Posted in church

Supporting the Birth of a New Church

A Church that isn’t a Church

The only Church we will ever need

The Church within.

New church, church within, building a new church, birthing a new church

As it relates to church, my (now ex) husband shared this bit of wisdom, “The only perfect church is the church of one.” This could not be more true as every single institution ever created by man will only be as good as its weakest member.  As long as there are wounded, imperfect humans, we will have wounded and imperfect institutions.  I believe it is for this reason that Jesus NEVER set out to start a church.  He didn’t even come here to start a new religion.  Jesus was a Jew who only sought to remind the tribe in which he was raised of its own Divine potential.  But more importantly, Jesus came to support us in moving beyond the external perceived authority of institutional religion and toward the only true authority that we will ever truly need – that which Jesus called “God,” and which Jesus tried to explain, is not outside of us, but is within.

As the revelations of the corruption and evil within the Catholic Church continue to emerge, one has to wonder about the fate of the Church. In my past life, I used to believe the Church could be healed and reformed and that I was to be part of that reform.  Now I know better.  After giving up on the Church, I thought it was my job to start a new church.  Again, now I know better.  Why in the world would I want to start an institution and have to be responsible to and for others?  No Way!  As I have been sitting in this space of holding the Catholic Church in its death and pondering my role in all of this (there is no doubt in my mind that I am here to play some sort of role that has something to do with what we used to call “church”), the prophecies of Joachim DeFiore have haunted me:

Joachim DeFiore (1132-1202), a theologian and prophet of the Catholic Church spoke of the time we are in when he referred to “The Age of the Holy Spirit.” He prophesied that a time would come when humanity would no longer have need for the Church.  He said that humanity would no longer need the intercessor of the Church or its priests as we would come to know God ourselves.  I believe we are in this time.  We are moving away from the need for an outside perceived authority and learning to stand in our own discernment where we can discover and live in our own truth.  We no longer need a priest or a Church to tell us what is good, right and true for ourselves.  We also no longer need a Church to tell us who God is.  We have all the tools we need to come to know the Divine on our own.  If we do not have the tools, we have resources we can go to find and learn how to use these tools.  This, I believe, is the “Church” that I am being called to help bring forth.

A Church that isn’t a Church

The only Church we will ever need.

The Church within.

Here we come to know the God of our own understanding. We come to know this God through whatever means possible – through scripture, ritual, nature, life itself, creative expression, contemplation, meditation, prayer, poetry, fairytales, etc. etc. etc.  Here there is no limit to how we might have an encounter with the Source.  In knowing this Source, we also come to know ourselves.  In coming to know ourselves, we discover our unique giftedness and how we are called to use these gifts in the world for the sake of our own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.  In coming to know ourselves, we also come to know our brokenness and we are given tools to help find healing and transformation from all those things which prevent us from being free. Here, WE are our own source of salvation – We in our relationship with the Source of unconditional love and in our relationship with others and with the world.

This is the church that I believe will find its way out of the debris of the dying Catholic Church and through Authentic Freedom Academy and the Temple of the Magdalene, I support the emergence of this new (original) “church.”

 

Posted in church, Discernment, Empowerment, Holy Spirit, Jesus

A Prophet’s Pain in Birthing a New Way of Being Church

At the risk of unleashing my inner martyr, I’m feeling called to explore a topic that is as close to my heart as it is excruciatingly painful.  I share this topic, not for my own self-mortification, but in support of those, like me, who have been born with a different vision of Church – different, at least, from the one our parents grew up with and one that as yet, is unknown. While this Church is yet to be known, there is a very real sense of what it feels like and this “feeling like” Church is kicking, screaming, shouting and stomping its feet for its realization in our world.  And, this Church that is not yet known is the exact topic of the book that tickled (pun intended) me to write today’s blog:  The Great Emergence – How Christianity is Changing and Why, by Phyllis Tickle.  🙂

