Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, church

A Home for the Spiritually Homeless

This coming Sunday, August 16, 2015, Authentic Freedom Academy is launching its Sunday Service (8:00 – 8:45 am at Inner Sun Yoga Studio in Oshkosh). People have been asking me what to expect from the Sunday Service, what it is about and what it might look and feel like. To be completely honest, I’m not really sure. What I believe will happen is that the Sunday Service will create itself based on the needs of those in attendance and that over time, it will find rhythm and form. Until then, all I can do is show up with the intention of the Sunday Service which is to:

Provide a home for those who might otherwise feel spiritually homeless:

  • Those who might identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious.”
  • Those who have become disenfranchised or disillusioned by traditional experiences of “church.”
  • Those who have searched for a spiritual home but who are yet to find something that fits.
  • Those who long for spiritual companionship and community that is welcoming and accepting.
  • Those who long for spiritual community that is more about bringing people and beliefs together than building separation.
  • Those who long for a spiritual community that welcomes diversity of all kinds, including beliefs.
  • Those who yearn for spiritual community that encourages questioning as a critical component in authentic psycho-spiritual development.
  • Those who want to be engaged and empowered not merely talked at or left to feel powerless.
  • Those who want to be treated with honor and respect for the intelligent adults they are.
  • Those who long to make the world a better place, and who believe their spiritual development to be an integral component in fulfilling this desire.


If you want to know more about the nuts and bolts of what Sunday might look like, here is what I know so far:

  • Bring the kids! All ages are welcome and I hope to provide opportunities for children to move and feel engaged!
  • There will be coffee and hot water for tea which you are welcome to bring into the service!
  • There will be nametags and a sign-up sheet so you can receive information on future programs, services, offerings, etc.
  • The yoga studio has plenty of pillows and blankets for floor sitting. (If the floor isn’t comfortable for you the studio has a few chairs or feel free to bring your own.)
  • There will be a free will donation basket.  Thank you in advance for your generous support.
  • We will start promptly at 8 and open with some sort of prayer of welcome, preparation and setting of our intention.
  • I will play a song to set the tone for the day’s theme.
  • I will share a reading from sacred wisdom literature (most commonly scripture from the Judeo-Christian tradition as this is my background, and I will include readings from other traditions when inspired to do so.)
  • A short lesson on applying the reading to our own lives, especially from the perspective of unity consciousness (Oneness).
  • We will share in a period of contemplative meditation drawing from Hebrew, Christian, Yogic, Buddhist and Indigenous traditions.
  • We will take time to share our prayer intentions and close with either a song or silence as we hold our intentions in prayer and prepare to go back out into the world.

If any or all of this calls to you, please join us this Sunday at 8 am (prompt). Doors will open at 7:40. Dress is casual (I will be in my yoga clothes, hair up and probably no makeup!). And if you feel so called, stay for 9:00 yoga with Priscilla (this class has become my church!). Inner Sun Yoga studio is on the corner of 8th Ave. and Oregon, across from Kossels. Parking and entrance are behind the building.






Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, church, Mystics, Spiritual Formation

Not That There’s Anything Wrong with That (Church that is!)

In Monday’s blog, I made it clear that the Authentic Freedom Academy Sunday Service is NOT Church. Today I want to make it equally clear, “Not that there is anything wrong with it (Church, that is).” Church, as we have (mostly) experienced it in the West, is a beneficial human practice which speaks deeply and profoundly to the needs of some. This traditional model of Church provides for a specific human need – it declares certainty in what is at best, an uncertain world. In the human condition there is suffering. Poverty, hunger, disease and death are all very real parts of the human experience. Good things happen to bad people and bad people often seem to be rewarded for their evils. All of these realities of the human experience create anxiety, worry and fear in even the most courageous and daring of human beings. In the face of all this uncertainty – the Church provides comfort in promises of a peaceful future in the afterworld – for those able and willing to fulfill the conditions necessary for acceptance into this heavenly abode. If you follow these rules, obey these commandments, live according to the regulations of the outside perceived authority, then you will be happy in the afterlife. For many, this provides great peace.

