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Having done it for 40.5 years (In the Presbyterian Church USA), I developed an idea of how it ought to be done–the church as we need it to be. That idea includes what needs to go and what needs to come, and how we need to approach the idea of a community gathered–to do what?
Worship is not something a person can do when prompted–no more than you can prompt hiccups, or dreams.
Worship has become the foundation of “church” because “church” has no foundation, and has lost its way, and tries to justify its existence any way it can.
The church exists quite apart from the experience of the Numinous Reality that is the ground of the church, and comes together to talk about the Numen that others experienced from 4,000 to 2,000 years ago, but no experience of the Numen more recent than 2,000 years (2,016 years now, to be precise) is allowed.
We talk about “worship,” but we discourage, even prohibit, experiences with Numinous Reality. It is absurd, but that doesn’t stop us from doing what we do.
What do we need a church to help us do? What do we need ordained clergy to help us do? What can we do with church and clergy that we cannot do on our own?
The justification of church and clergy is to say that they “mediate the grace and presence of Almighty God,” and without them, we would be hard pressed to find our way into that grace and presence.
Well. Historically and traditionally, “the grace and presence of Almighty God,” or of Numinous Reality, has always been mediated by the experience of mystery, wonder and beauty in Art (including poetry and literature), Music, and Nature. With no hierarchy, or ecclesiastical structure, or organization to assist or direct.
Left to our own devices, we are quite capable of being open to an encounter with the divine–every night, for example, in our dreams.
But the church would never support, much less encourage, such talk–and would see it, correctly, as a threat to its position of “mediator of the grace and presence of Almighty God,” apart from which, the church would have a problem justifying its continued existence.
Which is not the problem the church thinks it is.
The church is solidly positioned to exist into the far distant future as the mediator of, and guide to, a grounding experience with the ineffable, numinous, reality that is the spiritual ground of our heart and soul, mind, body and being.
The church just has to learn a new way of talking about what it does, and a new way of doing it.
Which is, of course, the program I am setting forth here, including what to throw away, what to rethink, what to keep, and what to receive and welcome in helping people live their life as spiritual beings in physical form.
I see this as a manual for new church development in the fullest possible sense of the term. And, present it here because it would have no hope of surviving Official Channels, which is why it needs to be said–because it cannot be said.
This Manifesto is taking form and shape as I put it together, and it will not look in the beginning as it will at the end. Give it a chance, and do not break a tender reed or extinguish a dimly burning wick, and wait to see what comes of it, and offer your own suggestions in the Comment Section of this blog.