Temple Building

Are you ready?

That question has been coming to me more and more in the last months. I am standing before a door, one that has found its way to me or one that I have put there myself, and I feel the threshold before me. On the other side is change; excitement and fear announce themselves inside of me.

It was in this space that I attended the Open Course on Places of Ancient Initia- tion, given by Bastiaan Baan and Julia Polter at the Seminary. What I came away with was a challenge, an insight, and a question.

The challenge: You cannot stay as you are. You must face death. Today, one
of the greatest fears is penetrating one’s own inner being. I too face this fear. What can be found in our own depths? Destructive forces are there, forces that I know I must battle. But on an altar deep within there also rests a sword. Find the sword and bring it to the light.

The insight: The ancient temple, whether it was Solomon’s Temple or the tem- ple of Apollo at Delphi, contained a space unoccupied by everyday life and very rarely by human beings. It held the ark, or a statue of a god, and was consid- ered the holiest of spaces, where a god could find a dwelling on earth. In our own innermost room we must create a space, not empty, but prepared so that it is open and receptive to the spirit. If we do not tend this space, preparing it always, it can become occupied and taken over, corrupted by a being out of its rightful place.

The question: The Oracle at Delphi gave people an encounter with the truth. It neither spoke nor concealed, but gave signs. This meant that there was no fin- ished recipe and that responses were enigmatic in nature. Such an experience required intellectual and moral effort, and through this effort people found that a path could open before them. Can this enigmatic nature of truth inform how I ask questions? If I know that the true answer is a path that has to be unfold- ed, might the questions that I carry shift and change, or perhaps even grow and drop away?

So, am I ready? Am I ready to die and change? Yes. And fear helps me stay awake. If I feel it well up in me, I try to say Hello and invite it to stand by my side; I need the space before me clear so that I can see where to place my feet. I won’t have it tripping me. I walk inward, into the depths where the battle is. This is where I am building my temple; here I am preparing a space for the spir- it. Here I will be, time and again, preparing, because this is my path.

by Emma Heirman
Picture: Open Course art sharing

Open Courses at the seminary

“Every fall and every spring I take the time to come to Chicago to attend one or two Open Courses at the Seminary. By now I have slept in almost every room, met all the seminary students who were here over the years and have experienced almost every kind of weather Chicago has to offer. Well, that’s not exactly the reason why I come back over and over again. I have been privileged to sit in on some of the most amazing courses. Every time I walk away with food for thought and new knowledge that keeps me nourished for weeks and months. Just look at the titles of the Open Courses that are offered every semester. It is impossible not to find a subject that ‘talks to you’. ” Margit Gratzl, North Carolina

“… And so went the week. Are you getting the picture, dear friend, that not all deepening of one’s spiritual life has to lead to an ivory tower of knowledge? We can simply make our lives more livable, more enjoyable, more observant, by laying aside the laundry list and enlist for a week at the seminary. There we can make new personal connections and enrich the lives of other like-minded-people as well as taking away something personal. Now it is your turn!” Margaret Shipman, California

“Attending the Open Course, ‘Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, Judas and the Mystery of Golgotha’ during Holy Week at the seminary was something I’d long anticipated. Although I am relatively new to The Christian Community, I had hoped for years to make a retreat during Holy Week to explore this time leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. When I saw this course listed in the seminary brochure I jumped at the chance!” Faith Lerner, Wisconsin

“If only I knew In the good old days, if you wanted to attend a Christian Community seminary class you just had to learn German. Now there is an alternative, a seminary in Chicago, where the best minds of the international Movement for Religious Renewal come to us. They conveniently provide world-class courses, some of which are open to the wider community at a minimal cost. Now you know.” Tom McGuire, Chicago

Sacrament and Destiny

“Destiny Brought Us Together!” Amidst a deluge of June rain and hail, sun and warmth, 14 seekers came together to experience a four-day retreat centered around “Sacrament and Destiny”. We hailed from as far away as North Carolina and Minnesota, from as near as Chicago and Milwaukee, and points in-between. What we discovered was each other and a common quest to deepen our relationship to The Christian Community……. Our days together were punctuated by much laughter and many wonderings. We made new connections, reached new insights and left warmed by the camaraderie of fellow travelers on the path.” Kathleen Reagan

Walking with Christ – Working from Christ

“During the waning days of August 2007 from the four points of the compass, nine seekers, most members of The Christian Community, gathered together at the Chicago Seminary for five days of exploration, study and conversation on the theme. Coming together to share among ourselves on this journey is a special blessing.” Terri Bennett, NY, NY

“The theme of the week seemed to encompass the fact, that you could not possibly encompass everything. From the many people who attended, the fast pace, discussions and activities made anyone who thought they were on a retreat, realize that perhaps more than anything else, they were actually on the forefront or the charge of the Christian Community. But more than all of our differences, more than our many way’s of thinking and our prejudices, biases, varying points of view and often humorous disagreements, was the idea of our commonalities, was the idea of community life and thought, and in the center was Christ, his thinking and his presence in all of our lives…” Martin Young, Fayetteville, N.C.

“The ‘fuss’ was this – a week of the most in-depth and wondrous conversation and sharing I have ever participated in. From discussions on the four gospels, to examination of different aspects of the Act of Consecration; from opening up possibilities with the Lord’s Prayer to reflecting on what it might mean to “walk with Christ, work from Christ”, each conversation was a precious elixir which I felt nurture and deepen my spiritual awareness…” Donna Simmons, Viroqua, Wisconsin