The Charitist Voice

                     “For the sake of the Kingdom”


                                                                                                                                               November,2003




                             ~~~News from all over~~~


Brother Lou asks for his Companions’ prayers for his health. Brother is currently undergoing various tests to determine some things that have been going on recently, and is, of course, concerned. Drop him a line and let him know he doesn’t face this alone.


Brother Mark has been appointed Director of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch. Brother serves his jurisdiction as Bishop of the Diocese of Arizona, and is one of the founding bishops of the Ecumenical Conference on Independent Catholic Bishops (ECICB.) The appointment was made at the Church’s annual Clergy Convocation, held this past October 10-14th, in Kansas City, MO.


Brother Mark has also completed a two year ecumenical training program in Spiritual Direction, and was awarded a Certificate of Completion on October 19th. The program was sponsored by the Kino Institute, the diocesan center for adult education and ministry formation for the Roman Catholic Diocese

of Phoenix.


Brother Henri was recently incardinated with the Contemporary Catholic Church (thecontemporarycatholicchurch.org) and continues his prison ministry and assisted living visitation through the Sunshine Cathedral.

The CCC focuses on establishing House Churches for new communities. Brother’s house church is named, of course, Grace House.


As Brother Mark said in a recent email to the Community, Sr Seal has gone through some very difficult episodes lately, but is recovering. She worships at the local MCC congregation in her home town. She hopes to move into an apartment in mid to late November, and would find great comfort and encouragement if any Companions would like to write to her. Her address is:

  

  Sr Seal Zalinski

   Salvation Army

   Turning Point Shelter for Battered Women

   815 Salem Ave SW

   Roanoke, VA 24016


She can also receive phone calls. Please identify yourself as one of her Companions in the EOC. The phone number is: 540.345.0400


Since the last Newsletter, Bro Henri has done some checking on Brother Arnie. Though he did not speak directly with our wayward Companion, Brother found out that Bro Arnie is in Wisconsin, and doing well with his Cancer condition. Any more info will be passed on as it becomes available.


Bro Guadalupe will be doing a repeat presentation of his talk about the Ecumenical Order of Charity to his parish this month. Brother has also been asked by his Pastor to lead a Day of Recollection, or Quiet Day in Anglican parlance, this month as well. The theme is “Connections/Interdependence.”

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One day a Kindergarten Teacher read the story of Chicken Little to her class. She came to the part where Chicken Little tries to warn the Farmer. She read, “ .....and so Chicken Little went up to the Farmer and

said, ‘The sky is falling! The Sky is falling! ‘”

She then paused and asked her class, “What do you think the Farmer said?”

A little girl raised her hand and answered, “ I think he said, ‘HOLY SHIT! A talking chicken!’”

The teacher was unable to teach for the next ten minutes.

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Did you know that our holiday of Thanksgiving was based on the Pilgrims’ observance of the ancient Jewish Festival of Tabernacles, or Succoth? Everyone knows the story of how the Pilgrims had survived a difficult winter and made it to a fruitful Harvest, with the help of Native American friends. The Pilgrims, being Puritans, were against any frivolous celebrations, but felt moved to honor God’s favor to them by keeping this scriptural festival. So they gave Thanks, not with Turkey, but very probably wild fowl, eel and other fish; fruits and nuts; bread and root vegetables; and pop corn-something the Indians introduced to the Pilgrims.


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            Friends for the Journey...........Holy Souls whose lives bear testimony to the Charitist Spirit and Principles.


                              

                                                          Etty Hillesum

                                                              1914-1943

                                                 Mystic of the Holocaust


Little is known of the external life of Etty, a young Jewish woman who lived in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation. But this obscurity is contrasted by her well documented internal life. From the day that Dutch Jews were ordered to wear the yellow Star of David, up to the day she boarded a cattle car bound for Poland, Etty consecrated herself to an ambitious task. In the face of her impending death, she strove to bear witness to the inviolable power of Love, and to reconcile her keen sensitivity to Human suffering with her appreciation for the beauty and meaning of existence.


For the last two years of her life, Etty kept a meticulous diary, recording her daily experiences and the unfolding of her interior response. This diary was published over 40 years later and recognized as one of the great moral documents of our time.


Though Etty maintained a clear sense of solidarity with the Jewish people, her personal reflections were nourished by a wealth of sources Jewish and non-Jewish. When a friend accused her attitude of loving one’s enemies as sounding like Christianity, she responded, “ Yes, Christianity.......why ever not?”


