John XXIII called for Vatican II to open up the windows of the musty old church and let the transforming love of the Holy Spirit blow on through. Part of this process was calling the Religious Orders back to their original Charism, at least on paper, for practice does tend to strip away institutional control.

Why does this thought pop into my mind? It has been two years or so since I have had anything to affiliate with the regular religious church. Although as Butler-Bass writes I would not call myself spiritual, not religious and I am both and. I am Spiritual-Religious. It is what drives my journey, and can frustrate me to no end. In Church History class at seminary I remember bombing an assignment to look at the historical documents of our church history (those tied to your family) and see how they shaped you. A very creedal exercise for an evangelical school if you will. It was a disconnected mess, for I knew the works that shaped my thinking, but the rest was a so what per-function.

And reading Richard Rohr (2014) Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi reminded me…my Franciscan spirituality is what rubs “churchdom” wrong for it is not based around creedal theology, but since Francis first rebuild San Damiano, walked out naked from city centre…it is about praxis. Just like the early church Paul wrote about before the gospel writers tried to shape something more, before Constantine institutionalized. It is about living a life of love.

It is the reminder I needed as I started back into my cultural church roots. Not saying I will be taking a pulpit anytime soon (although to the Baptist church that offered me a ministry, thank you, one day I may be there again)…but through reflecting on Living the Questions, reading some Richard Rohr, Sister Simone Campbell, Diana Butler Bass, Matthew Fox, Marcus Borg, John Crossan, John Shelby Spong and Tutu/Dalai Lama’s Book of Joy, and listening to Jay Bakker’s podcast of Dec. 11 on Galatians Again and Again part One..will the Spirit is being renewed. The Cosmic Christ is the meta-narrative that resonates, and the source is love.

This is where spiritual homes are for me. Shaped on practice. Do they live out love?

Do they include?

There is much pain in the world, but I remember in my seminary days a quote from Spong that essentially stated I will no longer enter into arguments about equality, love and proper ecology…this is where my faith begins and where the conversation must start at for change to happen (probably a brutalized paraphrase, but I hope the heart is there).

What the labourer born to a single mum, executed for preaching justice, equality and love that shook and empire…this itinerant preacher/teacher, lover of creation, showing the way to living within and out of the source Love…the true resurrection is when this resonates out of our daily actions… this is the story of the Brother Jesus.

Yes, once we realize that titles mean nothing, that wealth should be used to bless not oppress (Thank you Brueggemann for your amazing insights into the Exodus story as the release of the gospel of scarcity that Pharaoh used to control and enslave, into the Gospel of abundance and Neighbour that Yahweh had Moses lead the way in…)… then we can truly understand what it is to love our neighbour.

Then the Spirit has blown through and ignited love. For from heart to heart what we see in the world is simply beloved family.
And the “big” social justice questions that are debated become quite simple, for it is no longer talk of money it becomes even simpler: How do we care for grandma/grandpa,brother/sister, mum and dad? For we all have one of these roles in someone’s life, and that is what the conversation is about.

That is the original blessing of leaving the Garden in Genesis 3 when God gave Adam and Eve the world to care for and be blessed by and with. It was the original blessing of love, place and belonging. It was shining the light on human development into the roles of family and what that means for each one of us.

So…will we let the Spirit blow on through? Will we let Love renew and transform our world?

It begins, as it did 2000 years ago…with one person simply saying one word in answer:

Yes.

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