Posted in Discernment, Empowerment, Lessons, Mystics, order of the magdalene, priestess training, self-actualization

Reclaiming the Esoteric Priesthood

The Patriarchal/Hierarchical Priestess?

Until this moment, we have only been able to define, express and understand the calling of priestess (or priest) within the context of the hierarchical and patriarchal worldview.  As a result, those who have discerned and accepted this calling have done so within the only framework Western culture knowns – that of presider.  In this expression, the priest or priestess is charged with the task of performing and facilitating ritual – first for herself and then for those who are called into community around her.  She is called to honor the lunar phases and the turning of the year with proper rituals, offerings and intentions and to do so in a (somewhat) public way.  Beyond presiding, some priestesses are also called to be healers, to counsel, and in some traditions – to be an oracle through card reading, throwing runes, reading palms or speaking with the dead.  All of these external, exoteric, outward expressions of priestess are critical to the priestly calling, but in interpreting the priestly calling through the hierarchical/patriarchal worldview, we have missed a critically important task of the priestess – that of transformer.

(I am choosing the word transformer to describe the forgotten task of the priestess because I don’t know what else to call it!  If you come up with a better word, please let me know! )

Trying to Remember What Has Been Forgotten

This is where things are going to get a bit sticky as I try to describe something for which we have no historical context and therefore no conscious memory.  This forgotten task of the priest/priestess is one we have not seen in our patriarchal world for over 5000 years.  This hidden/esoteric/secret and mostly silent task of the priestess was left in the dust when the hierarchical/patriarchal hoards conquered the peaceful and egalitarian communities that preceded them.  What was left was an external model of priest – one who has power over the people and who is the intermediary between the people and their god.  This is not as it was before.

The Exoteric: Prior to patriarchal rule, the spiritual needs of the community were supported by women and men who played a wide variety of roles.  Some led ritual, made offerings to the gods, counseled, and healed.  Some read the stars and the earth for signs of impending change. Some were teachers. These were the exoteric (meaning outward or external) priestly roles.

The Esoteric: Alongside the exoteric, however, was the esoteric – the priestly role that was internal, quiet, and mostly done in separation or secret.  These were the women and men who spent their day communing with Spirit (praying), and who took into their bodies that which needed to be transformed/healed/released on behalf of the tribe and for the sake of the world and then transformed/healed and released it.  These were the transformers of ancient times and the task of the priest and priestess that is reemerging today.

The above is an excerpt from Authentic Freedom weekly lesson.  Full content reserved for Plus, Premium and Premium-Plus Members. Click here to learn more on how you can become a member and enjoy the tools that have helped me in my own journey.  Find an example of what is available in the full content HERE.

Posted in priestess training, self-actualization, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

A New/Original Vision of Priesthood

For the past 2000-5000 years, priesthood (across religions) has meant one thing: a position of power and authority held by men acting as an intermediary between the undeserving flock and their god. These men have been given themselves the power to interpret the word of their god and to dictate doctrine around their interpretation of that word.  They have appointed themselves determiners of who is saved and who is not and have created rituals and practices to be practiced by the undeserving so that they might earn the “love” of a jealous and fickle god and therefore their heavenly reward after death.  These men have used the threat of eternal damnation to manipulate those they “serve” and have benefitted from a culture based in fear. These men have been held as separate, more important and more powerful than the people they “serve” and have benefitted from this separation, given places of honor and becoming rich on the backs of those who are expected to pay, pray and obey.

Whereas not every man who has followed the call to be “priest” (or woman who has taken on this kind of priesthood) has lived their priesthood in this way, all are complicit in a culture and a structure that places one in a position of power over those they are meant to serve. The current structure of the priesthood – especially as it is expressed in the Catholic Church in which I was raised, is a culture of (often white) privilege rooted in separation lived out through power and control.  I can’t help but believe that this is not what Jesus had in mind.  In fact, it seemed that Jesus spoke openly against those who placed themselves in positions of authority and who lauded their power over others.  Instead, Jesus provided a completely different model of what priesthood might be which seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.

