There’s a great story, apparently from Mexico, in which an old mule falls into the farmer’s dry well. Poor animal is braying down there miserably, but the farmer can’t think of a way to get it out. And the mule is old and he’d been meaning to fill in that dry well, so he decides to put the mule out of its misery, bury it, and fill in the well all at once. First shovels full hit the mule, and it’s panic-braying, but after a few more, it goes silent. Farmer looks down to see that with every shovel full of dirt that hits its back, the mule shakes it off and steps up. Shakes it off and steps up, until he simply steps up over the edge of the well itself and trots off.

This story is usually used to illustrate how we can face adversity by shaking if off and stepping up. Nail hit on head. But when Jesus says the effect of our taking on God’s attributes as we grow spiritually is to become light in the world, we’re left thinking of straight rays of visible light as opposed to darkness, the absence of light. Or we may be thinking of light and dark as symbols for good versus evil—ever opposed. But ancient Hebrews understood light, nuhra, as straight lines of order, harmony, clarity function—and darkness, heshuka, as curved energies of mystery, obscurity, chaos, unfunction…not dysfunction, because darkness is not bad, just not directly usable, as we’d like.

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At the bottom of our wells, in the chaotic uncertainty that life always delivers, we want straight, clear lines beamed down to pull us up into the light. But that’s not how enlightenment works. Straight rays can’t bend and reach around the curved space of heshuka. Rational thinking, can’t reach around the paradox that spirit represents.

Enlightenment is really endarkenment.

It’s not a direct beaming down of straight rays of understanding that lights our darkness, but an indirect layering up of experience that lifts us into the light. The intense experiences of love and suffering that life shovels onto our backs, if we shake them off and step up, keep vulnerably showing up to life, enlighten by slowly removing what obscures. It’s the only 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.

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