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 Raised Catholic

There Was Good in the Old – an Ode to Notre Dame

Yesterday, in a discussion with the TWYH online community in which I am a member, we were sharing the deep sorrow we had all been feeling before hearing the news of Notre Dame burning. Before the event even took place, many of us were feeling a deep sorrow and the need to weep tears that were not specifically our own.  We were feeling the collective sorrow over the destruction of a centuries old icon while wondering, “what could this possibly mean?”  As I have ceased from trying to give meaning to world events, I could only ponder that question and yet in the sharing, one of the women said the following words related to her own sense of grief and these words hit me between the eyes:

 

There was good in the old.

 

Not only did these words hit me between the eyes, they hit me in the “feels.” Oh yes!  Oh yes!  There was good in the old and there continues to be good in the Church I once called my home and from which I have been in exile for the past eleven years.

In a similar conversation the day prior with a friend who is “spiritual but not religious” and scientific in her leanings, I tried, and failed, to express what it is like to be raised Catholic and the indelible imprint Catholicism leaves on one’s soul. From a rational perspective, I left the Church because I had to.  I left because the container of the Institutional Church had become too small.  I was no longer free to do the work I know in my Soul I have been called to do and I had to make a choice – be obedient to God or obedient to the Church.  I chose God.  While this choice has given me more freedom to pursue my Soul’s calling and has allowed me to minister to those the Church has turned away, the consequence of this choice is a loss that I will likely grieve for the rest of my days.

Why? A rational person would think this grief silly and unnecessary.  It is easy for those raised outside the Church to scratch their heads in disbelief over what seems to be a clinging to nostalgia or an unwillingness to let go of what has been.  Not so.  Not so.  There is something profound that happens in those of us that were raised Catholic and no matter how distant we become from the Church, there is always something that will remain.  I believe the words spoken by my online friend perfectly describes that which remains:

There was good in the old.

There is a mystery and a magic in Catholicism that is unmatched by other belief systems (at least in my experience). Where else is bread and wine turned into the “Body and Blood” of Christ?  Even if we only believe the magic of the Eucharist as symbolic, this is pure magic – transformational magic at that.  In the Eucharist – the central sacrament of the Catholic tradition, we are participating in the transformational act of becoming Christ.  When eating the bread and drinking the cup, we are saying “YES” to being the Body of Christ.  This is not meant to be lip service or an empty ritual of eating bread and drinking wine.  Eucharist is meant to be taken literally – we are accepting the invitation to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, to live as he lived, to do as he did – clothe the naked, heal the sick, give food to the hungry, free those imprisoned, pray for our enemies, love our neighbor, etc. etc. etc.  And in living as Jesus lived, we are meant to become him – to embody all he represented – purity, humility, generosity, mercy, compassion, love, all while living and working for justice.  For those who are paying attention, living in and among this ritual alone changes you.

There is wisdom in Catholicism. I discovered this wisdom in the rich tradition of contemplative prayer – a tradition previously reserved for those in religious orders – the Benedictines, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Jesuits, etc. etc. etc.  Women and men who for thousands of years have dedicated their lives to the study of the scripture and praying with that scripture so they could know God and in the process, growing in love.  When I was in my ministry studies and learned these practices, they LITERALLY changed my life.  I began a daily practice and for 25 years (minus a couple when I was having babies), I did not miss a day.

In Catholicism every passage in life is treated (or has the potential for being treated) as sacred. Birth.  Entering adulthood. Marriage.  Vocational decisions.  Death.  Every passage in life is met with a sacrament.  Both life and death are treated as sacred and given their proper honor, along with the appropriate communal ritual for honoring that passage.  These are the rites of the ancients – a wisdom that has not been lost in the Church.

There is a Goddess in the Church. Mother Mary.  Mary Magdalene.  Eve.  Sarah.  Teresa of Avila.  Bernadette Soubirous.  Joan of Arc.  The one thing that Catholicism has that is lacking in all other expressions of the Christian faith – a Mother we can go to for comfort.  Women we can turn to for inspiration and support.  The idea of the Communion of Saints gives us not only women but also men who were Superheroes – people who dedicated their lives for the purpose of Love.  St. Francis of Assisi.  John of the Cross.  Meister Eckhart.  Ignatius of Loyola.  The list goes on.

