Posted in New World, non-violence, Oneness with God

Heal Jerusalem Heal the World

For 5000 years Jerusalem has been the epicenter of Western cultural and religious conflict. The cause of this conflict is not Judaism, Islam or Christianity, but something even more ancient than any of the three religions who vie for the privilege of calling Jerusalem “home.”  If we truly want peace in the Middle East, this something more ancient needs to be healed.  In healing the wound that for 5000 years has festered in Jerusalem, we will be taking a quantum leap toward the healing of our world.

Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel, Gaza, Palestinian conflict

We don’t know exactly how, when, why, or under what circumstances it happened, but somewhere around 5000 years ago, there was a major shift in the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the Western world (For a detailed description of this shift and the cultural ramifications, please read the work of Riane Eisler). Where before this shift people lived in relative peace and harmony, after the shift, there has been nothing but war. Prior to this shift, the spirituality of the Mediterranean region was earth-centered, and the Divine was known as both female and male, both of which existed as humanity’s loving parents.  After the shift, the feminine was supplanted, along with her beloved partner, and both were replaced with an exclusively male, vengeful, jealous and warring god.  Judaism, Islam and Christianity emerged out of the wound of this split and have been at war with each other and themselves ever since.

This primordial shift represents the core wound of Western culture – the separation of holy masculine and feminine resulting in what I have come to call either the unholy or wounded aspects of our human nature. When the holy aspects of our human nature are supplanted, the result is a culture rooted in and based in fear, power and control.  In Western culture, this is the patriarchal/hierarchical structure which has ruled for the past 5000 years.  In their imbalanced expressions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity embody this patriarchal/hierarchical privilege which can result only in conflict because where there is privilege, there will always be those “without.”

Hence the violence that has defined Western culture for 5000 years which is currently playing out in Jerusalem – the city known as “God’s peace” even before Judaism began (GN 14: 18). This current wave of violence is the same as every previous conflict over who gets to claim Jerusalem as their personal possession – the Jews, the Moslems or the Christians – a strange projection of the age-long battle over whose God is the true God. In their imbalanced expressions none of their gods are “the true god” for they are gods made out of fear, power and control.

The truth that the primordial tradition knew is that the Divine is love and that this Divine bears many (infinite) faces and an equal number of names – or as Rumi said, “is nameless and faceless.” This is the Divine Abraham, Moses, Mohammed and Jesus all came to know.  God as love.  Until we, like the ancients to whom we give credit as the founders of our Western religions traditions, know this love within ourselves, we will never know peace.  And until we know this love, we will never know what the ancients knew, that Jerusalem is at once no body’s home and everybody’s home for God’s peace is known not by a temple on a hill, but by what we know in our hearts.  When we heal the separation between Jerusalem (God’s peace) and ourselves, only then can we begin to heal our world.

Both the Authentic Freedom Leadership Training and the Magdalene Priest/Priesthood Training support you in healing and transforming the wound of separation.  Take the FREE preview course to learn more:

Authentic Freedom Leadership Training

Posted in Inspiration

Is Comic-Con the New Jerusalem?

Please NOTE: The following is in no way meant to be disrespectful of those who consider Jerusalem to be a holy and sacred city worthy of honor and respect. Neither It is meant to be disrespectful toward Jews, Muslims or Christians!

While Israel and Palestine are busy warring over the Gaza Strip, and Christians join the battle (do not fool yourself into believing our so-called Christian nation does not have a vested interest in this war – if not the government itself, then certainly the corporate lobbyists who control our government), in deciding who ultimately gets the land and the oil, along with the right to call Jerusalem home, there is a new Jerusalem being born right underneath our noses. And that Jerusalem is happening as we speak in San Diego, California at the annual Comic-Con, International.  

