Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Raised Catholic, Spiritual Formation

Re-Visioning Church

(What We Used to Call Church)

Having been raised Catholic, completed nearly 12 years of Catholic school, receiving my ministry training through the Catholic Church and then working for 15 years as a pastoral minister in the Church, I have had a front seat view of all that is magnificent as well as malevolent within Catholicism.  The final conclusion I have drawn is that for the past 2000 years, immediately after the apostles discarded Jesus’ embrace of the feminine in favor of the patriarchal and hierarchical status quo, the Church has needed to be reformed.

I used to believe this reform could come from within.  I have since learned otherwise.  I also used to believe that perhaps the answer was a whole new church altogether – as was the result of the Protestant Reformation, and more recently in Evangelical Christianity and even closer to home, in the off-shoot Catholic denominations.  While a more traditional form of “Church” might work for some, I have increasingly come to understand that as we grow toward union, anything that separates – religion, denomination, even atheism, will not serve.  Instead, the awakened world is looking for a way to connect that is accepting of all beliefs, and embraces the Truth that is inherent within every single belief system – even those which has grown past the idea of “the old man in the sky god.”

Enter Authentic Freedom…here we provide everything that Church was originally intended to do, only without doctrine, dogma or any form of prosthelytizing:

Education

On-Going Spiritual Formation

Social Network/Community

Individualized Support

Empowerment

Publishing

Authentic Freedom (dot) Love is a community of women and men who are responding to the calling of their Soul to discover their own unique giftedness and how they are called to find fulfillment in these gifts while being supported and empowered in the use of these gifts in service to the betterment of the world.

You can become a part of our community by:

Subscribing to our Blog.  It is always free!

Following us on Facebook.

Enrolling in a class or two (or three).

Subscribing to our weekly Authentic Freedom lesson by registering for a Basic Membership.

Increasing your involvement with a Plus Membership which gives you access to our Private Social Network.

Connecting with other leaders in the human evolution movement by joining our Teacher’s Circle with a Premium membership.

Authentic Freedom has come about because we long for a more loving, more compassionate, more tolerant, more accepting and gentler world where the needs of all are met for the common good and where all of humankind can once again live in harmony, peace and understanding.

If you have found yourself here, you are either just beginning to hear the rumblings of your Soul, or have already come to know that you are among those who are being hospice to the dying world while midwifing the new world that is coming into form and are looking for people of like-mind with whom you can share this challenging and exciting calling!

We are changemakers, wayshowers, sh.t-disturbers, mystics and rebels. And here we are safe to question, explore, discover, be empowered and supported for our own unique giftedness and for how we are called to exercise these gifts in our world.

 

Join us in whatever way you are able and welcome!

With love,

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS

Authentic Freedom (dot)Love

 

 

 

 

Posted in church, Mary Magdalene, order of the magdalene, priestess training

The Magdalene Priesthood – In the World

When I first launched the Order of the Magdalene Priesthood Training, I thought it had to do with building a “new church.” I thought it would be the training ground for women and men to come into their fullness and be ordained as priests and priestesses as was originally modeled in the Church.  Very quickly, I learned this was not to be the case and it seems I am learning this truth more and more every day. What is most interesting about this unfolding, however, is that it is turning out exactly according to what I have been saying all along about ordination in the institutional church:

There is no shortage of vocations. There is only a shortage of vision.

For the past many years, the institutional Church has complained about a vocation shortage. In the Catholic Church, especially, there aren’t enough men coming forward as candidates for priesthood.  This is a fact. The Church’s response to this has been to close parishes and to make a single priest responsible for multiple parishes. (Note, there is also a HUGE shortage in people attending church, but that is a whole other story.)

When I was still working in the Church, I would argue, “There is no shortage of vocations. Those who are called are sitting right here in the pews, we simply need to empower them to identify, cultivate and then use their unique gifts.  When we do this, we will never have to ask for the ministries of church to be fulfilled, people will willingly and enthusiastically come forward offering to share their gifts.”  My words fell on deaf ears, but with the Magdalene Priesthood, I am finding the fulfillment of these words.

In the Magdalene Priesthood we are doing just what I described to our priest (and anyone else who would listen) all those years ago. Through the Magdalene Priesthood training (for women and men), participants are given the resources and support they need to:

  • Discover their unique giftedness.
  • Cultivate these gifts.
  • Move through the fears, resistance and societal conditioning that might otherwise hinder them in the use of their gifts.
  • Be empowered in the use of these gifts 1) for the sake of their own fulfillment and 2) in service to the betterment of the world.

