I’ve become a person of (some) faith in the past year, and my life has been better for it. But it feels lonely not to fit into either the secular or religious communities—I'm not far enough along the spectrum one way or the other. Is there any way I can meet other people in a similar place? (Sorry, a little long and snowflake-y.)
Over the past year or so, I’ve made some profound positive changes in my life, including dealing with longtime depression, in part by getting back in touch with my religion/spirituality. (YMMV. IANAD. Or a priest.) I don’t quite identify with the popular label “spiritual-but-not-religious”—I actually do
feel connected to a specific religion (Catholic/Christian), even if I don’t adhere to all of its tenets*.
My problem is that although I’m far enough along the spiritual/religious continuum to identify as a believer, I’m still not far enough toward the seriously-faithful end that I feel very comfortable going to mass/church. I’ve tried several, Catholic and otherwise, and although first I thought I just hadn’t found the right fit (this one’s too politically conservative, that one’s too liturgically liberal, etc.), now I’m starting to think there might not be
a right church for me, or at least not where I currently live (not a very big city). Instead of unifying, it feels sort of alienating when I try it—so many strangers, and I worry that we aren't on the same wavelength and that they would judge me if they knew about my less-than-ironclad religious convictions.
So far I’ve rekindled my spirituality mostly through solitary pursuits—music, books, contemplation and prayer. But I’m starting to feel the need for some kind of, if not community, at least companionship or friendship in my spiritual life—people I can talk to about this stuff.
I did read this thread
, but didn’t find it to be quite what I was looking for, since I’m not a Secular Humanist; I’m just a not-very-good believer. But I was
struck by the last comment in the thread, in which somebody mentioned Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m really worried about this sounding naïve and tone-deaf, so I hope anyone who’s in AA will forgive me if I’m being an idiot, but recently after happening upon a few novels involving AA I found myself sort of wishing for that kind of community—one where people with different levels of faith in their Higher Power might talk openly with each other, and where there’s a practical, almost down-to-earth approach to faith and prayer. That’s the kind of spirituality I’m interested in. But not struggling with alcoholism (and I know I’m lucky to be able to say that and I truly don’t mean to trivialize it), I don’t know where I would meet people like that.
So my question is: if not at a church, is there anywhere I can meet people like me, who believe but are maybe only semi-practicing in their religion? Is there a place where I can talk to kind, smart, practical people about God ‘N’ Stuff without feeling ashamed for not being as religiously faithful as other people? Could there be a community for me out there? (For reference, closest major metro area is the Twin Cities, though it's a ways away.) Thank you so much for reading all this—I feel less alone already just by putting this out there.
*I know some people might say that Catholicism is a religion where you’re all in or you're all out. I guess all I can say is that Catholic spirituality feels the most real to me, and it’s not really something I can explain. The Church probably does not actually want me. It’s hard.