There is beauty in the Church. The Cathedral of Notre Dame is the perfect example.  The first things rescued from the church were works of priceless art and religious relics.  Why is the whole world grieving the destruction of Notre Dame?  It is certainly not because they were raised Catholic – it is because they see the loss of beauty – the art and architecture of the middle ages which inspire awe and wonder by symbolically making visible the magic and mystery of life – that which some call “God.”

This is the old that is good. This is the good that remains.  Even if Notre Dame had burned to the ground (which reports assure us it has not), this good would still remain.  This is the good that has held the Catholic Church together all these years in spite of the reign of terror that has co-existed with all that is good.

There is good in the old. My hope has always been and will continue to be that as that which is no longer life-giving is burned away; it is the good that will remain.  Perhaps this is why Notre Dame allowed herself to be burned – to prove to the world that sometimes death is necessary to reveal the good that has always been there and to make a way for something new.

 

Posted in church, Healing, Raised Catholic

Recovering Catholics – 42.7 Million Strong

The Second Largest Religious Denomination

A few years back, I learned that the second largest religious denomination in the United States (reported by PEW Research, second only to the Roman Catholic Church), is made up of non-practicing Catholics.  I sat down and did the math and the number of people who still call themselves Catholic, but who no longer attend mass on a regular basis is 42.7 million!  That is a HUGE number of people.  If you are reading this blog, you are likely one of those 42.7 million, or perhaps you were raised Catholic and no longer call yourself Catholic, so we can simply add you to this number and we might find that there are in fact 85.4 million Recovering Catholics in the United States. If that were the case, we would outnumber the active Roman Catholic population!!!

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Who Cares?

You might ask yourself, “Who cares?”  Why is this significant information?  What does this prove to anybody, if anything?  Well, it means something to me.  And here’s why:

1) There are a significant number of men and women in the United States that had a particular religious experience growing up which formed them (for better or worse) and which contributed to who they are today.

2) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic probably continues to inform them (again, for better or worse).

3) This unique religious experience of being raised Catholic becomes part of the marrow, blood and bones of one raised in this tradition and cannot be exorcised no matter how your current religious experience has changed (if, indeed it has).

4) For those who are no longer practicing Catholics, there is a unique form of grief that comes with the separation from Catholicism (whatever the reason for that separation), and there is a unique form of longing that cannot be quenched.

5) There is a unique set of needs residing within the hearts of Recovering Catholics, that for the most part, are not being met.  We cannot get these needs met in another religious institution.  We cannot go to the Catholic Church to get these needs met.  We cannot meet these needs on our own.

6) I am here to help the 42.7 million (or more) Recovering Catholics get those needs met.

 

Click on this image to register.

What are those needs?

I see the needs of Recovering Catholics as the following (and if you see more, please let me know what they are…..and I will see how I can help!):

1) Grief Support:  Catholics leave for a multitude of reasons, most boiling down to the fact that the truth God revealed to them is in conflict with the doctrine of the Church – teachings on contraception, homosexuality, vocations, divorce, remarriage, etc. etc.  Some leave because they have been directly harmed by a representative of the Church – sexually abused by a priest, physically or verbally abused by a teacher, counselor or lay minister, given incorrect information about Church teachings that made them feel unwelcome (like a certain family member who was told they were no longer welcome to come to communion simply because of a divorce).  No matter the reason, when we leave a community in which we were one time a member, even if the parting is our own decision (kind of), there is grief.  Recovering Catholics need support for the grief they experience in leaving the Institution behind, or in being asked to leave.

2) Resolution: Many Catholics (especially in the past), who left or were asked to leave, were asked to leave based on faulty information.  A representative of the Church misinterpreted the doctrine, or interpreted it to fit their own personal agenda.  For these people, the healing is helped when they learn the faulty nature of the information.  Yes, this will certainly stir anger, but for some, it opens the door to their return….something many are ultimately longing for.  Recovering Catholics might not seek this resolution from a priest, so I can be that bridge….if this is what they need.

3) Longing:  In my generation and the generations that follow, the number one reason I have heard for people leaving is because in the Catholic Church, their needs were not being met.  Specifically, the desire to:

Know themselves.

Know God.

Find Inner Peace.

Know their Gifts and how they are called to use them.

Find meaning and purpose in their lives.