In this book, Phyllis Tickle acknowledges the enormous transformation that is currently taking place in Western culture and specifically how this transformation is ushering in a new way of being Church – much to the chagrin of those clinging to old models of being Church (“re-traditioners”) and much to the joy of those called to dream forth new models (“innovators”).  The problem is that for the former, this unfolding transformation feels like the work of the devil and for the latter, it cannot possibly happen soon enough.  As terror and impatience are not the best of bedfellows, Tickle warns us not to repeat the bloody patterns of those who have ushered in similar transformations – interestingly, every 500 years or so, since the beginning of time (think Protestant Reformation (1500’s), The Great Schism (1000’s) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (500’s)).  Sadly, I fear Tickle’s warning has come too late.  While in the strictly Christian experience of this transformation (let us not minimize the massive deaths of the past century that have ultimately been a part of this cultural change), literal blood has not been shed.  But, believe me, gallons of metaphoric blood have been, by innovators in particular.

sacred-heart-jesus-chambers-featured-w480x300

Here’s where my martyr, or at the very least, my empathy, steps in.  As an innovator (using Tickle’s term) myself, and knowing HUNDREDS of others like me, I can tell you that the pain is excruciating. And the experience of this pain is nothing short of a broken heart and often requires the loss of one’s soul – at least the part of one’s soul that hopes for acceptance in the Church one loves while dreaming forth the Church GOD implanted in one’s heart.  For those who are innovators/prophets, we know the routine.  We’re going about our daily business (ahem…this probably started in childhood).  We kinda like the Church – in fact, we might even love it.  BUT….there is something in us that says, “This thing here, isn’t quite right.  This doesn’t feel right in my heart and something in me seems to be DEMANDING that the Church look like this…”  We experience dissonance when what we hear from the pulpit or see in the actions of “Church people” messages or actions inconsistent with what we know to be Jesus’ message of love.  When we ask someone about this, or dare to confront these inconsistencies, we are told, “Sit down. Shut up.  Do what you are told.”  But how are we supposed to do this when we were genetically programmed to question authority?  For prophets and innovators, authority isn’t assumed, it has to be earned.  And quite frankly, most of Western religion hasn’t done a very good job of earning that authority.

Most of the time, we can tolerate “sit down and shut up.” We simply seethe in resentment over not being heard and for having our needs denied, while we go about doing what we want anyway.  We use birth control.  We eat meat on Fridays.  We skip mass (most of the time).  We vote democrat.  We might even vote pro-choice (understanding that abortion is merely a symptom of deeper issues that need to be addressed). We divorce and remarry.  We support gay rights.  We go to yoga.  We explore Buddhism, Wicca, Judaism, Islam, Unitarianism, Paganism, etc.  And we meditate.

Much to the chagrin of the re-traditioners, we fully embrace and live our primacy of conscience. And while they may be content to judge and condemn us as sinners, they can’t because while we are doing what we want, we are also continuing the mission of Christ – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the poor, setting captives free, giving sight to the blind, working for the marginalized in our society and in our world.

This is where it tends to get personal.  Re-traditioners like things black and white, cut and dried, reasonable and practical.  The motivations and actions of innovators and prophets are everything but this.  Instead, we thrive in the margins and in glorious shades of grey (or is it gray?).  “I’ve seen her praying the stations of the cross and attending Saturday afternoon rosary….and yet she does Reiki too….isnt’ that the work of the devil????  It certainly hasn’t been handed down by the magisterium!  She must be a witch….BURN HER!”  While I say this a little bit tongue in cheek….it really isn’t far from the truth – at least in its effect.  Condemned, rejected, painfully cast out for listening to the voice of God in our hearts that guides us and leads us toward our truth and toward the new vision of Church trying to be born.

Here then, is the key.  As Phyllis Tickle observes, each of the past “great” transformations has ultimately been about the question of authority.  WHO HOLDS THE AUTHORITY?  I can tell you without a doubt that the authority for which we are currently vying is INNER AUTHORITY.  As Joachim de Fiore prophesied in the twelfth century, we are entering fully into the Age of the Holy Spirit – when authority will rest within the individual and their personal relationship with that which some might call God.  DISCERNMENT and personal empowerment will be the key and if the Church (which is currently dying on the vine) hopes to survive it would do well to provide the tools through which these goals might be successfully accomplished.  In the meantime, my heart and my prayers of support go out to the innovators and prophets who are working on the margins – in the real world, seeing, believing and LIVING the new Church.