This model of Church that we have mostly known in the West is not the only way in which Westerners have experienced Church…it is just the one that gets the most attention. This model of Church that seems to get the most attention is the orthodox (concerned about doctrine, dogma, rules, enforcing rules, priest as intercessor) and exoteric (outward directed) model of Church whose greatest concern is the hereafter.



While the exoteric model of Church has gained prominence, developing alongside the orthodox Church, is the contemplative/mystical church (notice the lower case “c”) and its concern with personal relationship, direct knowing, personal growth and development; and whose deepest concern is experiencing heaven on earth. This is the church experienced by Francis and Clare of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola, Hildegard of Bingen – and many more. This is the model of church that historically been “in” the Church, but not “of” the Church. While ultimately under the jurisdiction of the papal hierarchy, these models of church have developed outside the influence of orthodoxy, guided by its founders’ intimate and personal relationship with Christ.

If the Authentic Freedom Academy Sunday Service is accused of being anything like church, it would be the latter – contemplative, mystical, concerned with personal relationship, direct knowing, personal growth and whose deepest concern is experiencing heaven on earth. In an uncertain world, with an equally uncertain future the only choice we have is to make the best of what we’ve been given and this is what Jesus originally taught. Jesus taught his disciples to actively seek peace in the midst of the only thing that is certain in the human condition – uncertainty. In the human condition we experience it all – love and hate, elation and pain, joy and suffering. Why not turn to tried and true methods for navigating the ever-changing landscape of our human experience, tools that help us find peace in the midst of suffering, comfort in the face of pain, love in the face of hate? This is what Jesus taught and what he intended his disciples to teach after him. If there is any kind of church that Authentic Freedom Academy might be called to emulate, it is this one.

Posted in Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Mystics, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices

Mystics and Contemplatives

In the past several days, I have used the words mystic and contemplative somewhat interchangeably.  While the two are similar and walk a common path with a common mission, I have learned there is a bit of a difference between the two.  After today’s blog, let me know if you are a contemplative or a mystic.


The same, only different

There are common characteristics between contemplatives and mystics, most obviously is their intimate connection with the transcendent, or what I call God.  Mystics and contemplatives both possess a deep inner calling to connect with God and to maintain that connection, sometimes through meditation and prayer, often through life itself, nature, the body, relationship and creative expression.  Mystics and contemplatives both have an innate ability to see and be present to the world beyond this world and once encountered, mystics and contemplatives find ways to cultivate that connection through disciplined practice (again, sometimes in prayer, sometimes through other means).  While mystics and contemplatives are similar in this regard, there are a few things that set them apart.

Examples in the saints

The Catholic pantheon of saints provides the perfect exploration into the differences between mystics and contemplatives.  John of the Cross, Thomas Merton, Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating and Catherine of Siena are contemplatives.  St. Francis, Hildegard of Bingen, Joan of Arc, Galileo and Teresa of Avila are mystics.  The former tend to stay in line with the Institution…..the latter tend to rock the boat.

Contemplatives vs. Mystics

Contemplatives (as compared to mystics) are well-behaved.  They are quiet and unobtrusive.  Contemplatives are content to sit and pray and trust and wait (for the most part).  Contemplatives gain the approval of the Institution.  They color inside the lines.  While speaking and living their truth, they don’t tend to rock the boat.  A contemplative would be more likely to earn an imprimatur and a nihil’obstat – the Vatican Good Housekeeping seals of approval.  Mystics, on the other hand, are a whole different story.  Mystics, by their very nature are sh..t-disturbers, they rock the boat, are not content with status quo and generally tick people off (those who find security in the status-quo anyway!).   Mystics also, tend to be a bit mad (aka crazy, insane, off their rocker…)….at least they appear that way to the general public and to those who maintain the current structure of power.  Mystics are not “normal.”   Mystics do not color inside the lines and they are certainly anything but quiet!  Mystics are loud.  Mystics make their presence known.  Mystics are unlikely to gain the approval of the Institution – in fact, they might seek to tick them off.  In fact, any mystic worth their salt has probably been called before the Inquisition to defend their crazy ideas….and some have been excommunicated or even killed for their truths, or at the very least, silenced.  (Galileo, Joan of Arc, Hildegard of Bingen for example).  Some have survived the scrutiny of the Inquisition (Teresa of Avila, St. Francis, Martin Luther, ahem…Jesus!) and through their survival, initiated great reform!