Neji, by Heather Addis
Neji, by Chloe Hirshberg

 

This past weekend, 130,000 + men, women and children made their annual pilgrimage to the sacred temple of all comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, technology aficionados (aka geeks and nerds).  Comic-Con is an opportunity to gather in community in celebration of what gives life meaning, and for many, what gives life purpose.  Through Comic-Con, fans have an opportunity to meet and spend time with those who inspire them and to share their passion for the stories that reflect the universal human story of good vs. evil, most of which ultimately end in some sort of redemption (unless, your favorite stories are in the genre of dystopia, then like Shakespeare, we understand the value of a good old-fashioned tragedy).  If the experience one enjoys at Comic-Con is not religious, I don’t know what is.  Comic-Con, just might be the New Jerusalem for a post-modern generation.

One of the characteristics of the post-modern generation (Gen X, Gen Y and Millenials), is an ambivalence toward traditional religious structures.  Their rational minds cannot make sense of institutions that say, “do what I say but not as I do,” and these are the last folks to do what they are told, simply because they are told.  Post-moderns need their faith to be grounded in reason.  Additionally, post-moderns (esp. X’s, Y’s and Millenials) crave a “religion” that is universal – one that is not caught up in the trappings of us vs. them or truth that is the sole possession of one system of beliefs.  Instead, these folks are looking for an experience without borders, pluralistic in nature and one that brings people together instead of forcing them apart.  As such, most do not go to church, and if they do, they are “cafeteria” attendees – picking and choosing what works for them while disregarding the rest.

This is not to say, however, that the post-moderns are not driven by the same search for meaning and purpose, along with the desire for the inspiring story of salvation commonly found in most religious traditions.  Enter Comic-Con.  Comic-Con is the gathering place of all the sacred stories that have been created since the publication of the first comic book in 1933.  And Comic-Con does not limit itself to comic books, but includes all sci-fi, fantasy, horror (and then some) that has inspired the Western (and Eastern) audience.  Comic-Con provides a place for people to gather, to commune, to learn and to grow in their continual search for meaning and purpose in a way that is pluralistic  – bringing people together instead of forcing them apart.

Whether you are a Game of Thrones fan, if True Blood trips your trigger, or if you are married to DC or Marvel, it doesn’t matter, all are honored as sacred at Comic-Con.  Naruto, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors, Kim Possible, Death Note, Black Butler, No. 6, The Walking Dead, Teen Wolf, are all represented.  Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Flash, X-Men, Agents of Shield – Comic-Con is big enough for it all.  Sure, there is an occasional argument over whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better, or whether The Hobbit can hold a candle to LOTR, all is argued in the spirit of playfulness and respect.  Whereas some might accuse Comic-Con and all it represents of simply providing a means of escape (who wouldn’t want to escape the current world we live in?????), I contend that instead, it satisfies the spiritual and religious needs of a population whose needs are not, and will never, be met by traditional religion. Again, Comic-Con just might be the New Jerusalem for a post-modern generation, and I for one, am glad for it!

If you live in the Oshkosh area, please join us for our weekly Superhero Gatherings – a place where the REAL Superheroes meet!

To learn more go HERE. 

 

 

Posted in Inspiration, Lessons, world changes

Beyond Connecticut – a Poet’s Invitation

Today’s blog is contributed by my dear friend – poet, author and healer – Jay Ramsay.  Thank you Jay for your heartfelt invitation for us to see beyond the violence to the changes we are ALL invited to make.  May we open our eyes, see and act so that this violence can finally stop.  You can learn more about Jay through his website:  http://www.jayramsay.co.uk/index.html

Jay Ramsay
Jay Ramsay

The Sacrifice

1.

They give their lives so that we can see

because we don’t have the courage of our own.

He died in Totnes High St, frozen, only 40

to the horror of the whole community.

His friend sleeps out three nights

to raise the money to buy him a cardboard coffin

when all he had was cardboard.

Homelessness, the disgrace of our affluent society

as we gaze towards stardom, tanning our egos

in its sunlamp…fame plays with fame at facing pianos.

2.

A line of screaming children emerging from the school

guided by a terrified teacher’s hand.

