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, 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

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, Raised Catholic

The Death of the Hierarchical Church

The hierarchical Church is dying. Heralding its death are the ongoing revelations of priest sexual abuse and the Catholic Church’s inability (or unwillingness) to do something about it. The “sins” of the hierarchy go deeper than we can even image (for just a glimpse, watch the Netflix documentary The Keepers. It is the chilling account of one priest who sexually abused hundreds of young girls, who murdered two who threatened to report him, and the entwined system of corruption that allowed him to get away with it). Nothing short of a complete dismantling will change the system of clericalism that places priests and bishops above the law (civil and doctrinal). Jesus spoke against the very system that we see in the Church today as he witnessed the “sins of the hierarchy” in his own Jewish faith:

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

MT 23: 1-12

In this exhortation against clerical hypocrisy and hierarchal abuse, Jesus lays out the kind of leadership he had in mind. Jesus did not preach FOR a hierarchical institution, he spoke of humility and service, “The greatest among you must be your servant.” The hierarchy of the Catholic Church has exalted themselves, placing themselves in positions of power, above those they are supposed to serve. For this they are being humbled. The Church is experiencing the consequences of their actions. In this the Church will be brought to its knees.

The mighty is falling and a new order is rising up to take its place. What that new order is, we do not yet know. And yet, this “new order” seems to be a part of my own calling:

Supporting those who are grieving the loss of the Church they once knew, or who are grieving the damage done to them by the Church…and guiding them to the only Church they will ever truly need…the Church within themselves. Learn more 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

A New (Original) Way of Being Church

This past Sunday, I suddenly realized that I am DOING what I came here to do, and what I have KNOWN for a very long time was my mission and purpose on this planet – to bring forth a new/original paradigm for being Priest in a new/original paradigm for being Church. I sit in awe-filled wonder over the fact that I have arrived and that I am HERE doing what I have been trying for twenty years to do. Here it is, right in front of me. It’s been here all along, but now it seems it has wholly (holy) and completely arrived.

sunlight-315917_1280

What I thought was the final piece of the puzzle (the Sunday Service which is launching this Sunday, August 16th 8:00 am at Inner Sun Yoga Studio), was it, but it seems there was more. It’s not enough to simply show up on Sunday morning and facilitate a worship/prayer service, being Church and being Priest is about being a vessel of God’s love through the overall care and wellbeing of those in your community. Part of that care is to provide opportunities for your community’s psycho/spiritual nourishment, growth and development which I am already providing via Authentic Freedom Academy. Part of the responsibility of a priest is pastoral counseling and support which I provide as a Spiritual Director. Part of the job of a priest is to be a vehicle through which God’s healing is more fully present to individuals – which I provide through Reiki, Spiritual Direction, etc. Another task of a priest is sacrament – rites and rituals that bring people together in community and which help them to consciously connect with God’s grace. This I have had an opportunity to do through the weddings, ordinations and other rites of passage I have facilitated. This past Sunday, I had an opportunity to witness how the sacramental part of this task is even more present for me than I originally thought and how it is unfolding in a way that reflects the manifestation of a new/original paradigm of priesthood and a new/original paradigm of being church in the world.

This past Sunday, the sacramental part of being “priest” and being “church” presented itself in what would traditionally be called “anointing of the sick.” I was intuitively led to offer this service to a client who had been recently diagnosed with cancer and who is facing surgery this week (today as a matter of fact, please keep her and her family in your prayers). As I sat with my client and her family in a “make it up as we go along” service I realized that THIS is the new/original model of priesthood and church. There were no rubrics to follow, only the guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit and the immediate needs of the family. We prayed. We shared in ritual. The family told stories, hugs and tears. We read from a sacred text chosen by my client. We sang a song that held great meaning for the family and that uplifted everyone with humor. The service ended with my client offering cake and coffee (if that isn’t communion, I don’t know what is!). It was perfect. It was sublime. It was AWE-some! As I sat in reflection of this experience, all I could do was feel humbled and in awe over whatever it was that allowed me to be witness to this sacred experience.

This is what it means to be priest. This is what it means to be church. No rubrics. No doctrine. No collar or special robes. No golden vessels or special laws. Only rapt attention to the immediate needs of those before us – their need for healing, comfort, nourishment and support in a way that honors their own unique beliefs and personal experiences of the Divine. I am humbled and in awe over twenty years of holding onto a vision, believing when everyone else (sometimes me included) thought I was insane, only to suddenly realize it is here – a new/original way of being priest and of being church in a world desperately in need of both.

If you live in the Oshkosh area, please join us this Sunday for our first Sunday Service. 8:00 am (doors open at 7:40) at Inner Sun Yoga Studio. Learn more HERE.

