Change is inevitable, exciting, and scary. I think it’s a little easier when we plan good changes and make them happen, and so that’s what we’re doing here at TLS. It also helps when you know what changes are coming. That’s why I wrote this post.
TLS needs to grow to be viable, and so we’re going to make it grow in two ways. First, there will be more great stuff for members, and, second, we will bring in more members.
MORE GREAT STUFF FOR THE MEMBERS
TLS exploded with community activity when we opened our Facebook Group. It’s a great place for general discussion, and we’ll be keeping it open. Right now, we have a few volunteer facilitators who help me moderate the exchange and guide and support members. People have noticed how much more peaceful the community is. As we continue to grow, we’ll need to come up with meaningful ways to reward those who do help with the running of TLS and the community.
When the Facebook group grew, the forums on the site went silent for a while. But we’re renewing them now. Some topics are of a very personal or sensitive nature. Others simply aren’t of interest for everyone. In both cases, it makes sense for TLS to provide topic-oriented discussion groups. This is the purpose of the forums on the TLS site. We’ll be introducing interest groups to the forums so you can find like-minded people more easily. We’ll develop both deeply personal exchanges to help you grow and also casual and fun conversations to chill out and shake loose.
Another growth area for our content is courses. I want people to be supported in the deconstruction and reconstruction of our personal spirituality, and I think courses on these topics such as these will help:
- Using Questions to Grow
- How to Lose your Faith without Losing your Mind
- How to Recover from Spiritual Abuse
- Deconstruction and Reconstruction
- The Stages of Deconstruction
- What is Your Spiritual End Game?
- Getting in Touch with your Inner Sophia
- How to be Me with Family and Friends
As you guys can guess, my mind is a factory for creative ideas. I’m always trying to think of new and meaningful ways to make TLS and the community more beautiful and user-friendly. I call it “Pretty Easy”! We’re forging a new path here. I don’t think anyone else has done this before. We can’t really predict what’s going to be helpful and what isn’t. But we want to be prepared to provide ourselves with what will help us all on our journeys.
Over the last three years, and with the help of an expert at this sort of thing, I’ve come to understand the different types of people who are drawn to TLS. Each of us is wonderfully unique. We come with different backgrounds and experiences. At the same time, I’ve come to see that we each have a self-identity, a way we think about ourselves. We may have a name for that, such as LGBTQ or feminist. Or, we may not have thought of a name, but when we hear the name, it clicks. For instance, some TLSers click when they are asked, “Are you a religious rebel?” and then say, “Yes, that’s me.” Other times, we may have been given a label we didn’t like, and we can revision it. That’s what happens when someone who has been called a victim stands up and says, “Victim? No! I’m a survivor!”
Looking closely at all of us, I’ve come to see that most TLSers fit well with one of these identities: religious rebel or free-thinker, LGBTQ, Spiritual Feminist, and survivor of challenging church environments. I’ll be using this understanding to work with all of you, and I’ll also be using it to reach out to potential new members who see a cartoon at www.nakedpastor.com and want to know more.
I don’t want to say too much more. If I try to predict how soon all this will happen, or even which direction it will go in, I’m sure that reality will surprise me. It always does. But I’d love to hear your thoughts about our direction and your own idea of your identity and what TLS means to you. You can comment here or email me.