A recent response to a commentator on Secular Chaplain about TED Talks, got me thinking again about this idea of a congregation-experience for the non-congregated.
This is either a Hot Topic or a Big Yawn for the Non-Theistic non-community community (the Nones can seem like the Nons).
Those of us who have emerged (or thinking of emerging) from the members-only traditional religious/spiritual groups, often wonder what could be next. Is a “life after faith” always going to be primarily about why we left and what we criticize. . .or can it NOW be about the Good Life Ahead on the Path, and the possibility of creating New Community?
Seriously. I’m a Realist and not an Idealist with this.
It would take a lot of time, energy and commitment.
And, believe me, I know, I know. . .herding freethinkers is like herding iguanas. . .or beetles, or something.
But I’ve been approached by a handful of people who like the idea of a Nature-centered kind of gathering.
There is a Simple Way Forward.
It could look something like this:
Some seem to like simple readings from various naturalists, philosophers, scientists. . .thinkers, sometimes paired with a song or two, short periods of silence, good open discussion, and a few refreshments (tea, coffee, wine, beer at the pub). Maybe a walk could be included. This could be once a month, or more often if a group feels like it.
Many enjoy the stimulating, sometimes mind-blowing ideas that we hear in TED Talks.
So, we take a TED talk (secular “sermon”), add some socializing and social action (cooperative, collaborative community projects) and maybe we’d have something to call a “Secular Sanctuary.”
What do YOU think?
This would almost echo the challenge of Frances Wright from nearly 180 years ago, that we should turn most churches (synagogues, temples, mosques) into “Halls of Knowledge and Science.”
I’m not personally interested in closing the religious sanctuaries. Yet, presenting a positive, constructive alternative may be appealing.
With more Alternatives to the Old Way, the more communities will see that the Secular Way is not just about what we’re AGAINST, but what we are creatively FOR.
I’m guessing, if we could pull this off, town by town, we might even see a number of supernaturalists show an interest. At least, those who have their feet on the ground enough to see this could be the Best Way Forward.
Give it some thought.