This blog is the first in a two-part series on how to find your spiritual tribe.
A lot of us today have come to a point in our spiritual development where we are no longer driven to be part of a "traditional" religion. That doesn’t mean; however, that we do not have a rich spiritual life. There may be several things that brought us to where we are, but we know that we are in a personal space of spiritual understanding and awakening.
We believe that our ideas and spiritual callings do not resonate with those of any religion that we know of...and that's OK. We are all in different places on our spiritual journeys, but we are not alone. According to the data presented by the Pew Research Center, there are twenty-six percent of the US population who do not affiliate with a specific religious group: The religious “nones” or unaffiliated.
The problem many of us have with not having a religions or church to attend, however, is the lack of communication and conversation with like-minded individuals. We sometimes long to find our people; to find others who feel and believe like us. We may read a book or hear poem that really inspires us to talk to another person about, but you don't know anyone else who is like you that you know of. The good news is that we are not alone.
There are churches and spiritual communities that are open-minded and willing to walk with us on our journeys.
Identifying What Turns Most of Us Off
So, what turned many of us off organized religion or church in the first place? There are many different things, but the following is a list of a few:
Belief in a specific doctrine or dogma
Limited ability to seek our own truths
Negativity and judgement from others in the church
Cruelty against those in our society that are deemed “different” in the name of religion
Prejudice and racism
Rigid thinking and outdated ideas
Religious politics and social cliques
What Many of us Are Looking For
Now that we have identified what we are not looking for in a spiritual community, what are we looking for?
Opportunities to help others in need
Community and social events (sharing meals, music concerts, holiday celebrations, etc.)
Classes and workshops to help learn about spiritual topics
Working to solve social and cultural issues (i.e. environmental issues, social change issues, etc.)
Contemplation, meditation, and mindfulness practices with a group
Friendship with like-minded people and discussing spirituality one-on-one with others.
Comfort and support during difficult times.
Now that we know what to look for, you can start your search. But first, you want to do some soul searching. Meditate, pray, or contemplate on what it is you really want. This helps to set your intentions and solidify your goal. Write down your thoughts and ideas and create the ideal church you are looking for. What does it offer? Who is there? Really get specific. It's your tribe, your people. It's time to find them.
Even though many of us today are working on our individual, spiritual journey's and we haven't found a spiritual home, doesn't mean we should give up. There are several ways to find your community. You just need to know where to look and what to look for. In our next blog post, you will learn what to look for when searching for that perfect spiritual community.
Rev. Dr. Lori Erwin-Johnson is an ordained minister and associate minister at the Spiritual Sanctuary at First Congregational Church. She has a master’s in psychology, a Doctor of Divinity, and has completed all graduate coursework towards her PhD in Psychology, with an emphasis in cognition and instruction. Her spiritual tribe is located in Tacoma, WA and is comprised of members with varying beliefs: Progressive Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Spiritual but not religious, Interfaith, Interspiritual, Humanist and questioning. They are dedicated to community service, social freedom, and religious pluralism. Learn more at www.tacomafcc.org