The best part about growing up as a preacher’s kid: community. Healthy churches can offer unconditional acceptance, warm friendships with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and as many free or inexpensive social events as you care to squeeze into your free time.
When I de-converted I missed these instant connections more than anything else. Yes, there are nonreligious groups out there that are dedicated to a wide variety of issues and pastimes. Gelling together a community is easier when the leaders are experienced and when everyone shares something important in common and while they are at no means the only ones able to do it many churches excel at figuring out how to quickly fold new people into their midst.
To further complicate the situation I don’t care about many subjects that are often discussed: sports, celebrity gossip, political debates, (most) contemporary music, fashion, or how, why, when and with whom other people are reproducing.
As I’ve mentioned before I’m also an introvert. My idea of a good time is a tranquil hiking or going out to dinner with a few close friends. I can enjoy larger groups but it takes a little time to prepare for that sort of socialization.
Because of all this it has taken me quite some time to build a new community. Slowly what Anne Shirley would call kindred spirits have trickled into my life. One day I’ll drag all of them out to dinner, finally meet the ones I’ve only known online in person and smile as they (hopefully) grow to like one another as much as I like them.
Another piece of the puzzle: Creative Copy Challenge. Ostensibly it’s a writing prompt blog but I’m beginning to go there because as much as I love writing a poem or short story in response to the new list of words twice a week I care about the people there more.
Originally my title for this post was How to Find Community as a Nontheist. The only problem with it is that I don’t have the answer sheet. All I know is what works for me.
What works for you?