Ranting

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Technically, it isn’t THAT late at night, but that’s beside the point.

Thoughts cross my mind concerning orthodoxy and heresy. Thoughts cross my mind on the place of the Bible in things.

The problem that happens with Catholic Christendom is that the notion that consensus makes reality. Well, no, it doesn’t…several people can vote on something and be entirely incorrect on it. The notion that Protestants just individually make up whatever they want to believe about the Bible is a gross misrepresentation of the notion of individual conscience on matters.

The biggest issue in my mind right now is that it’s difficult to come across a tradition of Christianity that is liturgical AND progressive. Some would cry, “The Episcopal Church!” (of which I am an official member), but so often, I’ve noticed the Church falls short of its actual banter about being so liturgiacally high.

I’ve been to several different Episcopal Churches in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, and I can tell you that none of them do the liturgy 100% “correctly,” if I may put it that way. Each parish, in some way, botches the liturgy or leaves out something that I see as integral to the process.

Some people seem to think that my concern over bad liturgy or liturgical deficiencies is outmoded and that we should just get on with the important things. The issue I take is that the liturgy represents something very powerful and important: our own relationship to God, and our own ego’s relationship to our higher selves.

THIS is why so many of us are so gung-ho about the ritual being carried out properly; the ritual is a statement about how we relate to our Higher Self. So, when the liturgy is carried about sloppily, it’s as though we don’t really take our Higher Self seriously; it’s a slap in the face to the Indwelling Christ.

No, I don’t think the Mass should have a single, uniform expression from which it never deviates. That is not the point. Even the Star Trek Mass of the Book of Common Prayer (Eucharistic Prayer C) can be effective if it’s done with due reverence, intention, and the correct liturgical gestures.

(As a matter of interest, my favorite Eucharistic Prayer is D. However, I have yet to hear a priest say Mass with it.)

But there are certain gestures, certain ritual actions that should not be left out. The Host should always be elevated; the Chalice should always be elevated; the Host and Chalice should always be elevated in the Lesser Elevation at the end.

Anyway, I shall address one more issue, and then be done here.

I take issue with the notion of Christian Unity. I’ve seen some who would say that we should not divide ourselves, that we should not call ourselves Baptist or Catholic or whatever but only refer to ourselves as merely “Christian.” 

This is an action taken out of ignorance, I think, as it attempts to deny the differences in theology and emphases given in various traditions. On one level, sure, I can understand the reasoning being this. On the other hand, it attempts to ignore why denominations rise in the first place- because someone, somewhere, disagrees strongly enough with the way things are being done that they see fit to attempt to change it and persuade other people to go along with them.

In my own pursuit of Nirvana, I think I’ve swallowed way too much Christian dogmatic bullshit, attempting to fit into the mainstream or orthodox churches in a way that no person actually does without a good dose of cognitive dissonance. My approach and emphasis in life is that of a hardcore mystic; I am not interested in squabbling about hypothetical conceptions of reality but want real practice that will cause real change in my life. 

I think it’s also funny that so many people will accuse others of making God in their own image when they themselves have done the same thing; it’s strange that the older churches seem to think their faith handed down is the “once and for all” faith, never stopping to question that they, too, may be serving a particular image of Christ that they’ve formed of their own hands.

Just because more people were involved in the shaping of the fault doesn’t mean that it’s more true; it only means it’s more complex because more people contributed to it!

Here Endeth the Rant

Stevo 

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Open Communion, Rant 1

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So, now here’s talk in the Episcopal Church about opening up the receiving of the Holy Eucharist to anyone, whether they’ve received Holy Baptism or not. Once

So, now here’s talk in the Episcopal Church about opening up the receiving of the Holy Eucharist to anyone, whether they’ve received Holy Baptism or not.

 

Once again, people are up in arms, and anytime the Church does something to widen her arms, people begin screaming about how she’s been taken over by secular leftists and so on. It’s a pathetic and un-Christian attitude, let’s face it.

 

I have some of the snidest, unloving attitudes thrown at the Episcopal Church, both by her members and by members of other denominations. Somehow, people seem to have forgotten that one’s faith must also spring from love in order for it to be salvific.

 

But I won’t go down that road just now.