In order to understand the kind of priesthood that Jesus lived and then modeled for those who spent time in his company, we don’t have to look very far. Scripture is quite clear about the priesthood that Jesus embodied – one of healing, comforting, teaching and empowering with Jesus hanging out, not at the top of the pyramid, but at the bottom of an inverted triangle upholding and uplifting those he sought to serve.  In this, Jesus created a container in which those to whom he ministered might be supported in doing what Jesus did – coming to know themselves as One with God in love, and in this oneness coming to know their own unique giftedness and then supported and empowered in the development of and then sharing of these gifts – for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.

This is the priesthood that Jesus embodied and the priesthood that Mary Magdalene was empowered to embrace. When we turn to those scriptures that didn’t make the cut of the emerging hierarchical/patriarchal institution that became Christianity, we clearly see Mary in this role:  comforting, healing, teaching and empowering the other disciples to go forth and continue the work that Jesus empowered them to do.  In this, Mary was living not as a priest within an institutional church, but as High Priest in the spirit of the ancient tradition of mystery schools which served to support women and men in achieving the fullness of their personal, psychological, emotional and spiritual development.  In short, Mary, like Jesus, did the work to support what modern-day psychologists call self-actualization.

What would our world look like if we lived priesthood in this way – coming to know our own self-actualization and then empowering others to do the same?

 

Full content reserved for Plus, Premium and Premium-Plus Members. Click here to learn more on how you can become a member and enjoy the tools that have helped me in my own journey.  Find an example of what is available in the full content HERE.

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

The Order of the Magdalene Welcomes its 100th Candidate for Priesthood

The Order of the Magdalene has accepted its one-hundredth candidate for priesthood.  The Magdalene Priesthood Training, inspired by Jesus’ closest disciple, Mary Magdalene, is a twelve-month training program restoring women and men to their rightful place within Jesus’ vision for humanity. The priesthood training supports participants in becoming self-actualized and empowers them in fully living out their Divine and Human natures as love.

The Order of the Magdalene Priesthood Training continues the work begun by Jesus and fulfilled by Mary Magdalene by empowering candidates to live out the fullness of their unique giftedness – both for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.

The Order of the Magdalene, founded by Minneapolis native, Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, is named for Mary Magdalene who became fully empowered under the guidance, direction and support of Jesus of Nazareth. Mary was Jesus’ closest disciple; the only one identified to have completed the full course of Jesus’ public and secret teachings; and initiated as co-equal partner.  It was to Mary whom Jesus first revealed his resurrected self, and it was Mary he commissioned to share the good news with the other disciples and who Jesus ordained to continue his work in his stead.

The Order of the Magdalene supports its members in their work of carrying out Mary Magdalene’s mission of Love – turning the world from fear into love through the use and sharing of their own unique gifts.

The Magdalene Priesthood is not hierarchical, patriarchal nor clerical in nature. The Magdalene Priesthood is grounded in the egalitarian model favored by Jesus – one in which every individual is honored as uniquely holy and sacred. The Magdalene priesthood seeks only to serve the common good of the all through the mission of love.

You can learn more about the Order of the Magdalene and the Priesthood Training HERE.

Posted in Magic, Order of Melchizedek

Order of Melchizedek Level One Training

20 lessons in ritual and divination practices

This is the first course in the full Order of Melchizedek Training Program created and facilitated by Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS.  This course provides the foundation for ritual and ceremonial magic, integrating Kabbalistic teachings with the simple practices of native cultures.  The rituals here are adapted to meet the intention of Union, moving beyond the popular notion that the purpose of magic is to “get what we want.”  Employing these practices supports and amplifies the intention of Union while facilitating the healing and release of that which resides within you that is blocking the experience of Union and hindering your ability to be an empty channel through which the Divine Purpose of Love can be made manifest in our world.  While appearing simple, these lessons will have a profound impact on your inner and outer experiences.  You will be changed and your life will change as a result. 

 

Stand Alone Price:  $660.00 payable in full or in three installments of $225.00 each.  

 

Pay in full here:

or click BELOW for the 3 month payment plan. 

 

NOTE:  There are no refunds on online courses.  If you withdraw before completing your payments, you will be invoiced for the balance due.

