M o d e r n E c u m e n i c a l C h u r c h
M o d e r n C h r i s t i a n S p i r i t u a l i t y
T h e C e n t r a l C o n c e p t s
i ) A n O p e n - m i n d e d S p i r i t u a l i t y
P r e a m b l e
Religion is about how best to share a spiritual teaching or
practice, with a wider audience. Religions begin with a
spiritual encounter, an insight or a revelation. Over time,
a movement grows around the original 'practitioners'.
The insights or experiences are codified in sacred texts, rituals
form, and followers organise around a priesthood and venue.
A spiritual movement needs to organise, if the benefits of it's
teachings are to be shared widely. Spiritual wisdom should not
be confined to an elite. Thus many religions become missionary
with the realisation that it is unethical to confine their knowledge
(and the benefits of this knowledge) to a select few.
Any spiritual movement, will become more complex as it grows.
However, with growth, a movement can loose it's essence, becoming
distracted with managing it's organisation, or having it's original
insights (teachings) distorted or poorly interpreted.
When religions loose their way, it is often necessary to go back
to the start - and rediscover the core insights and teachings.
Rituals, rules and roles may need to be pealed back, in order
to reveal the beauty of the original spiritual insight.
Ecumenical Church emerges in a time of religious fundamentalism.
Some religions have become narrow-minded, legalistic and dogmatic.
Some practitioners have acted in ways that clearly go against their
Modern Christian Spirituality presents us with an opportunity to return
to a true spirituality, based on a Gospel of Love, that brings healing and
happiness to people living in today's world.
E s s e n c e o f M o d e r n C h r i s t i a n S p i r i t u a l i t y
The wellspring of Modern Christian Spirituality is love. Love is our
nourishment. " Love one another " is our highest spiritual teaching,
for only love is truly salvational.
An open-minded approach to the Bible.
Companions are free to interpret the Bible. Some may take a truly literal
view of a text, whilst others see some parts of the Bible as allegorical writing.
A truly "ecumenical" church does not dictate how a text is to be interpreted.
What is important for us, are the lessons we can learn from studying a text.
The Primacy of the Messiah's words and deeds.
The words and deeds of our Messiah, as best as we can determine them
to be true, constitute for us, the highest level of instruction : i.e. what the
Messiah teaches (his words), is what we should follow & how the Messiah
lived (his deeds), is how we should live too.
The writings of others in the Bible, for example, Saul ( Paul of Tarsus )
are considered inspired commentary on the Messiah and his teachings.
Their texts can help us to better understand the Messiah's teachings.
Saul (Paul), and the other authors of the Gospels, including the Book of
Revelation (and other non-cannonical texts), attempt to interpret the
Messiah's Gospel of Love, for their times, and for a future time. Whilst
each of the Gospel's authors wrote for a specific audience, nonetheless,
the wisdom of their insights, can remain highly relevant for us today.
Some Companions will find a literal reading of the Gospels meaningful.
Others will consider a symbolic or allegorical interpretation helpful. A
truly Ecumenical Church does not enforce one position over another.
Companions are always free to search for the truth. What unites us,
is our search for a Gospel of Love, in any of the texts we study.
The Ecumenical Church accepts the Old Testament as an inspired text.
The Hebrew Bible is a story of a people learning to love. The ancient
Hebrew Bible is a story of hope : that God will save us, as we are not
capable of saving ourselves. Thus, the Hebrew Bible is an anticipation
of coming salvation, through the Messiah.
Of particular interest to the Ecumenical Church, is the study of Hebrew
Testament prophecies, concerning the coming of the Messiah, and the
coming of the 'End of Times'.
As a story of a people, on a journey to understand life, the Old Testament
Bible is filled with vivid accounts of almost every human failing possible.
Events in this Bible, are a witness to unachieved purposes, unappeased
desires and unfulfilled prophecies. Only in the coming of the Messiah,
is there fulfilment of purpose, desire and prophecy. Only in the coming
of the Messiah, is the old way (an eye for an eye), replaced with a new
way (an offer of the other cheek). i.e. Exodus 21:24 v Matthew 5:38-39
In every way, WE the Church, are part of this great Biblical journey
towards an ultimate understanding that : God loves us, and only love is
truly salvational for humanity. Thus we too, anticipate the coming of the
Messiah and the End-of-Times.