But in fact, she had little interest in organized religion of any kind. In a time when everything was being swept away, when “the whole world is becoming a giant concentration camp,” she felt one must hold fast to what endures—the encounter with God at the depths of one’s own soul and in other people.


Etty’s writings are full bodied; she does not hesitate to describe her romantic adventures as openly as she does her thoughts and prayers. For her everything—the physical and spiritual without distinction, was related to her passionate openness to life, which was ultimately openness to God.


She lived in the tightening noose of German occupation, and some would say that she lived her life in denial of the coming horrors. But actually, she seemed keenly aware of what was happening and still determined to affirm the goodness and beauty of Life. Her diary entry for 3rd July, 1942, reads:


“I must admit to a new insight in my life and find a place for it: what is at stake is our impending destruction and annihilation....they are out to destroy us completely, we must accept that and go on from there....Very well, then.....I accept it....I work and continue to live with the same conviction and I find Life meaningful....I wish I could live for a long time so that one day I may know how to explain it, and if I am not granted that wish, well, then somebody else will perhaps do it, carry on from where my life has been cut short. And that is why I must try to live a good and faithful life to my last breath; so that those who come after me do not have to start all over again.”


For Etty, this affirmation of the value and meaning of Life in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary became her guiding principle. In the midst of suffering and injustice, she believed, the effort to preserve in one’s heart a spirit of love and forgiveness was the greatest task that any person could perform. This, she felt, was her vocation.


With increasing regularity, Etty described her compulsion to drop to her knees in prayer. Toward the end of her journals, God had become the explicit Partner of her internal dialogue:


“God, take me by Your hand, I shall follow you faithfully, and not resist too much, I shall evade none of the tempests Life has in store for me, I shall try to face it all as best I can.....I shall try to spread some of my warmth, of my genuine love for others, wherever I go.....I sometimes imagine I long for the seclusion of the nunnery. But I know that I must seek You amongst the people, out in the world. And that is what I shall do....I vow to live my life out there to the full.”


Etty worked for a while as a typist for the Jewish Council. Eventually she renounced this privilege and volunteered to accompany her fellow Jews to the camp. She did not wish to be spared the suffering of the masses. In fact, she felt a deep calling to be present at the heart of the suffering, to become “the thinking heart of the concentration camp.”


Her sense of call to solidarity with those who suffer became the specific form of her religious vocation. But it was not a vocation to suffering, but to redeem the suffering of Humanity from within, by safeguarding “that little piece of You, oh God, in ourselves.”


She wrote, “ I know that a new and kinder day will come. I would so much like to live on, if only to express all the love I carry within me. And there is only one way of preparing the new age, by living it even now in our hearts.”


On 7th September, 1943, Etty and her family were placed on a transport train to Poland. From a window of the train she tossed out a card that read, “We have left the camp singing.” She died in Auschwitz on 3oth November......she was twenty-nine years old.

                                                       


                                                                                             Excerpted from All Saints,

                                                                                             By Robert Ellsberg

                                                       

“ God is not accountable to us, but we are accountable to God. I know what may lie in wait for us.......and yet I find Life beautiful and meaningful.”


                                                                                         —Etty Hillesum, Mystic of the Shoah




                                       ............................................................................................................................................... November is the month when Americans close their eyes, bow their heads, and give thanks for all the turkeys they are about to receive.........just days after voting for them.

                                                                                                                

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                           Brother Lupe’s musings


Everyone is aware of the simmering controversies facing the Episcopal Church. How quickly lines have been drawn in the sand, and how many internationally, are threatening to rip apart the fabric of the Anglican Communion. There is a comfort in viewing the world in black and white; us and them; right and wrong; orthodox and heretical.


Is Life really like that? I have discovered that it is just shades of gray, sometimes beautiful, often times plain. I never found a “one size fits all” Salvation plan; The Lord Jesus never spoke that way.

For example, on the cross, He said,” Father, forgive them–they know not what they do.” But in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter doesn’t hesitate to stand up and blame the Jews for Jesus’ death.

Perhaps he missed the Lord’s last lesson from the cross, because he was too busy HIDING.


The use of Scripture to defend and define this hurtful and exclusive position, is to prostitute the Sacred Writings. After all, the Bible has been used to defend slavery, the degradation of women, war, multiple wives, etc.


There are approximately 6 references in Scripture regarding same sex encounters. (The word “homosexual” was not coined till the late 1800's.) But, there are over 600 references to performing Charity in the very same Scriptures.