 

Posted in church, God, Inspiration, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Oneness with God, Returning book

Poetry and Art

In the coming blogs, I am deviating from my standard practice to focus on the work of one of my favorite artists, one whose work I am proud to share on the cover of my upcoming book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself.  The artist is Catherine E. Case and I find her work stunning, breathtaking and provocative.  She is one of the most talented portrait artists I know, not to mention being a fabulous teacher.  In the upcoming blogs, I will feature individual pieces of Catherine’s art, here accompanied by a poetry selection from Returning.  Enjoy!

Lauri as Mary Magdalene by Catherine E. Case
Lauri as Mary Magdalene by Catherine E. Case

A New Church

I have a vision, a Church renewed, I see.
A Church of God in persons three.
At the head is the Spirit, empowering us here.
To Jesus’ teachings – we hold them dear.
The Creator, no longer “Father of Might”
But… ‘tis the source from whom the breath of life flows and is present in
all forms of vibrations and light!
Step one, we believe we are all made of love.
Step two, we are one – God within, not above.
We share in the abundance of creation, that’s true.
All that’s mine, also yours, those who lack, but a few.
Faith defined not by creed,
But by the extent to which we believe,
In steps one and two, so as not to deceive –
God made us in love.
God within, not above.
Jesus the example of the truth of this love.
A fully realized human, embodies what’s true.
Jesus’ life an example of what we’re to do.
Heal the sick, feed the hungry,
Preach, teach, pray and obey.
Attuned to the Spirit, bringing her will forth today.
For us to find wholeness without and within,
To return to the Creator, again and again.

Catherine E. CaseCatherine Case holds an MFA, an MA and a BFA, with an emphasis in graphic design, drawing and illustration. In addition to the aforementioned, she has at multiple locations throughout the United States, served as Academic Department Chair, Exhibition Judge, Gallery Director, Guest Artist and Guest Speaker. A Professor of fine and graphic arts for over two decades, and Business Owner in the field of design for over thirty years, her awards, grants and publications are numerous.  Catherine exhibits her continuously evolving fine art in solo, group and juried exhibitions, in addition to having solid gallery representation.  Catherine can be reached at catherinecase@me.com.

Posted in church, Midlife Journey, Returning book

No Longer My Fight

This week I posted a couple blogs related to the Pope resigning and my proposal for a new Church and a new lent.  I want to thank a couple blog commenters for reminding me that this is no longer my fight.  I am already living in “The new church” and have no illusions about reforming the other one (aka the Roman Catholic Church).  In the following excerpt from my upcoming book, Returning – A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself, I share my thoughts on my former attempts and the mostly peaceful acceptance I have come to in midlife on this topic.  (Please forgive me my humanness when I sometimes get pulled back into thinking there is something I need to reform!!!) 

Windows to the Soul by Catherine E. Case
Windows to the Soul by Catherine E. Case

 

 Illusions

As I began to see myself and the world around me more clearly, one of the most devastating realizations was that the Catholic Church, in which I had invested my faith, hope, belief, trust and now career, was imperfect and flawed.  It was not a coincidence that my awakening happened right on the heels of the priest sex abuse scandal.  As I was more diligent in asking questions about God – what did I believe, what resonated as truth for me, who was the God that I had come to know through my own prayer and explorations, the Church fell farther and farther from the pedestal on which I had placed it (with the Institution admittedly helping itself along the way).

As I came to more and more freely embrace the truths I had come to know within myself, including my call to contemplation and hands-on-healing, I came more and more in conflict with the Church that was “supposed” to love me without condition.  As the illusions I had created around my faith shattered at my feet, the more I was compelled to “make it right,” an endeavor that eventually proved to be fruitless and one that came at a terrible cost – the loss of my Church and the loss of my faith in my Church.

In spite of this, my faith in God never wavered and it was to my ever-expanding image of God, that I pledged my allegiance.  And here I found peace.

The Call of Francis

The call of St. Francis, tried and true,

“’Tis time to build the church anew,

A church in Spirit and in Grace,

Christ residing in every face.

The corruption of old has begun to unfold.

The Spirit crashing through the hold.

Power, greed, corruption and sin,

It’s time, our work is about to begin.”

Regarding in awe, the Church torn asunder.

Is the Spirit at work?  We’re invited to wonder.

Secrets held dear, throughout the years,

Covering up the trail of tears.

“You’ve missed the point,” the Spirit cries.

The Church too busy believing their lies.

Jesus’ message seems pretty clear,

“Love God and neighbor as yourself my dears.”

God’s in their minds, not in their hearts.

Only practicing Catholics, our neighbors for starts.

