Friday, November 03, 2017

What is a Johannite: Spiritually Decisive

"And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him." -Matthew 4:21-22
As the Director of Communications for the Apostolic Johannite Church, I am the first point of contact for many people seeking a spiritual home that can accept eccentric ideas, yet has a strong tradition. I tend to encounter people who've been wandering from tradition to tradition.

These people, their first experience is generally a very narrow version of Christianity, where if you don't toe the line, you are ostracized. So they reject Christianity altogether, and they look at Buddhism, or paganism, or nothing. Then, when they begin to heal, the Church calls them back, but they cannot accept the narrowness of the version of which they were raises. And so they find us.

For some people, they've studied a lot, and they've seen how different translations change the meanings of phrases, how knowing the Greek or Hebrew can radically change the understanding of a passage, give it facets and reflections you simply won't find in Strong's Concordance. They have trouble focusing on an interpretation, and so they find us.

The Johannite does not focus on a single interpretation. They focus on the process, on the exploration. The Johannite is spiritually decisive, and they decide to leave space for alternate theories, for discussion, for knowing in that gnostic sense. The Johannite decides to make camp in this tradition that has room for multiple theories, stories, perspectives.

That call comes from Christ, a call to be open to what happens while one follows Christ. It is a path of growth, of transformation, of newness. One will not simply be working on the nets and the boat and fishing day after day. When you follow the Rabbi into the wilderness, as John and James did, you can never be sure what tomorrow will bring. It might be a storm, or an all night vigil on a mountain top, or serving a crowd with bread and fishes. But you have to decide to follow. That is the first step.

That is the step the Johannite takes. To have faith that Christ will lead them where they need to be. In the Apostolic Johannite Church, we often say "Come as you are, and stay as long or as little as you like and share your pilgrimage toward the Divine." Sometimes, following that path leads you away from the Church to other paths, paths that resonate more deeply in your pilgrimage to the Divine. While we always like to have people to journey with, we wish you Godspeed should our paths diverge.

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