In short, the Magdalene Priesthood training supports participants in coming to know themselves and then empowers them to live that truth fully in the world. The end result is a community of self-empowered women and men who are living their unique gifts fully in the world and doing so in a way that is unique to them. With the Magdalene Priesthood, members are living these gifts IN THE WORLD. Graduates of the Magdalene Priesthood are living these gifts in a multitude of ways:

  • Accountants.
  • Massage Therapists.
  • Yoga Instructors.
  • Dance Educators.
  • Teachers.
  • Mothers.
  • Dental Assistants.
  • Office Managers
  • Physicians.
  • Professors.
  • Fathers.
  • Business Owners.
  • Registered Nurses.
  • Clerical Support.
  • Government Employees.

Participants and graduates of the Magdalene Priesthood Training are women and men from all walks of life. We are not locked away in an ivory tower or sequestered in a monastery.  Instead, we are IN THE WORLD doing every day jobs (even I am working part time as Office Manager for a local arts academy).  The difference is that we are no longer bringing our broken, wounded, fragmented selves to these jobs, we are bringing our WHOLE selves and in doing so, transforming the work we are doing, our workplace and even the people around us.  In completing the work of the Magdalene Priesthood Training, we are bringing the fullness of love into the very heart of where it is needed the most – in our broken and fragmented world.

This is what Mary Magdalene did. This is what Jesus did before her.  Jesus was not “in” the temple.  He was not a priest of the temple.  He, like any other rabbi, sometimes spoke within the temple grounds and at synagogue, but he was not a priest in the clerical sense of the word.  He served at table – but over ordinary meals.  He performed ritual – but they were not the rituals in the temple – they were the homey, earthy rituals that were part of everyday Jewish life.  The same was likely true of Mary Magdalene.  She was a woman of the world, ministering IN the world through her own unique calling and her own unique gifts – not in a temple, not in a church, but in the midst of the people wherever and however she was called.

Learn more about the Magdalene Priesthood Training by clicking on the icon below:

Posted in church, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, order of the magdalene

Mary Magdalene – Healing the Patriarchal Wound of Christianity

Two-thousand years ago, a Jewish man fell in love with the mystical teachings of his faith – teachings about love, compassion, and oneness. In his love of his faith, he discovered an intimate relationship with the Divine who he called “Abwoon” – meaning all that is.  He felt the love of this Divine being as the love of a parent for their child – and even more so. In this love, the man found peace, contentment and joy along with the means by which he could experience “heaven on earth.” In his excitement of this discovery, this Jewish man did what every rabbi did before him; he sought to teach others what he had learned.

He taught where all rabbis taught – in the synagogue, in the courtyard of the Temple, in the fields, on the hillsides and near the shores of the living waters. He was invited to dinner in people’s homes and he taught there. He taught wherever there were those “with ears to hear.” In his wanderings, he attracted a company of women and men who chose to follow him so that they might learn even more from this man who knew and showed great love.

In this company of women and men, there was a very special woman, Mary, from the house of Lazarus. She along with her brother Lazarus and sister Martha, became Jesus’ devoted students, learning all he could share with them, while gaining insights and revelations of their own.  Mary took to Jesus’ teachings in a unique and special way.  Soon, Mary and Jesus became one. Mary understood the depth of what Jesus had come to know in a way unique from the others and in this, she too became teacher.

Lewis Williams, SFO

When Jesus was arrested, put on trial and murdered, Mary was there by his side. With the other women and a few brave men, they stood watch and offered prayers of support for Jesus as he suffered and died.  They never left his side.  When Jesus’ body was removed from the cross, Mary and the other women anointed his body for burial, wrapped it in linen cloths and offered the requisite prayers of burial.  When the stone was rolled in front of the entrance to the burial cave, the women wailed.  They cried.  The tore their hair and clawed at the ground.  In tending to their own grief and to the horrors of Jesus’ dying, they created space in which new life could begin.

And it did. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to Mary.  She saw and she believed. And then Jesus did a remarkable thing – he appointed Mary, now called Magdalene, “Tower of the flock.” Mary was ordained and sent forth to continue Jesus’ mission in his stead.  He did not give over his mission to the men who remained hiding in the Upper Room. He gave it to the woman who had the willingness to be emptied of all within her that might hinder her from knowing anything other than LOVE. He gave it to the woman who was free enough of ego to stand face to face with her greatest fear – the torture, suffering and death of her beloved and to have the courage to trust that even in this greatest loss, new life would emerge.

Mary was the new life.  Mary, now called Magdalene, went forth to share with the other disciples the good news and to continue what Jesus began – supporting the disciples and anyone else with ears to hear – in the mission of Love.

