Basic Tenets of the Liberal Catholic Church

 

I share a number of apprehensions as expressed by the Liberal Catholic Church (LCC) and the church of which I am a member (Ekklesia Epignostika) shares some of their liturgy, so this too needs to be unpacked to some degree in order to understand why I am a member of the Ekklesia Epignostika, and how this church differs from the Roman Catholic Church.

For a thorough understanding of the basic tenets of the Liberal Catholic Church, Province of the United States, please visit their web site (http://www.thelccusa.org/about/basic-tenets-of-the-liberal.html). Below I will simply share some of my personal thoughts with regard to just a few of their key points. I wish to once again remind readers, what followings is my personal opinion and may not represent the official opinion of the church and seminaries I have attended. And while I share many beliefs with the LCC, I am not a member of their church, and certainly cannot speak for them. For any errors and omissions I claim fault to be my own.

“Before Abraham was, I am.”

This is a statement made by Jesus. To my mind he is speaking of the living Spirit of the eternal Christ, of which Jesus was the embodiment some 2,000 years ago. The Logos made flesh, as it is expressed in the Gospel of John. “Logos” is usually translated as “Word,” although this pales in depth of meaning as compared to the Logos in the original Greek. This is why I normally prefer to use the “Logos” in my liturgies. This eternal Spirit of Christ is seen as a continuing presence to this day. Christ is understood to be present yesterday, today, tomorrow, and through all time. More specifically, Christ is beyond the constraints of Time.

I believe it is fair to admit the use of terminology can become somewhat confusing as we attempt to define the ineffable nature of the Divine. This understanding of Christ shares a great deal with the understanding of the Holy Ghost, which for me represents the Presence of the Divine. In Jewish terms I think of the Holy Ghost as one in the same with the Shakinah. I think both Christians and Jews are speaking of the same Divine Presence when they use their respective terms. I believe these terms are our efforts to label an aspect of the Divine, yet as this is not something we can fully define, so we find our terminology lacks perfect clarity.

Perhaps one day I will have a more refined apprehension of the subtle differences between the terms Christ, Holy Ghost, and the Shakinah. But for the present I am happy to allow these symbols of the Divine to stand half-seen at the edge of the Cloud of Unknowing within which resides Divine Mystery.

For all our lack of perfect clarity, an important point to hold in our mind is that the Christ “lives as a mighty spiritual presence in the world, guiding and sustaining His people.”

The Feminine Aspect of the Divine

I believe we modern Christians are impoverished when we deny God the Mother. The feminine aspect of the Divine is important, as this is the nourishing, life-giving aspect of the Divine. The Mother Archetype is one with which we may all identify. It is an important aspect of our humanity, so to deny this being mirrored in God is, I believe, to our detriment. We are created in God’s image, both male and female.

Why might this be important? The LCC web page offers a useful observation:

“This divine principle is shown forth on earth in the sanctity of life and the mystery of birth and by the sacrifice and love of human motherhood which call forth our deepest reverence and respect.”

Unity of All Religions

A person holding this ideal as important is sometimes called a religious pluralist. At its core is the ideal of Tolerance. I believe we must learn to tolerate others and their opinions and means of expressing their apprehension of the Divine. My hope is from Tolerance I will find I move to Acceptance. A subtle, but important shift. It is of the heart. Once my heart opens to another, I may discover I even Appreciate some of their views or practices, and I may discover new insights which inform and deepen my own apprehension of the Divine. The world is diverse, as are the paths to better apprehending the Divine. And this is a good thing because what works for me may not work for you.

There are many Truths and mystical experiences shared by all the great world religions. These Truths are universal. Promoting peace and love and compassion for one another are good indicators that we are on the proper path. I self-identify as Christian, ultimately because once I realized that when my spiritual back was against the wall it was the Divine personification of Jesus Christ to whom I pray. But this does not mean this is the only way to find God. It only means this is the best way for me to find my way to God.

 

Your path may differ. And that is fine.

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1 Response to “Basic Tenets of the Liberal Catholic Church”


  1. 1 erikweaver March 29, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Thank you for your observation. There are those of us who have taken to the “alternative” Christian path. It is an esoteric path, and not for everyone. And that’s fine. God offers many paths to his heart. I can’t help but feel it is less important which specific path we take than that we take one of them.

    Not all Christians agree with me on that point. For that matter, I’m certain there are people who observe other religious practices who do not agree with me. There are a lot of people who think we all have to think-believe-act as they do, else we number among the damned. But I don’t believe that. That is a very limited human thought. I’m convinced that God’s thoughts are much larger!

    That said, when we as an individual follow a path to which we are personally well suited, able to get “traction on” while still offering spiritual growth, I think that is better. But even a muddy, back-sliding path, is still one of the paths… perhaps a slower one, but a path none-the-less.

    I can really only speak for myself. I find the Esoteric Christian path to be a good one for me. I “get it” to a large degree and “feel” that it is right (for me). I have a great deal to learn -I’m not trying to say otherwise- and I feel that this path is one which offers me opportunities to learn and grow into a more mature, more spiritual, and hopefully more insightful person. I think this process is important for all of us. Fundamentally, I think it is why we are here 😉


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