Mystics are Reformers

Herein lies the other difference between contemplatives and mystics.  Whereas contemplatives may be initiating reform through their quiet, prayerful presence, mystics are living their call to reform OUT LOUD.  Like John the Baptist, mystics are the voice crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”  Mystics are the prophets and visionaries who see our potential as human beings and work toward helping us achieve this potential, for this is the call of the mystic – to know God, to see God’s higher vision for humanity, and to invite (challenge) the world to become this vision.

So…..are you a contemplative or a mystic?

Posted in God, Inspiration

Insatiable Longing

Contemplatives, mystics, wondering wanderers….this blog’s for you.  Continuing the exploration of the experience and call of the modern-day mystic.



God touches us with a touch that is Emptiness and empties us.

– Thomas Merton

Longing, Longing, insatiable longing

Sigh.  As I reflect on the insatiable longing that plagues the mystic’s heart, I feel the tongues of longing flickering around my spirit…taunting me, haunting me, tempting me into the downward spiral of despair.  The longing of the mystic begins with an emptiness that seeks to be filled.   This longing is then marked by a hunger that says, “it’s not enough, it’s never enough,” and a  restless anxiousness that urges, “Look here, look there..hurry up, it’s over here”  only to find it is not here, not there, not any “where,” and to experience within, among, around and at the end of the search, (until we know the true source of the longing) only disappointment and frustration.

Excruciating pain

Many, after seeking and finding disappointment, simply shake it off and move on.  Not the mystic.  The mystic feels the pain of disappointment, frustration, loss, as if their heart has been torn in two…as if their very soul has been ripped from their spirit.  The pain of the mystic is EXCRUCIATING…..devastating….often leading to despair.  And the pain that the mystic feels is not solely their own, for the call (some might say burden) of the mystic is to carry the world in its suffering and pain.  The mystic feels so that others might feel.  The mystic longs so that others may long.  The mystic searches so that others might seek.

Pain with purpose

The pain of the mystic, however, is not without purpose.  The job of the mystic is two-fold:

1) To seek until the longing is fulfilled

2) To inspire others in that same search

The emptiness and longing planted within the mystic’s heart is the same restlessness and longing experienced by others, but the difference is that the mystic has no choice but to seek its remedy.  It’s as if a force within them provokes, urges, pushes, prods, until the mystic heeds its call.  Then once the mystic has set their foot along the path, the longing fuels this search.  And in their seeking and losing, searching and missing, searching and not finding, the mystic reveals the path to others.  But it is only in finding the true remedy for their search that the mystic has fulfilled their purpose and in doing so, revealing the purpose for others.

The remedy to the longing

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”  

– Augustine of Hippo

I could not have said it any better!  St. Augustine, in his Confessions, clearly and heart-wrenchingly states, at once, the purpose and remedy to the mystic’s longing.  In a word:  GOD.  The longing that is planted in the mystic’s heart is no less than God calling us home.  The tongues of fire that flicker about our ears and fuel our restless hearts are quite simply God desiring to be known.  And for the mystic, when we come to know God, we come to know ourselves.


The prescription for this longing, for this insatiable hunger and desire, for this restless search is to BE WITH GOD.  For some, this might mean meditation, contemplation and prayer.  For others, being with God might mean creative pursuits, hard physical labor (or exercise), fulfilling work.  It doesn’t matter how we get there, but that we find the practice, the activity, the thing that helps us to remember God in the felt experience of love, peace, fulfillment and joy, and that we find a way to share that love with others.