But then, patriarchy stepped in. Unwilling to let go of their fear of the patriarchal cultural norm and unwilling to set aside their egos enough to remember the equality that Jesus taught, the disciples rejected Mary’s message.  “This is the ravings of a woman.  Jesus’ could not have risen from the dead.  What does that even mean?”  Then Mary showed them.  She showed them how they could see Jesus and experience his presence, his guidance and his teachings.  They saw a glimpse, but they did not experience the fullness of what Mary described and then they became jealous.  They asked Mary why Jesus would appear to her and not to them.  How could he love her more than they?  Mary tried to explain, and Jesus through her.  But still the disciples could not accept that Jesus would choose her over them. So they cast her out.

Mary then went on her own way, with Lazarus and Martha beside her, the other women, along with a couple of the men who believed, and did what Jesus ordained her to do. She continued in the mission of Love.

The other disciples tell it differently. It is to Peter that Jesus gave the mission of building the new church (a church Jesus never spoke of building), and the purpose of this church was salvation.  Only those who believed as the disciples told it would be welcome into paradise at the end of time – totally forgetting that the only kingdom Jesus spoke of what the one right here in our midst when we are free enough of our fears to know Love. Sadly the Love Jesus taught was forgotten and replaced instead by fear.

This fear is the patriarchal wound of Christianity.  Fear born out of jealousy.  When the disciples cast out the woman Jesus ordained to continue in his stead, they cast out all women.  No longer reflecting the balance between masculine and feminine that Jesus favored, the Church became the distortion of love.  Instead of being rooted in the Oneness that Jesus preached, the new Church was based in separation and fear, power, control and privilege. Like the patriarchal culture in which they were raised, the men created a hierarchical, patriarchal institution where those in power are lauded as better than the rest and where salvation was the privilege of the few who would obey their commands. What we have today is a sad and broken institution whose fear comes out sideways in gluttony, lust for power, wrath, envy, greed, sloth, and the worst of these – pride.  Here children are raped and the offender excused, women are denied their rightful place as teachers and guides, our humanness (including our sexuality) is demonized, and instead of people living in LOVE, they are cowering in fear.

Embracing Mary Magdalene changes all that! In place of fear we find love.  Instead of hierarchy we discover collaboration.  Instead of power over, we have power with.  Not because of Mary, now called Magdalene, but because of what she represents – the core of Jesus’ message which is LOVE.  But this message of Love is not even about Jesus – it is about the truth of our Source, our original nature, ourselves, all of creation, and that which some might call God.  Love is who we are.  Love is all there is.  When we remember as Jesus and Mary Magdalene remembered, then there will be peace and we will fulfill our mission as humans which is to discover heaven on earth.  So mote it be!  Amen!

Scholarly resources:  https://templeofthemagdalene.com/2018/01/16/my-mary-magdalene-reading-list/

 

Posted in church, Mary Magdalene, Raised Catholic

Taking the Church Out of Church

Birthing the new church that has nothing to do with church

With both Authentic Freedom Academy and Temple of the Magdalene, I am doing everything I can to take the Church out of church while birthing a new vision of what we formerly called church. Before doing this, however, we have to examine that which is destroying the Catholic Church (and by association many other forms of Christianity) from the inside out:

On September 20th, National Catholic Reporter published an article by Benedictine nun, Joan Chittister, For Real Change…  In her editorial, Sr. Joan identifies four key roots that need to be addressed if there is any hope of reform in the Catholic Church: clericalism, clericalism’s long arm, the theology of obedience and the theology of the priesthood itself.

Clericalism:  Clericalism is the sick and twisted culture that arises out of the idea (propagated by the Church) that clergy are somehow superior and extra-holy.  It is the system which gives priests and bishops absolute authority and makes them the keepers of accountability for everyone else BUT themselves.

Clericalism’s Long Arm: As Chittister mentions, it is not only the clergy who hid centuries of sexual abuse. This culture of clericalism has seeped into the actions of those who have something to gain from the institution:  church and diocesan staff, law makers, law enforcement agencies, even the people in the pew who have found a perceived sense of power in their relationship with the Church.

Theology of Obedience: This is the obedience I have fought my whole life – the system that enforces obedience to the Church over obedience to God and where the only thing that matters is that which is “explicitly handed down by the magisterium.” I find it interesting how easily the Church forgets its own teaching on primacy of conscience and how easy it is for the Church to ignore the fact that action ALWAYS precedes legislation!  Compounding the issue of obedience is the very fact that NEVER have the laity been consulted in the development of Church teaching (thank you for this reminder Joan!).  Instead, a bunch of old white guys make decisions for all people to obey without having a clue about the life experiences of those who are expected to abide by these laws – the same laws these very priests ignore whenever it suits them!  Hypocrites!