 

Course Outline: 

Lessons One:  UNION

The original meaning and purpose of magic

Lesson Two:   Ritual of Dedication

A daily dedication in service to the Divine

Lesson Three: Attunement to the Divine Name

A daily attunement to the Divine Name

Lesson Four:   The Hexagram/Anahata/Star of David/Seal of Solomon

The power and meaning of the 6-sided star

Lesson Five:   Emanating Love ritual

A daily ritual for clearing and sanctifying space

Lesson Six:  Agape (Divine Love) Bath

            A daily practice for clearing and aligning our energetic bodies

Lesson Seven:  Introduction to the Tarot and its Kabbalistic origins

The tarot as a metaphor for our own “hero’s journey,” as and a teaching tool for the Kabbalah, and as a source of divination

Lesson Eight:  The Wheel of Life/ The East

Introduction and attunement to the Divine directions

Lesson Nine: The South

Lesson Ten: The West

Lesson Eleven: The North

Lesson Twelve: Spirit/the Heavens

Lesson Thirteen: Gaia

Lesson Fourteen:  The Divine Names

Attuning to and applying the power of the Divine name

Lesson Fifteen:  Tree of Life/ The Kabbalah (introduction)

The ancient mysticism of Judaism and the path of consciousness evolution

Lesson Sixteen: Archangels (introduction)

Our helpers and our guides

Lesson Seventeen:  The Holy Bride

The lost feminine archetype and the culmination of the human journey toward enlightenment.

Lesson Eighteen: White Magic vs. Black Magic

Humility and pride in magic

Lesson Nineteen: The Adversary/the role of temptation

The inner forces which seek to obstruct our path

Lesson Twenty:  Ordination

Ordination as a Level One practitioner

Required texts and materials for this course: 

B.O.T.A. or traditional Rider-Waite Tarot themed card deck with guidebook. (I use the Gnostic Tarot of the Saints by Robert M. Place )

Modern Magick by Donald Michael Kraig  (As a reference book only.  Buy it used!)

Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ by Tau Malachi

The Emerald Tablet by Dennis William Hauck

Suggested Reading:

Witchcrafting by Phyllis Curott

Celtic Magic by D.J. Conway

NOTE:  There is a significant discount when you register for the FULL Order of Melchizedek Training Program.  Click on the image below to learn more.

A Note from Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, program creator and facilitator:

For my entire life I have been fascinated by magic. Naturally drawn to the mystical, I found my childhood role models in Samantha Stevens, Morticia Addams and Lily Munster.  In my teens, I become overwhelmingly obsessed with anything that had to do with King Arthur and read every book on the subject that I was able, ultimately culminating in the Arthurian masterpiece, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.  To say that I loved Tolkien and Star Wars would be an understatement, and Excalibur was my friend. 

This love for magic was further supported by my Catholic upbringing which brought me up close and personal to magic that “turned bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ,” that healed the sick, exorcised demons, and made a humble human into the “child of God.” Jesus magic was everywhere and the rituals which facilitated this magic spoke to something very deep within my Soul.

Fast forward into adulthood, along with formation as a Catholic lay minister, I studied Wicca, Native American spirituality, Celtic myth and magic. I set up my home altar and when I asked for guidance it came in the form of a brick which flew through the air, awakening me to my true purpose which had to do with Priesthood – but not the priesthood I had grown up with.  As it turned out, neither was my call to Priesthood somehow wrapped up in any of the neo-pagan, priestess or goddess movements.  Instead, it seems like it was a Priesthood that predated all of these – what I have heard recent authors call “the primordial tradition.”

In the Judeo-Christian tradition in which I was raised, this primordial tradition is given a name: The Order of Melchizedek.  First mentioned in the Book of Genesis as relating to the High Priest of Salem, Jesus is also mentioned as associated with this tradition.  What distinguishes the primordial tradition from the systems of magic popular today is that in the Order of Melchizedek:

  • Magic is not done for the sake of “getting what we want,” but for the sake of aligning our purpose with that of the Divine.
  • It is not we who are “doing” the magic; it is the Divine working through us.
  • The Order of Melchizedek “keeps it simple,” acknowledging that the true power of magic is not in complicated rituals, invocations, chants or spells, but is in our intention to be One with the Divine – surrendering our own will to the Divine, and emptying ourselves so that the Divine might live in and through us.
  • We acknowledge and accept what was said to be true of Jesus:

Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,
 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,

being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.

