My passion, my mission, and I choose to accept it, is to help people on their journeys of spiritual independence, and to provide safe places for spiritually independent people to gather.
The other night Lisa and I went to a wedding. There were a lot of people there who used to go to my church. There were a couple of people I chatted with who were obviously going through a very difficult time in their spiritual journeys.
Several people mentioned that night how they missed the quality of community our church had, and that it spoiled them for anything else. A couple of them were obviously reeling from the affects of deconstruction. But I was no longer their pastor, and I didn’t feel I had their permission to come along side them in their journeys.
One of my friends though thought that we might get together soon to talk. I want to tell them about TLS. But again, I just don’t feel I have their permission to go there. They all know about it. They know I facilitate an online community. But for some reason they don’t ask me about it. Ever.
I want to tell them that TLS could really help them. And I suppose I want to remind you how TLS can help you. We have many things going on. So I wanted to list them for you. Especially for our newer members.
1. Community: Well, number one on the list is of course our Facebook group. It’s the closest thing to real community I’ve had since my last church when it was at its best. It’s so much fun, informative, provocative, encouraging, and supportive. The quality of interaction there is only possible because of the quality of the people there. There’s everything from angry swearing to I’ll pray for you and everything in between. I love it. If you’re not in the group, respond to this email and I’ll get you in.
2. Podcasts: Every week or so I interview one of our members and post it on our main site. The interviews can go anywhere between 20 minutes to as long as an hour. I find them so helpful because they inform our members that they are not crazy, they are not alone, and that they will get through this. The quality of TLS members really shines through in these interviews. We have over 50 to listen to, including some video interviews as well.
3. Forums: Forums are a weird animal. Some people love them. Some hate them. I’m not sure how to feel about them. That’s how we started TLS. But once we started the Facebook group the forum usage dropped dramatically. But we’ve archived them and made them available on our site because there is a lot of good material there to read, and it’s easy to find under the headings. Check it out for a good read!
4. Videos: I’ve put together several videos mainly to encourage our members. Some are thoughtful, some are reflective, and some are just connective.
5. Groups: We have several sub-groups in TLS. There’s a group from anything from table-top gamers, LGBT, writers, artists, chronic illness, earth-centered spirituality, healthy, vibrant living, nerds, sex and stuff, gender, singles, and probably more I haven’t even heard about yet. I’m not a member of the sub-groups because I simply couldn’t keep up, but they are facilitated by TLS members and are very active as well.
6. Letters: Every week I write a thoughtful letter that our members receive in their inbox. With these letters I try to get in touch with a core issue concerning deconstruction and articulate my thoughts on it. Sometimes I give advice, sometimes not. But always I hope to inspire us to think deeply and intentionally about our individual journeys and become the masters of our fate and the captains of our souls.
7. Video Meetups: About every month, and sometimes more frequently, we’ll have a video meet up and just chat about whatever comes up. They are always fun and connective. After the meetings I always feel happy and encouraged, and lucky to know such incredibly diverse people. I announce these in our Facebook group, but I may start announcing them by email as well. I look forward to seeing you there next time!
8. Me: Last but not least. But this is right: members of TLS get access to me. I invest my time and energy into many things, but TLS gets the focus of my attention. I do communicate with many people every day, but no one gets the depth of concern and breadth of involvement with me than TLSers do. I want to encourage you to take advantage of it. I’m here for you. If TLSers want to get more serious with me, then we can set up some counseling sessions where I give TLSers a deep discount on my services. But email me, chat with me, message me. I will engage. Promise!
In the near future, I’m going to make courses available to our members. Some will be free, and other extensive courses will be made available to the public where TLS members get access to them at a radically reduced cost. I can’t wait to get this going. Stay tuned for these.
Thanks again for being you. You guys are my inspiration and help keep me doing what I do with passion, intention, and joy.