Once upon a time we had a technology we could use to find any congregation that was nearby! There was manual labor involved that would, though rarely, result in [pause for effect] a papercut!
Though I may have overstated the ability of that long-lost phone book technology, one might imagine that the internet would be more effective. Yet, like so many others before me who have been frustrated in their search for a nearby faith community or an individual faith leader, I’ve implored the heavens, “Why?!?! Why can’t I locate the congregations or faith leaders that are nearby?!?!”
After a decade and thousands of dollars invested, I have two practical solutions to contribute to a better world or at least what I hope will be a better world.
The first offering is a listing of faith communities and faith leaders in a single website called The Faith Leader Directory. It is simple and pragmatic. It can be used by every person in the public, every faith community and every faith leader for free.
The second offering is what I am most excited about because it allows for infinite creativity, all kinds of fun and learning, and organic relationships. With a core value of being good, kind humans, it is simply called Be Kind Humans. It is a universe that has chats, events, discussions, messaging, courses, entertainment, and groups. The groups form around activities, identities, interests, topics and anything you want.
There is an entire area inside Be Kind Humans where whole faith communities can each have their own realm. There is another entire area where individual faith leaders can each have their own realm (group/space/ministry) available. And every faith community and faith leader can self-determine if their ministry is free.
I often refer to the Be Kind Humans “Universe” because it is one large community of many other communities.
While a faith leader or faith community can exist in both the Faith Leader Directory and Be Kind Humans, it is NOT automatically true. Due to the high levels of interaction in Be Kind Humans, there is a high demand on members of Be Kind Humans to be safe, kind and inclusive or be removed from the universe.
If you are looking for a faith community or faith leader for any reason, you can both observe and interact with as many as you like. If you are NOT looking for a faith community or leader, the same is true.
Although it may seem as though I have created a universe especially for overtly religious believers, this is only a little bit true. I do want this universe to be resourced with many religious experts, but the conditions of being able to stay are that they never pressure or impose their religious beliefs upon anyone else. Nobody should ever attempt to convert anyone else to their religion.
You may be invited to groups, places, events. You may be asked if you would like to learn more about somebody’s beliefs. Nobody should repeatedly invite you to anything unless you’ve asked them to do so.
Many people around the world do not have access to faith leaders from various traditions. It can be unsafe to ask genuine questions that may be heard as heretical. We are here, online, so that you no longer need to live in fear or in isolation. In fact, some of you will be looking for faith leaders who are NOT nearby!
What’s more, I am not offering just myself or just my belief, my religion, my spirituality, my voice as “the one true, honest person” who can interpret all the sacred scriptures and the word of God, Allah, Jehovah, Nature, Science, Music, whatever or whomever you do (or do not) worship. I feel called to helping the half of the world that doesn’t already have a pastor, congregation, or support in a spiritual practice that works for them.
My theology is that everyone was born with good in them and has some good in them right now. I’d like you to see that goodness in you and I’d like to help you be a little more good tomorrow. If that means helping you find a Buddhist, Baha’i, Muslim, Humanist, Yoga or Atheist practice then awesome.
If you find yourself inside of the Be Kind Humans Universe and you are not sure where to start then please drop me a message. As with most technology, if you type the ‘@’ symbol then start typing someone’s name then you can select members to tag. As “UU Jay McNeal” I am currently the only person who’s name starts with two U’s. Be Kind Humans is a super low-dollar monthly subscription. So what’s the worst that can happen, you leave?