Phil 2: 5b-8

It is for all of these reasons that in spite of more training programs on magic and ritual (including the ancient Jewish mystical system of the Kabbalah) than you can shake a stick at; I have endeavored to create a training program that presents magic in another light.

Learn more about Lauri Ann Lumby HERE.

 

Posted in church, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, women

Church of the Magdalene?

Consider today’s blog as a pondering of sorts – musing on what would it have looked like if the Magdalene’s perspective on the Jesus message had not been supplanted by fear, power and control, but instead, had been allowed to flourish?  I entertain these thoughts not in opposition to the Institutional Church, because ultimately, I believe that the only way for the Church to survive is if both the feminine and masculine are honored, but, not unlike the feminist movement, we have to start the conversation somewhere.  So….here goes…..

 

Mary Magdalene  by Robert Place
Mary Magdalene by Robert Place

1) To begin with, I believe the Church of the Magdalene would be less concerned about saving us from sin and death, and more concerned with empowering us in life.  If there is such a thing as hell, I often believe THIS IS IT!  The Church of the Magdalene would give us tools for learning how to navigate the human condition and would help us find comfort in our losses while celebrating our joys.

2) The Church of the Magdalene’s second task would be to empower us in fulfilling the mission God intended for us.  We would be given the tools and support we need to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives through the uniquely creative way in which God desires to be known in the world through us.  We would also be given the help and support we need to overcome the inner obstacles to living that purpose.

3) In the Church of the Magdalene, the priesthood would not be one of exclusivity, but instead, would empower a priesthood of ALL believers.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON would be ordained into their unique, special and necessary mission for the betterment of humankind and our world.  Some would be ordained as healers, teachers, counselors, prophets, welcomers, nourishers, sustainers, supporters, stewards of the environment, growers, inspirers, bringers of beauty, shadow walkers, hand holders, receivers of healing and compassion, etc. etc. etc.  Yes, some would be called and empowered to pastor and lead communities, but this role would be no more important than any other vocation.  All are needed….all are empowered.

4) The Church of the Magdalene would be less about showing up for church to “fulfill your Sunday obligation” or to receive your “get out of hell free” card.  The Church of Magdalene would also be less about watching and more about doing.  In the Church of the Magdalene, everyone is the presider.  We gather together to share our lives, our stories, our journeys and we do so through contemplative prayer, as Jesus did.  Then, we are all empowered to go out and do the work that Jesus calls us to do.  Love one another.  Heal the sick.  Feed the hungry.  Give sight to the blind.  Set captives free.  In this way, it is all Eucharist. And if there is a sacred meal to be shared, it could just as well be cookies and milk as bread and wine.  In the Church of the Magdalene….Christ is ever-present…in the word, in the people, in the prayer, in our sorrows and in our joys, in the rivers and the trees, in the very air we breathe – and we are invited to see the world in this way!

5) As all of it is Eucharist, so all of it is sacrament.  In the Church of the Magdalene, EVERYTHING we do, we do with God, when we hold that as our desire and as our intention.  Yes, we may ritualize our doings through public ritual, but none of the rituals are in order that we might receive another “get out of hell free” card.  Instead, through our rituals we celebrate the amazing God that we have and we give honor to each other and mark our life transitions as sacred.  Baptism is not for the forgiveness of sin, but, like Jesus’ baptism, a time to acknowledge that we are each God’s beloved sons and daughters and with us God is well pleased!  Reconciliation is returned to its original intent as an opportunity to take responsibility for our non-loving behaviors and ask God to heal us of the fears that caused these behaviors in the first place.  Anointing of the sick becomes an opportunity to share energetic healing with another, acknowledging that we are simply the vessel through which God is facilitating healing in another.  Ordination, again, is offered to everyone when they are ready to name, claim and be empowered in their own unique vocation of service to God.

6) The Church of the Magdalene would be firmly rooted in a deeply intimate and personal relationship with God.  Love would be the only ultimate truth and God, as Love, the source of authority with Jesus’ law of love being the guiding principle

Love one another as I have loved you.

and the Beatitudes of Jesus as a way to measure our personal growth.