The sociopath in black is angry with his mother

using her own gun to kill for good measure.

The President wipes a teary eye, while Neil Young

is blasting through the chords of ‘Throw your weapons down’.

3.

We are a living sacrifice: slaves, Jews, Palestinians,

ME sufferers, dissidents, displaced refugees…

and the girl who camped under a big leaning tree

that the flooding rains brought down on her head.

She had nothing anyway

we are nothing anyway

until our hearts are open and our eyes begin to see.

Oh crucified ones of this Everywhere Coming

that is now our reality.

– Jay Ramsay; December 16, 2012

The Holy Cow of War

She’s not beautiful and honey-brown on an Indian street

she’s the front end of a bus covered in khaki

(and weapons advertisements) randomly leaving the road

to mow down pedestrians as the radiator becomes a mouth

a maw, then a tank phallus emerges—

before she backs off ready to charge: her eyes

full of hate-filled street faces fuelled

on an eye for an eye, retaliation at any price

rage denying grief, and more rage, and if she

ever had a just cause she’s a runaway whore

that needs lampooning, and more, and more

no space for any posturing or the lie of justification

the endless excuse that leads to the death of more innocence

more fractured ruined lives the world over,

SHE MUST BE OUTLAWED—so we have to

find another way, to talk like human beings

not calculating monsters, sociopaths

legitimate squaddies on a psychotic pub-crawl

called defence of any realm—Hell—indefensible;

SHE HAS TO BE STOPPED like a ranting patient

reaching his end-sentence while everybody waits

holding the space, more more glorification

no more retro nostalgia dressed up as poetry either,

Ms Ostrich…imagine Bob Marley being right

and not just dreaming off the end of a spliff:

NO MORE WAR between nations or neighbours,

but the far harder labour of loving peace

that goes on everywhere unreported

and climbs on my podium to take gold

for thousands of years, and an age to come.

– Jay Ramsay; December 4, 2012

Jay Ramsay is an internationally recognized poet and author of over 30 books including Crucible of Love, The Poet in You and Gita – a dialogue of love and freedom.  As a psychotherapist, Jay’s speciality is to help his clients uncover and express their true feelings, emotionally and creatively, and to find ways of translating that authenticity into action. He works with people of all backgrounds and at all stages of our life journey. Jay has 15 years in private practice, and has been accredited with UKCP and APP since 2004. Jay also works energetically as an experienced spiritual healer and is a full healer member of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers (MNFSH, since 1998).  Jay lives in Stroud, England and can be reached through his website:  http://www.jayramsay.co.uk/index.html

Posted in Raised Catholic

Raised Catholic?

In this note, I address the men and women who have been raised Catholic and are searching for spiritual nourishment and acknowledging that 90% of the people that have enjoyed the programs and services of Authentic Freedom Ministries were in fact, raised Catholic.


While Authentic Freedom Ministries is open to people of all spiritual traditions, I have come to realize that of the women and men who seek my services, 95% of them were raised Catholic.  I have not actively pursued this audience, yet I cannot ignore these statistics.  When asked what has brought them here, these are the answers most commonly offered:

  • I love my faith, but feel like something is missing.
  • I yearn for a personal relationship with God.
  • I’m struggling with some of the teachings of the Church.
  • I have been wounded by the Church.
  • I feel disenfranchised by an Institution that does not honor me for who I am as a woman, gay, divorced, co-habitating, a single parent, called to a priesthood that does not welcome me…
  • I left the Church years ago and have not yet found a spiritual home, I’ve looked elsewhere, but even there, something seems to be missing.

If these issues speak to your heart, know that you are welcome to come and explore your spiritual journey in a safe and sacred space where you will be honored for who you are and for where you are in your journey.

A letter to my Catholic brothers and sisters:

“At the sight of the crowds, Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd…

Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.  As you go, make the proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand.’  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.”