Theology of the Priesthood:  OMG!  Don’t’ even get me started!  The idea that priests are somehow changed because of their ordination – that simply by virtue of their ordination they are different and better than the rest of us – is quite simply LUDICRIOUS!  Where did Jesus EVER model this?  In fact, the “priesthood” that Jesus modeled was exactly opposite of the privileged state of the Catholic priesthood.  In fact, Jesus preached vehemently AGAINST this kind of hierarchical privilege.

Birthing a New Vision of What We Used to Call “Church”

Unlike Sr. Joan Chittister, I no longer hold on to the hope that the Catholic Church will enact any sort of reform. From the perspective of the power-class, they would have too much to lose.  Instead, I have come to understand that my calling is to be part of birthing something NEW. This new that I am called to be a part of birthing gathers up that which was intended for good in the early Christian movement and perceives it – not through the lens of separation, but through the call to UNION.  Those who call Jesus their teacher are not better than, more right, more powerful, more deserving than anyone else.  As Jesus tried to teach his disciples, truth is found within and that truth leads us not into separation – but into LOVE.

Here we are no longer:

  • Black or white
  • Christian or Muslim (or Jew or Buddhist or Pagan or Athiest)
  • Male or Female (or non-binary or trans or…)

We are ONE.

  • Here there is no hierarchy.
  • Each person is empowered in discovering and living their own truth from a place of love.
  • Each person is recognized for their unique giftedness and it is acknowledged that they have ALREADY been ordained by the Divine that made them to live this giftedness for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.
  • Here we no longer serve an institution – we serve each other and the betterment of our world.
  • Here everything is sacrament and we don’t need a priest to make it so for we are our own priest/ess.
  • Here every day is the Sabbath and every loving action is “the mass.”
  • Communion is in every way we connect with another in that place of love.

It really is this simple.

If you are interested in being part of this birthing, join us Wednesday evening for the first Temple of the Magdalene online gathering:

online community, alternative christianity, Magdalene, Temple of the Magdalene, spiritual but not religious, new church
Click on the image to join

 

Posted in church, Raised Catholic, the bible, Truth

Healing Our Religious Wounds – new online course

Online course

Do at your own pace

23 modules

Only $49.99!

(content heavy and fiscally light)

Click on this image to register.

While religion has provided a great service to humanity, it has also done great harm. If you are one who has felt harmed, rejected, condemned, judged, ridiculed, stifled, silenced, by religion, you are not alone. In fact, the second largest “religious” denomination in the United States is made up of 42.7 million non-practicing Catholics – those who have left the Church because they no longer felt welcome or at home.  Perhaps like me, you are one of those.  Whatever it is that brings you to this class, “Healing Our Religious Wounds,” know that here you are welcome!  Through this course you will find acceptance, unconditional love and support for healing the wounds that you experienced at the hands of religious institutions or from those associated with that religion (even when those may have been your own parents or loved ones).

The structure of this class will be four-fold:

  1. To name and claim the harm that we have experienced through religion and to find unconditional support for claiming these wounds.
  2. To grieve the losses that we have experienced as a result of these wounds: loss of community, loss of familiar rituals, loss of perceived belonging, loss of God*, loss of self.
  3. To provide a space upon which you can heal religious wounds by confronting some of the core “beliefs” that are often the platform upon which this wounding has taken place.
  4. In doing so, providing space in which you can build a belief system of your own, perhaps discovering that in doing so, you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater (which many, sadly have).

The format of this course will be part storytelling, part recorded lecture, part written content, and part personal reflection and meditation.  You are invited to share what you are comfortable sharing throughout the course and you are free to refrain from sharing if this is how you are called.

Topics Covered:

  • Telling our story
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Images of God
  • Re-examining “The Trinity”
  • The question of salvation
  • Jesus – Redeemer or Revealer?
  • Scripture
  • Outside perceived authority vs inner truth
  • Prayer – speaking to vs. listening to God
  • Religion vs. Spirituality
  • Naming and claiming your own truth

*A note about “God.” Throughout this course you will see the use of the word “God.”  I will also interchange this with “The Divine.”  Please know that in the use of these terms, I impose no specific belief or understanding of what that means….but that it has nothing to do with the traditional “Old Man in the Sky” god and everything to do with the “God of your understanding.”  If you have a hard time with the word “God,” please feel free to replace it with “Love” or “Peace” or any word that describes your current understanding of our Origin and our Source.

Please also note that I will be using Judeo-Christian scripture throughout this course. I do so because it is the primary text which has been used as a weapon for harm.  In my own healing journey, I have discovered the beauty of scripture when examined through the light of love.  Scripture was never meant to cause harm, but to be a vehicle through which we can find ourselves, and in finding ourselves, finding our own understanding of “God.” My hope in using scripture, along with the proper tools, is that you will find this also to be true.