Leviticus, the book always touted as “proof,” is filled with rules where one is not any worse than another. Hence, a man sleeping with another man is NO WORSE than a man having relations with his wife during her menstrual period, which is NO WORSE than having roast beef with cream gravy, which is NO WORSE than planting various grains in the same field, which is NO WORSE than wearing an outfit that mixes wool, cotton, rayon and polyester. Huh? They are all bad, but NOT one is worse than the other; they are all on the same category. When did this book from the Hebrew Scriptures become a salad bar.....Pick only what you want?


Leviticus also commands that the blasphemer be stoned. Should I carry my bag of rocks to the Supermarket to punish the guy I hear cussing when he can’t find the right aisle?


We could take a lesson from big business: when contemplating a merger, companies look to see how much they have IN COMMON.

Why have so many raised their hands in judgement, rather than extended them in fellowship, acknowledging how many ways both sides are the same?


I fear that what has happened, is the Theologians, whether home grown or scholastically trained, now hold the Church hostage.

There is value in what one believes and how, but when over emphasized it banishes the Spirit. In healing work, many believe that a person must have the “right theology” before they can be healed, or heal. Kathyrn Kuhlman, a famous healer of the 20th century said, “Once there was a time in which my theology was so correct; it was also the time when there were no miracles.” She left that attitude behind, saying that theologians “are in the business of not having miracles come to pass. I am not anymore. I now concentrate on the Holy Spirit and the miracles of God.”


Our personal beliefs keep us rooted. But our daily interaction with the Divine keep us focused and ALIVE. To allow a difference like this bishop’s long committed relationship to another man be the barrier to deep connection with the Divine is simply wrong.....and sad.


Our Founding Document calls us to see that of God in everyone, and everything. We are called to create an oasis of peace, where others can find acceptance and refreshment in this world of hurts. It is not easy, but a goal we strive for. After all, though we are vowed religious, we are not really monks or nuns......we are COMPANIONS, so aptly named by the Founding Document. The very name implies that we do not travel alone, but together, with WHOMEVER needs a friend.


I pray that everyone we encounter may see that of the Divine in us, and our eyes be opened to see that of God in everyone that crosses our life-path. Thanksgiving Blessings on us all!


    

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“We experience a Special Calling, not away from the World, but rather, into an interior world, all the while remaining connected with Society by our work, ministry, social activities and families. As we draw back into ourselves, in order to grow and to bind ourselves back to God in prayer, we find that we are also drawn outward to others as creative, loving and supportive persons. As vowed Religious, we respond to an inner call which demands that we evaluate our lives, and model them according to our values and beliefs. We must then implement our Vision in our daily lives. We pledge our personal and collective lives as channels of the transforming Reality of God’s Presence in all Creation.”


                                                               -The Founding Document,

                                                                 Chapter 3; Mission

                                                                 Paragraph 4

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                  .....a word, from the WORD.....


The Lord Jesus said in His native Aramaic:


Happy and aligned with the One are those who find their home in the Breath;

to them belong the inner Kingdom and Queendom of Heaven.


Blessed are those who are refined in Breath;

 they shall find their ruling principles and ideals guided by God’s Light.


Tuned to the Source are those who live by breathing Unity;

their “I can!” is included in God’s.


Healthy are those who devotedly hold fast to the Spirit of Life;

holding them is the Cosmic Ruler of all that shines and rises.


Resisting corruption, possessing integrity are those whose breath forms a

luminous sphere;

they hear the universal Word and feel the Earth’s power to accomplish it

through their own hands.


Healed are those who devote themselves to the link of Spirit;

the design of the Universe is rendered through their form.


The Traditional rendering of the above Beatitude is:

“Blessed are the Poor in Spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”  


                                               Taken from Prayers of the Cosmos,

                                                By Neil Douglas-Klotz

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                                      Thoughts to ponder...


The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to

buy a replacement.


Give a person a loaf of bread and you have fed them for a day;

 teach that person how to use the Internet and they

won’t bother you for weeks.


Health nuts are going to feel stupid some day,

laying in hospitals dying of NOTHING.


Have you noticed that since just about everyone has a camcorder now-a-days,

nobody talks about seeing UFO’s like they used to?


When weeding, the surest way to know if it is a weed or valuable plant, is to pull on it. If it comes out easily, it is a valuable plant.


How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box of matches to get the grill going?


