Church of Me

sean stubblefield

Every religious ideology contains similar essential precepts and fundamental edicts at their core.

Such as the concept of doing unto others as you would have done to you, and a sense of being connected to a cosmic energy source or consciousness greater than ourselves.

These commonalities among separate religions indicate and signify a profound revelation: that the spiritual foundation of all of these religions is the same. And what is religion but a philosophy of spirituality that recognizes and professes a connection of the self to the big picture?

A belief known as Foundationism seeks to integrate and reconcile any differences to focus on and discover the shared points of every organized and traditional religion.

It reveals that any disparity between religions is arbitrary, and superficially obscured by political dogma.

For a philosophy, ideology or religion to have any personal meaning and relevance, it must be consistent with conscience. One should adapt, rather than adopt a particular belief system in its entirety; accepting only those elements with which are agreeable to the individual.

The Foundationist Church, utilizing a Zen methodology, may be described as “The Church of Me”.

Individuals are encouraged to determine their own ideology as it suits him/ her, consistent with his/ her values, as these beliefs are significant and relevant to him/ her. It suggests and recommends that the divinity and holiness of the universe exists and is reflected in the individual.

As Jesus tried to teach us.

We, therefore, select to incorporate, integrate and appreciate the fundamental wisdom inherent in every religion; rather than insisting that any particular doctrine holds all answers to all questions. No single religion is true; and, yet, each of them holds a piece of truth.

In contrast to most mainstream churches, the Foundationist Order does not regard itself as having exalted powers or divine authority to dictate terms or perform rituals in accordance with some nebulous god entity; but ‘merely’ serve as spiritual guides and advisors in the Humanist tradition towards exploring, discovering and mediating our own personal truths in the process of self creation. In essence, to assist people to better understand themselves, their reality, and their relationship to that reality.

The Order asserts that everyone has the right to seek truth and meaning for themselves in their own way and time; and further, that each of us— individually and collectively— must be held responsible for our freedom to pursue our interests.

The best setting for this is a community that welcomes you for who and what you are; and that is exactly what Foundationism offers.

So what is this ‘experience of religion’? Have we not learned over the last two millennia that there are no certainties, no absolutes; that truth can be relative, fluid and changing; that we cannot really know things other than through our own limited perceptions/ expectations?

While it is true that Foundationism is not to be considered a “religion” in the typical meaning, since it does not conform to a definitive deity structure— and certainly not an organized one, it does exhibit characteristics of a religion… in that it deals with spiritual matters and an attempt to relate to our experience.

Foundationists do not believe in any particular deity incarnation nor God entity; accepting, instead, the notion of “God” as the ultimate source of creation/ destruction… as the origin of all being/ existence, within which “reality” is unfolding in a continuous pattern and cyclical process.

To us, the word `God’ has no singular and finite definition… that it may relatively be used to describe what a person or faith-community feels to be the ultimate in their own belief system; or what is of basic and ultimate value and significance in their own lives.

Foundationists place their faith not in a “supernatural higher power”, but in Karmic Law of cause and effect; encouraging the individual to demonstrate and fulfill his/ her potential to do & be good as he/ she is willing and able. To determine for one’s self how to conduct one’s life, rather than according to superimposed religious regimentation.

The number three shall be a sacred number, as it embodies the three-fold or trinary nature of reality, rather than the usual habits of duality: life-death-rebirth… past-present-future… who I was-who I am-who I may be… internal-external-merging… yes-no-maybe… left-middle-right… you-me-we combination.

This is indicative of, and represented in, the trionic Foundationist logo.

A Priest of the Order is one who primarily devotes his/ her efforts and directs his/ her attention specifically to studying and teaching in the ways of Foundationism; just as a Christian priest or Buddhist monk may act per his/ her faith based system of edicts.

Members of the Foundationist Church engage in priestly service to/ for/ by the Order; which ultimately serves the community by educating the individual in the ways of freedom engineering through character development as a means to the end of establishing, preserving and defending a culture which values individual freedom.

