A Reader Writes: Left without a Community

A reader writes:

I’m writing to say “Thank you” for the impact that you have had on my life. As a life-long Christian, I thought I had a solid understanding of God’s plan and was comfortable knowing that I was “in.” About 12 years ago, I began to question some of those beliefs. I soon realized that once you start questioning, it’s difficult to know where to stop.

The first book I read of yours was “The Secret Message of Jesus.” I realized how little I knew about the message and ministry of Jesus. Like most Christians, I was in the “Jesus came to die – Paul teaches how to live” camp. I soon followed up with your other books including; A New Kind of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy, Naked Spirituality, and the Great Spiritual Migration, to name only a few.

These books have profoundly shaped my faith and view of God. Your work has helped me see God as a loving Father, not a Judge waiting for me to fail. In addition, my heart is open to love others as fellow brothers and sisters regardless of their religion, sexual orientation, etc.

The challenge is that this spiritual growth has left me without a community. I find that most of my Christian friends don’t really want to discuss alternative views on Christian teachings. They seem to be comfortable where they are, and extremely uncomfortable when I ask them questions that may challenge their beliefs.

Thanks for your note. I imagine that many readers of this blog will feel just as you do about feeling you’re left without a community.

Like you, so many people are glad for where their journey has taken them, but they’re looking for some new companions.

First, to understand what’s happening to some of your friends, this blog and short video might be helpful: https://brianmclaren.net/the-five-electorates-in-2020/

It’s not just you who are changing.

Second, there are so many excellent podcasts available that provide a kind of virtual community. If you’re looking for some, try googling my name in a podcast app, and you’ll find ones that have had me as a guest.

Third, I work with the CAC, and the daily meditations from Richard Rohr and friends also create a touchstone each day to remind you you’re not alone.

Finally, you may be ready to venture out to find a new community. You might be surprised that there’s a Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, UCC, or other mainline church in your area that will “get” where you are and provide a good spiritual home. There are growing numbers of progressive/post Evangelical churches too. Just a few hours ago, I learned about a new one springing up in my area.

Thanks for writing. It means a lot to know my books have been helpful to you. It’s an honor to write for people like you!