What you will need:

  • Yourself
  • A computer with internet access
  • A notebook or journal
  • A music source (your computer will suffice)
  • A box of crayons (Crayola 64 count is my favorite)
  • Time

As an additional source of support, I have created a “Secret” Facebook group (meaning only members can post or have access to the page) for course participants. Here you are welcome to share your own journeys and to connect with others healing through this process.  This is purely optional, but please use this resource if you feel so called.

 REGISTER HERE. 

From the Course’s Welcome and Introduction:

Since the beginning of time, human beings have created belief systems, rituals and communal practices to support and give expression to their search for meaning. For many primitive cultures, religion became a means of trying to survive in an otherwise unfriendly world. Beyond mere survival, as sentient beings we are driven by an inner longing to know who we are, to understand the workings of the universe and to somehow participate in the universe’s ongoing act of creation.  Religions were created in an effort to fulfill this longing.

Historically, the development of religious systems has proven helpful in gathering people around a common set of beliefs and cultural practices, providing a system of education and support through the inherent rites of passage in the human journey (birth, coming into adulthood, coupling, aging, death), and supporting humanity in developing necessary codes of conduct and systems for addressing breaches in that conduct. At their best, religious institutions bring humans together, support them in their psycho-spiritual development and equip them for living out the fullness of their human potential while being of service to the betterment of the world.

Many religious institutions are not, however, functioning “at their best.” Instead, many have risen up out of systems of fear, power and control, or as an adversarial response to other systems of power.  As a result, many religious institutions are functioning not as a system of support and empowerment, but instead are seeking control.  In many cases, fear and intimidation are the vehicles of control as those in power seek to rule over those who are not.

As a result of this disparity of power, many thousands of human beings have been injured – told they are unworthy of the love of their God, made to feel less than because of the person God made them to be, or flat out rejected because of their gender, sexual orientation, or life choices. In some cultures, people are even being killed because they disagree with the ruling religious power.  And what about all of those who have been sexually abused by those in religious power and those who are still being abused?

 REGISTER HERE

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, Christ Consciousness, church, divine mother, Jesus, New World, Oneness with God, Raised Catholic, the bible

Revealing the “New” in What Has Formerly Been Called “Church”

It is no longer about building the new world. It is about BEING the new world.

– Lauri Ann Lumby

For those of us who came here to be leaders in bringing forth the new world – in helping others to see the new world that is already here in our midst, we each have our own unique task , our own unique portion of “the new” we are here to help others see hidden within “the old.”

Some are called to be leaders of revealing the new world in the fields of education, others in medicine, others in banking and finance, others in governance, others in what was formerly called “the military,” and others in marketing, commerce, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, etc.

The specific field in which I am called to reveal the “new” is in what has formerly been called “church.”

stmarysinterior

In the old world, “church” became the intermediary between the people and their “god” and the outside perceived authority charged with telling the people what to do. “Church” ruled through fear and manipulated with threats of eternal punishment and damnation.

This was never what God intended. Neither was this what Jesus worked for.  Even Paul would have cringed if he’d seen what would become of his “Body of Christ.”

While this model of church continues to serve the needs of those who choose to remain in the old world – the world ruled by fear; for those choosing to live in a world of and for the purpose of Love, a different experience of what has formerly been called “church” seeks to be made known.

For those who in the old world were raised in one of the many Christian traditions, or who resonate with the person of Jesus, the “new” that is being revealed, and that I am called to help others see, starts with him.

jesus

What did Jesus do?

While we cannot recognize as authoritative or historically accurate, when we look past 2000 years of orthodox interpretation and through centuries of redaction and political maneuvering, and allow the Divine to speak to us directly, many truths can be gleaned:

  • Jesus prayed. And he prayed often, and he taught his disciples how to pray.
  • It was through prayer that Jesus experienced a deeply intimate, loving and even parental relationship with God (which he called “Abwoon”).
  • It was also through prayer that Jesus eventually came to realize his Oneness with God.
  • Through prayer, Jesus came to know God as Love and in this Oneness, came to know himself as Love.
  • It was in this Love that Jesus came to experience “heaven on earth” or as Jesus explained it: “the kingdom of God within.”
  • THIS is the kingdom Jesus proclaimed – LOVE.
  • Jesus lived and taught two commandments: Love God. Love Neighbor. And Jesus considered EVERYONE to be his neighbor, especially those the outside perceived authority called “sinners” or “unclean.”

