[Sticky] Do I Belong at Light of the Spirit?
It's hard to know if any community is a match for you when first entering. Churches can be particularly challenging because they're draped with signs that say, "We Welcome All!" but they don't define "into what" and "for what reason"? This often leads to disappointment or, worse, "Gotcha!" moments when you find a seemingly-friendly church isn't so friendly after all.
We believe all of us are God's children, and we welcome everyone on that basis. We believe that people outside this community are children of God as well. We do not believe that participating in Light of the Spirit is the key to all salvation. Instead we welcome anyone who wants to explore faith in healthy, wonderful ways.
If you've participated in church before, chances are you're going to have to step back from, or even unlearn, some of the assumptions that have become embedded in our institutional faith...assumptions that favor the institution over the faith. You're already overcoming one of them just by being here: the assumption that church has to happen inside four walls among people who mostly think alike. There are more.
We think you will enjoy re-examining, even re-framing, those assumptions. Many of them are things we don't like about church in the first place! Still, it will not be easy. We never know our biases until we trip over them.
To aid that process, and to be clear about what this community is welcoming people into, we offer the following list. It's not iron-clad, but it'll give you some idea of whether Light of the Spirit will be a fit for you. If not, please take our blessings! We believe God loves you and you're God's child too. If more things appeal to you on this list than turn you away, give us a try!
You Probably Belong Here If...
You view God and faith as relationships to be explored, not answers to be memorized.
You’re comfortable with the idea of life being messed up or unclear sometimes.
You view the people around you as important in their own right, not just extensions of yourself.
You’ve been hurt or marginalized by the church and need a gentler, more open approach.
You’re interested in helping others.
You want to find ways to integrate the beautiful parts of faith into your daily life.
You’re tired of fear being used as a core motivator in faith communities.
You suspect God exists and you want to be connected to something bigger than yourself, but you don’t quite have a handle on what that means to you, your life, or the universe.
You Probably Won’t Find a Happy Spot Here If…
You’re eager to proselytize or convert others.
You want to teach others but not learn from them.
You think God only works through people of certain genders, backgrounds, or knowledge.
You equate holiness with exclusivity or superiority.
You view faith and love as possessions, given to the favored and withheld from the non-compliant.
You view questions and doubts as enemies of faith instead of part of the faith journey.
You are unwilling to say, “I’m sorry,” occasionally.
You view individual morality or belief as the central point on which salvation turns.
You believe all faiths are basically the same or that all knowledge resides in the self.
You believe church exists to maintain the status quo.
You believe that the Bible can be reduced to a single, infallible interpretation or that the Bible doesn’t matter at all.
You Cannot Join this Community If…
You believe God hates/condemns people of LGBTQ+ orientation and are unwilling to re-examine that belief.
You believe women are lesser than men or only exist to serve men by divine command and are unwilling to re-examine that belief.
You are unwilling to listen to people of all races and genders, hearing and empathizing with their stories of marginalization.
You prioritize the institution of the church over the people who comprise it.
You use faith as a weapon to establish yourself at the expense of others.
You are unwilling or unable to maintain relationships based on mutual trust and honor.
You evidence any of these traits in our message boards and conversations.
If you have questions about any of these things, be sure to ask!