7) Finally, the Church of the Magdalene would be less hierarchical and more collaborative, less about power and privilege and more about honoring all as sacred, less about patriarchy and more about honoring both men and women as sacred and calling forth their unique and magnificent gifts, less about fear and more about love, less about having and more about giving, less about separation and more about unity and most importantly, less about judgment and more about compassion.

I know there is more…..but this seems like a good start.  I’m interested in your thoughts.  What would the Church of the Magdalene look like to you?

 

 

Posted in Divine Revelation, Empowerment, Initiation, Inspiration, Jesus, Midlife Journey, Mystics, Raised Catholic, world changes

Catholic Woman Shamanic Priest?

Why Are We Here?

If you are reading this blog, chances are that you found yourself here because you are searching for meaning, purpose, fulfillment and connection in your life. Additionally, you most likely find yourself haunted with a desire to do something to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In short, you were born a Changemaker and the Divine in you is urging you to do something about it.  I’m here because I’m a lot like you and because the Divine in me continues to urge me to speak to the process that brings us into the fullness of our Divine mission, quite often through my own journey of realization and self-actualization.

What Does This Have to Do with Lent?

As I write this, we are smack dab in the middle of Holy Week – the time on the Christian calendar when we journey with Jesus through the final days and hours of his life.  I know it’s no longer fashionable to call ourselves Christian, and this is especially true for those that were raised Catholic (or any other Christian denomination) and who currently find themselves either on the fringe our outside the Church all together.  It’s way cooler to be Buddhist or some sort of Western version of neo-Hinduism, or even better, agnostic or atheist. But, in my journey of being raised Catholic, becoming disillusioned with Institutional religion and eventually realizing I no longer felt welcome in the Church where I had been worshipping, Jesus NEVER came into question.  In fact, my relationship with Jesus only deepened and my faith in God became stronger.  Why?  Because the Jesus I have come to know is one of the greatest men to ever walk the earth, and from a Western, rational, pragmatic, logical and reasonable perspective, he is the perfect model for the rest of us on how to become fully human and to realize the fullness of our Divine call.  I look to Jesus during Lent, not as the sacrificial lamb, but as the perfect example of how to transcend the fears that prevent us from realizing our greatest potential.

Women and Shamans and Priests?  Oh My!

Here’s the my journey helping you with your journey part.  🙂  I have already written much about my journey toward embracing my call to be priest and have accepted that call (in part) through the launch of the Virtual Church.  I naively thought that with this revelation, I was done….in my truth….living the fullness of my call.  HA! HA!  God,  apparently has something else up her sleeve!  I’m still in midst of allowing all the pieces to come together but suffice it to say that apparently it isn’t weird enough to be a woman, raised Catholic, with a call to the priesthood.  Just to make things even more strange, God has included some sort of shamanistic call into the mix.  Thanks to my PhD studies at the university I have come to affectionately refer to as “Hogwarts,” I have learned that for YEARS I have been undertaking shamanic journeys and I didn’t even know it!  Specific experiences I have had, usually accompanied by certain types of music, are apparently shamanistic in nature and not simply a product of my imagination or the fruits of contemplative prayer.   Instead, as I learn the traditional hallmarks of a shamanistic call, I find that I fit every one:

  • Able to achieve alternate states of consciousness at will.
  • Called to make a lifetime commitment of service to the community.
  • A mediator between the sacred and the secular.
  • Emerge where and when there is a need and called forth by the community.

Then there is the final proof of a shamanistic call, that when someone looks into the eyes of a shaman, they either choose to stay and grow, or they run away in fear.  I can tell you, this particular quality makes for some really interesting human encounters.

Bipolar Disorder-Windows to the Soul

 

What Does it Mean Jelly Bean?

In truth, I don’t really know what it all means.  As a species, we are in the midst of a significant period of evolution and change (which some might call ascension), and I think that all Changemakers are experiencing an enormous amount of flux – being hurled into the unknown, clutching a trail of clues in our hands, but having no idea what they mean or how we are being called to use them.  For myself personally, I am aware of the clues – pieces that have to do with Jesus, being raised Catholic, priesthood, some sort of shamanistic call, something that has to do with my Irish ancestry, gifts of counsel, discernment, writing, teaching, healing and leadership, all rooted in my unique reformer/recovering perfectionist/introverted/thriving on order and routine/intuitive/empathic temperament, but I have no idea what it will all look like.  So, again, in the spirit of Lent and Jesus’ journey toward the cross, I take up my own cross of HAVING NO FLIPPING IDEA, facing the fears of all the unknowns, and turning it all over to God.  My mantra for the past 6 months has been,”Let it be done to me according to your word.”  In the spirit of Lent, I change that to:

“Into your hands I commend my Spirit!”