The above scripture passage has become the foundation and intention of the work of service I do in the world. As I reflect more deeply on this invitation, it has revealed to me the audience that I have been called to feed and I can no longer ignore the fact that  95% of the women and men who have sought my services have been raised Catholic.  This is not due to any specific effort on my part.  This is purely coincidence (or God-cidence!)!

As I reflect on this reality, I have come to recognize some common denominators in those who come to me for Spiritual Direction, Reiki or to participate in the programs that I offer.  The most common characteristic among these men and women is that they are free thinkers, and seeking to find a place where their questions, thoughts, reflections, doubts and explorations can be honored as sacred.  They are seeking a safe place where they will not feel judged or condemned for their questions or for the truths that they have discerned within themselves and the life choices they have made.   These are folks looking for tools to help them know God personally and to learn how to discern God’s guidance in their lives. These are men and women who love much of what they experienced in the Catholic Church, but are looking for something more.  What this something more might be, most of them do not know.  This is what they are seeking….that “something more” that cannot be named.  They have sought this something more inside the Institution and feel they have not found it.  They are enlivened when they discover that the “something more” is deep within themselves and is the Source of peace, joy and love that we call God.

Many of the people who have found benefit in the work of Authentic Freedom Ministries have felt disenfranchised by the Institution- most commonly because they do not feel the questions they have and truths they have discerned are honored by the Church – women and married men called to be priest, victims of abuse who were turned away or ignored, women and men who seek equality within a decidedly hierarchical and male Institution, gay men and women, those who have experienced divorce, single parents, women who have suffered the tragedy of abortion, men and women in abusive relationships, people who have been told their truth is heretical because “it is not explicitly handed down by the magesterium”.  These are the people I have come to call “the lost sheep of Rome,”    These are the people who are looking to be honored and loved for who they are and to know that there is a place where their truth is honored as sacred.  They are seeking to be freed of the guilt-ridden, fear based paradigm many of them experienced in their Catholic upbringing.

To all of these aforementioned men and women, I have tried to provide a safe and sacred space in which they can freely and openly seek to know the Divine within and in knowing God, to know the truth of themselves.  To the best of my ability, and admitting my own attachments to ego, I seek to provide tools that honor people where they are at and to empower them to live out that truth.  I am grateful for the many opportunities in which I have witnessed deep transformation, healing and empowerment in those who have sought companionship and witness through the Spiritual Direction, Reiki and program offerings Authentic Freedom Ministries provides.

I am truly grateful for my own formation within the Catholic faith, eight years of Catholic school, seven years of post-graduate study in Catholic theology and spirituality and ten years of employment within the Institution of the Catholic Church.  I look to Jesus as the model of human empowerment.  He came to reveal the truth of Oneness in God’s love and to show us how to live that out.  I look to Jesus the Christ as teacher, friend, companion, guide, counselor and beloved.  I look to Jesus’ life and teachings as a model for how I too am called to live.  I honor Jesus as being both fully Divine and fully Human and as one who had realized the fullness of this truth. I have a passionate love of the spiritual, liturgical, social justice and scriptural traditions of my faith.  I am deeply moved by the sacred art and architecture and am inspired by the men and women who make up the communion of saints.  I would not be the person I am today without this formation.

At the same time, I cannot deny the transformation that is being called forth and has been ushered in through the work of the Holy Spirit at the Vatican II Council.  The reforms of Vatican II have barely begun, and Vatican II was just the tip of the iceberg.  God is calling forth a new vision of Church, and we are being called to participate in its revelation.  As God said to Moses, “I have witnessed the affliction of my people and have heard their cries of complaint, so I know well that they are suffering.  Therefore, I have come down to rescue them from the land of slavery, into a good and gracious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”  (Exodus 3: 7-8a) Perhaps these are God’s words for us as well as we embark on our own journey toward freedom into a new life that has not yet been revealed.  As the owner of Authentic Freedom Ministries, I humbly offer the space in which discernment of what this new life may be can be safely and freely explored individually and in sacred community.

In humble service,

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://www.authenticfreedom.net