At the end of the hallway of closed and locked doors

One Lone Door stands open

and there he is, bathed in light

Beckoning my return.

– Lauri Lumby (from my soon to be released book, Returning)

Posted in Gifts of Contemplation, Holy Spirit, Inspiration, Raised Catholic

Mystic Manifesto

What does it mean to be a mystic in the modern-world?  What do we have that Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis and Clare didn’t have?  How are we called to be mystics in a world that often judges belief and faith to be frivolous and naïve?  As a contemplative, raised Catholic, trying to find my place, I often wonder….


4:30 wakeup calls

Just for the record, in no way, shape or form, do I boast about Jesus ringing my doorbell at 4:30 in the morning and paying me a little visit (see yesterday’s blog).  In fact, rather than tell the tale, I’d rather run into the darkest corner of the room and hide behind the couch or beneath the dining room table.  For you see, I’m the last person Jesus should be visiting.  I’m not a Jesus Freak.  I’m not a bible thumper.  I will never ask you to change your beliefs or inquire over whether or not you’ve been saved (mostly because I don’t believe there is anyone who is NOT saved).  I’m imperfect and flawed just like everyone else.  Yes, God is my Source, Jesus is my dude and Shekinah (the Holy Spirit) drives my purpose.  But other than that….I’m just plain Lauri.  I color outside the lines.  I listen to heavy metal music.  I have a few tattoos.  And I swear (kind of a lot).  But, for some strange reason, Jesus got planted into my heart and he keeps showing up.  So, what am I supposed to do but pay attention, listen and act…in most cases from a place of incredible insecurity and fear.

Mystics, Tramps and Thieves

Just a little play on words…..and a reminder that mystics (people who talk to God) are a strange and Motley Crue (another play on spelling).  While many are familiar with St. Francis and Clare who talked with God, Joan of Arc who was instructed by angels and saints, Teresa of Avila who had ecstatic experiences of the Divine…no one really talks about the mystics of today.  Who are we?  We are the weirdos who, even in the midst of the post-modern era, the supposed age of reason, with science guiding our steps, still talk to God.  But more than talking….we listen.  And how do we listen?  We listen through a deep dedication to our spiritual practice which may or may not look very traditional.  While my spiritual practice might look pretty traditional (a little scripture, some meditation and contemplation and maybe even some chant), the modern-day mystic is not limited by the trappings of institutions.  While there are mystics within the hallowed halls of sacred institutions….some of us are simply running amok in the street and in YOUR WORLD!  One mystic that I know hears God in nature.  Another in his art.  Another through her music.  Another through his encounters with people.

Being the Body of Christ

But even more important than talking and listening to God, a mystic is known in the way that they serve.  In most cases, you will not see us wearing a collar or a habit, but you might recognize us in the wide-eyed look of generosity shining back at you through our eyes.  What you might not know about mystics, is that we have no choice but to serve.  For service, you see, is the natural result of paying attention to God.  Once you open that door and let the flame of the Spirit in…..she sets you on fire…most especially your hands, heart and feet.  With the fire of God’s love aflame in our hearts, we have no choice but to share that fire in the world.  The mystic’s dream is to embody God and in doing so, to set the world on fire with God’s love…healing, transformation, empowering…and look out if you come anywhere near a mystic….because you can’t help but be compelled to seek your own inner fire and in doing so, finding yourself.

A Mystic’s Prayer

In closing, here is a beautiful poem by Rainer Marie Rilke which speaks to the Mystic’s call to serve…and what I might call the Mystic Manifesto:

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.

I want to free what waits within me

so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear

without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,

but this is what I need to say.

May what I do flow from me like a river,

no forcing and no holding back,

the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,

these deepening tides moving out, returning,

I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels

into the open sea.