++++++++

What is the unknown you currently find yourself facing?

What are the clues that might be part of your Divine call?

What are the fears that surface in connection with that call?

How can Jesus be a model for you of how to move through your fears and enjoy the fullness of you Divine call?

 

Posted in About Lauri, Authentic Freedom, church, Empowerment, Jesus, Raised Catholic, Virtual Church

A Different Kind of Priest

Each of us are uniquely gifted to be a vessel through which God’s love is known in the world.  Often, the way in which God has gifted us and the call God extends to us transcends institutional definitions, boundaries and controls.  I share the way this has been made known in my own life as a way of encouraging you to look outside the box for how God might be calling you to be love in the world…..sometimes the answer is right under our nose and has been there the whole time and sometimes it is so obvious we wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that before?”

Priest All Along

I wrote last week about the lightning bolt awareness of how for the past 20+ years I have been a priest and I didn’t even know it!  Looking back on the ways in which I have been called to be God’s love in the world, they all take the form of duties frequently associated with a priest – preaching, teaching, healing, counseling, leading, pastoring, serving, ministering.  Of course, being raised Catholic, the path to ordination is not open to me (in the Roman Catholic Church anyway), and at this point in my life, even if ordination were made available to women, I don’t think I would pursue it.  I prefer to serve as a priest in my own way (rather, the way in which God is leading me to be priest), instead of being subject to the limitations of the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church where clericalism frequently reigns over humility and compassion.

Lauri Lumby, mother and priest
Lauri Lumby, mother and priest

A Different Kind of Priest

What does priesthood look like outside the boundaries of tradition?  What is a priesthood without hierarchy, patriarchy and clericalism?  What is priesthood without a church?   As it is currently being revealed to me, for myself personally, it is a priesthood of a different kind, but in truth, it looks very much like a priesthood of the original kind.  When I look for a model of priesthood that feels appropriate to me, the example is obvious in Jesus.  To me, Jesus represents the quintessential example of what priesthood should look like.  What does it mean to be a priest like Jesus?

1) For me, it starts with the clothes.  Nowhere in scripture does it describe Jesus as wearing special clothes, in fact, in several instances, he challenges religious leaders who don special vestments (phylacteries) as a way of drawing attention to the way they are better, separate, or more special than ordinary folks.  I have a very strong sense that Jesus dressed in the same fashion as the people to whom he was ministering. What that means for me is that I dress in ways appropriate to the occasion.  In presiding over weddings, I dress up in ways similar to the guests.  In facilitating spiritual formation in circle, I dress casually.  When seeing people one-on-one, I wear business casual.  And when networking with business professionals, I dress appropriately. There will be no Roman collar or guilded vestments for me.

2) While Jesus sometimes taught in the temple, he was mostly seen ministering to the people where they were at.  He moved about the marketplace, in the desert and on the mountain, in people’s homes, teaching, healing, ministering to people where the people were.  Jesus was not a member of the official hierarchy of the Jewish temple, instead, he was priest to the people in their midst.  A related key point – Jesus did not have a church.  Instead, it seemed his church was anywhere he found himself.  For me, this means being open to all the ways in which God is calling me to meet people where they are at – and in this day and age, it is often in front of their computer.

3) Jesus’ primary audience was those no longer welcome in the temple and for this he was often condemned.  Jesus spent much of his time in the midst of “sinners and tax collectors,” and he often ministered to lepers.  Jesus made himself available for those who had been rejected by the Institution in which he was raised.  This is highly reflective of the audience God continues to place before me – women and men who no longer feel welcome in the religious institution in which they were raised….and for me, 90 -95% of these folks were raised Catholic.

