We are a place and a people who are often more comfortable with asking questions than being given ‘pre-fab’ answers. We are learning from each other, discovering what it means to be good neighbors, and trying to be the change we wish to see in the world.
We meet every second Sunday from 10am - 11am (PST)
We are a group of mostly American expatriates, living in a coastal community in Northern Baja California. We come from many different backgrounds and many different walks of life. We are hardly ‘homogeneous’ in our views (and some of us are more outspoken in them than others) but what we do share in common is a deep sense of commitment to our community and to continuing to foster it as a place of openness, hospitality, and welcome.
Not Church has evolved, for us, as a space where we can explore together a sense of the ‘spirit’ underlying that community, and participate in it together. Some of us consider ourselves atheists. Some of us consider ourselves Catholic or Jewish or Presbyterian. Some of us want nothing to do with organized religion as we’ve experienced it–dogmatic, rigid, and often hypocritical. Of course we know that not all religion, churches, synagogues, or other houses of worship are like that, but too often we realize that religion has come to mean that which is closed, rather than that which is open.
But we also realize that there are many, like ourselves, who are seeking something more–whether we call that God, love, or that in which we live and breathe and have our being. We realize that language and dogma have often gotten in the way of being able to encounter that ‘something more.’ So, we are an experiment, in a sense, to see what happens when a very diverse group of people is able to enter into this journey together.
We don’t claim to have it all figured out. We are a place and a people who are often more comfortable with asking questions, than being given ‘pre-fab’ answers. But we are learning from each other, discovering what it means to be good neighbors, and trying to be the change we wish to see in the world.
When we first discussed the idea of expanding from our monthly ‘spiritual conversation group’ toward more of a ‘service’ we talked about what we would call ourselves. We realized that none of us really wanted to go to ‘church’ as that brought up a lot of stereotypes. So, we decided to call it Not Church to start with, and see what might come of it. The name has stuck. For us it does not mean ‘the negative of church’ but rather it has come to represent a place of openness, learning, sharing, and participating.
Oh, and we’re pretty excited that TIME magazine heard about what we’re doing and wrote it up in a piece called ‘The Rise of Nones’ (which, if you are only hearing it, might sound like ‘The Rise of the Nuns’–which we most definitely are not.)
Good morning, welcome! It’s great we can all be together here. Love to you on this Valentine’s Day! Doug and I are so grateful to be part of this community! We bought our first place here about 20 years ago and later we were part of the group the founded Not Church!
And now we’re part of this expansion that we’re calling Tranquilo. We’ve emailed and posted but changes take time to sink in so I’m going to do a quick overview.
This community has always loved getting together and 10 years ago there were pot lucks and great spiritual conversations going on so we thought maybe it would be fun to start a regular monthly gathering. Historically this community has had a sort of renegade nature. There were people who were missing going to Church, but there were more people who were avowed atheists and many of us had been traumatized by religion. So the question became “Can we do something that feels enough like church for those people, but still not like church for the rest?” It’s been a bit tricky but we’ve pulled it off!
Then gradually some of us wanted to get together more often and to go deeper into these conversations. So we talked Ron, our major meditator for 40 years, into starting a Monday Morning Meditation Class, and Nadine agreed to facilitate a weekly book study group. Both are now starting their 7th year, there’s a book study and meditation group in the Rosarito area, and we’re learning how to get along better with each other in the Ongoing Weekly Enneagram Group. And now all except the Monday Meditation are on zoom!
We certainly do miss getting together in person, but being online has opened up the really wonderful community we have here for others to join in from anywhere, and guess what, some of them are moving here! And we’re seeing people bring all kinds of new skills and talents to all that we already have, so we saw the opportunity to experiment with expansion and maybe a little more organization!
We created a bigger container and the name Tranquilo came naturally. Tranquility is one of the best things about living here in nature in this somewhat remote place, and isn’t inner tranquility mostly what we’re going for? Learning how to live in more peace, freedom, ease, happiness—getting together to explore ways of doing that.
Not Church is still the keystone of this community and I imagine it always will be—the piece that is fundamental that all other things rest on, and if you only want to do this for an hour once a month, that is great! Many of us have experienced much benefit in doing that. And if you’d like to maybe go deeper faster, you’ll consider some of the new things. You’ll learn more about those later.
We asked ourselves what are we doing and why and what came to us is “We’re creating more humanity, in each of us, for all of us, and we’re doing it through spiritual exploration and expansion.” I hope you are as moved by that idea as we are.
With that in mind today some of our neighbors are going to talk to you about things that inspire them and we’ve invited a new person to join us to learn about the wisdom of the heart. Something new: she will lead a meditation as part of her talk.
First, when we were thinking about who might like to be part of the program today (and by the way you’re all welcome to participate, just let us know!) we remembered a reading we all enjoyed very much last year, and she’s agreed to come back today—Lisa Rath! Thank you Lisa.