Our mission is simply to live theeffect of God’s love in a non-religious and transforming way.
- Why non-religious? Because as beautiful as the symbols and rituals and dogma of any religion may be at the beginning of things, those systems that were meant to illuminate our journey often and eventually become substitution for the journey and need to be stripped away in order for us to see the path again.
- Why transforming? Because any faith that makes no discernible change in our lives, attitudes, choices, and relationships is indistinguishable from non-faith.
With whom do we live this effect?
We’re here to learn to live in relationship with our neighbor–qariba in Aramaic, which means anyone who draws close to us. The distinctions we make between people, putting them in categories such as friend, enemy, family, have no relevance in the face of love…there are only those who are in our path and those who are not. If they’re here, no matter what they look like, they are to be loved. But what does that mean? Fortunately, love in the Biblical sense doesn’t necessarily include any feelings of affection or sentimentality. How else could we love our enemies?
The love we are to show everyone near to us is a desire to become so identified with them as to, in a sense, become the ones we love. This identification includes the desire to give that which is truly needed at any given moment, of course. And not just an idle desire, but one strong enough to motivate us to action. We can’t control whom we like or dislike, but we can desire to treat everyone as we want to be treated. That may mean providing anything from food to comfort to discipline to a simple smile, but it always means acceptance and respect.
We see ourselves as followers of the Way, the name the first Jewish followers of Jesus gave to themselves–Christians in the purest sense of that word. We don’t follow Jewish tradition, but we do try to see Jesus and his teaching from a first century Jewish point of view. We believe that context will get us closest to the truth. The Way of Jesus, or Jesus as the Way, is the thing we can be sure of. Following the Way is the beginning of an intensely personal journey of the spirit, which no church can accomplish for us, but which we can all influence and encourage by holding each other’s hands along the Way.
And that is our vision. To encourage each and every person in our path to begin their own journey. To show them what someone on the journey looks like. To provide that which is most needed along the Way: encouragement, resources, instruction, mentoring, friendship, community…in other words, love. How we do that, in what form or structure, is what we’ll all figure out together–on the Way.