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Dave Brisbin 8.18.19
It’s no secret that religious vocations and church attendance and membership continue to decline in the US and West in general. But even so, as religious affiliation and participation declines, more and more people, especially young people are describing themselves as spiritual and finding ways to express that spirituality. And the direction of the shift is nearly always in the same direction—toward a contemplative, even mystical spirituality. Considering three stories: a Carmelite order of nuns formally shifting back to ancient rites and rituals, a young Southern Baptist man who converted and became ordained into the priesthood of the Eastern Orthodox church, and a young Pentecostal man who moved to the Unitarian church and then on to discover the contemplative Christian tradition all tell this same tale of a need for a deeper, more rooted spirituality. It’s as if we in the modern West are feeling a collective need, the presence of a missing piece of ourselves, much like the phantom limb phenomenon in which amputees still feel their missing limbs.

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We know we’re missing an essential piece and are looking to find it in more rooted and ancient forms that anchor us to something much larger than ourselves. When we look again at Jesus from a Hebrew point of view, from the Beatitudes to his time in the wilderness, we see the same longing in Jesus to find the missing piece he found in his Father. If we desire, we can let our phantom limbs guide us back to the spirituality Jesus first practiced and taught and find what he found along the way.

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Everyone is recovering from something… Admitting this is the first step in spiritual life, because any unfinished business in our lives–trauma, unforgiveness, fear-based perceptions–fosters compulsive behavior and keeps us from connecting spiritually and emotionally.

Since we’re all recovering, we accept everyone right as they are—no expiration dates or deadlines. We don’t tell anyone what to believe or do. We present points of view that we hope will engage seekers in their own journey; help them unlearn limiting perceptions, beliefs, and compulsions; give opportunities to get involved in community, building the trust we all need to find real identity, meaning, and purpose. In other words, to engage the transforming Way of living life that Jesus called Kingdom…non-religiously understood from a first century Hebrew point of view.

 

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Embedded in the fun and laughter of each of our gatherings and events is the connection and accountability as well as the structure, discipline, and opportunity for service that authentic community is all about. We help create programs for physical support, emotional recovery, and spiritual formation that can meet any person’s needs. Such programs work at two levels: first to address a person’s physical and emotional stability—clinical, financial, relational,professional—anything that distracts from working on the second level: true spiritual formation centered around the contemplative way of life defined by an original Hebrew understanding of the message of Jesus.

Rather than telling people what to believe or think, we model and encourage engagement in a personal and communal spiritual journey that allows people to experience their own worthiness of connection and acceptance, to find the freedom from underlying fears that brings real meaning and purpose into focus.

 

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Seeing ourselves as a learning and recovery community that worships together, the focus isn’t on Sunday morning alone, but on every day of the week as we gather for worship, healing and support workshops, studies, 12 step meetings, counseling and mentoring sessions, referral services, and social events. We maintain a food pantry for those needing more support, a recovery worship gathering, and child care for those with little ones.

Our Sunday gathering starts at 10AM and our Recovery gathering on Tuesdays at 7PM. Both gatherings include worship with one of the best worship bands in the area. See our monthly calendar and our Facebook page to stay in touch with what is happening each week. You can also sign up on our elist for email enews updates.

 

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