In any earlier post (Allied With Love, from November 19, 2017), I said that I would address my personal theology in a later post — the time is to do so is now.
As I mentioned in that November, 2017, post, my personal theology (or, as I prefer to term it, “life philosophy”) is partially manifested through my ordination as a minister of the Alliance of Divine Love. (For those who are unfamiliar with ADL, I direct your attention to that same earlier post for my personal explanation.) When I was ordained, the name I chose for my chapel is Evolving Spirit Chapel, as an indication of my belief and fervent trust in a shining future. The “evolving spirit” designation encompasses varied spiritual paths, but all follow an ideal of spiritual evolution and enhanced understanding – personally, I follow an Earthwalking path.
To be an Earthwalker is both primal and cosmic. I believe that Earth is living and sentient – BUT not alone. Earth is a member of the cosmos, the universe, and serves also as a model, a representation of the universe. To “walk with the Earth” is also to walk “in step” with the cosmos…the totality of time and space. As Earth is a part of the cosmic dance, so we are a microcosm of the Earth and Earth is a microcosm of the universe. We are stars in the sky, sand on the beach, drops of water that form the ocean…our small particles join to form the Earth. So, too, the Earth is a star in the universe and sand on the cosmic beach and a liquid drop in the vast ocean of Being.
That is my path, but, while not all who believe in Spiritual Evolution are Earthwalkers, all are strong believers in Divine Power. It is the goal of everyone involved in interfaith work to build bridges of understanding between those of different beliefs and to foster respect for those differing beliefs. A study in 2001 of the U.S. Religious Landscape Study by the Pew Foundation found that 96% of Americans believe in a “higher power” but that 28-44% have changed religions affiliation in their lifetimes. Interestingly, over 16% are affiliated with no specific organized religion.
As the percentage of Americans who hold spiritual beliefs is increasing, so too is the number of those who are not affiliated. How do you reconcile these two trends? I believe it is by acknowledging the “unlabeled” believer. We could perhaps also call them “unrepresented” or “under-represented” as well as unaffiliated believers….but, realize that they are believers.
There is great benefit and peace to be found in existing religious traditions, whether those traditions are an ancient as Hinduism, as old as Christianity, or as recently established as the Baha’i faith or as Sukyo Mahikari. But, the Divine can be found in all these and other traditions – and, most importantly, it can be found in our own hearts.
Man is defined by belief…not any specific belief, but by the capacity to believe, by the very act of looking for something outside the realm of everyday existence. This is the quality that has propelled humankind in an ever-going, ever-growing quest…not necessarily all in the same direction and not necessarily in a steady pattern, but always with vital questions and the certainty that there were answers and that the answers were attainable.
It is the quest for answers to life’s burning questions that has guided humans on our journey from trees to caves to skyscrapers. I believe that same quest will also…indeed, is also…guiding humans through a spiritual evolution – an evolution that will be even greater than the transition from trees to skyscrapers. Indeed, as an Earthwalker, I believe that the quest of spiritual evolution is the gift and the responsibility of humans – it is why we were created.
There are stories from many indigenous societies that tell of the unique relationship of the two-leggeds with the rest of creation. Native peoples through the world hold that the two-leggeds were created to care for the other creatures (whether they be four-legged, winged or plant people) and there are stories from various traditions that say the two-leggeds were also charged with the responsibility of helping all creatures achieve full potential. All the varied Creation stories of all the peoples and traditions of the world seem to agree on one thing….that there was first water, then land, then the creatures of land and sea and sky and, lastly, the coming of Man. All Creation stories also assign a purpose to that order of creation….many of the oral traditions and stories state that purpose to be that the responsibility, the calling and the ultimate lesson of Humankind is to help all of creation evolve to the highest extent possible and that is what I believe to be our purpose here, the task assigned to Humankind by Creator. I believe we have been called to evolve beyond limited human perception to an awareness that is “God’s religion” – defined by the Divine, not by Man. Indeed, I believe we have been created for that purpose.
Spirituality is universal. Religion is an expression of spiritual desire and yearnings. Religion is a community response to spiritual needs, by defining specific spiritual practices, by providing community to share those practices.
Evolving Spirituality is a response to an awakening – what many indigenous cultures refer to as the Remembering – a return to Source. In Evolving Spirituality, we find an ever-increasing number of people who hunger and thirst for inner peace – the inner peace that can only be found in reaching for the Divine.