 

Now, this blog is obviously not an Easter blog going on about the significance of the Resurrection and all that jazz; a Red State Mystic and any number of other bloggers instead can take that role, as they’re typically more informed on the traditions than I am. You can go see for yourself, in fact, as I’m sure any number of good Episcopalians are furiously typing away at their MacBooks the virtues of this High Holy Day.

 

Now, of course, I should also point out that the folks who were getting their panties in a wad about Open Communion were Online Christians. Online Christians really do number in such a way that 90% of them are fanatical idiots and 10% of them are actually decent. There’s 1% of the decent people that are actually ultra-awesome, including my friends Andy, Justin, Richard, Carlo, and probably some more I can’t think of right now. (I’m focusing on the more orthodox-minded people.)

 

Anyway, the real manner of discussing Open Communion should deal with supplying the theological reasons for and against instead of claiming the that the Church has just been hijacked by secular leftists.

 

And if we’re going to play the game of cultural leanings and the Church, I would say that if you look at the past 2000 years of Holy Mother Church’s history, it’s been largely Her being bent over backwards, tied to a sawhorse, and gang-raped in every possible orifice by a bunch of secular “rightists” while then having an abortion forcibly performed on Her anytime She’s about to produce something good out of their stodgy old evil.

You can take that to the bank and cash it.

My take on it is that Christianity’s initiatory process used to be an intimate, private thing done upon pain of death from the then-government. The catechism was underground and dangerous; it had the vestiges of Mystery Religions, and had to be treated as such.

 

Now, theology is at our fingertips. Anyone can go online, do research, watch Youtube videos, and see that it’s possible for any person to develop their own complex theology; theological matters are not strictly in the hands of the Church.

 

That doesn’t mean that people do a good job of it, but oh, well. It’s not like the Church always does, either.

 

Anyway, part of my own perspective is that, Christ offered Himself for everyone. God loves everyone. God loves us all. Don’t you think there would be more Roman Catholics and Easter Orthodox if they had an Open Communion? I mean when you put the burden on people by saying, “If you don’t agree with us, we’re not giving you salvation,” it kind of makes you out to look like, I don’t know, an asshole.

 

On the other hand, I can understand that having a proficient understanding of the Faith should be necessary to receive Communion- no one seems to understand just how incredibly Holy and Powerful it ACTUALLY is.

 

But that brings me back to how I feel about most people as it is; most people in any religion are ridiculously ignorant of their own tradition. Any given religion almost universally has a horrible Public Relations department where the story of the religion is not quite what happened in a historical way. Sometimes, this is far more than a “not quite,” but we won’t go there.

 

I’ve watched enough priests in Youtube videos and on TV to know that a good number of them have no clue what they’re doing or no idea of the depth of the Mystery of the Holy Eucharist. I’m not saying they’re deliberately shamming people, though I’m sure many of them are; I’m saying they just don’t get it, and I’m thankful that the Sacraments work ex opere operato.

Okay, I’ve rambled enough here. Christos Anesti!

 

Beaux

I never know what to title these entries anymore.

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I have now received Christ in the Holy Eucharist six times at the same parish. This, perhaps, may not be anything remarkable to anyone else; however, to me, it is something that I’ve wanted to do for years and am now actually doing.

 

Whether joining the Episcopal Church is a matter of trying to create an identity and whether or not the identity I am gaining in Christ is real is all up for debate, I suppose; one thing can be said, I do feel more complete than I have in quite some time, and that, in and of itself, seems to be a step in the right direction.

 

Another interesting thing is to hear an interview with Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee talking about how the mystical truths in early Christianity largely were suppressed, thus being taken over by the Muslim world- hence, Sufism.

 

At the same time, reading Paths to the Heart, a book exploring the relationship between Eastern Orthodox Christianity’s mysticism and Sufism heavily supports Llewellyn’s position on this matter. So, then, it is no wonder that I was tossed between the opposites of Catholic ritual and Sufi mysticism; they belong together and are not at war. The sense of Longing for God, of Loving God, of finding God both transcendent and immanent, is all together united.

 

At any rate, Christ has given me a new confidence in Him that I need, and it’s so strange to look back through my life to see those moments of Black Fire blazing, only to realize that Christ IS the Black Fire; my awareness of the Black Fire, then, was my becoming more mature in Christ by accepting who I am in Him and not who I am in the blasphemous idol that was created by the local churches of Christ.

