An Open Letter to the Brotherhood
November 9, 2002
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I would like to share with you how I understand the will of God as it relates to our ongoing mission. This is not to say that I think I have the answer. My only hope is to forge an alignment of intention amongst our Brotherhood, not to any particular outcome, but to a consensus of spirit. Since particulars tend to bog us down and cause dissension, appealing to a higher vision might reunite us.
The question of God's will is important right now, because everyone is trying to follow it according to his or her inner guidance. When Father was around, he was the final authority on what could pass as inner guidance, and he had a pretty good batting average. But in his absence, we have to find a way to democratize the opportunities for the unfoldment of the Spirit. This means that there must be room to make mistakes.
I believe that God never forces us into an action that is not of our own choosing. But unless we make a choice, there is nothing for Him to work with.
We say, "Help us!" and He says, "...to do what?"
"To do your will," we reply.
"What are you capable of doing?" He asks.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, tell me what you are trying to do, and I will tell you how I can help."
"But, we just want to do your will."
"Look, my will is to help you. But, I cannot tell you what to do. You decide what you want to do, and then we'll see what you need."
"My will is hidden in your heart. If you love me, and if you are brave, then I will guide you. But you have to take each step. Look deep within your own heart and ask yourself, 'What do I want to do for my Beloved?' Then do it."
As we are trying to reestablish the Order as it was originally intended to be, we sometimes feel like it is an impossible task. The problem might be in trying to frame our vision too narrowly within the context of an organizational framework rather than one of a personal calling. While organization is important, adaptability is far more important, especially now when everything is changing. Organizations adapt through the initiative of their individual members. Their rebels, if they are lucky enough to succeed, eventually become heroes. Rarely, and probably never, does an organization evolve simply by changing its policy. It always advances as a result of someone operating outside of the paradigm. If we concentrate more on organizational strategies and titles than we do on the Work itself, we will stifle innovation and alienate those who are seeking greater service.
Now that we are on our own, our situation is a little like that of the paratroopers in France on D-Day. Everyone was spread out, pretty much lost, deep inside enemy territory, and without a normal chain of command. Each soldier had to rely on his own resources and support each other the best they could. I think that that is what we must do now, not to let go of the reins, but to find ways to support each other, and still allow room for error.
A tightly knit group, like the paratroopers in WWII, had to back each other up, even if it meant personal sacrifice. And while there was a strict protocol for their military actions, their success was due in large part to their ability to adapt and to innovate. Father Paul was great at adaptability and innovation. He was open to the Master's guidance, and he always said that he did just what he was told to do. But if we were to ask Jesus, I'm sure that he would say that he relied just as much on Earl Blighton as Earl Blighton relied on Jesus. It was Father's personality and skills as much as it was his willingness to serve God that made him valuable to Jesus Christ. So it is with each of us. As Meister Eckhart said, "God needs me."
Father Paul said that we were a militant order, "militant", as it says in the Book of Activity, "...in the sense of always moving forward." If we are too afraid to make mistakes, we will always want to stay put. The Prime Directive for us, as it is for the human heart, is to keep moving. We have to have faith that God will cover our mistakes. And He will, as long as our intention is to serve God and humanity at this turning of the age.
The acid test for whether to accept the validity of a brother's work should lie in the purity of his or her heart. Everything else is secondary. Everything else can be corrected in the long run. The training is there; the understanding is there. Otherwise, there wouldn't even be a question. But unless we have faith in that training and in that understanding, knowing first that the intention is right, we deny our brother the opportunity to learn from his or her own actions.
Unless an action is self-initiated, there is no possibility for growth. No one gets credit unless the will to act comes from within, and we take responsibility for what we do. And it's not enough to proceed only when we know it's safe. Sometimes we need to take risks. To avoid risk is to avoid God. This is the inescapable reality of the spiritual path. It is also the reason why we must support each other in the risks that we take.
Will there be costs? No doubt. All of us have already paid dearly, some more than others, for the risk that was the Holy Order of MANS. Father Paul was not about playing it safe. In an ecclesiastical way, he broke nearly every rule in the book. Our appearance on the religious scene took the churches by surprise. We were a bold combination of East and West, of old and new. They could see that we carried the light, but we hadn't gotten it through normal channels. Even the Eastern groups looked at us askance, because we went through the initiations so rapidly, taking months, sometimes weeks, to get what they maintained took decades to achieve. This was unorthodox, to say the least, and the early Order members were just that--rebels and non-conformists. We have to remain that way, because the world certainly is not going to welcome the light of Christ with joyful abandon. It never has.
I have been listening to religious scholars, many of whom are saying that Christianity is currently going through a change as radical as the Protestant Reformation. What happens now will determine the course of religion for centuries to come - the course of all religions, because when one changes, they all change. We carry the knowledge of the Christian Mysteries, the very core of Christís teachings. It has been inscribed on our soul and written in our flesh. And though we might not be the only ones who have received this legacy, the world is far from having an overabundance of mystics who know how to walk the middle path.
This is my suggestion:
Letís reach out to each other spiritually and in love - and downplay the differences in our individual approaches. We are all experimenters now. Letís gather in the chapel and pray for the salvation of the world. Letís call down the light of Christ on the affairs of state and into the boardrooms of corporations, not any one in particular, but ALL of them. Letís visualize the feeding and clothing of the poor, and the establishment of justice in courtrooms everywhere. Letís negate the existence of revenge in the human heart and break the cycle of violence in the world. And, most importantly, letís support each other in our work and do what we can to perpetuate the Work!
Yours in Christ,
"There is no great and no small to the Mind that maketh all."
Forward to2nd Letter