In a response to the original post Linda wrote, “It’s hard for the atheist or one with a latent belief in God to find a group of people who are interested in them — in knowing why they affirm their atheism or why they have moved away from organized religion.” This reminded me of a major benefit of being a member of Chalice–you have people who care about you.
I have a loving family. I am still very close to my friends from college. For that matter, there are many people I work with and know from law school who care about me and are interested in me. So, my embarrassment of riches causes me to over look this benefit because to be honest it isn’t something I look for from my church. But it is always there. And when my father passed away recently, the compassion from the people at Chalice was marvelous and palpable. It was a time when I was so in need of love, that I could feel it from all of the sources I mentioned above, including the folks at Chalice.
Having a group of people who care about you, who are interested in you, is probably not an uncommon benefit of belonging to a Church, but as Linda points out, having a group that is so accepting may be more so.