 

To accept myself is to accept Christ’s work in me; it is to accept that God has a special place for me and a special plan for me in this world, and that I must live out what God has intended for me or suffer in a way that only exists for those who are inauthentic to themselves.

 

I will never stop being a mystic; in fact, mysticism is the heart of Christianity, is Christianity, and the real issue is that this basic reality has been forgotten.

 

The things I would not do for myself, I can do for Christ; I may never completely fall in love with the Lord as my Lover, except by His own grace, but we’re certainly like good friends now.

 

I realized something the other day, too; trying to categorize each religion by chakra is a silly thing to do, especially when we get to Christianity; Christianity uses ALL the chakras, though it’s true that the focus on the chakra system is almost non-existent. Most especially the heart and stomach chakras are used, as well as the throat chakra (what with the emphasis on singing, chanting, and praying.)

This sense of completion I have is, of course, a smaller completion compared to the larger completion that must take place in life. Perhaps the reality is that we are always the smaller mystery and Christ the larger mystery, and we can never fully enter into Him as we should.

 

But what I really mean to say is that, no matter how complete I am at this moment, there is still something greater to be completed, something greater to be done.

 

Yet the gratitude that’s pouring forth from me now is amazing; it’s happening mostly from an unconscious level, so I’m barely aware that anything’s going on, but it is, it IS going on!

 

Whether or not I should write about this in particular, I’m not sure, but recently, I acquired St. Augustine’s Prayerbook. In the prayerbook is a Novena to the Holy Spirit- and I plan to undertake the Novena just prior to Confirmation. This seems like an appropriate devotion to do before receiving the Holy Spirit.

 

Methinks what’s happening now is that the actual grace of the Holy Eucharist is reactivating the sanctifying grace of Holy Baptism that I received when I was younger- and perhaps my own religious devotions come largely because I DID receive Baptism and was sensitive enough to it, devoted enough to God, that God worked through all the heresy and blasphemy of the church and school I attended.

I pray that God would deliver us all into unity with Him.

 

Amen, and Amen.

 

Beaux

 

The Bridge

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Somehow, I understand even more the predicament in which Christ found Himself. Allow me to explain:

 

Point-blank, I’m too orthodox for the Gnostics. I’m too Gnostic for the orthodox. I’m too Catholic for the Protestants, and I’m too Protestant for the Catholics.

Invariably, I seem to fall somewhere between extremes in terms of my views. I can never take sides because my side is where I am, and that’s nowhere, or somewhere between two places that is said not to exist.

 

That being said, I can see the Anglican response: “Via Media!”

Yes, but, and here comes the sharpest thing I’ve had to say about Anglicanism in quite sometimes, calling Anglicanism a “via media” between Protestantism and Catholicism doesn’t depict what it looks (or feels) like in practice. Anglicanism, by and large, has left the flavor in my mouth of being a Catholic-coated Protestant treat. If they had been wiser back in the day and hadn’t gone all crazy with accepting thing from Luther and Calvin, then maybe “via media” would be true of it- Popeless Catholics, incorporating the theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and so on. But that’s simply not how it played it out or plays out from what I can tell. The Anglo-Catholics do a good job of this for the most part; they can out-Catholic Romans almost any day. But I still question what an “ordinary” Episcopalian would say about Eucharist adoration, veneration of the Blessed Virgin, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, praying the rosary, and how to identify with the word “Protestant.”

Anyway, tonight I watched a small part of a Latin Mass. The app on the iPad wasn’t working well, and it never does, but I did get to see about the first third of the Mass. The Latin Mass had a kind of simplicity to it, oddly enough- it was elegant, it was thoughtful, it was quiet, and the mystical dimension of it was visible- plainly visible. Even the quiet intoning of the Latin by the priest was enough to lead me to a deeper place within myself.

Once I arrived home, I came to the realization of why I don’t fit into this or that camp: it’s because I’m the bridge, the living bridge between different worlds. A mediator, as it were- the glue that’s holding it together.

Now I know how Jesus Christ felt. He had to hold together two worlds, the Divine and the Creation- He indeed is the bridge between the two worlds, and by His Holy Incarnation and Death and Resurrection, He forever closed the wounds in Reality. Nay, not only closed, but healed and restored them.

