my churchless tribe

First I want to officially welcome my sister, Meg, to the blogosphere. Stop over here to say hello or write a note of encouragement as she steps out and shares her voice.

Next, I want to say I'm perplexed. I talked to yet another friend at length last night about churchless faith. I'm thinking about tracking down a book that I thought Phyllis mentioned recently (but I can't find the link) that is called A Churchless Faith by Alan Jamieson. I first heard about it by way of Maggi Dawn, who has a link here to an article that is based largely on the book. I gave a copy of the article and a few other things to our minister last fall in what was probably my 'Hail Mary'.

I'm thinking about how my friend Mandy told me last week that all the 10-15 "coolest Christians" she knows in Denver don't have a church they call home. One hundred percent of her close friends, and Mandy, herself, is one of the "coolest Christians" that I know in Denver. Then my friend last night shared about her seven-year journey apart from the church.

This is from Craig Bird's article:

Sociologist Alan Jamieson studies the spiritual quests of these "post-congregational" Christians. He compares them to travelers who abandon a luxury liner in mid-cruise. They grow tired of the endless buffets and entertainment, the carefully designed activities, or the captain who makes all decisions about the ship's speed and direction. Longing to experience what is not on the itinerary, they sell all they have to buy a small boat and leave the well-traveled sea lanes for uncharted waters. For these "leavers," Jamieson says, the danger of going it alone is still safer than the scripted sameness of conformity.

What Jamieson has found in his studies has surprised him. In researching his book,
A Churchless Faith, he interviewed 108 leavers. Most were not marginal churchgoers who finally quit but organizational linchpins. Ninety-four percent had been church leaders -- deacons, home-group leaders, elders, Sunday school teachers -- and 32 percent had been in full-time ministry. [emphasis mine]
I guess I don't know where to go from here. I keep thinking of the Urban Tribes phenomenon and wondering if this, too, will be a movement that isn't planned or created. Perhaps the only clear view will come in hindsight, through descriptions of what is already so. I wonder, alongside my friends, if I can belong again. I've been searching for months for a good option, for any other way of living in community. In the meantime, my churchless tribe is growing.