Posted in church, Discernment, Inspiration, Mary Magdalene, Oneness with God, Raised Catholic

The Magdalene’s Response to the New Pope

Sometimes blog posts seem to come out of nowhere and simply fly out of my pen or from my fingers onto the keyboard in a way that seems as if it is coming from somewhere beyond me.  I care not whether this experience would qualify as “channeling” or simply a function of my creative imagination.  What matters to me is if it speaks a truth that resonates for those who are in need of these words.  So…..these words, “from the Magdalene”  are for my Christian (including Catholic)  brothers and sisters who are called to the mystical/contemplative path in response to our wonderings about the new pope. 


Lauri,  I call you now to bring a message to your Christian brothers and sisters during this time of radical transition….

With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis, Christians of the world have many questions.  My message is specifically for those who are drawn along the mystical path….and this message is a reminder of the value of DETACHMENT.  In particular, I am inviting you to detach from assigning any meaning, interpretation and/or judgment to this new pope, because, in the end, his reign has no bearing on the path to which mystics and contemplatives have been called.

Christianity was inspired by and has its source and direction in the Oneness modeled and lived out in my Beloved, Jesus.  Yet even before the time of his death, this message was received in multiple ways and disseminated as such.  What was ONE in Christ became separate in man.  In the Christian faith, this separation has been lived out in what might be referred to as the Institutional Church and the Mystical church – two very different ways of experiencing Jesus’ message – one directed toward containment, the other toward expansion.  Where the Institutional Church seeks to define God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit intellectually and express it in definite and static terms through doctrine; the Mystical church seeks to know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit through direct and personal experience – experience that proves to be dynamic, infinite and ever-changing.  The tension between these seemingly opposite perspectives has existed since the beginning of time and will cease to exist only when all perceived separation has been transcended within and between all of humanity.  While this task may be possible for some, in this lifetime, it is not likely to happen for all.  As such, we are required to live within that tension.

The newly elected Pope Francis,  may or may not succeed in healing the wounds brought about by the Institution’s attachment to fear, power and control, though I am quite certain that particular hot-button doctrinal changes will not be part of his agenda.  This is not, however, to dissuade you from continuing to exercise sound discernment in your own personal beliefs and choices.  The ultimate authority, after all, exists beyond any political or religious distinction and instead, resides within your own heart.   It is within the quiet and peaceful places in your heart where God will guide you and it is to this inner authority that mystics give their allegiance.

So, in this time of change, I invite you to embrace detachment and to become the observer.  Watch and wait and remember that for the Mystical church, what this pope may or may not do in his reign has no bearing on your call to seek Oneness with Christ, within yourself and with all of creation; or on your ability to be and live as LOVE in the world.

Yours in Love, Light and Oneness,

Mary, called Magdalene.

Posted in Raised Catholic

Recovering Catholic? Catholic on the Fringe? Progressive Catholic? You are NOT alone!

  • You’re also not evil, going to hell and neither do you need to leave behind the things you have enjoyed about your Catholic faith.
  • You can be of rational mind and discerning spirit, you can question, challenge, confront, embrace the proposed reforms of Vatican II and cringe at the “reform of the reform.”
  • You can seek the God of your own understanding and find He, She, it, Them, in scripture, in the rituals of the Catholic tradition and anywhere else for that matter.
  • You can seek unity across religious traditions and embrace what is “of love”  in all faiths.
  • You can shake hands with the Dalai Lama, dance with the Sufis, sing halleluias with the Pentecostals, sit with the Zen Buddhists and practice asana with the Hindus and yogis……while still appreciating your tribal roots in Catholicism.
  • You can accept what speaks truth to you and set aside what does not.
  • You can embrace the law of God that resides in your heart and accept “Primacy of Conscience” as your guiding force.
  • You can grieve the actions of a religious institution that cause you sorrow, anger, frustration or pain and find new life on the other side.