There is much work to be done. Pray for me, brethren.

And maybe I’m wrong about the Anglicans. I have at least one friend who knows what I mean when I speak about them. Maybe the idea that I, too, question the validity of the Holy Orders and so on attests to my unconscious already surrendering to the Roman Catholic Church as THE Church. The Anglo-Catholics, too, stand in contradistinction to the typical Protestant imagery, and saying “Anglo-Catholic Protestant” seems totally meaningless.

 

God be with us. Our help is in the Name of the Lord.

I’m probably again over-thinking things.

Beaux

The Trip to the Church

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The doors of the Church are supposed to always be open. Apparently, this is not what many churches this day and age do, but I don’t blame them- valuables inside the church could be stolen, people could desecrate it, and so on.

The Episcopal Church’s doors, at least in this area, are always open, in a strange sort of way. That speaks volumes to me. Of course, most people probably think that the doors are locked or have no idea what an Episcopal Church is.

Anyway, I go to to the local Episcopal Church a lot to pray. I’ve never been to Mass there, not in all the years I’ve gone in to pray. Sometimes, I just sit with God. Sometimes, I do a bit of exploring. The acoustics in the church are absolutely amazing- just barely talking creates an almost thunderous roar. I can’t imagine how powerful the Mass is with all the voices chanting together.

I opened the Book of Common Prayer. Now, as an esotericist and in reading The Science of the Sacraments, I could find a lot to criticize about the Book of Common Prayer, but of course, this is all in the matter of the measuring of spaghetti- my phrase for extreme head knowledge that keeps us shut out of experience and can lead us down a garden path of destruction.

Reciting the Creed, as I said before, is much different when one is in the church, standing there, and kneeling at the mention of the Incarnation and such- the experience of this is much different than simply imagining it. While imagination can help prepare us for some things, something about the power of mysticism defies this.

The recitation of the Creed in the church wasn’t to proclaim that I necessarily believe what the Creed says- but it was to take the action of saying it to see what the deeper meaning is, to feel what it feels like to say such a Creed, and to know the underlying power.

As I was trying to find the Creed in the Book of Common Prayer, I came upon several other prayers, and they were beautiful, absolutely beautiful, even majestic. I could scarcely believe it as I read many of the prayers and prayed them aloud to God- something about the Book of Common Prayer began to captivate me, began to be realized. Here was Tradition- and here was an honoring of the Holy Catholic Church, which is mentioned many times in the book, asking for God to guide her.

The gem of the trip, though, was when I went into the sanctuary. For those of you who are unaware of the Catholic tradition, the part of the church in which people sit is called the nave, and the sanctuary is only where the altar is. Naturally, here I was around at the altar and wanted to be extremely respectful and reverent to it, as this is where Mass is said- and I looked at the Tabernacle, where the candle burned, and even though the Tabernacle is plain, wooden, and in the wall, it still has a lock on it that keeps any random person from coming and taking the Lord out of it. I walked closer to it and felt a definite sensation in my third-eye- a kind of presence or energy was indicated there, and I knew Our Lord was there.

The gem: I walked to one of the seats near the altar and found a beat-up old copy of St. Augustine’s Prayer Book- an extremely beautiful Anglo-Catholic book of devotional prayers. I sat and read through it, noting all the popular devotions (to the Sacred Heart, for instance) that I myself maintain. What a magnificent and strange synchronicity!

One day, I’ll wake up early enough to go to Mass, and I’ll be glad for it.

Beaux


Update: A Red State Mystic Joins WordPress

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Click Here to Visit Andy’s Blog!

Well, GREAT news, everyone! Andy over at the Red State Mystic has joined the ranks of WordPress, praise be to God! I’ve nothing against Livejournal, but I am glad to find another fellow blogger here at WordPress.com.

My discovery happened when I began searching my RSS feeds in my inbox for Andy’s blogs. I went to his actual journal and discovered that he had already made the move to WordPress, to my surprise and delight.

For anyone and everyone interested in Christian mysticism or mysticism in general, I encourage you, whole-heartedly, to visit Andy’s blog to give it a read. He writes high quality, interesting posts that anyone studying or practicing Christianity should take into consideration!

Beaux


Video on Episcopalians

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A video on comparative religion explaining a bit about the Episcopal Church and Anglicanism.