In the words of Isaiah, Jesus:

Brought glad tidings to the lowly,

Proclaimed liberty to captives,

Gave sight to the blind,

Freed the imprisoned and oppressed,

Healed the brokenhearted,

Comforted those who mourned

And proclaimed a year acceptable to the Lord.

IS 61: 1-2

Jesus invited “those who had ears to hear” to move beyond the fears created by the outside perceived authority that served to separate them from “God” to the love that had been there all along – the love through which they were empowered to remember their Oneness with God (each other and all of creation) and that in this Oneness, they would know peace.

  • THIS is how Jesus healed the sick and set captives free.
  • THIS is what Jesus taught and then empowered his disciples to do.
  • THIS is what we too are called to do.
  • THIS is what I am called to reveal as the “new” model of what we formerly called “church”

As Jesus himself taught that we are all ONE and that there is indeed no separation; in the new world this proves to be true:

Here we are no longer

Jew or Greek

Slave or Free

Male or Female

For we are all ONE.

Gal 3: 28

Here, the truth within all traditions is sought and love becomes the measure of that truth.

As I am called to reveal “the new” in what has formerly been called “church,” the Catholic faith in which I was raised in my starting point.

maryqueenrosary

The Church:

  • That taught me about Jesus.
  • Who called me to do what Jesus did.
  • That taught me the value of ritual and the transformative power of contemplative prayer.
  • Where I learned that scripture is indeed the Word of God when we allow God to speak to us through and beyond the imperfection of human words.
  • Who gave me the angels, saints, mystics and all souls as my companions and guides.
  • Who gave me a God who is both Mother and Father and a God who as Spirit is beyond gender, name or form and who is both outside and within.
  • And the “Church” that taught me that we are here to know ourselves as the Temple of God and that as the Temple of God we have each been uniquely gifted and that it is through these gifts that we find fulfillment in our lives as we serve ourselves and others through the use of these gifts.

This is the starting point, but certainly not the end. For if we are all truly One, then it is our job to seek this Oneness – especially where we have most often fought for the sake of our perceived separation – in that which has formerly been called faith, religion or belief.

This is the “new” that I am called to reveal as we move more and more into the new world of Love – a “new” way of being what we formerly called “church.” And in this, we will learn that the “new” isn’t new after all, for it has always been here, right in our very midst, when we have had the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

heartinhands

If this this is the kind of “new” experience of what has formerly been called “church” that calls to you, please join us for our weekly gathering: “Being the New World”

Mondays 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Tuesdays 9:00 – 11:00 am

Authentic Freedom Academy

1103 School Ave.

Oshkosh, WI

Suggested Donation $10 – $20

If you are not in the Fox Valley and are interested in participating in these gatherings, please begin by subscribing to our weekly Empowerment Newsletter.

If you are interested in recorded sessions of our weekly gathering and in becoming part of our online community, please email Lauri at lauri@authenticfreedom.love.  If there is enough of an interest, these will be made available for a small monthly subscription fee. 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Forgiveness, God, Jesus, Oneness with God

“God” Does Not Save

I am going to bet that a whole lot of people are going to be either offended or frightened by a blog that suggests that “God Doesn’t Save.” Bear with me here…..I promise there is a happy ending!  🙂

Yesterday while working through some specific areas of trauma – healing and releasing them through a protocol called “Brainspotting” (under the supervision of a licensed therapist!), I had a staggering realization:

God did not save me, rescue me or support me in the most traumatic experiences of my life:

God did not step in and save me from being raped.

God did not save me from years of emotional abuse.

God did not protect me against betrayal.

God did not step in when the self-appointed inquisition harassed me, wrote evil letters about me, lobbied our local priest and bishop against me.

God did not step in while the Church broke my heart and refused to stand up for me, defend me or have my back when I was challenged, harassed and abused by the fearful few.

God did not step in when I found I had no choice but to leave the Church.

God sat back and did nothing.

Even after I had given my heart, my soul, my mind, my very being to God, dedicated my life to God, I got nothing back. I got nothing but pain for all I had given to God.

“I gave it all to God and got nothing back.” THIS is the very definition of co-dependency.  We give, give, give, give and get nothing back.

THIS is the “God” most of us have been brought up to believe in. A “God” who is “out there,” separate and apart from us.  This is a “God” who needs our devotion, our time, our attention, our worship.  This is a “God” who is fickle – who gives to those who have pleased “HIM” and takes from those who don’t.  But even worse, this is a “God” who takes even, or perhaps especially, from those who give.

