When I was in high school, I was a part of a very close and vibrant church family. My mum required me to go to church but she didn't specify which one, so I chose one where several of my high-school friends were members. I found a wonderful family there; I felt valued and included, rare commodities for a teen-aged girl. That church and its youth group formed a safety net for me and became the whole of my social life.
I moved away from that sleepy city after graduation from high school, moved away from Christianity a few years later, and more recently moved away from organized religion altogether. I have too many issues with specific theological points to swallow the pretty fairy-tales, not to mention the rampant hubris and blatant arrogance of religions when they invariably make the claim that they are the ONLY one way to God, and everyone else is wrong. Only frail, weak, stupid humans could make up a story like that.
I don't miss my faith. I am fine with the framework of beliefs I have created through the destructive process of testing every belief and tearing it down if it did not hold weight. I am left with a rather minimalist view of God, and He and I are okay with that.
What I do miss, though, is the sense of belonging that comes with attending a church. A community of people who all hold the same beliefs is a powerful force, and I have effectively painted myself out of that warm glow. I have a neighbor across the street who is quite active in the JW community, and every Saturday when nicely-dressed people pull up in their cars and come into his house for post-church coffee and fellowship, I am envious and lonely for that type of interaction.
My mum feels this, too. She, like me, is post-religion yet longing for community. We discussed going to church anyhow, but in order to be truly accepted into a church family, they need to get to know us... and our lack of belief would eventually betray us.
In an era where families are geographically peppered throughout the globe, organized religion has failed so many of us, and technology seems to isolate us even further, where does one turn to find a sense of community?