The Catholic Church, most often, attempts to meet these needs through religious formation – the dissemination of doctrine, or doesn’t even go so far as that and simply stands in the belief that providing you with an opportunity to attend mass and receive the sacraments is enough.   Unfortunately, this is an intelligent and wise population of men and women who are looking for something more than to have their heads filled with rules and regulations, history and traditions.  And for many, the mass is not relevant (or the homily given at mass isn’t relevant).  They want DEPTH!  They want something that has meaning and relevance in their own lives and which allows them to know God personally, not just through someone else’s interpretation.  In short, what they are looking for, but don’t have the words for, is Spiritual Formation – something the Church has not done a good job of making available to the men and women in the pews. Spiritual Formation just happens to be one of my areas of expertise!

4) Validation: Recovering Catholics also desire validation….and they deserve it!  They have been formed to use the brain God gave them to reason, discern and exercise truth.  And, many, if not most, grew up in a culture that lost its trust in authority.  They/we have come to question authority and to not blindly follow simply because we were told.  Instead, authority has to be earned and our own reasoning minds need to be validated.  We need to be given credit for having a brain and an intelligent thought and the freedom to challenge and question what we are being told.  In the Institutional Church, questioning is often discouraged or outwardly condemned.  What the Institution has forgotten is that the most important stage in faith development is the questioning and searching stage.  If the Church really wants mature disciples, this stage needs to be honored.  If the Institution will not welcome these questions, I am happy to do so!  I’m excited to see how your questions will help you grow….and me as well!  🙂

If you are a recovering Catholic and looking for support, I am here for you.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@authenticfreedom.love to find out more. 

Click on this image to register.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Academy, church, Divine Revelation, Raised Catholic, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Beyond Christianity

On Monday, I wrote about how I am nothing like Richard Rohr. In particular, I mentioned how Richard Rohr is hard at work reforming Christianity, while I have moved beyond the need to reform an institution so that we might find the love that resides within all of us. In this, I guess one could say that I am inviting us to explore something beyond Christianity – something that hasn’t yet been given a name – but is already being born in our world.  Apparently part of this is being birthed through me. While the part that is being birthed through me has its roots in my Catholic upbringing, and I consider Jesus and Mary Magdalene the teachers that led me and then called me toward this, it is so much more than how people usually experience church.  I refuse, even, to call it church because for most of the people to whom I minister, church is a bad word.

So what is it? In truth, it is something that hasn’t even been given a name, and perhaps that is a good thing, for once we name a thing, we try to define it and put it in a nice, tight container so we can carry it around and show it to others.  Birth is messier than this and that which is being born needs the freedom to find its own feet and to discover its own name.  So, I’m getting out of the way and letting it be born and allowing it to find its own name.

While I can’t tell you what it is or what its name might be, I can tell you what it is made of. More importantly, I can tell you its purpose.

Its purpose is to provide a vessel in which women, men and children can come to know the love that they are and how they are uniquely gifted and called to be that love in the world. In short….our mission is self-actualization.

Unlike anything that has been accomplished before, the way in which we support this self-knowledge is through the seamless blend of psychology, pedagogy (education), creativity, and contemplative spirituality. In this way, individuals are supported in moving beyond their socialization into the truth that resides within their hearts.  Here is where we discover the freedom promised by all the great spiritual teachers that have gone before us:  Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, Mohammed, the Buddha, Black Elk, Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Amma, the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. and where we find the universal message within them all – the message of

LOVE.

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Learn more about Authentic Freedom Academy and our mission HERE. 

 

To being the exploration into your own truth and the love that resides within you, check out the Book of Life guided meditation and divination (hearing the voice of the Divine) tool. This is a tool/practice that you can return to again and again and again in search for the answers that reside only within your heart. Only $13.00!!!!!

Only $13.00!  Click on image above to register.
Only $13.00! Click on image above to register.

 

Posted in About Lauri, Authentic Freedom, church, Empowerment, Magic, Mystics, Raised Catholic

Confessions of a Catholic Witch

I have always known I was a witch. For 364 days a year, however, I simply pretended I was not.   Only on Halloween as I donned my black robe, black pointy boots and a black did I feel completely at home.  For the remaining days of the year, I felt like a fake….sort of….for if there is one place where a witch is at home (until she is found out that is), it is in the Catholic Church.

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Nowhere else, among all of the western religions, is magic as prevalent as it is within Catholicism. Where else can a man utter the phrase “hocus pocus” (hoc est corpus meum) and turn the simple elements of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, or through the imposition of hands release a person from “the devil’s” grip?