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This is the “God” who sacrificed his own son. This is the “God” who let his chosen one be condemned, ridiculed, and crucified on a cross…..why?  “For the forgiveness of humankind????”  Let’s be honest, this is a ridiculous kind of God!  What kind of God kills his own son?  I’ll tell you what kind of God – one who is made in the image of “man” kind – specifically the unholy masculine (not to be confused with the holy masculine) aspect of humankind.  This is a God who was created by patriarchal, hierarchical institutions for the sake of their own power and control – institutions who created a God who is to be feared so that they could use this fear to manipulate their followers – a God who looks more like fearful, vengeful, fickle, jealous, angry humans than the God that Jesus spoke about who is LOVE.

So, no, God does not save – at least not the God who is the “old man in the sky,” out there who wants us to bow down to HIM and then just maybe “HE” will give us what we need to survive.

“God” does not save…..but love does.

God did not save me from rape, but love did. Love supported me in my grieving.  Love guided me to help and support.  Love allowed me to forgive….most importantly, love allowed me to forgive myself.

God did not save me from years of emotional abuse. But love did.  Love allowed me to find healing and support.  And again, love allowed me to forgive.

God did not save me from the Church who broke my heart, but love did.

God did not rescue me from the hands of the fearful minority or from the priest and bishop who had been poisoned against me, but love did. Love allowed me to heal.  Love allowed me to create a new home for myself.  Love allowed me to stand in my own truth regardless of the condemnation.  Love allowed me to be obedient to love.  And love allowed me to forgive.

So while I gave and gave and gave to “God” and got nothing in return, LOVE was there all along, supporting, guiding, healing, transforming and bringing me safely to exactly where I need to be.

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This LOVE is not “out there” hanging out among the clouds or in some heaven light years away. This LOVE is not sitting on a throne of gold locked behind some pearly gates.  This LOVE is right here inside of me, and this LOVE is right there inside of you.  This is the LOVE that you are and the LOVE that Jesus came to know within himself and wanted everyone else to know.  This is the LOVE that is our true nature – that holds the knowledge of our life path, the path that will give our lives meaning and purpose.  This is the LOVE that tells us what is right and what is wrong, what is true for us and guides us toward that truth.  This is the LOVE that compels, guides, and leads us toward the many opportunities in our lives for growth, healing and transformation.  And this is the LOVE that helps us find our way through the devastating and painful experiences of the human condition to the new hope and new life that is on the other side of the disappointment and loss.  This is the LOVE that leads us toward those who will support us in this love and this is the LOVE that helps us to recognize them when they arrive.

LOVE is what saves, and if you choose to call this LOVE “God,” (or “Goddess”) then let it be so!

Posted in About Lauri, Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, Discernment, Jesus, Magic, Raised Catholic, self-actualization, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

My Magic is This……What is Yours?

Each and every one of us is uniquely gifted to be LOVE in the world. When we came into this world, we knew what our unique gifts were, but through societal conditioning (“writers are a dime a dozen,” “you can’t make a living doing that,” “what you think you are seeing or hearing is only your imagination,” “Good Girls don’t do that!” “Cool or straight boys don’t act or sing or dance…”) we learn to forget, hide, or set aside the magic we came into this world to enjoy and to share.  In order to fit in and to go along with societal expectations, we forget our gifts, but at some point, we realize that what society asks of us is not life-giving or is making us either sick or crazy, so we begin to search. We then spend the next several (many) years of our life trying to find our gifts and then overcoming the fears of actually nurturing, cultivating, enjoying and sharing our gifts….or we remain unfulfilled and/or sick.

Each and every one of us LONGS for a life that is meaningful, fulfilling and which gives us a sense of purpose. It is through our gifts (magic) that we are able to experience this life that we long for.  For me, it has been a 51 year journey of knowing, forgetting, exploring, discovering, learning, growing, healing, transforming and then being empowered in my gifts.  The journey never really ends, but at 51 years old, with confidence I can say what my gifts are (explaining how I use them is a whole other matter!).  I think the image below, which came out of a recent class I was facilitating, pretty much sums it up:

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As one dear friend once acknowledged, “Lauri, your gift is hearing the truth beyond the words.” I have also come to understand that this is also true of my vision – I can SEE the truth beyond the illusion.  In the language of spiritual gifts, these abilities fall under the category of “discernment.”  I then use these abilities in my work as a teacher and a counselor – also spiritual gifts.  Knowledge is one of my spiritual gifts (magic) which is further supported by my love of learning.  Contemplation (prayer) is one of my gifts and helps to support me in all that I have mentioned above.  Put all of these gifts together and they further support my magic of being a leader and a visionary, a pastor and a prophet. It is the prophecy part that often gets me into trouble.