The Origin of Love
The magnificence of the universe should inspire us to consider the
very real probability of intelligent design." The heavens declare the
glory of God : the skies proclaim the work of his hands. " Psalm 19
Creation demands a Creator. This natural law* states that something cannot
come from nothing. Thus we should be confident, that a Creator exists, and
the Creator loves us. To create something so beautiful as life, is an act of love.
1 John 4 : 8 proclaims that " God is love ". Creation is proof of that love.
Further "proof" of the Creator's love, is our freedom. We are created to be
free thinking beings - not puppets or slaves of any god or man.
* the law of Cause and Effect is one of nature's fundament laws & is found consistently throughout
the universe. The Law of Cause and Effect can be expressed as "Creation demands a Creator".
The Messiah taught us that love saves us from spiritual death. When we
act with love, we are re-born : no longer primitive and selfish. When we
are loving, we are a new creation : a transformed being. Sin has no power
The central teaching of the Messiah, is this : we should
love one another as he loved us. John 13 : 34
This be our Gospel of love.
The Ecumenical Church accommodates many views on the Messiah
( Jesus ). Some declare that Christ is truly God with us (Emmanuel).
Some believe, the Messiah is a true Son of God, whose words & deeds
elevated him, above all others. Others conclude that Jesus was a man,
who was accorded divine status, by those he inspired. Many believe the
story of Jesus was not only a literal account of his life and teachings, but
there are allegorical (hidden) elements, with deeper meanings for those
who can interpret the text. Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-216) was influenced by
Greek philosophy, including Philo & proposed a system of interpretation where any passage
of the Bible might have up to five meanings! This allegorical tradition continues in esoteric
and mystic elements of the Judah-ite faith, and in some Christian groups.
What unites all these views, is the efficacy of Christ's teachings & his
selfless acts for others, including accepting death on the cross for his
Heaven and Hell
Many Companions look forward to a Rapture event, whilst others
believe an end-time is possible : but when and how is less clear.
Some Companions look forward to a Kingdom of God in heaven.
Others focus on a kin-dom of love, here on earth. Many people
look forward to an after-life, where a higher purpose will be
served. Others look forward to Heaven as a place of reward.
Some, who choose Satan's way : preferring greed, and lusting
for wealth & power at the expense of others, will find Hell their
final destination : where their existence will be no more. God
is not a torturer. Hell is not a place of eternal imprisonment.
That misconception comes from Dante's work of fiction.
Evil must be eliminated for evil to have any meaning. The Bible
teaches that all, who face the Final Judgement, will have one
final chance of repentance : a final extension of God's grace.
Those who reject God's grace, will be damned to hell and
cease to exist.
Those who hold confident views on the after-life, abound with
hope, joy and contentment, (but) those who deny that life has
any meaning, purpose or design, often find themselves quickly
descending into a deep existential despair. Meaning & purpose
brings us great happiness and a positive perspective on life.
Modern science has confirmed that the universe has a finite end.
Decay is seen consistently throughout the universe, and concords
with the Bible's teaching on a coming end-time.
The Messiah promised us mansions in heaven*. We should not ignore
the real possibility of an after-life (spiritual realm). Today, scientists
are uncovering startling facts about a multi dimensional universe - a
mulit-verse, with dimensions that exist, but can't be seen. The Bible
outlines our future, in ways that are, only now, able to be appreciated
by our modern day scholars and scientists. * John 14 : 1 - 3
Companions are united on the understanding that evil is real. Some
will place a greater emphasis on free-will, and our responsibility for
our actions. Some companions focus on supernatural explanations
for evil : i.e. the dark angel Satan, who desires a king-dom for him-
self, and seeks us to join with him, and create a world of slaves who
serve a greedy master (akin to the feared rise of an evil one-world-
government !)*. The Bible devotes a significant portion of its text to
end-times. Companions will find many relevant warnings for our times.
