Are you a church?
Well, we’re not really a church. We’re not really not a church. But we’re definitely a collective! A collective is just a group of people from different backgrounds coming together for a common purpose. That's who we are.
Where is your belief statement?
We are a community with an emphasis on shared practices and values rather than beliefs. We also hold the conviction that our beliefs are embedded in the lives that we live. So, we hope that our lives display our beliefs.
Are you a Christian movement?
We are a movement of people who are rooted in the Jesus wisdom tradition in the 21st century. This means that we are helping translate Jesus' teachings for today. We are planted out of First Christian Church (DoC) Santa Barbara, who has been serving the city in the name of Christ for over 125 years. The term “Christian” has so many different connotations in our society today, some good and some bad. So, we’d prefer to use the language of faith rather than belief. We’ll use Kierkegaard’s ideas here to say, “If you want to know if we are Christians or not, ask our friends.”
What does the “Way” mean in "Way Collective?"
The earliest followers of Jesus were called followers of the "Way." In short, we are emphasizing a “way of being” in the world, not a “way of believing.” We see this in our emphasis to live into certain practices and values, and we see that emphasis to be in line with Jesus’ invitation to deep, contemplative, and compassionate living as well.
Why the emphasis on shared practices and values rather than beliefs?
We find that there is too much division in our world today, and that religion often contributes to an "us vs. them” mentality. We hope that by practicing connection, contemplation, critical thinking, creativity, and compassionate action in community together, that people from all different backgrounds (both faith and non-faith) will build bridges to promote unity and find a home to work together for a more beautiful and just world.
Do I have to be religious to be a part of the Way Collective?
Nope. Not at all. Plus, religion actually means in the Latin, “bound together,” which all people tend to be in some way anyways. So, no, you don’t have to have a faith background in any major World Religion to be a part of what we’re doing.
Who is welcome at the Way Collective?
At the Way Collective, we are attempting to hold a space that we don’t really see in very many places in our world today. Because of our attempt to live in this liminal “in-between” space, one of our highest values is Hospitality. True hospitality says that there is no identity-marker that excludes you from the core community. None. So, yes all people are welcome here! And, if you are a part of the community, we hope that you’ll commit to holding this space with us and creating an environment of true, nonjudgmental welcome!
What are your values?
As we practice connection, contemplation, critical thinking, creativity, and compassionate action, we see these practices corresponding to five values as well. Namely: hospitality, mystery, wisdom, beauty, and love/justice. But we see the whole pursuit of our community as an adventure in peacemaking. We hope you find those ideas alluring as well!
When do you gather?
We will begin to gather more routinely in late Summer. We’d love to invite you to a 5-week series of conversations over a meal beginning on August 31st to give you a better picture of what we’re all about and where we're heading. For more information, sign up for our e-mail list!
Will there be childcare at your weekly gatherings?
Yes, there will eventually be childcare available. We think that more families need to feel good about handing their kids practices and values that will form them into more compassionate and understanding people in the world. Childcare will not be provided during our first 5 Dinner & Dialogue gatherings, as they are an orientation for people interested in the direction of the community. Our gatherings in later Fall, however, will begin with a large family meal (kids welcome) and then during the conversation portion of the evening, the kids will go play with some of our childcare providers until the event is over.