Authentic Freedom Ministries speaks to people of all faiths (including those who call themselves athiest or agnostic), and is a unique voice to those who were raised Catholic, especially to those who find themselves searching, disenfranchised, disenchanted or frustrated.   Through our inspirational blog, Your Spiritual Truth, our classes, programs and services and through our subscription meditation newsletter, Agape’,  we speak to the heart of those who might say the following or desire to say the following about themselves:

I am a Contemplative, Progressive, Catholic Christian

  • Jesus is my teacher and guru and I can see the truth as revealed through other teachers and spiritual leaders.
  • Through contemplative prayer practices, I find wisdom, guidance and comfort beyond doctrine.
  • Through contemplative practices, I have found truth and wisdom in scripture – even in those that have been interpreted through the lens of fear.
  • I embrace ritual, mystery, mysticism, art, architecture, nature, music, commmunity and sacrament as vehicles of God’s grace.
  • I was raised Catholic and recognize this as my “tribe” while feeling free to embrace what speaks truth to me and setting aside what does not.
  • I am “catholic” in the sense of being universal – seeking to find the unity in the perceived separations between doctrine, beliefs and religious practice and honoring everything that leads us toward Love as grace-filled and sacred.
  • I embrace love as the truth Jesus came to reveal.
  • I believe in the truth of our Oneness with God in love and that this is the truth that sets us free.
  • I believe that all paths lead us to God – that which is our Source and Origin in love.
  • I honor all holy men and women, regardless of their chosen beliefs, who have followed the law of love.
  • I find more meaning in the search and in asking the questions than in the perceived certainties of doctrine or law.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in About Lauri, Empowerment, Inspiration

No More Apologies

Today’s blog boldly goes where no woman has gone before……naming and claiming who I am and what I do without apologies!!!!!

Apologies, Back peddling, Explaining, Rationalizing

A very important mirror was held up for me yesterday.  It is the mirror that showed me the ways in which I diminish, devalue, brush off as insignificant or incomprehensible the work that I do in the world in service to humanity and in service to God.  I was reminded of the tremendous value of what I do and that I need to give the work and myself more credit.  In short, I need to stop apologizing for what I do or shying away from explaining what I do because it is so dang hard to explain, because I’m afraid people will think I’m weird (which I already know that I am), or because I think they won’t “get it.”  So, today, for those who have ears to hear, I offer no more apologies…..this is who I am and the work that I do in the world!

I am a Spiritual Director

  • I help you find new life in the losses and disappointments of your life
  • I help you move through the fears that hold you back from finding meaning or enjoyment in life
  • I help you live the life of your dreams

I am a Reiki Master/Practitioner

  • I help you release the energies in your body that cause spiritual, emotional, mental and physical dis-ease
  • I help you release the clutter in your mind
  • I help you experience deep inner peace and harmony

I am a Spiritual Teacher

  • I help you find the practices that move you through fear and lead you to inner peace and joy
  • Through the classes that I have developed and the programs I offer, I guide you in the journey of moving through your fears and living the life of your dreams

I am a writer and author

  • Through my writing, I provide spiritual inspiration, support and guidance.

I am a Contemplative, Progressive, Catholic Christian

  • Jesus is my teacher and guru
  • Through contemplative prayer practices, I find wisdom, guidance and comfort in scripture
  • I embrace ritual, mystery, mysticism, art, architecture, nature, music, commmunity and sacrament as vehicles of God’s grace
  • I was raised Catholic and recognize this as my “tribe” while feeling free to embrace what speaks truth to me and setting aside what does not
  • I am “catholic” in the sense of being universal – seeking to find the unity in the perceived separations between doctrine, beliefs and religious practice and honoring everything that leads us toward Love as grace-filled and sacred
  • I embrace love as the truth Jesus came to reveal
  • I believe in the truth of our Oneness with God in love and that this is the truth that sets us free
  • I believe that all paths lead us to God – that which is our Source and Origin in love
  •  I honor all holy men and women, regardless of their chosen beliefs, who have followed the law of love
  • I find more meaning in the search and in asking the questions than in the perceived certainties of doctrine or law.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in church, Jesus, Mary Magdalene

Resurrecting the church of the Magdalene Part III

Today’s blog is Part III of a series exploring the role of Mary Magdalene in the early years of the Jesus movement, its retreat under the shadow of orthodoxy and the invitation to restore her (and her movement) to its rightful place in the light.