* The Bible teaches that Satan / Devil (fallen Angel) seeks to create his own realm,
seducing both Angels and Humans, with the promise of unbounded freedom. We
can already observe the consequences of unlimited liberty : freedom to commit
evil, freedom to sin against others, freedom to reject love and the freedom to seek
personal fulfilment / satisfaction at the cost of others. The Bible teaches that only
righteous persons, shall be raised as saints (called the Rapture) & return with the
Messiah to earth, to face the forces of the coming Anti-Christ - and bring about a
thousand year rule, where the saints shall guide the remnants of our civilisation
(the remaining few who survive the Armageddon battle) (Rev : 16). The Satan
too, will also rebuild his realm until the Day of Judgement: the final great
resurrection of all souls, who, by God's grace, will have one more opportunity
to choose between Heaven (Paradise), or Hell (Satan's Realm). In every way,
life here on earth, offers each of us, an understanding of good and evil, as we
experience both in life. Thus, we can all make an informed decisions and
choose for ourselves, where we wish to be in the after-life - Heaven or Hell.
When will the Rapture begin? The Bible says there must first be 144,000 saints,
who can be gathered from any period in time. There may be Saints living in our
time! Are we close to approaching the final number ? Many believe when the
Messiah has his 144,000 Saints, the Rapture can begin. (Christ's Saints may not
be the same ones as the Roman Church's declared saints - we do not know who
they are, or when the final one shall join the ranks of the 'chosen'). How can so
few be chosen from the 100 billion people who have lived to date ? The Messiah
warned that " it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a
person who is wealthy, to enter the kingdom of God." When we look around,
how many people do we see, who spend their entire lives seeking : w e a l t h ?
The Centrality of Love
The Ecumenical Church is a broad church, accommodating many
positions : but uniting on the understanding that love is central to
our salvation : the love of God for us, and our love for each-other.
Gospel teaching on love :
On the feast day of Pentecost, the gathered Apostles, began to feel
a new energy : a vitality : a confidence. They would rouse from their
slumber, and begin to stand tall, and proclaim that the power of the
Messiah was with them ! Simple fisherman became super-men.
Now, filled with the spirit, they would boldly go out and proclaim the
Gospel, without fear. It must have felt like the very power of God had
descended upon them.
The authors of the New Testament, tried to describe the power and the
emotion of this event, in words that made sense to them. The experience
was described as an encounter with the divine. The Gospel authors also
remembered the ancient concept of the Holy Shekhinah : the presence
of God. In time, the emotion of the event came to be described as a person
descending upon the Apostles - firing their spirits - filling them with love,
wisdom, and courage ( like a coach firing up his sport's team ).
The descent of 'the Spirit' occurred during the Ju'ish festival, also known
as Shavuot - the "feast of weeks". Shavuot occurs 50 days after Passover -
the same time period, since the crucifixion of the Messiah.
The Feast of Weeks celebrates the giving of the Law to Moses. At Pentecost,
the Apostles "received" a new gift : not a new law, but a realisation (insight)
that THEY could transform their world, with the Messiah's Gospel of Love.
Thus a new spirituality emerged, and began it's spread around the world.
Soon, the simple spiritual path of the Messiah, would mature into a fully
fledged, world religion called Christianity.
In time, the Pentecost experience became mythologised by the Roman Church.
The experience was represented as a divine personality, called the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit became part of who God was : a divine Trinity ( Father, Son, and
their spirit presence - the Holy Spirit).
The Ecumenical Church is guided by the Messiah's words and deeds, and not by
subsequent Councils of the Roman Church (although we must examine them for
an understanding of the Church in the Dark Ages). Thus, the Ecumenical Church
teaches a Biblical understanding of God's relationship with his Son, and with us :
that Christ existed with the Creator, before the creation and is of the same
substance (spirit being) as the Creator. He entered our history, as a man
and as the Messiah. He lived and died. Upon his death, his presence was
deeply felt by those who loved him. They were profoundly inspired by him
and continued to follow his teachings, and build the new church.
The love of the Creator for the Son, the Son's love for his Father, the Creator
and Son's love for US, and our love for the Creator and the Messiah - is our
Ecumenical Trinity : a description of a loving relationship between all three.
From this wisdom, flows the Messiah's Greatest Teachings : that we should
love one another ( as He loves us ).
" where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
Matthew 18 : 20
Thus, when we gather in Christ's name (i.e. as a Church), we can be confident
that the Messiah is truly " with us " in spirit : the Holy Spirit of Christ with us.