The smells, the bells, the little altars everywhere, the haunting strains of Latin chant, the saints to whom I could pray to remedy any struggle or ill, and the votive candles that I lit to solidify my intentions bring my dreams to fruition – all spoke to the witch inside of me who knew the world was magic and that magic could be brought forth in the world. Magic in its truest sense – the Divine working through us in support of the love within that is seeking its place in the world.

The Goddess knew what she was doing when I was born into a devout Catholic family – one that had been Catholic for many generations. She knew what she was doing when she planted me within the single western religion that honors the worship of both a male and a female God. (While Jesus’ mother, Mary, is not officially recognized as a goddess by the Catholic Church, people sure treat her as if she were.  Wouldn’t one have to be a goddess to be the “Mother of God?”)  She knew what she was doing when she placed me within the only western tradition that recognizes the use of amulets (saint medals, scapulars and rosaries), magical potions (holy water and anointing oils), incense and salt for keeping evil at bay.

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Being a Catholic witch has not been easy, however, which is why I have hid my truth for all these fifty-one years. While I was drawn to everything that speaks magic within the Catholic Church, in being a witch, I also saw through the lies, the deception, and the subtle ways in which the Church manipulated people through fear.  At a very early age, I became aware of the hypocrisy within the Church and was not afraid to call it out.  As an adult, I have maintained this practice and there is a big file in our local Catholic diocese with my name on it to prove it.  Apparently the Church is not interested in those who see through the mask of piety and the illusion of holiness.

It was ultimately this hypocrisy that caused me to leave the Church I once adored – all because I dared to study and practice Reiki. It is apparently ok for a priest to practice laying on of hands in support of a person’s desire for healing, but Goddess-forbid a lay person, OR WORSE, a woman should do the same.  By a Church that claims it is not doing magic in turning bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, or in healing the sick through the imposition of hands, it was of witchcraft and sorcery I was accused and then condemned for doing “the work of the devil.”  Me thinkest they protesteth too much!

Because I no longer feel welcome in the local Church which has effectively burned me at the stake, I have chosen for the past eight years to fast from the Eucharist. This does not mean, however, that I ever stopped being Catholic – more importantly, a Catholic witch.  I heal the sick through the imposition of hands.  I ordain women and men into their own giftedness (magic) and send them forth into the world where their magic can be shared.  I baptize people into the love that they are and confirm them into being that love in the world.  I hear people’s confessions – and absolve them of their “sin” by helping them to heal the deeper inner fears that cause their addictive and non-loving behaviors.  I sit with people in the pain of grief and prepare them for their death.  I preside over weddings and funerals.  I provide spiritual nourishment through the Eucharist that is within each and every one of us when we allow ourselves to BE the Body and Blood of Christ.

For living out my call in this way, you could call me priest, or priestess, but as it was in the most ancient traditions, and in response to the accusations against me, I prefer to be called a witch.

 

 lauriprofilecroppedLauri Ann Lumby has been called many things: mother, daughter, sister, friend, wife, lover, writer, author, poet, teacher, counselor, healer, priest, shit-disturber, heretic and witch. It is “witch” which is her favorite. Lauri lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with her two teenage children and is the owner of Authentic Freedom Academy where she helps her students and clients turn their world from fear into love.  Learn more about Lauri at www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.

 

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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, Being Human, church, God, Inspiration, Jesus, Lessons, Oneness with God, Raised Catholic

Claiming What is Truly Ours

“We are afraid of her. For centuries we have wanted nothing to do with her. Now she returns into our midst. She is substantively weighted down by a special knowledge. She is saturated with hidden forces. Her one key move is to claim what is truly hers without shame.” – Ellias Lonsdale from his book Star Speaks as quoted at www.thecosmicpath.com.

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 What is truly mine? What is truly mine?  What IS truly mine?

When I reflect on these questions, what comes to me is MAGIC. Magic has always been my inheritance.  The magic of my ancestors.  A dark, intuitive, mystical magic.  A magic that infuses one with the courage and endurance to stare down the darkness of the human condition.  To be present to pain, struggle, fear, failure, challenge, heartache, heartbreak, betrayal and abuse and live to tell about it.  The magic to not be destroyed by the darkness, but to find my way through it.  This is the victory – to not get swallowed up or destroyed by the darkness, but in the darkness to find myself.  And in finding myself, discovering the tools to help others find themselves. 

