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View Diary: Quitting My Church after 28 Years (45 comments)

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  •  I think this diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Smoh, Aunt Pat, Eyesbright

    begs for a bit more elucidation--why did you leave this church, which was clearly so right in so many ways? Did you quite believing in God? Did some interaction with the church really sour you and get you to seeing the hypocrisy of it all? I'd like to know more. Just my .02.

    That said, one model to try to get your needs for community met outside the church, might be a loose-knight neighborhood organization, run along anarchic lines. Does that sound vague? It is.

    I'm thinking of a crew I connected with not long after I moved to my urban neighborhood, so 10-12 years ago. This rag-tag miscellaneous collection of neighborhood residents did a volunteer calendar of free events--art receptions, discussion groups, and so on--and anyone at all could host any free event at all. The calendar went up online and a paper version was distributed free in local cafes every month. The group was going strong there for a few years. Then it slowly dwindled. Now all that's left is a "coffee hour" every week at a pizza parlor 1/2 mile from my home, and THAT shows no sign of abating. (The average attendance is about 10-15 people.)

    Anyway, it's all strictly optional. Nobody "commits" to any role in the group--although people have spontaneously taken responsibility for certain roles--and nobody is pushing any religious or political dogmas as a condition for participation. I've connected with artists, activists, and so on. It's been an incredibly important outlet for me.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 11:04:59 AM PST

    •  Thanks (12+ / 0-)

      for the question and the suggestion.  I left because of a very gradual change in the focus of the place . . . away from lively & intense social justice combined with good times hanging out and toward a certain self-satisfied, unoriginal let's please ourselves first mood.

      Example -- we don't do potlucks, ever, because there's a very gifted chef on the payroll.  For meetings small and large, the menu is going to be wildly good, nutritional, and new every time.

      It's nice, right?  But my experience is you make community by actually taking some risks and putting in some effort together.

      Your suggestion is pretty much all I can dream up myself right now, and I think it's probably going to be what comes next.  

      •  What I'm suggesting, (8+ / 0-)

        will be far easier to launch and sustain if you're in the heart of a big metropolitan area. Also, the people  in this group have not tended to have young children at home. They're singles, pre-family and childfree couples, and empty nesters.

        Oh, our community DOES do a monthly potluck. The woman who hosts it at her house, always asks for an RSVP/headcount, and if that's too low, it's canceled. It's been held every month now, with rare exceptions, for years.

        The man who originally started this free-form community is basically a failed Catholic priest (a definition he'd concur with, I think). Many years ago, he was booted out of seminary. Now he devotes his energies to his artistic career and "sustainable community." This same gentleman went and helped found another, similar community--a vibrant and diverse one--in a different neighborhood about 3 miles distant.

        In my view, these communities are instances of "urban ferment" at its very best.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 12:57:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ah. (11+ / 0-)

          You've clarified something for me.

          the people  in this group have not tended to have young children at home. They're singles, pre-family and childfree couples, and empty nesters.
          Part of what's happening is simple life-cycle stuff.  Me and spousal unit are both bored silly with a community model that was, for us, centered around getting our kids raised well and feeding our souls at the same time.  That took, as they say, a village.  But two things happened at the same time . . . the kids got raised, and the village lost its soul when a few key people in leadership moved on.

          We're different people now, with different things to offer; we need new ways to contribute those things.

          Gah, I know this is a self-indulgent conversation.  I just didn't think I could be the only one this has happened to.  Thanks for your thoughts.

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