My Spiritual Conundrum

I don't want to "belong" to any religious or spiritual group, yet I'm fascinated by the culture and minds of the religious from an anthropological point of view. At times I long to be part of a community, and I almost always want to talk about spirituality. I'm sometimes trapped by what I don't like and what I long for. For example, I strongly dis-like "religion" with all its power, control and structure. I will never "belong" to another church, (been there done that, more than once), it's not for me. Yet I sometimes miss having someone to share my beliefs and spiritual feelings with.

I have my own spiritual path, and I'm ok with that, I believe ones most sacred thoughts don't need to be preached to others, but rather kept to oneself or shared with others not with the intention of persuading them to believe the same thing. I think belief systems are something that should support or help one live the kind of life they want to live. I don't believe any one religion or philosophy is right or wrong; they are merely support systems to get us through life the best way possible.

I'm always fascinated with society and the way a group of people will hold tight to a belief system and all of their thoughts and actions center around that system. The dangerous side of this is judgment; piousness; self-righteousness; and, as we've seen on a global setting, how these strong, misguided beliefs lead to war and killing. And, on a more personal level, how religious groups will band together to deny someone their basic human rights on the grounds of their own definition of "morality". There is definitely a good side to religions; often a community of like minded individuals can do great deeds of charitable service for others. A church can be a great asset in making sure the hungry are fed and the naked are clothed. I've been a recipient of both the good and the dangerous deeds of religion; and, if I'm honest with myself, I've been on the giving side of both the good and the dangerous deeds.

In summary, my conundrum is this; that I long for what I despise. I want to meet with a group of like-minded people, yet I don't like structure, commitment and obedience to any rule of law around this same group.

The answer seems simple enough, just have coffee with a friend or two and have deep, philosophical conversations. This doesn't happen as often as I would like, I first need to find one or two friends close by that are like minded and want to meet and have coffee. Hasn't happened in my ten years here in McMinnville. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. Or maybe it's my disdain over "organized" religion that keeps me from "organizing" anything.