Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Church and Your Spiritual Journey


A "franciscan," to me, is a person who loves and admires, and follows, each in her own limited, often small, ways, the great mystic of Assissi.

(Btw, the name of this Italian town is not pronounced like "a sissy," as most mangle it; it is pronounced "ah-seize'-ee.") I do greatly love and respect all life, and must admit to a preference for the humbler, more helpless forms, such as the bunny that you mention. Sorry that poor little Brother Rabbit did not remain on earth, but I believe that he has his own "heaven," or afterlife. [Rabbit brains are quite complex; they are definitely "sentient" (selfaware) beings.]

Re your cat, he also deserves life, comfort, and respect as a living being. But he is trying hard to remind you that he is not made for indoor life. No creature is, with the exception of perhaps some human beings. All creatures demand the freedom to live outside under the blue sky, or the stars at night. It is possible for you to love and provide for him, while at the same time, giving him the freedom that he is demanding. He is deliberately refusing to live by your "indoor" rules, hoping that you will get his message.:)

Re the church: In the ancient Scriptures, the word "church" was ekklesia. It did not mean a "building," but a small group (often ten or fewer) who gathered on a regular basis to discuss and share the Love of (the) God(dess). Jesus did not even care enough to instruct his followers about how to build a "church-building." In fact, it is my belief that it was his plan for his disciples to meet together in homes (or yards, or garages, basements, etc.). This is what all the earliest Christians did. And they did it successfully during the most rapid growth of the church; they did this for nearly four centuries.

It was, historically, only after the so-called Great Corruption (starting c. 313) that the first "Church-building" was constructed. By this time, the church was no longer a family of Love, but an impersonal and cold "institution." It had ballooned out of control, into a monster of a political and economic "kingdom" of its own.

Why did Jesus not instruct his followers about church-buildings? Because he knew what you are beginning to discover: A Church-building means the acquisition of real estate, and that means the collection of money-- often, "big bucks"! And that attracts, often creates, corruption, greed, and dishonesty. As long as Jesus' followers met, like him and his disciples, on mountains, in fields, in the market, or in private homes, there was no possibility (no motive) for corruption; they all lived purely, sincerely, as a family of Love.

Modern "superchurches" do not please God, for God is Love. Larger churches are egobased attempts to impress the community, and have nothing to do with worship. Even more "liberal" churches, with all their goodness and honesty, have fallen for the lie that "bigger is better," the very foundation of destructive materialism. This is why we meet together here in our garage; we have no plans ever to build any kind of church-building, because that is far from the actual instructions of Jesus Christ.

Adamaria tells me that the real estate market is a current nightmare of petrification and inaction. This can be a good time for buyers, but is a miserable cycle for sellers. I have spoken with members of organized churches, about my feelings, about even their becoming a completely "independent" church. But, right now, I'm afraid everyone is in the "headlock" of organizationalism. This was the beginning of the end for the organized, orthodox Church (Catholic) of the first two centuries.
But neither Catholics nor Protestants learned from this abysmal and sad invitation to corruption. And today, even very liberal people-- for whom I have the greatest Love and respect-- do not, perhaps can not, hear this message.

So, I have been forced to do what the Lord/Lady of Love has commanded, and started an informal (very relaxed) "church" here. We do not even call ourselves a "church," as that term is often misunderstood to mean organized, or orthodox, religion. And we are anything but orthodox!:) and we do not want to become "organized," as that tends to "organize out" all the spontaneity and naturalness from our relationship with Infinity.

So, we hold together no formal dogma, we recognize no human leader, and we are not a "church." But we are what a "church" should be-- a family of Love, an extended spiritual family.

You are, of course, invited to join us at any time. Life never stands still, which means that it demands change, always change. The only factor in life that does not change is change itself!:) we are planning to gather at a park, about five minutes from here, on May 11. We are going to meet here first, at eleven am, and go together to the park.

Your coming here, and bringing along some of our dear friends from your area, would be a dream come true for us! I am thinking especially of a few others.:):) What a great delight, and deep pleasure, that would be!:) But you are under no obligation, dear sister. You must follow, with integrity, your own personal and interior Light, no matter what anyone else says, or does! For to have this kind of interior guidance is a brilliant and beautiful blessing. The Buddha said, "Be a lamp unto yourself," and this is also what Jesus wanted. If there is ever any way in which I can be of assistance in the discovery of your most important interior journey, just say the word! I am here for you, dear friend.

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