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Building Secular Communities

You obviously REALLY value community.

Today, a friend and I were talking about our personal shifts from a religious community to a secular one. We discussed how our core values remained the same from the time we were religious, through the times of doubt, and afterward when we realized we no longer believed in a god. One thing she said stuck out to me, “You obviously REALLY value community, that’s probably why you stuck it out so long with the whole church thing”. Huh… interesting. I always thought I was so loyal to god, that the idea I was holding onto the community aspect of my religion never really occurred to me.

But I think she hit the nail on the head.

I clung to the good aspects of community that I got through church (regular fellowship, free childcare, bringing food to people when sick, singing/learning together, free childcare, deep/authentic conversations, and free childcare). Speaking of free childcare, not long before giving up on god completely, my family and I went to church on a day my husband had to run the sound system during the service. He went to do his thing, I dropped the kids off at the nursery and yeah, I definitely went to a coffee shop for an hour of bliss by myself… I love me some free childcare (as long as it’s trustworthy childcare…that’s a whole other conversation).

Alright, back to community, not only did I cling to the good aspects of community, I desperately feared the possibility of losing some of the people I held so dear.

Churches and religions “do” community very well.  But they certainly don’t own the rights to building and maintaining community. I am fortunate to have a Secular Families group in my town. While it has been a slow and steady process to build community, it is happening for my family in our post-church era and I’m so grateful.

Having fun at our Secular Families meetup

Having fun at our Secular Families meetup

In addition to this group I have decided to get involved at a local gym, my son’s Cooperative Preschool, and my local Ultimate Frisbee community. There is much community to be had in local activities and groups outside of the “church scene”. And boy am I glad for that since community is at the top of my values list!

Now, to find a non-performing, non-intimidating singing group…

Who am I? Why am I here?

Night RunGreetings, my name is Vanessa. I am a Colorado native with a love for yoga, running, Ultimate Frisbee and the outdoors. I am a wife and mother of two small boys (ages 2 and 4). At the end of the Summer in 2013 I quit my very stressful full-time job at a non-profit human services organization to stay at home with my boys. For the record, I prefer Domestic Goddess to “Stay at Home Mom”, it’s much more palatable.

A brief religious history

Religion, Christianity in particular, has almost always been a very important part of my life. I was involved in Christian groups through church and school since I was in middle school. When I went to college I got very involved in an interdenominational Christian ministry through my university. Completely separate from my church involvement, I attended weekly worship nights, regular prayer meetings and if I wasn’t leading a weekly bible study, I was certainly attending one. I discipled multiple young women, studied and memorized scripture, and met with accountability partners to attempt to remain pure and “on the right path”. I could continue to share about the different aspects of my religious background but to sum it up a bit more quickly, God and Jesus were the center of my activities, my thoughts, my conversations, my life. If I wasn’t a true and devoted believer, nobody is.

A loss of faith

Well, you probably noticed that I speak of my religious devotion in the past tense. More than two years ago I began questioning my faith in a more serious way than I ever had before. I asked questions about God’s existence, the bible, the prevalence of many religions, the problem of evil and more. For the first time in my life I began to let go of my fears and my reasons for believing. I asked questions and didn’t claim to have the right answer anymore. Read more on my loss of faith.

Purpose of this blog

Now, here I am, a formerly VERY religious person, daughter, sister, wife and mom. I find myself without religion, God, church, fellowship, worship, prayer, biblical guidance, etc. I often find myself with a sort of identity crisis, feeling isolated, confused, and in need of an outlet. Hence, the purpose of my blog: to have a place to share about my life and discover my identity now that I find myself without god. 

Blog topics

Considering that I spent the better part of my 30 years as a devout Christian, I think a lot about my former religion (and all that it entails) as well as my current lack of belief. So, while I certainly plan to blog about my former beliefs and my life after faith, I will also blog about my other interests such as: my kids and family, fitness and nutrition, natural skin and hair care, books, home organization and more!

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Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back to visit again! ~Vanessa

This was Day 1 of the Zero to Hero Challenge. Learn more here. I realize I joined this challenge late…but better late than never 🙂