And you, well, you’re created in sin,

so just where is this love to begin?

Let’s start, “In the beginning,” Genesis One and Two,

“It is good,” God says of you!

Not born in sin as Augustine preached

but born in love, joy and peace.

“Jesus loves me, this I know,

for the bible tells me so.”

We are invited to believe this children’s song,

Yet sometimes the Church tells us it’s wrong.

True faith, you see, when push comes to shove:

The extent to which we believe in God’s love.

And when we believe this promise true,

There’s only one thing left to do:

to share that love with everyone,

for this the mission of Christ was begun.

From Returning – a Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself by Lauri Ann Lumby.  Scheduled for release in 2013 through Authentic Freedom Press.

Posted in Authentic Freedom Book, church

New Lent New Church

Today’s blog explores the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church, Lent, a new vision of Lent and the vision of New Church.

Happy People

A Word from Matthew Fox

On the morning of Ash Wednesday, I received an email from Friends of Creation Spirituality, specifically, their founder and leader, Matthew Fox, and his official statement on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI.  Here is an excerpt:

A Comment on Pope Benedict’s Resignation
by Matthew Fox
 In many regards my Good Bye salute to Pope Benedict XVI is to be found in my book, “The Pope’s War: How Ratzinger’s Crusade Imperiled the Church and How It Can Be Saved” where I put the past 42 years of the papacy in perspective. There I catalogue his unenvious track record of killing of theology and silencing of 105 theologians. History will remember Benedict for bringing back the Inquisition and emasculating the great Christ-like movement of Liberation Theology and for ignoring for decades the facts of priestly pedophilia. After all the buck stopped at his desk as head of CDF and he was apparently too busy to address that horrible reality since he was so preoccupied with playing the 20th century Torquemada and hounding theologians smarter, more generous, more creative and more brilliant than himself in order to shut them up.

The lack of conscience in the Yes men he and JPII appointed to positions of decision making means that no Catholic should be holding their breath expecting the Holy Spirit to elect a decent leader. The church as we know it is finished and that is a blessing in itself. The Holy Spirit expects us to move beyond Imperial Religion to the essence of Jesus’ teachings: Do it to the least and you do it to me….

Time to move from religion to spirituality. Especially creation spirituality which nourishes our mystical AND prophetic souls for carrying on the work of peace and justice in our time.

Behind Fox’s comments, I hear his own unhealed hurt, anger and frustration over the Institution’s inability to be open to the mystical and prophetic Spirit of change that has been sweeping the Church for the past century. And, Matthew Fox is not alone in this hurt. 

Hope in a New Church?

I, like Fox, have forsaken any hope of change coming forth out of the Institution and as he mentions, JPII and Benedict have stacked the cards so as to insure the continuation of a conservative, nostalgic, “reform of the reform.”  The prophetic, mystical, spiritually and emotionally healthy, justice-oriented church that many (including myself) long for is not likely to come out of Rome.  Instead, the NEW CHURCH that is being born will come out of the people….people like you and me that long for collaboration instead of hierarchy, a focus on love instead of fear, a God that is bigger than the Old Man in the Sky, a Church that honors the unique gifts and vocational call of WOMEN as well as men, GAY as well as straight, MARRIED as well as celibate.  And most importantly, a church that takes Jesus’ call seriously and seeks to BE THE LOVE that Jesus was and the LOVE that he calls us to be.

Let’s Start NOW with Lent

WE are the NEW CHURCH.  And it starts NOW.  TODAY.  WITH LENT.  For centuries, Lent has been the time that we focus our attention on our depraved, sinful, stained nature.  The theology of Lent tells us we are imperfect and flawed and as such, undeserving of God’s love….UNLESS WE CONFESS OUR SINS, BEG FOR FORGIVENESS, REPENT, PRAY, FAST, ABSTAIN and offer alms to the poor.  Lent teaches us that we did something to be deprived of God’s love, that God’s love is conditional and that in order to avoid the fires of hell, we have to spend eternity begging, pleading, wallowing, trying to earn back God’s meager love.   For forty days, we are invited to wallow in self-loathing and covet our shame like Gollum coveting the ring.  “My precious….”   What if starting today….with this LENT, we did something different?

Lent in the NEW CHURCH

Starting today, I am suggesting a new theology of Lent.  Instead of 40 days focusing on sin and retribution meted out by a harsh and judgmental God,  let’s focus on God’s love.  Let us take the next 40 days to REMEMBER how amazing and loving God is and that because we are made in the image and likeness of God, we are inherently perfect.  More importantly, we are invited to remember that God is love and that it is out of God’s love that we have been made.  As such, we are the very essence of LOVE itself.  Of course, there is the human condition and as a result, we frequently forget this LOVE that we are and in that forgetting, we experience fear which leads to non-loving and non-peaceful acts.  Instead of wallowing in the shame around these acts, let us remember that in God’s love, we are freed of our fears and no longer compelled to act in non-loving or non-peaceful ways.  Instead of flogging ourselves with the Cat of Nine Tails in penitence, let us focus on the Love of God and allow ourselves to more fully remember this love within us.

