I am in my fourth month from my recovery of organized institutional religion.  It is unique the clarity of mind that happens. For years I have struggled with the idea of being a pastor, and for most of that time the understanding has been that a pastor has a church, a pulpit…and yet it has not historically in my life fit well.

            Let’s be honest you name the denomination (okay possibly the religion) and I have probably served, studied, lived or preached in it, yet had not settled a calling. The only constant was social work that is trying to build a better world; okay a bit more within my own circle of influence or just even in my own family. Why is this clarity? Because I have realized I do not need a pulpit or a church, my ministry is my life. A renewal of my Franciscan vows, but taking a step outside that.

            What is being a Franciscan? It is the spiritual Charism created by Claire and Francis of Assisi, yet it is still a label that falls short in understanding completely what it means to live a life out of and within the love of the Holy Mystery. Being of the “mendicants” that is of the open hands, and this has been what I have worked to form my spirit as and yet in my recovery I realize that it is a monastic in the world I have always been called to be, to even step outside of this comfort zone.

            What does it mean to be a religious in recovery?

It means embracing that we are not “evil” but good, holy and blessed and given a huge gift by our loving creator—care for all of creation.

            It means realizing that the institutional church has served a purpose, but it is no longer relevant, because it has become once more about power, prestige and love of money.

            The realization is simple…I have strived to fit into a square hole as a hexagonal peg…called…ordained…licensed…taken monastic vows…yet neither fit for they were the wrong path. They were not what the living stories meant, what the life of Jesus of Nazareth means today and the wisdom found in that. A world of love and inclusion, a house, a family built on this bedrock.

            Realizations pour in, as my energy self is cleansed of the sludge that holds back actualization/discernment of calling. For a family to be the place where any can come and know love. Stepping outside of church, as a comfort zone into the unknown is what recovery is about.

            So hear I am, currently experiencing faith in a community of people seeking a place of belonging for simply, conversations on things that matter. Hmmm…so where am I four months after my public declaration?

            Realizing my ministry is simply to build community and walk alongside those who are seeking, as I am, a communal journey of change.

            We are brothers and sister, one family—humanity, one good that I choose to call God, many teachers, the one I follow is Jesus, but I am informed by other great minds and hearts. The Spirit is what draws us into love and inclusion, but it is our choice to open our hearts to the Spirit that already lives there.

            This is my understanding grown out of love, of walking with and seeking God throughout my life, and living, breathing and studying the holy scriptures of the world faiths and centering them on the Gospel stories of Jesus.

So this is where I am, standing in a new reality, released from bondage to act a certain way, to curtail language, and to be in a situation where I cannot allow my children to actually experience God…

            It is a life we are called to live, to live in community, to seek depth of understanding and experience, at to leave this world a little bit better than when we were born. It is that simple, once we know that all of creation in the Multiverse exists within the Holy, and that the Holy exists within the entire Multiverse.

            I am simply a pilgrim, seeking the heart of the sacred a new.

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