Here are some questions that I often hear. Do you have another question? Feel free to send us an email.
Are you religious?
Our founders are Christian ministers, and our faith orientation motivates, inspires, and informs everything we do. However, there is no overt religious agenda or doctrine espoused by the Family Spirit Center. We are not invested in whether you attend church, synagogue, mosque, temple, or forest bathing. We are not invested in what name you call G-d, or whether you believe in G-d at all. We are invested in creating and cultivating conditions that help human beings grow and thrive: we week to raise love and justice for all, faith or no faith.
If you are not religious, why do you have Spirit in your name? That makes me uncomfortable.
As an organization that builds partnerships and relationships across lines of difference, we are deeply aware that the language we use determines who will feel welcome and who will feel safe. We are continually reviewing and refining our language. We hope that if some of our words don’t appeal to you, you might consider, who is drawn to this language? For whom does this language support a feeling of belonging?
For some people, using the word spirit is a welcome reminder that what we stand for (love and justice) are aspirations of another order (outside of capitalism, white supremacy culture, and all systems that espouse power-over models of human relationships). For many in our communities who have suffered generations of oppression and persecution, feeling connected to a Great Life (Spirit) that extends beyond the present-day circumstances is absolutely critical for a sense of safety.
Please know that we are not trying to make you uncomfortable when we use the word spirit, or acknowledge the spiritual. We know that many terrible things have been done in the name of religion, and we are not intending to evoke those connotations. If you want to stick around, our hope is that you come to understand that we welcome just as you are, with no requirement that you take on belief systems that are not authentic for you.
Perhaps you can think of the word “spirit” in our name in a similar sense to the term, “team spirit.” Like “team spirit,” family spirit is an ethos of belonging (although in our case, we don’t have an opponent).
The word love sounds, well, saccharin. Are you guys nice all the time and kind of touchy-feely?
Ha ha ha! Some people might think that at first… we do try to be kind, even when we speak hard truths. But when we speak of love, we are not speaking of cultural niceness. Love is not always nice. When we speak of love we are speaking of that fierce and tender force that connects the genuine in one human being to the genuine in others in such a way that we become a “we” that more than the sum of our members. As we see it, love is that generative, animating force that makes living things alive, and links living beings to all other living beings.
The word “family” makes me feel excluded. I am not married and I don’t have kids. Is this for me?
We use a “queer” notion of family, expansive, and inclusive. You do not need to have children or be married to come be part of us. If you explore more of who we are, you will know it by what you feel. Are we kin? If you feel resonance, we would love to have you among us. While not all of our programs or offerings will feel designed for you, our hope is that many do. If there is a program or service that would foster a sense of belonging for you that you would like to see among our offerings, please do not hesitate to let us know! We love to explore new ideas and even develop new programs in partnership with members of oru community.
Back to the mundane: Do you have a physical location?
No, but we have many partners with physical locations who share physical space with us when we have place-based offerings. We have chosen not to have a physical building of our own so that we can keep our costs low. We like to stay focused on relationships, on people and partnerships. We are grateful to our partners who do the work of maintaining physical spaces where people can gather.