Resurrecting the church of the Magdalene

After writing and reading the previous several blogs, I realize that the work I have been doing and continue to do already represents the resurrection of the church of the Magdalene!  (I kind of knew that already….but now I’m owning it!)  She has been raised from the dead right before my/our eyes.  So let’s make it real and own it shall we?  As such, I have posted a new page on the Authentic Freedom Ministries website saying just that…..the church of the Magdalene.  (Please note the continued use of small “c” in church.  Mary was NEVER part of the Institutional Church….and let’s keep it that way!)  So without further ado…….let me introduce you to the church of the Magdalene:

copyright Robert M. Place


The church of the Magdalene is a global effort to restore the intuitive, interior, contemplative and mystical church to its rightful place beside orthodoxy.  Inspired by the life and ministry of Mary, the Magdalene, the Beloved Disciple of Jesus, the church of the Magdalene transcends doctrine by providing tools and resources through which participants are empowered to come to know the Divine within and in knowing God, knowing themselves and the unique way in which they are gifted to reveal Divine Love (Agape’) in the world.  This mission is accomplished through:

  • The Agape’ Project – an effort to support participants in the development and cultivation of a personal spiritual practice and to encourage the development of small Christian communities and house churches.  The Agape’ Project is facilitated through a weekly subscription-based newsletter that can be utilized in both personal spiritual practice as well as within a small group dynamic.  Additional resources are available for those interested in establishing a house church.
  • Your Spiritual Truth – an inspirational blog rooted in the contemplative tradition, supporting readers in their journey toward self-actualization and the recollection of love as their original nature.
  • Authentic Freedom – a formal curriculm for adults in sound spiritual formation.  The Authentic Freedom courses and related books are a modern expression of the process of spiritual initiation referred to by Mary, the Magdalene in the ancient and non-canonical text, The Gospel of Mary.   Readers and participants are given the tools through which they are healed and released of the spiritual fears (demons) that keep them from knowing a life of contentment and joy, thereby empowering them to identify, cultivate, embrace and openly share the unique ways in which they are called to reveal God’s love in service to the world.
  • Christouch – a formal protocol and training program for holistic healing inspired by Jesus’ ministry, which incorporates prayer with laying on of hands to support spiritual, emotional, mental and even physical wellness.
  • Contemplative Worship- encouraging  the formation of local centers of contemplative worship

Your Participation

Your participation in the church of the Magdalene will be unique to your own personal call.  Some may be called to become part of the church of the Magdalene as an individual; developing and cultivating a personal spiritual practice.  Some may be called to gather men and women of like-mind to join them in contemplation and prayer.  Some may feel called to establish  study groups using the Authentic Freedom curriculum of spiritual formation.   Your participation in the church of the Magdalene can stand apart or along side the religious tradition in which you were raised or with whom you currently worship.  The church of the Magdalene provides a complement to existing forms of orthodoxy and in its highest form, exists as a source of accountability, testing doctrine against sound discernment.  In the perfect world, the interior and exterior churches would work in cooperation and collaboration.  Until that moment of true partnership emerges, the interior church stands apart, inviting you into a both-and experience.

The church of the Magdalene and its relationship to Authentic Freedom Ministries

Authentic Freedom Ministries is a secular ministry rooted in the contemplative tradition of Western Christianity.  Authentic Freedom Ministries is the vessel through which the church of the Magdalene has sought to be reborn into the world and is the vehicle through which the supporting resources have been disseminated.  Authentic Freedom Ministries is also the local manifestation of the church of the Magdalene, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and pastored by Lauri Lumby, Spiritual Director, Lay Minister, Reiki Master Practitioner, author and writer.