We can also look forward to unity with our Creator and Messiah, in the coming
In Mark 12:28 the Bible tells of a scribe who came to Jesus with a question.
His question was simply this: "Which is the greatest commandment of all?"
Jesus responded to his question by quoting Deuteronomy 6:4. In verse 29
Jesus answered him this way:
‘The first commandment is, hear O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord."
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy
soul and with all thy might."
The Messiah's powerful Gospel of Love, transformed his disciples into heroic
teachers. For the next 300 years, apostles learned to live out the Messiah's
'way'. So successful were the early Christians, that when Constantine came
to choose a uniting religion for his empire, he could not exclude Christianity.
However, when Christianity became Roman Catholicism - an imperial religion,
the essence of the gospel teachings became more and more distorted. What
started as a revolutionary love-filled movement, declined into a power obsesed
and dogmatic empire, hell bent on growth and conquest. Unchecked, grace
soon became supplanted by legalism.
Today, Imperial Christianity continues, in both the Roman Church, and in
many fundamentalist Christian churches, who maintain a militant religious
outlook - often at odds with the grace and love of the Messiah's teachings.
The Roman Church and many like it, have continued to promote attitudes,
inherited from the Dark Ages (Middle Ages). Thus they abuse women and
children or discriminate against minorities, such has those who are same -
Same sex attraction and marriage.
The Ecumenical Church opens it's doors to all people, from all walks of
life. As Christ invited everyone to eat at his table, so there is a place for
everyone in our "ecumenical" church. The Ecumenical Church's first
priority, is to preach the Gospel of Love, that the (spiritually) dead may
find true life again. The Church does not judge individuals : all judgement
is for God. Our task, is to love one another, as the Messiah loved us, and
preach this message.
In Matthew 19 : 11, the Messiah asks his disciples to accept Eunuchs, who
are so "from birth". The implications of this statement are very profound.
The Messiah taught us to accept difference and diversity.
Eunuchs*, gays or trans-gendered folk are not destroyed at birth by God,
but live, as we live. If thus, they live & all life is from God, then they must
be equally blessed. If this be true, then what justification is there for us
to discriminate again same-sex oriented or transgendered people ?
* Eunuchs were, in the ancient world, often associated with same-sex orientation.
Genuine same-sex attraction is described as deeply ingrained : an attraction
that is deeply a part of who a person is : as true, as a hetro-sexual's desire
for a person of the opposite sex. Thus, can we condemn a person, because
of their orientation, if that orientation is natural and loving ?
The self appointed apostle Paul - an arch conservative ( & ex-Pharisee ),
viewed same-sex acts, as a trait of a people who have turned away from
his God *. The Ju's viewed themselves as a chosen people, set apart by
their God. They sought to preserve their 'unique' identity in various ways.
Homosexuality was a common feature in many neighbouring communities
in the Mediterranean region. Hard-core hetro-sexuality, became a feature
of Ju'ish identity (as was circumcision & Kosher food laws), which helped
set Ju's apart from their neighbours, and preserved their " tribal purity ".
Today, few Christians seriously consider eating pork (that has been ethically
raised & prepared), an offence against their God. Christians today, do not
circumcise their infant boys, as a religious duty. Therefore should we today,
seriously consider, that a naturally gay person, is somehow evil, because of
an ancient Ju'ish identity issue ? Certainly a more considerate approach
to same-sex oriented people, may help many people in traditional churches
(including church ministers), to openly declare their orientation & live an
honest life in their community (without fear of discrimination). Certainly,
the pressures of hidden homo-sexual orientation, may account for SOME
abuse of young boys, by supposedly celibate men. Forcing men to conceal
their sexual impulses, may be contributing to unhealthy & abusive sexual
activity, in many religious communities.
Ruth's love for Naomi, detailed in the Old Testament, may serve as a most
helpful text, for those pained by anti homosexual rhetoric (Book of Ruth 1 : 14-17).
Luke's account of the genuine hospitality shown by the Apostle Philip, towards
an Ethiopian (Nubian) Eunuch is also worthy. (Book of Acts 8:32-33). The
Ecumenical Church welcomes all lesbians and bi-sexual women warmly into
our church, and encourages all women to take an active role in the church.