Life is death and life is pain, this I know all too well. But lying within the darkness is also the light, if we have the eyes to see.  As a germinating seed has to break through its shell and then push its way through the darkness of the earth to find the light.  So too is this our truth – OUR truth.  In order to become the fullness of our potential, we must find our way through the darkness. 

What led me into and through the darkness, ironically, are the same. What led me into and then led me through the darkness is my faith – specifically, the Catholic faith in which I was raised.  Here I met my “God.” Here I was courted by my “God.”  Here I fell in love with my “God.”  Here my “God” betrayed me.  In this I came to know what Jesus knew  – that I too am a uniquely gifted Daughter of “God,” called to be God’s love in the world.  But even more than this, I came to know what Jesus REALLY knew – in order to truly be the “Son of God,” he had to find a new god.  As he was hanging there, dying on the cross, Jesus found a new God and this God was not the God “out there” who had forsaken him, instead, it was the Divine Self within to whom Jesus surrendered his spirit.  The God he “knew” now became truly known.  At the end of our life, there is truly no one there, for all dwells within ourselves and here we have found our way home.

This is not nihilism, this is truth. And yet, we are also never alone.  For within and among us are all the Souls who have gone this way before us.  And with these Souls, and all the Souls yet to express themselves, we are one.  We are together and we are One.  And in our Wholeness, there is God.  The wholeness of who we all have been and all the potentials of who we are yet to become.  The Creative vision of the universe forever and always discovering, creating and recreating itself.  The seed becomes the sprout, becomes the plant, becomes the blossom, becomes the fruit, becomes the seed – the never ending cycle of creation – birth, life, death, the time in between and the cycle starts all over again.

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All of this I discovered through my Catholic faith, or rather, I discovered this in the Jesus that was hidden within my Catholic faith, hiding behind centuries of dogma, doctrine and man’s need to have power and control. This was a Jesus that LIVED – no longer worshipped as he hung broken and bleeding on the cross, thereby making suffering our “God.”  Instead, this was the Jesus who was fully human.  This was the Jesus who loved, who laughed, who knew desire, who sometimes became angry, afraid and despairing and who in this, tasted the fullness of the human experience.  This was the Jesus who was killed by selfish and greedy men who felt threatened by the truth he came to reveal – the truth of a Divine within where true authority dwells.  This was a Jesus who listened to his heart, who came to show people love and who experienced love himself.  And in this love, he also experienced heartbreak – the betrayal of friends, the loss of family and the ultimate heartbreak of all – having to be beaten, tortured and killed while the woman he loved stood watching.  This was the Jesus I came to know when “God” came calling.

This is the Jesus who shows us the way – if we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear – to see and hear beyond man’s need to twist Jesus’ message for their own political agenda, who turned Jesus’ message of love to one of divisiveness and fear. “We are the One true faith and all others are going to hell.”  This is not what Jesus came to teach.  Instead, Jesus only taught love and the consequences of choosing something other than love.  If he learned nothing else by his human experience, it was that we all have a choice.  Choose fear or choose love.  The way we feel within ourselves is then determined by this choice.  Do we allow the inherent suffering of the human condition to destroy us or do we seek out the love hiding in the midst of the darkness?  THIS was Jesus’ magic – the ability to see the love no matter where or how deeply it was hiding.  This, I must admit, is my magic too….even in the days when I am sure the darkness will destroy me, I somehow always find my way through.  This is what I came to learn.  This is what I come to teach.

This is what is truly mine, along with everything that helped me find my way here –

What is truly yours?

 

 

Posted in Raised Catholic

Is Lauri Lumby Still Catholic?

Google Analytics cracks me up. Apparently two different people found my website this morning by typing in the very same question, “Is Lauri Lumby Still Catholic?”  My daughter and I shared a laugh over this.  Really? Who are the two people that felt the need to seek Google for an answer to this question?  I also want to know, is there someone besides me who has an answer to this question?

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The answer to this question is of course, multi-layered.

According to official Catholic teaching, of course I am still Catholic. I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church, and according to the Church, once a Catholic, always a Catholic.  You can’t be un-Catholicized. (I believe there are exceptions to this rule, such as being accused of the sin of apostasy.  I have been accused of many things, but apostasy is not one – that I’m aware of anyway!)