Posted in Holy Spirit, Inspiration, world changes

Behold I Make All Things New

Today’s blog is about the power of observation and having the courage to see the truth as it unfolds right before our eyes.  In other words, making use of our prophetic gifts AND using these prophetic gifts to see what is happening in the world around us and making way for something new.

Defining Prophet

“Prophets are people who speak out when others remain silent.  They are watchful of the areas in need of reform in their own society, their own country, or their own religious institutions. True prophets are not part of the authority structure.  Prophets are never appointed, ordained or anointed by the religious establishment.  They experience a special calling that comes directly from God, and their message comes from their own personal experience of God.  Any attempts to practice the same spirituality of Jesus would entail learning how to speak out boldly as he did – and face the consequences.”  – Jesus Today -a Spirituality of Radical Freedom by Fr. Albert Nolan, OSD

Owning it!

According to Fr. Nolan’s definition above, I am a prophet.  No, I do not own a scrying mirror or a crystal ball and I do not use divination tools in order that I might predict the future.  I don’t need them.  I am, as Fr. Nolan describes, a different kind of prophet.  A prophet, as is referred to in scripture, is someone who has eyes wide open and who through observation of the sign of the times, can identify where things are going and what is likely to take place.  My friends, and the people to whom I have ministered can attest to the fact that I have these gifts.  I know that these are gifts given to me by God and at 47 years old, I can no longer hide these gifts under a bushel basket.  Apparently it is my job to see the truth and help others to see it as well.

The World, She is a Changin’

You do not need to be a prophet to see that the world around us is changing.  Climate and weather patterns are shifting.  The world economies are collapsing.  In our country, healthcare, education, government, corporations are struggling.  The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is disappearing.  In my own little area of expertise – God and Church stuff……the Catholic Church has become the forebearer of the demise  of everything rooted in the patriarchical, hierarchical model, boldly leading the way as the Vatican clings to nostalgia and distractions as a way to respond to their fear over the loss of power and control.

The Age of the Holy Spirit

To put it in theistic language, I believe that what we are observing is the advent of The Age of the Holy SpiritJoachim de Fiore (1135 C.E. – 1202 C.E.) used this term when he foretold an era:  when mankind was to come in direct contact with God, reaching the total freedom preached by the Christian message. The Kingdom of the Holy Spirit, a new dispensation of universal love, would proceed from the Gospel of Christ, but transcend the letter of it. In this new Age the ecclesiastical organization would be replaced and the Order of the Just would rule the Church.  According to Joachim, only in this third Age will it be possible to really understand the words of God in its deepest meanings, and not merely literally.  In other words, the laity will become empowered to know God PERSONALLY and to discern the law of God that resides within their own hearts.  No longer would we have need of a hierarchical, patriarchal institution to guide or interceded for us.  The need for an intermediary will pass away because our relationship with God through Christ would be direct  (that does not, however, mean that we would no longer benefit from gathering in community…we are supported, held accountable and remain humble when we gather in community.)

Applying this to the World At Large

Now, let’s apply this Age of the Holy Spirit concept to what is happening in the world at-large.  The way I  see it, all those things that have been built upon fear, power and control, all those institutions rooted in a top-down, power-over model are quickly falling away….and they fall quicker every day!  Why?  Because as a species, we have come to understand that this model is no longer working (if it ever really did) and we are ready for SOMETHING NEW!  What is that something new?  We don’t yet know because it has not yet fully emerged.  I sense the old might need to completely implode upon itself before the new will fully come into being……but there are signs of good things afoot (just open your eyes and look around for those things that are rooted in love, working toward compassion and justice, striving for collaboration and harmony, based in understanding and acceptance.)    And here is a just a little glimpse of the “New World” as I see it and a song that describes it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRhq-yO1KN8&feature=related

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com