All Are Welcome!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in church, Discernment

Jumping off the Bridge

Today’s blog reminds us that sometimes we just have to take a leap….even when we do not yet know the exact plan or the outcome.  And in taking this leap, we need to be willing to fail (or perhaps worse…succeed!).  GULP!

On the Chopping Block

As I share this blog today, I feel a little like the Thanksgiving Day turkey, laying on the chopping block, getting ready to have his head lopped off so that his body can be served up on a platter for all the world to consume.  GULP!  On the professional front, this has been a month of lower income, high anxiety, boredom, lack of direction or motivation and restlessness.  After a weekend of just feeling sorry for myself, the universe slapped me upside the head and yelled at me, “Sh…t or get off the pot already!!!”  ARGH!!!!!   So, yesterday, without a clear plan or direction, I got off the pot.  I jumped off the bridge and dove into what my mother, not so affectionately, refers to as “The Church of Lauri.”  (I love you mom!)

Tearing Down to Rebuild

So, yesterday I began the process of tearing down my existing website in order to build something new.  (cruise around the site a bit and you’ll get a glimpse into some of the changes) Specifically, it seems it was time to put “it” out there.  The “it” I am referring to is myself, along with a team of magnificent people, stepping into the call to offer an alternative and complementary form of worship, along with expanded offerings of spiritual (not religious) formation for adults, couples and children.  I know, it sounds kinda like “church,” and that is the part that freaks me (and my mother 😉 ) out!

Jumping off the Bridge

So the Universe slapped me upside the head and urged me to put it out there…..even though I still don’t know exactly what it will look like and I have no idea the outcome.  The “outcome,” in fact, is the part that freaks me out the most.  What if it fails?  Or perhaps worse, what if it is a HUGE success?  Then my brain goes off on all kinds of worrisome tangents playing every possible scenario out in my mind.  No wonder I’ve been feeling anxious.  The bottom line is that it is time to put it out there, time to get off the pot and time to risk miserable failure or magnificent success because at the end of the day….I am surely not in charge of any of this!  All I can do is what I have tried to do over the past 20 or so years…..take time to listen to God, try to hear what God is telling me, believe what God is telling me….then act.  This is certainly one of those situations where I have done and continue to do this.  So….without further ado:

Contemplative Worship and Spiritual (not religious) Formation

Sometime in January of 2012 (probably on the Feast of Epiphany), Authentic Freedom Ministries will be launching our first venture into Sunday Worship.  We are calling it alternative and complementary because it is not like what you have seen before in the tradition of Western worship and because it can be used as a stand-alone experience or in conjunction with your existing worship practices.  We are calling it contemplative because the focus will be on your own personal, intimate, unique experience of the Divine as discovered and cultivated in the silence of your own heart.  If you come, you will be empowered to take time to discover and develop a relationship with the voice of truth that resides within and you will be given tools to begin to discern that voice from the voice of the ego/false-self.  And you will be supported in heeding that voice.  It is worship because there will be songs of praise and mission as well as time to read and reflect on scripture.  The only doctrine will be that which you discern in your own heart in your intimate connection with the Divine….measured and guided by compassion, justice and love.  We will leave the other questions of doctrine for the religious institutions to argue over.  Formation will be spiritual rather than religious…in other words, tools will be introduced, utilized and explored which empower you (and your partner and your children) to remember that love is your original and natural state and tools that will clear the way for you to live that love in the world.  In other words – answering the questions:

  • Who am I?
  • Whose am I?
  • What are my gifts and how am I being called to use them?

Are You Happy Now?

So Universe, are you happy now?  I put it out there.  I stepped off the path and leaped off the bridge.  Without knowledge of the exact plan and with no vision of the outcome….I put it out there.  Now it is your job to figure out the rest!!!!!

What are the situations in your life where you have had to step in with no discernable plan or vision of the outcome?

How are you at risking failure?

How are you at risking success?

What tools do you use to reason, discern and exercise Divine guidance/your own truth in this life?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries