My Fellow Spiritualists,
I am a member of an organization that’s more quiet than secret. In fact visitors are always welcome and are typically treated as full fledged members.
There are approximately 200 members who commit themselves to one another.
We do things like:
*Weekly gatherings to encourage one another in the common pursuit of a life of greater integrity, and to inquire about our respective journeys.
*Attend (and yes, applaud at) many athletic or artistic events of the children in the organization and hold an annual graduation celebration to honor the children in our organization.
*Shortly after a member gives birth, we pledge, as an organization to love, to nurture and to guide that child into a life of service and integrity.
*We also provide meals for fellow members or visitors following the birth of a child or following surgery.
*We write notes and send flowers to those members or visitors who have experienced loss of some sort.
*We visit members or visitors when they are in need or are in the hospital.
*We organize and attend weddings/funerals and receptions for members and/or their loved ones.
*From time to time we travel together to distant lands in order to serve those in need.
*We gather monthly in order to purchase, prepare and distribute meals to the homeless.
*We purchase and distribute meals to low-income families on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
*We gather one Saturday each month to repair (or restore) homes for members or non members in need of assistance.
Does it cost to join?
Yes and no.
No: There are no fees to join, though most members voluntarily donate to the organization as they wish or are able.
Yes: Binding oneself to a community of imperfect people (just like me), can be difficult on occasion.
I joined this quiet organization almost 40 years ago.
Why? Well, I suppose its because I never feel alone as I travel through life's many peaks and valleys. It's nice to know that I matter to more than my family members. Yes, other members, like me, have their share of warts, but deep down, however clumsily, they love me, my wife and my kids…and I love them.
This quiet organization also offers me a North Star from which I can, each week, properly calibrate my compass in order stay on course as I travel across the increasingly turbulent high seas of the world of this present age.
Finally, I joined not simply because the benefits far outweigh the cost, though that much is true. I joined because I believe that community is the necessary crucible within which a noble life is incubated. Our founder seemed to understand that isolation or transience provides fertile soil within which self-centeredness and self-righteousness can too easily take root....and so he created this organization.
He knew, as we are learning, that committing oneself to another (or in this case a collection of others) has an uncanny way of subverting those vices. Most married people, let alone parents, can attest to that fact.
It has been observed that people are becoming more technologically connected.....yet more isolated, every day. The King of Prussia Mall for example, is one of the loneliness places on earth. Rod Dreher refers to this era as 'liquid modernity.'
Perhaps it is precisely because of the anonymity and aloneness that characterizes 'liquid modernity' that I cherish my membership more than ever before.
I am speaking, as you may have guessed, about our Church (Great Valley Presbyterian) without which I am not sure where.... or who, I would be.
Come join us.