* Romans 1 : 25 - 26
Marriage and Unions
Matthew 19 : 4 establishes the Messiah's standard for marriage : a union
between a man and woman ( which no person should try to destroy * ).
The Ecumenical Church supports the tradition of marriage & furthermore,
supports every child's right to both a father and a mother. Many same-sex
couples desire children. To preserve a child's moral right to a father and a
a mother, a gay couple may consider inviting a member of the opposite sex,
to be the real father or mother to a gay couple's child (for conception & for
ongoing parenting purposes as well).
The Ecumenical Church offers an equal blessing to male-female couples,
and same-sex unions. Our Church is not a registered institution (a body
controlled by state laws), and thus we do not certify either marriages or
unions. Legal sanction is a concern of the State, & couples should contact
their local authorities if they seek legal recognition for a marriage / union.
Our love of God
It is entirely natural, to thank someone for doing something good ! Thus
it is also natural, that we should thank a loving Creator, for creating us !
( and everything around us ! ). Gratitude is the first expression of love.
So whether we call the Creator : God or YaH-uW-aH or simply LORD,
let us make time each day, to meditate on the Creator's love for us, and
be thankful !
If we start the day by nourishing our minds with loving thoughts, it should
be easier for us to be a Vessel of Love and Compassion, throughout the
whole day !
Thus a spirituality grounded in love, not only brings us healing & happiness,
in this life, but may lead us to salvation in next life ! Hallelu Yah !
ii) A n o p e n - h e a r t e d c h u r c h
. The Ecumenical Church, invites all people, from all walks of life
to join us. We are neither Eastern nor Western. We stand at the
centre of true spirituality : a spirituality not based on myth, but love.
As Christ ate with everyone, so there is a place for everyone in our
church : from the rich and powerful (who need to find compassion), to
the poor and marginalised (who need to be received with compassion).
Our church does not promise a perfect world. However, we can join
together today, and work towards a better world, and be blessed for
our good deeds by our Creator.
Our church offers companionship, a modern outlook, and a sensible
spirituality. May this modern-day sanctuary be an effective well-spring :
nourishing & energising each of us to go out and become true "Vessels of
love & compassion" in the world.
i) Cultivate a healthy spirit . . .
Daily meditational prayer, is a solid foundation for a healthy spiritual life.
Purify your soul each day, through ritual cleansing.
Nourish your body with healthy food, activity, rest and recreation with others.
Set time aside to study. Read the Holy Scriptures and study the Central Concepts.
Live simply and humbly. Avoid being greedy, living with excess and wastage.
Avoid people who are harmful to you.
Live in the present moment - do not get absorbed in past thoughts or future concerns.
Seek to live peacefully and avoid violence.
Have a purpose in life, and find meaning in life *
* Those who hold confident views on the after-life, abound with
hope, joy and contentment. But those who deny that life has
any meaning, purpose or design, often find themselves
descending deep into an existential despair.
ii) Live a holy life . . .
Let the Messiah's way guide you : love one another ( Gospel of John 13 )
Be a Vessel of love and compassion.
Do no harm to anyone.
Forgive those who harm you *.
Avoid temptations that destroy you.
Act justly, and be merciful and kind to those around you.
* To your loved ones, heal your relationship with them, saying
" I am sorry : Please forgive me : Thank you : I love you "
iii) Bring healing and happiness to others.
Help those in need.
Bring happiness to those who suffer, so their spirits will be lifted.
Their healing, will be your healing.
By this, you will understand salvation.
3. C O M M U N A L S A L V A T I O N
Create more love in your community by :
i) Protecting the sanctity of life ( including family life )
ii) Treasuring our sacred earth
“ Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea
and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that
move along the ground.” Genesis 1 : 26 As custodians, How well are we 'ruling' the earth today ?
iii) Striving for justice & greater equality
“ This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another".
Zechariah 7:8-10 "..... do good, be rich in good works, be generous and ready to share" 1 Timothy 6:18
" To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not
withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods
do not demand them back". Luke 6:29-30
iv) Honouring a Common Day of Solace as an act of liberation for all people
" There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image " Revelation 14
“ Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy ". Exodus 20
MATTHEW 18:15-18. " WE KEEP SHALOM (seek Peace) ON SHABAT "