zone. In fact, it’s very much within my comfort zone. At the same time, like many people that I know, I started my day fairly ignorant of what actually takes place at a Church of Scientology.

This post isn’t about the many things that I learned about Scientology while I was on site today. It’s not an endorsement or a critique of the specifics of Scientology as they were explained to me today. Instead, it’s about the simple act of replacing ignorance with knowledge, of seeking experiences that expand our appreciation for ideas and beliefs that are foreign to our own.

Visiting a Church of Scientology isn’t an act of heroism. It’s not praiseworthy. It’s not even admirable. But it is a small step in the direction of deeper understanding and awareness of the social fabric that makes up the broader world in which I live. I learned something today. I spoke with some people that I might otherwise never have interacted with. I saw something in person that others, including myself, have spoken about without any actual insight or experience. Having done so, I’m more ready for the next such encounter, and even more curious about all there is to learn and discover in the lives of the people around me.

A Rabbi Walks into a Church of Scientology