A lifetime ago (actually, it was in July 2019) I posted a kind of invitation on this blog to people who were interested in being part of a discussion in relation to post-church networking for spiritual nomads.
The idea had come from a long running conversation that my mate David and I had been having, for years it seems. Both of us have been very active within ‘Church’, but no longer feel at home within the insitution. Both of us no longer attend ‘church’ but neither did we want to invent another one.
But, he and I, along with some of the best company you could ever keep, have been part of a different kind of community; for years we have been taking these weekend trips to small uninhabited islands, where we alternate between silence and communal profanity. These retreats are not accidental nor insignificant. They have gifted me with part of the depth and substance of the meaning I have found in my life. It was out of this sense of belonging and connection that we began to wonder if there was a way to chart a spiritual journey together with other people.
Both David and I have also come close to becoming ‘post-Christian’. The Christian brand had just become so tarnished. Also, the transformation in our belief systems had led us to a place where codifying faith into a set of dualist tenets and beliefs just did not make sense any more. However, we wanted to honour the best of the traditions we grew from.
So we sent out some invitations, and a number of you expressed an interest. Then nothing else happened. It feels as though I let you down, and for this I am sorry.
I can offer some excuses – a lot of things have happened, both to us and to the world, but for me at least, I think I began to struggle again with the idea that I should ‘lead’ something. I feared a new responsibility arising from the expectations of others, and I doubted my own abilities in the shadow of old insecurities that flare up from time to time.
But that is where friendship matters most. I got a call from David just on the New Year, nudging me once more to think about setting off on a new journey.
It would have to be a small, humble one, because during these times, we are all about staying local. But also, during these times, we are all appreciating more than ever the value of the internet as a means to connect and nurture from distance. Everywhere has become local, virtually at least.
So on Sunday, we tried out a new format- one that is not doubt familiar to many of you already. We set up a zoom call, and split our time into two halves- a ‘contemplative’ part and a conversation part. It was so good to connect with others who are in a similar place, even though geography is not on our side.
Where we go with this remains to be seen, but those of you who were already interested in the post-church thing, watch this space!