Help for the NEW LENT

My book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy is a fabulous resource for a NEW LENT in the NEW CHURCH.  Through the process of Authentic Freedom, we are invited to remember the DIVINE TRUTHS that allow us to live as peaceful, loving, contented and fulfilled human beings.  We recognize our non-loving and non-peaceful behaviors as stemming from our spiritual fears, the fears that come forth out of our false-perception of separation from God and we are given effect tools for transcending these fears so that we can REMEMBER the LOVE of God and remember the LOVE THAT WE ARE.

Goodbyes and Hellos

So as we bid adieu to Benedict, let us accept this opportunity to begin the NEW CHURCH TODAY….and say Hello to a church of love, service and justice….starting with US.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in church, Inspiration, Lessons, teachers

Uniquely Gifted

Each and every one of us is uniquely gifted to reveal God in the world.  Today’s blog explores spiritual charisms (gifts) and how they not only assist us in God’s purpose for our lives, but also serve as a source of inspiration for others.

Friends and Mentors

Wednesday morning I had brunch with a dear friend and mentor.  She is a person with whom I worked when I was still under the employ of the Institution of the Roman Catholic Church.  She served as my teacher, guide and mentor as I stumbled unwittingly into the role of Liturgist for our grieving community in exile.  She took me under her wing as I faced a position for which I was completely untrained and ill-prepared and during a time that I was grieving myself.  For her teaching, patience, compassion and friendship, I will always be grateful.  We worked together until it became clear to me that God was calling me in another direction.  My departure from official Church ministry could have and probably should have driven a wedge in our relationship, but it did not.  As a result, I have been given the profound gift of being able to witness true hospitality, generosity and to sit in humble awe over the unique way that God has gifted my friend.

The Unnamed Charism

A charism, as defined by the Catholic Church is a unique spiritual gift and the way that God works through us in bringing healing, love, compassion and justice into the world.  The Catholic Church has named roughly 28 charisms which include: healing, discernment of spirits, service, preaching, teaching, administration, evangelization.  Because of my relationship with my friend/mentor, and seeing this same gift in my father, I have identified another charism that is yet to be named.  I don’t know what to call it, but I am truly in awe over this gift because there is no way on God’s green earth that this gift will EVER be accessible to me.  In a nutshell, this as yet unnamed charism, provides one with the ability to stay present to a work or life situation that is less than ideal and might even come in conflict with what you know to be 100% right and true.  This charism has something to do with tolerance, acceptance of imperfection, patience and forgiveness and it is the kind of gift that might allow someone to remain an employee of an Institution or work with or for an individual that is everything BUT perfect.  My father has this gift, as does my friend.  And to both of them I bow in humble awe because no matter how hard I try or have tried, this ability eludes me!

The Curse of the Reformer

No matter how much I try to deny it or bargain away this gift, I am called to be a reformer.  As such, I see the world through the lens of “How can this be better?”  In particular, I see religion, church, especially Catholicism through this lens.  To the chagrin of many, I have no choice but to be a voice and a force for change in what we have come to know religion, church, etc. to be.  I see myself as creating and holding space for those that are looking to step into a future vision of church that is less about God as defined by some outside perceived authority and more about the God that wants to reveal itself to them in an intimate and personal way within their own hearts.  I also see this as a move from the “do it because we told you” faith of a child and the searching and discovering phase of adolescence and the adult phase of personal empowerment and determined mission.  Not everyone in the Church is ready to take these steps, and it is because of and for these folks that my friend has been duly gifted.  I see her as holding space for an Institution and its people who are struggling with the pain of transition…..knowing that change is afoot, but not wanting to let go of what they have known for something that has not yet been revealed.  While I’m the one disturbing the sh..t, she is the one that says, “It’s ok.  You are still safe.”

On a Personal Note

So, on a personal note, I bow in humble awe to my friend, my father and to anyone else who has been gifted with this charism.  I have great respect and wonder for your ability to hold space in the tension, to breathe through conflict, to have patience, acceptance and understanding for what is.  I can only hope to learn from you as I’m sitting here disturbing the sh…  🙂

How are you uniquely gifted to reveal God in the world?

How are you aware of the unique giftedness of others?

Where do you see the way in which our mutual gifts complement each other?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com