Finding and Creating Community

Amanda Metskas

When the secular parenting discussion forums at ParentingBeyondBelief.com opened in February 2007, a single comment, phrased various ways, was posted over and over: "It's so nice to talk to other secular parents out there dealing with similar issues." The comments were often followed with stories of isolation, feelings of uncertainty—and the desire for community.

There are literally millions of families in the United States with nonreli-gious worldviews, but too often they feel as if they are going it alone. By contrast, religious families usually have a nearby church community offering Sunday school, parent groups, and organized family outings—all in addition to the weekly worship service.1 Secular families seldom have the same built-in access to communities where they can congregate, share ideas, and pass along values to their children. This might explain why getting married and having children are the two key factors that bring people back to church.2 The ready-made community is one area where it is safe to say that religious parents have a real advantage.

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