Today’s blog explores the topic of spiritual hunger and the tools that help to satisfy that hunger and why many, if not most, churches fail to give us what we really need.
Our Deepest Longing
In my nearly twenty years of ministry work, I have identified one desire that is common among every single person to whom I have ministered and I suspect is common among every single human being that walks this planet. This desire is to KNOW they are LOVED. No matter how confident we might seem to be, or successful, or popular or at peace…there is still a very deep longing to know that we are loved and that we are loved exactly for who and what we are….infinitely and without condition. This longing to be loved is what drives us to seek fulfillment of this love in our life, our work, our relationships and our life experiences. We begin by seeking for this love outside of us, but what I have discovered is that we can only find the fulfillment of that desire to be loved when we come to know the Love that we are within ourselves.
The Cause of the Longing for Love
While there are a bazillion books and self-help gurus who profess to know how to help us cultivate self-love, the truth is that the cause for this longing to know love is spiritual. While books and counseling and inspirational seminars may help us heal some of the outside messages that told us we are not loved and may help us unlearn some of the negative self-talk we have developed as a result of these outside messages, the only place to realize the fulfillment of this longing for love is deep within ourselves in the connection with that which some might call “God.” Here’s where it gets messy. “God” has become a dangerous word, polluted by religious institutions who out of their own unhealed wounds around love, have made God out to be this gastly beast who is judgmental, vengeful, fickle and whose love has to be earned and can be taken away. What these institutions have forgotten is that God is the very nature of Love itself and that we are made out of that Love. Because Love is our very nature and because we are the very expression of God as Love, love does not have to be earned, neither can it be taken away. Love simply is…..and we are driven by a longing within to remember this truth. Unfortunately there is no magic pill to remembering this love and there is no predictable timeframe. The recollection of this love happens in a mysterious and magical way and is nothing short of Grace. There are, however, things we can do to help facilitate this process and allow us to open to Grace….and that is called Spiritual Formation.
What the churches won’t give us
I am hopeful that there are churches out there who are exceptions to this rule. But, by and large, Spiritual Formation – the tools for helping us remember the love that we are, is the thing that most churches refuse to give us. Spiritual Formation is defined by tools that empower us to answer these three questions:
- Who am I?
- Whose am I?
- What are my gifts and how am I being called to share them in the world
In a nutshell, sound spiritual formation empowers us to remember the love that we are and to find fulfilling ways to share that love in the world for the benefit of humankind. You would think that churches would be enthusiastically sharing these tools with us, right? Wrong. And here is why:
- Sound Spiritual Formation empowers us to remember that God is love. Period. If God is Love, then where is there room for dogma and doctrine that tells us what we need to do to earn our way into God’s love? If God is Love, what happened in the Garden with the snake, the apple and the sinful couple? If God is Love…then what is sin? Got the picture?
- Sound Spiritual Formation invites us to seek, explore, discover and challenge. How many churches are open and supportive of their people seeking, exploring……challenging?
- Sound Spiritual Formation invites us to KNOW the God within our heart…..and in coming to know God, we learn that there is only one Absolute truth and all other “truths” (especially religious truths) are up for discussion.
It’s getting pretty dangerous, wouldn’t you say? So you can see why many churches are reluctant to share these tools with the uppity lay people in the pew. Not to mention, MOST churches are not even aware of these tools because sometime during the Reformation (1500 something or other), these tools were gathered up and locked away in Catholic Monasteries where only monks and nuns had access to them. Only recently have these tools become more readily available and accessible….but sadly, few of these resources have found their way into the hands of “the faithful.”
The Agape’ Project
Here is where I get involved. In my ministry training, I had the great fortune of learning these tools and for the past almost twenty years, have made these tools part of my daily practice and shared them in my public ministry. Now it is time for these tools to be available to EVERYONE! These are the tools that I have already shared in both of my books, Authentic Freedom and Christouch. And now, I share these tools through a little venture I call The Agape’ Project. (agape’ is the Greek word that reflects our understanding of God as Love….infinite, unconditional and without regard to merit). The Agape’ Project makes these tools available through a weekly newsletter that will include scripture readings as well as tools for sound spiritual formation. This morning, I launched the pilot release of this product to a dozen brave souls who are willing to make a commitment to Remembering the Love that They Are through adherence to sound spiritual practice. If you are interested in learning more about this project, click HERE. The goal of the Agape’ Project is to empower people through tools of sound spiritual formation to Remember the Love that They Are and in doing so, to help make the world a better place!
Do you long to remember Love as your original nature?
Do you long to remember your connection to the deepest Source of that Love?
How are you being invited to seek, explore, discover, challenge?
Authentic Freedom Ministries