Thursday, September 21st and Sunday, September 24th
7-9 Mountain Time
Hosts: Dan and Mark
One of the biggest challenges we feel in our faith journeys is how we continue to feel like we belong. Whether it be our doubts, our nuanced beliefs, or our willingness to stand up for the excluded or disenfranchised, we can sometimes feel like outsiders in our church. We yearn for safe places we can call “home”, where we can abide, where we belong.
As humans, we have an innate desire to belong, to connect with others who share our values and beliefs. This fundamental drive fosters our sense of identity and purpose. To say “I am a Mormon” once meant something profound about our identity AND our belonging. Removing the “Mormon” label, at least for some of us, challenged us to realize how important our religious identity is, and how important it is to belong.
But belonging itself can be a double-edged sword. For us in the faith journey, navigate doubts, questions, and exploring new possibilities for faith, it can be particularly challenging to abide and feel like we belong in a faith community. When belonging is constrained as the only true and valid way, or when our belonging is subject to conditional demands for “worthiness”, then we can feel estranged from the community: it is no longer a safe home for us.
This fireside seeks to provide a safe environment for us to grapple with these tensions, to share our joys and sorrows, without pushing any agenda. It’s our opportunity to dive into the complex dynamics of belonging within our church, or within any church, recognizing both its benefits and challenges. We’ll explore the reasons why this struggle exists, and how it can impact us, our faith, and our sense of self: our personal identity.
Please share your questions or concerns about belonging. Here are a few ideas to reflect on, but as always, you can provide your own concerns and questions as well:
- How has your experience embracing doubt shaped your sense of belonging?
- Are there moments when you feel a strong sense of belonging despite doubts?
- What are some of the primary obstacles to feeling like you belong?
- Have you found other venues where you feel more at home and capable of sharing your faith journey openly?
- What role does your personal, spiritual development play in your journey of belonging?
- How do you navigate your sense of belonging when your beliefs are significantly different and perhaps threatening to others?
- Are there aspects of your spiritual life that have grown because of your tensions with belonging?
- How can we balance the need for community and personal authenticity?
- How can we influence our local churches to create a more inclusive and understanding community for those with diverse needs and perspectives?
- How can we embrace diversity, including those with more conventional faith, into our own circle of friends without compromising our core values?
We are excited to have a wonderful discussion and hope this fireside will encourage honest dialogue and reflection, recognizing that belonging to a high-demand religion is journey that evolves over time.
Join in with us! Register below for either Thursday the 21st or Sunday the 24th. See you then!
Please join us! We anticipate lively discussions!