My blood and my bones tell me I’m Catholic. As much as I have tried, I can’t get the imprint of Catholicism out of my soul.  There is a kind of sensibility that becomes part of your soul when raised Catholic – especially when you have loved the Church in the way that I have.  My life cycles follow the Church calendar.  My favorite architecture is gothic cathedrals.  Stained Glass Windows make my heart sing.  Incense feels like a hug.  And I am ritualistic by nature.  Step into my house and you might even feel like you are in a church….little altars everywhere.

More important than either of the above – Jesus is my teacher. But he is more than my teacher, he is my Beloved.  He is my Beloved in the way he was the Beloved of St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.  As a mystic who follows the Spiritual Exercises and Rules of Discernment of St. Ignatius of Loyola, I am Catholic in every sense of the word….except the two that the Institution of the Catholic Church probably counts as valid.

In my eyes I am still Catholic. In the eyes of the Institutional Church, perhaps not.  Of course I cannot speak for the Church, but I do know about a HUGE file with my name on it in the office of a Catholic Bishop who shall not be named, likely reporting every perceived way in which I have broken with Catholic teaching and committed heresy, as reported by the self-appointed local inquisition.  Included in these reports would be:

  • My continued work with Reiki.
  • My mention of the possibility of Jesus having been married.
  • My insistence that Mary Magdalene had a WAY bigger role in Jesus’ life and ministry and in the continuation of his work than we have been led to believe.
  • My call to the priesthood and the ways in which I have found to live out that call, in spite of the Church’s insistence otherwise.
  • My insistence that the Church be held accountable for its sins, especially the long history of discrimination and violence against women, and most especially, the long history of sexual abuse of children, and that it remove the plank from its own eye before pointing out the splinter in our eyes.
  • My prayer, hopes and dreams that the Church return to its original mission of being a force of love, peace, justice and harmony in the world and that it begin by becoming this to its own people. (Thank you Pope Francis for leading this charge!!!!!)
  • My continued decision to fast from the Eucharist. (Read about this decision HERE).

So, while I still consider myself Catholic, perhaps the Church does not. But since inquiring minds want to know…..here is why I have never jumped ship even when there are a million other ways I could be living out my belief in Jesus and there are a million other denominations who would probably be happy to be the recipients of my gifts:

BECAUSE GOD WOULDN’T LET ME!

And not because I haven’t tried.  Three separate times with three separate denominations, I have discerned ordained priesthood, because I was invited to by leaders of said denominations to do so.  Every single time, saying yes to the call of the priesthood ( a call I authentically have), meant denying my Catholicism and officially breaking from the Church so I could become an official member of said denomination.  Every single time, God barred the way.  No matter how hard I tried to NOT be Catholic, through my discernment, I realized I could not.  I could not forsake the faith of my bones.  So while the Catholic Church is not a place in which I can share the fullness of the gifts and the call God has given me, there is no other church to which I can belong.

So, yes, I’m still Catholic – at least in my own eyes and apparently in the eyes of God.

This is good enough for me.

 

 

Posted in Being Human, church, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Raised Catholic, Reiki, self-actualization

Righting a 2000 Year Old Wrong

Thank you in advance for indulging my rant!

As much as I am still fasting from the Eucharist (read here about the whys and hows of my exodus from the institutional Catholic Church), I still view Jesus as my teacher and in this, spend time every day with scripture. I go to the USCCB (United States Council of Catholic Bishops) website and read and meditate on the daily readings.  Every day!  Usually I find guidance, support, healing, inspiration, nurturing, nourishment and comfort in the scripture.  Not so much this week.  Instead, this week’s readings made me want to barf!

Peter. Peter. Peter. All I heard was about all the ways in which Peter delivered the message of Jesus’ resurrection and how he was THE ONE who started The Church.  Ok, from the perspective of a hierarchical, patriarchal, white, male privileged, misogynistic, fear-based, rooted in power and control institution, I guess this is true.  Peter did (or as some scholars would argue – Paul – or even Constantine) establish the institutional Church.  The Church that I can no longer bring myself to participate in because:

  1. I’m a woman who happens to be called to the “priesthood” (though certainly not in the clerical sense of the word!!!!!), and this path is closed to me.
  2. I’m divorced and refuse to pay a tribunal of single, white, men $750.00 to determine if my marriage was sacramental or not!
  3. I’m a mystic.
  4. I believe that all paths ultimately lead to God (by whatever name we give to SOURCE/LOVE/TRUTH).
  5. I believe all religions/spiritual paths contain kernels of the TRUTH and have practices and tools which help us to arrive at that TRUTH and that all are sacred and holy in their own right.
  6. I do not believe the Eucharist should be denied ANYONE who is sincere in their heart in their desire to connect with Christ in this way.
  7. I do not believe in original sin (not in the way the Church teaches it anyway).
  8. I believe we are all sons and daughters of God – regardless of our religion or beliefs!
  9. I practice Reiki (Which the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay has called “witchcraft and sorcery.”….don’t even get me started on this one. A) I can’t believe that in the 21st Century the Church still believes in witchcraft and sorcery….and B) how is Reiki witchcraft and sorcery and the “in hoc est corpus meum” that turns bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is not? Just sayin’!
  10. I’m an uppity lay person who believes the Church should be worrying less about women Reiki practitioner, mystic, yoga practicing meditators and more about cleaning up the mess they have made with the millions who have suffered abuse at the hands of the institution. And if they aren’t willing to clean up this mess – how about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, providing homes for the homeless?????? Really…..Lauri Ann Lumby (who apparently has a HUGE file with her name on it in a Diocesan office that will not be named – Hey, Diocese who shall not be named and those who have nothing else to do but police what Lauri Ann Lumby is saying and doing…here’s another piece for that big fat file! ) is SMALL POTATOES!

I digress! This week’s readings…..raving about Peter’s greatness made me want to barf!

WHAT ABOUT MARY?????????

Mary Magdalene by Dana Lumby
Mary Magdalene by Dana Lumby

What the hell happened to Mary Magdalene?

  • Jesus’ most devoted and faithful follower.
  • The ONLY one who was said to have completed her own self-actualization under Jesus’ guidance (“healed of seven demons” is a metaphor for having completed an initiatory process through which one attains self-realization).
  • ONE of few who remained by Jesus’ side through his trial, suffering, crucifixion and death (other than John, the men were not up for this…including Peter!).
  • THE ONE Jesus appeared to in the resurrection at the tomb… and…
  • THE ONE Jesus ordained to tell the others. (YES, I said ordained!)

What happened to Mary? The last we hear of her (in canonical scripture anyway) is when she went to tell the other disciples (who were hiding in the Upper Room) that Jesus was raised from the dead.  That’s it.  No more Mary!

 

Did she die or disappear into the mist? Or….did she simply get edited out?

 

Well, thanks to some boys (or shepherds) playing in some caves in the desert in Egypt, we know, at least for a time, what happened to Mary. And thanks to some linguists, translators and antiquities scholars, we now have Mary’s own words (at least in as much as the other gospels are the author’s own words) and a glimpse into what happened to Mary after the resurrection.  (See Jean Yves-LeLoup’s book, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene for the full text, translation and an absolutely beautiful and insightful commentary!!!!! Or, for a fictional account, read MY book, Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene. )

 

SHE TAUGHT THE OTHER DISCIPLES.

 

Because, Jesus taught her things the guys wouldn’t or couldn’t get. Jesus taught her in secret and he taught her after he had died and been raised from the dead.

 

SHE had eyes to see and ears to hear what the others could not….and

 

SHE TAUGHT THEM.

 

But as has always been the case in the Western world, the woman’s word could not be received and was therefore discounted and later, demonized.

 

BOO!

 

But not anymore. In a million ways through a million teachers, Mary Magdalene has resurfaced and has come to teach us….

 

HOW TO BE HUMAN.

 

Or rather, how to be FULLY human.

 

Not the half-humans we have been for the past 10,000 years – dominated by fear, power and control, wreaking havoc on our planet and on each other.

 

Mary teaches us what Jesus taught her:

 

HOW TO LOVE and HOW TO BE LOVE.

 

Listen to her!

If you are interested in learning more about Mary Magdalene and the fullness of her role in the Jesus story, check out my online courses.  Click on the corresponding icons to the right of this blog, or click on the links below:

Girl posing with red cloth. Concept, abstractionResurrecting-the-Magdalene-with-Magdalene-Activation-and-Ordination-by-Lauri-Ann-Lumby-Mystery-School-of-the-Goddess