Thursday, March 26, 2015

When the fruit is ripe


“When the fruit is ripe, it falls.”
 Ralph Waldo Emerson
For more than five years I have devoted energy and time to serving Mary Magdalene, First Apostle, a Catholic womanpriest community—writing for it, writing about it, talking about it, promoting it.

It has been fulfilling and satisfying. I think women priests are the most effective challenge to the Vatican as it continues its unjust treatment of women. I will continue to promote MMFA and Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP). They have enriched my life and I expect this to continue.
MMFA has been a way for me to find out about myself. It has been a good chapter in my life, one that helped to shape me into the person I am.

But when the fruit is ripe, it falls. The time became right for me to leave the community as an active member. While the decision was forming in me, I expected sadness to cloud my days afterward. Instead, relief and excitement bubbled up even before I left the meeting that clinched it. In the days following the decision, exhilaration and joy surprised me. My inner being knew it was right for me before my outer being knew it.

I hope some of my contributions—blogposts, opinion pieces, Intercessions for liturgies, the website, and more—continue to serve MMFA. I invite readers to my biggest project for MMFA: Mary Magdalen, First Apostle.

I marvel at the good feelings unexpectedly bubbling up, showing the finger of my Spiritual Guide in coming to this decision. Amazing! I don’t know where this will lead me but know my Higher Self always is ready to guide me.

In retrospect I see how my Inner Beloved was preparing the ground for this development. Every morning and several times during the day I send requests to Her for guidance:
Direct my thoughts, words, actions, decisions, and feelings.
Recently I focused on releasing attachment to specific results, letting Her be free to guide me in ways I cannot foresee. And so She surprises me with this. I trust more surprises await, not necessarily all pleasant, but all ready to shape me into a better person.

I cannot imagine having never interacted with the inspiriting and holy people I met through MMFA and RCWP. I cherish them, and on a lighter note, I cherish the cat stories some of us cat-lovers shared when we got together to plan liturgy.

I’m leaving because my purpose in life at this time—to encourage spirituality free of religion—does not match that of MMFA. As an educator I like to nudge people out of familiar grooves of thought toward new and broader frames of thought. Toward deeper meaning. Misinterpretation of Christ's divinity has turned a man into a god. The divinity of Christ stands for each human person being an incarnation of divinity. I cannot advocate worshiping a man as God.

Thank you to those who have reached out after learning that I am leaving, and thank you to those who encourage me to continue writing. I perceive growing hunger for moving beyond traditional Christian teachings. Cradle Christians express gratitude for the challenging information I offer in God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky: Cherishing Christianity without Its Exclusive Claims. I assure you I will continue writing. Another book is beginning to take shape.


April 3, 2015   Broaden Your Horizon

A reader thanked me for this prayer to my Inner Self (see previous post):
Direct my thoughts, words, actions, decisions, and feelings.
I cannot take credit for it. This prayer and other words of wisdom that guide my days come from Unity School of Christianity. In 1980 I was introduced to Unity and Al-Anon on the same evening. They broaden the religious horizon of Western Christianity to include spirituality not connected with a creed. This gives their words more authority in my eyes.

Having rejected belief in the Christian creed, I was trying to deny spiritual reality when I met Unity, Twelve-Step, and Carl Jung. Together they helped me to bridge the religion I was trained in with other religious traditions and with secular spirituality taking hold today.
Non-religious awareness of the Inner Realm seems to be guiding those who do not attend church but believe in spiritual reality. Surveys show their number growing.
The share of Americans who claim no particular religion doubled from 7% to 14% in the 1990s, . . . 

A decade later, the Pew Research Center found that one-in-five U.S. adults (and fully a third of those ages 18-30) have no religious affiliation.
Most interesting is that the unaffiliated, also called “nones,” believe in what we call “God.” They describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” In his book, God Is Alive and Well, Gallup poll editor Frank Newport shows that belief in spiritual reality can exist without accepting religion’s decrees.
Or conventional interpretation of religious doctrines.

When we have the courage to let go of the familiar, we can find deeper meaning. The divinity of Christ stands for each of us being an incarnation of divinity. Paul’s interpretation of the Cross of Christ—that Jesus saved us from going to hell—today is superseded by the realization that each of us lives the cross of Christ. And each of us experiences resurrection. We die and rise in great or small ways as we advance in maturity. Recognizing this invests our lives with purpose and peace.

A dear neighbor of mine is moving away from the neighborhood to the metro area. She’s grieving; moving from her home of 35 years is a little death.  I’ll miss her, but I could console her with this understanding of the Christian story. Her eyes lit up when she saw herself dying and rising. She is living her Holy Week, and she knows her resurrection is on the way.

My Easter came two weeks before Good Friday, and my Good Friday during the months earlier.
I hoped that Mary Magdalene, First Apostle, would lead the way beyond the Christian box toward a broadened horizon. If they saw that denying ordination and decision-making to women was wrong, I reasoned, they would be ready to accept deeper meaning in other teachings. I was wrong. Their outrage when I expressed my belief that Jesus’ divinity is not unique sent me out of MMFA. I see that the belief, “Jesus is God” resides at a much deeper level of the psyche than awareness of gender injustice.

I continue to identify as a Catholic—I’m not a “none”—but I interpret Christian terms symbolically, not literally. I critique Christianity for mistaking myth for history and mistaking symbol for fact.
   Now I will observe Good Friday by listening to Bach's St. Matthew Passion.

COMMENT:
Anonymous said,
          You are not alone in your belief. Unity is also the way for me. There are too few Unity churches.

1 comment:

Sweaver said...

I love how you are listening to yourself and continuing to grow. -Sue