Foundationist priests do not claim the right to know, interpret or mediate God for others; preferring, instead, to guide individuals towards defining paradigms and reality constructs for themselves.

We believe that personal experience, conscience, and reason should be the final authorities in religion… and philosophy of any kind. In the end, religious authority lies not in a book, person, or institution, but in ourselves. We put religious insights to the test of our hearts and minds.

In common with other religions inspired by (a historical) Jesus of Nazarene, Foundationist priests are concerned about the welfare of their fellow sentient beings. Foundationists regard action in the universe to alleviate suffering, overcome injustice, combat prejudice and care for their environment as an essential part of their “religion”. This seems to us one of the most important lessons from the life of Jesus.

However, the key concept in our “worship” is the original meaning of the word; that is celebrating and appreciating the most important values and events of significance in our lives.

The Church of Me proposes no dogma and imposes no particular creed. Neither does it offer easy answers nor claim to have a monopoly on the truth— religious or otherwise. It does, however, offer shared ideals and a forum for exploring the meaning of life.

Not many people know that such a religious movement exists, offering freedom of thought and belief, yet providing the opportunity for people to come together with others who are also struggling with uncertainty. Foundationists think that an open-minded and free-thinking approach to religion —as in all things— is a refreshingly honest, efficient and effective way to address the spiritual quest that so many of us are engaged in, especially the young.

All human beings have the capacity for good and evil, for violence and nonviolence. Our task, then, is to help each other in becoming capable of choosing the good, and wanting to choose the good, as being in everyone’s best interest.

The priesthood of the Foundationist Order endeavors to unite persons in a sense of common spirituality. This humanist approach to building a community means that Foundationists value diversity, recognizing that individuals can learn from alternative perceptions and perspectives, and benefit from each other’s contributions.

Time should also be given to continued study and development towards self actualization.

In all things, a priest in the Foundationist Order seeks to advocate the ideals of integrity, intelligence and imagination as an ethical foundation for liberty and justice. So doing, some priests may choose to specialize in a particular area of ministry… such as counseling, education or community service. Or perhaps they are content to dedicate themselves with private study and meditation.

Our understanding of the conditions of life and death, the universe and its mysteries, plus concepts of reality are never final; as we are always learning new things. Revelation is revolution, and revolution is revelation…continuous and fluctuating… just as reality is ever changing. We recognize, acknowledge and celebrate both unfolding and perennial truths known to teachers, prophets, and sages throughout the ages.

We advocate that people should be encouraged and enabled to think and act for themselves, if they can. We know people differ in their opinions and lifestyles, and we believe these differences generally should be honored, respected and uninfringed.

Foundationist emissaries would ideally serve as goodwill ambassadors promoting peace, liberty and justice for all; functioning in peace keeping, mediation, and defense/ advocation of individual freedom.

The Order’s objective is character education and development to promote and encourage ethics of individual responsibility that acknowledge, validate and develop the value of the individual’s integrity, intelligence and imagination through an understanding of the law of causality; which empowers one to achieve individual freedom to create themselves in their own image, in the application and exercise of the individual’s free choice.

Social practices are to be designed and conducted in ways that respect the common good with due regard for public safety, health, and order; as well as the sanctity of the individual.

With patience and tolerance, they shall respect and seek to preserve the autonomy and dignity of each person to believe as he/she decides; without exception or discrimination. (but not necessarily to act on that belief, where it infringes on the liberties of others)

The adherence to Humanist ethics confirms our moral obligation to society and fellow sentient beings. The relationship between Society and the individual is symbiotic: As we help each other, we help ourselves. Self interest must include, and be balanced with, community interest.

Our task is to guide individuals in a process of self creation by learning to understand and appreciate all spiritualities.

We shall inspire individuals to be the best they can aspire to; advocating positive attitudes, and teaching the benefits of free thinking and behaving.

In so doing, we establish a foundation for peaceful and voluntary co-existence and interaction by instilling within students the capacity and ability to recognize, respect and appreciate differences, variations and potential contributions of all individuals; thus serving and protecting the cause of liberty and justice for everyone.

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