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     Lifting up one another in Prayer............



For Brother Mark and all his health concerns,

For Brother Arnie and his health and recovery,

For Sister Seal, and her restoration to a happy and healthy life,

For traveling mercies on Brother Henri and his wife Kathy, as they

travel to Northwest for the Holiday,

 

For all our dear ones near and far,

For those in need of Healing in whatever capacity,

For this weary war torn world,

For those who die in service to their country and their cause,

For those left behind by Death, or destruction of home,


For Peace and Hope,

For Reconciliation of Peoples, Churches and attitudes,

For Acceptance of those “not like us,”

 

For our departed Charitist Companions, and all the Departed,

For the Community, Companions and Associates of the Order of Charity,

For our various ministries and all our private petitions,

For all our praises and thanksgivings,

 

We lift all these concerns into the Light, and thank you oh God,

for all Your blessings on us.....

 



For all You are, and all You do,

Oh God-Creator, Redeemer and Renewer of all things,

accept our deepest praise, worship and thanksgiving.

Amen. 

                                                                     

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 “Make the most of your time every day of your life. We usually let time get away from us. We miss the possibilities of the Present by continuously thinking ahead to the next activity, planning for the next day, the weekend, the future. Our conscious lives are on continuous fast -forward. Others of us seek to escape current problems or dissatisfaction or boredom by constantly looking back to events that took place in the past. Take advantage of today—for your own sake

and the sake of your family, your Community, and all of Humanity. Know that”way will open” ( a Quaker term that means Grace will provide an opportunity) no matter how difficult the Present may appear. The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead wrote, “The present contains all that there is. It is Holy Ground.” Our greatest satisfactions and our glory come from doing our best to make the most of each precious moment of this Holy Ground. As living Human Beings we are impermanent, but we are surely not insignificant. Everything we do matters.”


                                                  Excepted from A Quaker Book of Wisdom,

                                                   By Robert Lawrence Smith



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                            The holiday lights


(I share with you a family custom that my family has observed since my father passed away. My Mother attended Grief sessions with others who had recently lost a loved one, and one meeting was to prepare them for the first holidays without their departed. It was a touching service, and my Mom wanted to observe it. So, I went off to find a four branched candlestick. Well, they come in three or five....NOT four. After looking over the service again, I realized that there was no mention of Life after, or of God. If you haven’t noticed by now, I cannot leave things alone, and so I re-sculpted the service and incorporated the Light of Reunion. And now we could use a five branched candlestick without leaving an empty spot! We call the candlestick our

“Memorah,” and this little service begins our holidays now. I share it with you; it can be used to remember a particular person, or all of your departed loved ones. We place photos of our Departed around the Memorah, and sing a song or have music playing. I hope it brings you peace, too.)



   

 Leader: We enter this Holiday Season, lighting candles to remind us each day of the cherished place you (our departed) have in our hearts, a place that will always be reserved for you (them.)



1st Candle, on the far right: This is the Light of our Grief. We miss you so much, and the pain of losing you has become a thread in the fabric of our life.



2nd Candle, on the far left: This is the Light of our Courage. Standing together as family, we confront our sorrow and

                                                loss, and comfort each other. From this comes

                                                 Our strength to continue on Life’s journey.



3rd Candle, on the inner right: This is the Light of Memory. It recalls all the

                                                   Times we laughed or cried; the times we were

                                                   Angry with each other and then made up. We

                                                   Remember all the silly things you did and all

                                                   The caring and joy you gave us.



4th Candle, on the inner left: This is the Light of Love. We thank you for

                                                   The gift your life brought to each of us. We

                                                   Celebrate how much we loved you, and how

                                                   Much you loved us. And Love goes on

                                                   Forever, crossing the barriers of Space and

                                                  Time.



5th Candle, in the middle: This is the Light of Reunion. It shines with

                                                  The Blessed Hope and Promise that we will be

                                                   Reunited. And in the meadows and halls of

                                                   Heaven we will see you again. We will be

                                                   Surrounded by all those who have gone on

                                                   Before. And, standing in the Everlasting

                                                   Light of God’s Presence, Life will truly begin.




Leader: We know you are here with us now......so together, we begin the Holidays praying: Bless us oh Lord, and these Your gifts of food and family, which we receive from Your loving hands, through Christ our Lord.

                                  

     Amen.


                                


                                               -from a service for mourning; re-sculpted

                                                 By Bro M Guadalupe, oc