Prophets, as I have learned, are not those who predict the future, we are those who are able to “read the sign of the times” – who are able to see where society is going if things remain on their current path. We are then called to SEE and SPEAK the better way – the way of correction, if you will.  We see where reform is needed and we are called to live that reform and share it with other.  The place I have ultimately called to be prophet to….is what we have traditionally called “church.”  Specifically, moving beyond the institutions to Jesus’ original message of LOVE  – reclaiming that message and doing what Jesus originally called us to do – to support each other in becoming self-actualized.  This takes Jesus’ universal message out of the hands of power and privilege and brings it out into the world where ALL can benefit from this LOVE – no matter what one’s personal beliefs might be.

This is what I have come to understand to be my MAGIC. What is yours?

If you are interested in knowing more about your own unique giftedness and what your magic might be, check out my course, What is Your Magic? This course will be starting in Oshkosh on June 21st and the online course is available at 40% off through July 4th.  Learn more HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Empowerment, End of the World Prophecies, world changes

The Price of Waking Up

The Price of Waking Up –

and Why Most Will Choose to Remain Sleeping

I already know that 99% of you who begin reading this post will quickly lose interest, glaze over and return to whatever piece of gossip or tabloid journalism is currently entertaining you and distracting you from the truths you really don’t want to know or see. The other 1% will enthusiastically respond with a “preach it sistah!”  It is for the other 1% that I write this post.

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This week, I had a cruel reminder of the price of waking up and why the majority of the population works really hard at defending their right to stay asleep. The answer in short is because if we wake up….we are obligated to do something about the pain, hardship, disorder, violence, fear and hatred in our world.  In other words….we become personally responsible for making different choices in our lives. modeling these choices for others and if we are so-called, being a force for positive change.

If we stay asleep, however, we don’t have to do a thing. Instead, we get to remain in the mindless patterns of familiarity that define our lives.  We get to remain in the status quo that gives us the illusion of safety and security….only because it is known, not necessarily because it is safe or secure.  We don’t have to rock the boat, risk rejection or condemnation, or even respond to another person’s pain.  We get to avoid responsibility, falsely believing that it is someone else’s job, or hoping that if we ignore it long enough, it will simply go away.  The problem is, it doesn’t go away….and as the Buddhists know:

What you resist will persist.

And the more we resist it, the harder it works to be known, usually by coming out sideways in horrible acts with devastating effects.

This is what happened in the Church (and continues to happen). This is why the sex abuse scandal erupted the way it did.  For centuries, the Church looked away as their priests were sexually abusing children and taking advantage of other vulnerable populations, silently hoping it would go away (or worse, priding themselves in their power and their right to have control over others).  In this, they have never had to take responsibility for what CAUSED the sex abuse scandal in the first place – the demonization of the body, sexuality, and the Holy Feminine, an institution built of fear, power and control, guided by the Unholy Masculine.  And finally…..systems that continue to attract and keep underdeveloped men in the priesthood.  The Church needs to wake up…..but they are highly invested in status quo, in their power and wealth and if they actually took responsibility for all that needs to be changed….they risk losing all of this.  What they don’t know is that there is so much more to be gained, if they could only risk being Christ-like – putting the authentic teachings of Jesus to work and being the force of change Jesus calls us to be.  (Thank God for Pope Francis…he at least is trying!)

What is true of the Church is true of every other institution that has its roots in a patriarchal, hierarchical model, based in fear, power and control. Government.  Education.  Healthcare.  Psychology.  Academia.  Banking. Corporations.  Commerce.  Etc. Etc. Etc.  The longer they avoid their own disease, their own shadow, the more it will be coming out sideways (hah…we need only look to the presidential election to see evidence of this.).  Pretend it’s not there, and then we don’t have to do anything about it…..and change is hard…..and we don’t know how to support change….and change scares us.  So, we keep our heads in the sand hoping it will go away on its own or that someone else will clean up the mess.

The longer we look away, however, the larger the pile of debris becomes, and the harder the truth works at being known, being seen and being addressed. As we look away hoping things will go away on their own – our planet is being destroyed, millions of people are living under the constant threat of war, millions are now homeless refugees, people are getting sicker, joblessness and underemployment are at an all-time high, corruption rules our government and corporations, and our children are dying.  None of this will change, in fact, it will only continue to get worse the more we choose to stay asleep.  And for the 99%, this is what they will continue to choose.

The good news is that it only takes a pebble to start an avalanche. As the power of the 1% has ruled our world, it is THE OTHER 1% who have to power to change it.

You know who you are. Thank you for being awake and thank you for being willing to listen to the voice of your soul – a voice crying out in the wilderness speaking to sand , perhaps….but you are listening.  We are listening.  The OTHER 1% are awake.  We are listening.  We are taking personal responsibility and we are working for change.  We are the pebble that starts the avalanche….and the time for the avalanche is NOW!

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