4) Jesus prayed – a lot, and he taught his disciples how to pray.  Before, during and after every ministerial encounter, Jesus can be found in prayer.  Prayer, his intimate relationship with God, seemed to be the foundation upon which everything else was built.  I can only hope to be following this example that Jesus set.

5) Jesus’ priesthood served to support and satisfy the deepest longing of the human heart – to know that we are loved, and Jesus did this primarily through his loving regard of the people to whom he ministered.  Jesus did not judge or condemn the “sinners and tax collectors,” or the sick to whom he ministered.  Instead, he helped them to find healing for the deeper spiritual wounds that told them they were anything less than love.  Jesus built people up.  He empowered them.  He gave them dignity and respect.  And, he admonished anyone who would treat ANY of God’s people with anything less than love.  Jesus did not pile up a burden of tasks or rules that had to be accomplished in order to earn God’s love.  He taught that we are loved by God without condition and that when we turn away from God, God is anxiously waiting with open arms for us to come home to the truth of who we are – one with God in love.

How is the truth that God is revealing to you and the gifts God has given you, calling you to step outside the traditional or familiar?

 

Posted in Empowerment

Already Who We Are Meant to Be

I suddenly realized today that I have been living the life of a priest/pastor for the past twenty years and I didn’t know it.  This realization crashed in on me after a busy morning of appointments and administrative work and as I reclined on the couch for a brief nap before venturing into a full afternoon and evening of client appointments.  I was taking “the pastor’s nap,” as my Catholic priest colleagues and former employers used to call it.  I received this awareness like a bolt of lightening and thought to myself, “Oh my God, I’ve been a priest all along…..I just never gave myself credit for it.”  These are the kinds of situations that make me really appreciate God’s twisted sense of humor.  Here I’ve been, wandering through the past 20 years of my life moaning and groaning with the question, “Ok God, what do you want from me?  What am I supposed to be when I grow up?  How am I supposed to serve you in my life,” when apparently I’ve been doing it all along.  As I surrendered to the pastor’s nap, I realized that I am already being who God made me to be.  So, I guess I can stop wondering and get on with being the priest/ess that God made me to be.

DSCF3242

How you are already being who God made you to be?

 

 

Posted in church, Discernment, Freedom, Gifts of Contemplation, Jesus, Raised Catholic, Virtual Church

Recovering Catholics – Making Our Own Path

I find that in week four of the Virtual Church experiment, I have to say a few words about being Catholic (yes, I still call myself Catholic).  I share this for the sake of others like me who would like nothing more than to be a fully active member of the Catholic Church, serving, working and ministering under her roof.  Sadly, for obvious reasons, this is no longer possible for me, neither is it for many men and women I have come to love dearly.  And for those I don’t know, my heart goes out to you in compassion as you find yourself unable to set foot inside a Catholic Church (whatever the reason might be).

Lauripresiding

Broken Hearts and Broken Dreams

Today, my heart is breaking after a week of deep shadow work which presented itself in many ways, including several conversations about Catholicism, being raised Catholic and the path that led me to claim my own ordination and launch a virtual church. I discovered that I am not alone in having a deep love for the Catholic Church, in being formed as a minister within that Church, and being unable to minister there.  In those with whom these conversations arose, the same mistake was made.  We found God through contemplative prayer and this contemplation led us to our truth.  Then…..we tried to live that truth.  This proved to be the final nail in the coffin.  The Church can’t have people running around living their truth.  Where is the order?  There might be chaos. This could mean anarchy! Cats and Dogs raining.  People having sex in the street.  Shocking!  Sigh!  When we learn to use the brain God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth, often the truths God reveals to us step outside the rules of the institution (see this week’s meditation supplement for how Jesus got in trouble for using his brain!).  Then, we get in trouble (again, see this week’s readings, or attend this week’s virtual church service!)  This leads me to the question of vocations….because those with whom these conversations arose also have an authentic call to the priesthood…and like me, are unable to live it out within the embrace of the Catholic Church.

Vocations Crisis!!!????

