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Spiritual Meme Question Twenty-Five

25--what are your experiences with spiritual communities? what would your ideal spiritual community "look" like, given your beliefs now?

From ages 5 to 25 i participated in Sunday schools, Bible schools, church services. and church groups in several denominations: "Non-denominational," "Baptist" Lutheran, Southern Baptist, and Methodist.  From ages 12 to 18 i was a member of the Methodist Church in Ketchikan, Alaska, and from 14 to 18 a member of the Methodist Youth Fellowship in that church.  This was an extraordinarily enjoyable period of my life, in spite of the three month's "darkness."  We were prayerful, inquisitive, compassionate and had a very large amount of fun.  I was a pastor during 1957-8 (not at all a spiritual experience for me, nor, i fear, for anyone else.)

My second marriage was to a devout Roman Catholic convert; but it took me six years to get how important this was to her.  Then we had my first marriage annulled, our younger children baptized, and i took instruction in catechism.  I attended Mass with Dianne on a more or less regular basis over the next 43 years until health problems made it too difficult for her to attend.  During that time we went together and separately to various  reatreats and workshops and conferences.  Two of my retreats were weeklong visits to a Trappist Monastery in the mountains of Utah during two winters in the early 1970.  Those were important spiritual experiences that i neglected to mention in an earlier meme item.  I was on the very periphery of this community.  A sociogram would show Dianne connected to the community and me connected to Dianne (ala Antonio Machado).

But i have always (since my teens) felt connected to the Catholic Worker Movement.  When i volunteered at an interfaith (Catholic and Mennonite mostly!) day shelter i met several people who felt a similar connection.  Besides working together at the shelter a few of us started meeting one night each month for prayer, meditation and discussion.  I had to stop volunteering after two years but continued to attend the monthly meetings.  We lost some people to death,  others to feebleness, and two moved away.  In the end there were four of  us and we have not met for nearly two years.  I really miss those guys.  They were my spiritual community.

When i retired, i promised Dianne that our retirement would be like "a monastery with sex."  We have very different spiritual paths but we can recognize each other's as valid.  We support each other in our separate paths.  I feel that we have created the community that  is nearlty ideal for me given our circumstances.

Writing prompts: only ones that would be hard for you to answer please! {FULL!} - the eclectic ecstasy of an ecphorizing eccentric


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 1st, 2016 08:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you for that. You inspire.
Mar. 1st, 2016 11:16 pm (UTC)
You are welcome, and thank you.

I feel another spiritual community in Live Journal. A fair share of people on my friend's list share their spiritual paths and the insights, growth, problems, and opinions gained therefrom. I have "joined" several communities that emphasized spirituality; but except for daily_tao, they all faded out or become too infrequently used. But the informal community formed within my friends list, certainly including yourself, has been relatively stable over six years and provided me with much support.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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