Last Saturday, the Michigan Nones and Dones community had its 80th gathering.
I was grateful for it too. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, I thought we might not have enough people to move forward with the event, but in the end, we had a wonderful group around a table, sharing in conversation and eating tacos. (Sidenote: tacos equals #blessed 🙂 In fact, half of the group included people who were new to us. It was wonderful to welcome them.
Michigan Nones and Dones is a community that has been meeting in Southeast Michigan for the last two and a half years in coffee shops, restaurants, parks, and homes to talk about spirituality and make meaning together as friends. This community includes people who are religiously unaffiliated (Nones), people who have a faith tradition but have departed from traditional, institutional religious communities (Dones), and people who remain connected to faith communities to some degree but find themselves wanting to question or reform the vision of how those communities function.
We say that Michigan Nones and Dones is a community for people who are “spiritually curious but institutionally suspicious.” It’s amazing how people with many various backgrounds and perspectives can gather together under the umbrella of that description. The community includes,
-people who are agnostic and interested in spirituality and forming friendships of meaning (i.e. by this, I mean talking about life — gifts, challenges, what’s going on in the world, what really matters)
-de-affiliated Christians — folks who identify as Christian, but feel disappointed in and/or ostracized by traditional churches,
-people who are atheists who want to uplift the morality of humanism,
-people who might call themselves inter-spiritual, as they grew up with more than one faith tradition,
-people who say, “I’m secular,” or “spiritual but not religious,”
-people who are religiously unaffiliated and unsure about particular, theological beliefs, but who say, “I believe in a Higher Power of some kind,”
-people who say, “I don’t like labels. I just want to have good conversation,”
-people who are connected with traditional faith communities but frustrated with unethical behavior they see happening there, longing for a better vision,
-people who practice spiritual traditions that might fall under the New Age umbrella.
Michigan Nones and Dones is first and foremost a community, but I realize it is also an incredible platform for conversation. How rare is it to sit around a table with all of these backgrounds, find commonality of experience, and uplift different perspectives in ways that enrich all those who are gathered together? We all learn from one another.
It is a wonderful gift to get together at least twice per month to have these conversations (we meet on 2nd Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm and 4th Saturdays from 11am-12:30pm). These connections matter. These relationships matter, as people are welcomed and heard, invited to share insights, and brought into friendships they might not have made otherwise.
I am grateful, grateful.
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