The Church whines, moans and complains about a lack of vocations.  Lack of vocations my butt!!!!  The only thing that is lacking is an institution willing to open their hearts to God’s voice instead of the voice of the power they are deathly afraid to lose.  Oh my God…what would happen if priests were allowed to married? If women could be priests?  If gay men and women could openly live their orientation within the ordained priesthood instead of hiding it in the closet and watching it come out sideways!!!????  What you might have is a vibrant, thriving, dynamic, servant-leadership oriented Church with men and women serving beside each other as equals, working together to fulfill the mission of Christ.  Unfortunately, the Institution is too busy polishing their Italian leather shoes to see the droves of men and women standing at their gates waiting to serve God.  So….what are those authentically called to continue the mission of Christ in the world to do who don’t fit into the narrow single, “heterosexual” male, “celibate” definition of priesthood?    What are we to do?

Making our own path

We make our own path, (rather, we allow God to make one for us) that’s what we do.  For through our careful discernment we have learned that it is much easier to be disobedient to the Church than it is to disobey God.  Disobedience to the Church simply means being ostracized and deprived of the Eucharist.  Disobeying God leads to an inner agony, longing, anxiety and pain that one simply cannot describe.  But here’s the funny thing…..even in disobeying the Church so that we can be obedient to God there is an insatiable longing to be able to live God’s truth within the embrace of the Church.  How do we explain that?  It is simply grief, that we haven’t gotten over our Catholicism, as was once suggested to me?  I don’t think so!  What this says to me, is that this is indeed what God desires – that God desires for the Church to open their eyes, their minds and their hearts so that there can be room for all the ways in which we are ALL called to serve God through our own unique giftedness, our own unique passions and our own unique call – married, single, hetero, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, lesbian, male and female and everything in between.  God doesn’t discriminate in God’s choice of servants, why should the Church?

In the Meantime

So, in the meantime, we live within the tension.  Live within the tension of being obedient to God’s call and knowing and trusting that God’s call is working in the hearts and minds of the Institution and that someday, others like us, female, married, openly gay, may someday be welcome as ordained ministers within the Catholic Church….but probably not in our lifetimes. (this new pope, however, might surprise us all!!!)

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Freedom, Jesus

Virtual Church – Being Priest in the Post-Modern World

Dear Readers, in today’s blog, I am giving you a little peek into what is currently being discerned as the next step for Authentic Freedom Ministries:  VIRTUAL CHURCH.  The idea of a virtual church is what has arisen out of the question, “How to be priest in the post-modern world,” and is an offering twenty-years in the making.  I had no idea when the red brick flew across the Newman Center chapel and hit me smack between the eyes that this was where God was leading me…..but, here I am.  I find I can no longer deny the call to priesthood and the invitation to put this call into action in a direct and more expansive way, and what better way to do it than to create church in a way that speaks to a post-modern world – one free of doctrine, that honors the truths inherent within all sacred traditions, available to everyone, accessible in ways that meets the needs of an over-busy world, and one that can be attended in your own time?  Additionally, the virtual church meets our inherent human need for community and to be in the company of those of like-mind, while being challenged to growth through our inherent differences.  Which brings me to the one rule of the upcoming virtual church: we honor every person and their truth as sacred.

 

Anticipating a launch date of (no later than) March 12, 2014:

jesus

The Authentic Freedom Virtual Church

We are a community of men and women who consider Jesus to be our teacher, while honoring the spiritual truths inherent within all sacred traditions.  We recognize the Divine as that which is at once outside of us, within us and present within all of creation and which can be acknowledged by any Name, Image or Presence.  We believe in the inherent potential of all human beings to become self-actualized and acknowledge the spiritual journey as a formative tool in this endeavor.  We believe in the law of love and seek to know more fully the love of the Divine that dwells within us and which seeks to be known in the world through us which then serves to support the betterment of our world.

Participation in the Authentic Freedom virtual church will be facilitated through:

1)      The Weekly Agape’ Spiritual Practice newsletter where you will be given suggestions on specific meditation and creative practices to help support your own spiritual development.

2)      The Weekly Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service on YouTube.

3)      The Authentic Freedom virtual community on Facebook where you have an opportunity to connect with other Authentic Freedom virtual church participants.

Support for this ministry will be facilitated through your choice of a one-off donation or a monthly subscriber’s fee, and all will be welcome regardless of their ability to pay!

Thank you for your support as I continue to discern and construct this offering.

Sincerely,

Lauri Ann Lumby