I belong to a small community called AMORE, which means “with love and devotion” or “beloved”. The group is devoted to “helping build a more compassionate world”. It was birthed after several experiments of building group founded on a particular belief system.
Today it meets regularly: weekly to have fellowship. celebration, meditation and “conversations”; for generational fellowship (like youth outings), for charity work ( among ethnic minorities), for tree planting and other endeavors. This is not “ministry” but life together.
The people are friends and intentionally attempt to grow in their belief and understanding about themselves, life, relationships, work, commitment, God; finding congruence between cultural values, faith and scripture.
They laugh together, cry together and struggle together. It is not perfect, of course, but it draws vitality from a vision that life is worth the living – the past can be accepted with grace and the future engaged as it happens. There is no need to control anything. The simple key is remember one’s Self, and from that perspective to engage in life by making responsible choices.
It sounds too easy, and too much work – and it is both. The difference with the old religious system was then, all responsibility was dumped at the foot of “God’s throne”. Today that is balanced by one’s own actions – tempered by the experience of the “mind of Christ” – the inner knowing which guides one’s evolution. Children make selfish choices, parents make more responsible ones. Are the children wrong? Are the parents right? Well, eventually both learn that “action brings its own consequences”. Based on results, one chooses a way of living. What most find out is that “adding to the welfare of others” ultimately results in our own happiness. One is not altruistic because it is self-serving. One serves because that is the way of the universe. The early followers of Jesus discovered this, in fact they were called the Way. The ancient Chinese teachers also knew this, they called it the Tao. A common teaching they share is “do not do to others what you do not want done to you”.
In the new spiritual communities, the individual eventually realizes that life is not a matter of obeying set rules, but discovering that life works according to certain “principles”, and that there is a creative power within you that you handle with care. In the same way the new scientists might refer to the “quantum field” as a “field of pure potential” that can be affected by our observation, so also, the younger generation is discovering the creative power within everyone. We are discovering the possibility that we are ubermensch – beyond/ transcendent man, superman.
Why and how so?
Jesus knew he had Christ in him. And then there are those who, in the course of their life journey, also find Christ within themselves. That is, after letting go of limiting religious ideas; like I am special, only my group is special, my nation is special and better than yours, and so forth and so on. “Binary thinking” Richard Rohr says, creates separation between me and you, good and bad, right and wrong, subject & object, and so on. To discover Christ within, one has to let go of this way of seeing, to experience unity, that really there is only One.
The antidote to me vs. others thinking is GRACE. Which will be the foundation of future communities that can build a great nation. The grace to accept oneself, the grace to accept others, the grace to accept our past, the grace to accept our present mistakes and the grace to expand beyond our current beliefs. Grace-filled thinking understands we are one and not separate, that we have different roles which make us unique, that we all share one True Self.
Once one has accepted that we are made from the same cloth, the cut and design of the others will not matter. At the heart we are one, all one. We are all special.
And then we can engage in one of the most magnificent developments in the evolution of man and the universe – the capacity to look at ourselves and wonder in amazement at the intricacies that have gone into everything, to be in awe of what is, and to be astounded as to what else can happen through us, by the Christ in us. It is like God looks at Itself and is amazed. Imagine the nations we could birth. beginning with the smallest of communities – our families. The families of God.
But first, we make the choice, to open our minds, our hearts, our will.
This post originally appeared on Ernie Abella’s Blog.