Several Things

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Yesterday, I attended the local Unitarian Universalist church with my boyfriend. We swap each Sunday; one Sunday, we attend Mass, and the next, we attend the UU church. So it goes.

The presentation yesterday at the UU church had to do largely with a specific minister who fought for civil rights. One interesting aspect of the minister is that he had originally been a highly devout Presbyterian, and then the speaker went on to explain that this minister eventually “outgrew the bounds and confines of the Protestantism which he had once found so meaningful.”

So, this brings me to an excellent point, something I take for granted: my return to Christianity is actually on those same terms. I have RETURNED to the faith in which I was raised already expanded well outside the well-meaning but often flawed notion of orthodoxy. I’ve been playing ego-games here, I suppose, in attempting to find which strain of Christianity actually represents most closely the mystical views I already hold.

My being an Anglo-Catholic mystic has largely been an exercise in finding a place that was traditional enough in ritual but liberal enough socially and perhaps theologically for me to be able to practice the mysteries. I would say that even closer theologically to the mysticism I espouse is Eastern Orthodoxy.

But the trouble is that I’ve been attempting to put myself inside a box in which I frankly don’t fit. Yes, I did return to the Church via the modern Gnostics and the modern Gnosticism, largely the Ecclesia Gnostica and the Apostolic Johannite Church. Their online presence has given the tools necessary to enter into the stream of Christianity and relate to Christ on that level.

One guy I used to know said something to this effect: “I like Christianity for its mystical aspects. Other than that, it can go to hell.”

And now, I find myself largely agreeing.

Christianity is one of those strange beasts in which a lot of good is mixed with a lot of bad, or worse, a lot of outright bullshit. Constantly, we’re faced with a group of people who confuse their political positions of power as having genuine theological backings. We’re faced with people who rely on ancient hypotheses that not only have been proven incorrect but can be invalidated by commonsense and simply observation, yet they cling tenaciously to the falsehoods and perversions that earlier Christians gained from their cultural surroundings. 

But we can also not throw out the baby with the baptismal water. The issue is that, for instance, the New Atheists will look at all the bullshit and decry the ENTIRE religion to be bullshit. At worst, this is characterized as people simply making up all the religious aspects to actually cloak their political agendas.

This denies the fact that many of the people involved in a religion take the religion sincerely. Given, you always have the nutters who take it way too seriously and lose sight of the goal and are ready to burn people at the stake.

The Church has a huge issue in that it seems to pick and choose what is Eternally Bound Truth. At certain times, it emphasizes this or that, proclaiming is the Truth-Once-Given-for-All, and then, later on, perhaps that’s suddenly not so important. 

Our current example of this is with same-sex marriage. Homosexuality is not a central issue in Christianity or the history of theology. Homosexuality is not something that makes or breaks one’s Christianity or Catholicity or mysticism. It’s just not central to establishing what’s considered orthodox or unorthodox, yet the Church has politicized the entire issue as the standard of whom is and isn’t a “Real, True Christian.”

Homosexuality is considered a sin. Well, last time I checked, technically, pirating music is also considered stealing, and stealing is a sin; I have YET to see the Church make a huge political agenda and pour millions of dollars into convincing people that teenagers pirating online music are destroying the natural order of God’s Creation and are in danger of going to Hell. 

The same thing is true of things like Gluttony. Why hasn’t the Church attacked McDonald’s and the fast food chains? Places such as McDonald’s practically enable people to commit gluttony because of how cheap the food is (Dollar Menu, anyone?). 

Though, I will say THIS for the Church: the Catholics (Anglicans, Orthodox, Romans, you know the drill) may say that homosexuality is sinful, but I don’t recall any recent statements by them that gay people are going to burn in Hell forever. I do know that the Evangelicals are more forthright with that kind of statement, so I’ll give the older traditions that much.

Anyway, I’ve gotten off track here.

The point is, what does a person do when they come to Christianity with views that are already too big for the Mainstream Church and when there are no esoteric Churches around and about? Defaulting to the Episcopal Church still took me five years or so, and now, I walk around all huffy and puffy because it seems like we can’t get our shit together and do the liturgy correctly. 

So much for my ranting.

Coming soon: a blog about Gnostic priest Tony Silvia’s new book, 

Sanctuary of the Sacred Flame: A Guide to Johannite Spiritual Practice. 

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Modern Gnostic Practices with Gnostic NYC

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A video from a group of Gnostics of different sects who discuss various mystical practices. They’re actually considering doing a weekly video, so I’m quite excited!

In Christ,

Beaux

Mundaneness and the Spiritual Life: The Great Intersection and Potentially Most Difficult Part

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In ancient times, the spiritual people were of a different caste, a different breed, set apart, and often left the life that would be considered normal.

Some spiritual paths still allow for this, and many have the option of staying in the world as well.

The mystics I know by and large live in this world, the so-called “mundane” world, and thus we are meant to put up with the stresses and hassles of everyday life, from human relationships to scrubbing the toilet to traffic jams.

This path, by the way, is much more difficult, because one must juggle the attachments one has, one must be living in both the real world and the ideal world- a foot in each world, drowning in the ocean of love, and who is nearer the other shore, and at that, which shore? So goes the Sufi sayings.

Dealing with people who have little to no spirituality can seem difficult. People who have a low view of reality, people who don’t have even a rudimentary spiritual understanding or a lick of self-awareness or who are full of ignorance, can grate on one’s nerves.

This is the opportunity, then, for those of us who are awake or more awake or self-aware to become even more self-aware. What I mean to convey is that we must engage actively with people about things that we may otherwise have no interest in, things that are commonplace and unimportant, for the sake of being able to relate to those people, for the sake of being able to show compassion and understanding for them.

After all, few of us are born into enlightenment or the unitive state or whatever you may want to call it. Most of us struggle and fight our way to enlightenment, and frankly, some people, even if they’re aware such a thing exists, aren’t interested in it, period. But most us mystics have some degree of development beyond a “typical” person, even if we’re not completely to the goal. Thus, we must understand that we were not always where we are, and as appalling as it may be to see others who are asleep, they, too, have the potential to come out of their sleeping state onto the path towards enlightenment.

The balance between the mundane world and the spiritual world can be straining, and is in fact straining, but it is meant to be so, for under said strain is where we surrender our ego to the Divine. We, alone, cannot bridge the gap between Heaven and Earth. Perhaps this is one of the meanings of Christ coming as a Redeemer of mankind- that it is ultimately the Divine, not Man, that intervenes and closes the separation between the two forever. In Christ, the God-Man forever unites the Divine and Human natures.

The opposite problem can also arise. There is a potential hazard of the mystic “spiritualizing” things that aren’t, in fact, spiritual. Without falling into an absolutist position on things, it is safe to say, with reliance on reasoning and common sense, that one’s Higher Self and even God alike do not care if you eat pepperoni pizza or sausage pizza; this does not make any difference. That is not what the spiritual life is about.

In closing, I would like to extend my commendation for those who stay faithful through trying times in the mundane world and encourage them to embrace it. We cannot help that some people have not awakened as much as we have, but we can help our own awakening by progressing forward and showing compassion for those who have not yet arrived where we are, as many of us have not yet arrived to our ultimate destiny.

Beaux