25 Aug What is an Interspiritual Interfaith Minister??
Hello, it’s me.
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet…
Yes, I am quoting Adele songs. But truly, it feels like it’s been years both since I’ve connected with you in person and in writing. As much as I’d like to meet in person, that is obviously not an easy option, so I hope you are healthy, safe and navigating these challenging ups and downs with as much ease and self-compassion as possible. And on the writing front, it has been half a year! Much has transpired in the last year or so that has led to waves of connection and disconnection, and part of that has been that I felt a bit disconnected from writing.
But, I’ve been on summer break from seminary for the past couple months, which has afforded me some time to rest and decompress. And lately, I’ve been processing and integrating what transpired over the last year. And some of that has led to me starting to reconnect with The Connected Way™ and explore some of the many ideas that have arisen and been bouncing around in me for the past year or so.
For context as I begin to reconnect with you all, I want to start by sharing what I have learned about what the upshot of this seminary program is – becoming an ordained Interspiritual Interfaith Minister.
We spent the first year of the program studying different faith traditions, looking at bias, shadow, trauma, different ways of being spiritually of service, and more, and along the way, doing an immense amount of personal work. It was an arduous, beautiful and transformative experience that is very much still in process. It was so much more than I had expected. And, in the last couple months of the curriculum, leading up to our end of year intensive, a lot coalesced and the upshot became more clear and meaningful. Because I get the question “what does that mean?” basically every time I mention seminary, I figured I would share.
I am going to break down my personal understanding of each component (these are not textbook nor possibly “accurate” in others eyes, but they are my current understanding):
Interfaith: The belief and understanding that all faiths are valid and valued. I can learn from and be of service to anyone and everyone, from every background and belief system. Bringing different religious, spiritual and ethical traditions together creates a richness of connection, understanding and meaning.
Interspiritual: The belief that all faiths at their very foundation are basically the same thing. Each faith is it’s own path, but in the end, they all lead to the same place – connection to source and the unity and oneness of all. It’s basically the idea that each religion is like a different language talking about the same thing. And largely, the distinction of the faiths is based in the narratives and human influence and understanding of the faith. In my last post, I shared this quote from Shaykh Hamza Yusuf: “The history of religions is the history of their egos and not of their soul.” The ego of the religion is what we see. But, the soul of the faith is what we experience. And I believe the soul of all the religions is inherently the same or at least leading to the same thing.
The term Interspiritual was coined when leaders from different faiths came together to share their own experiences and deepened their own relationships with divinity, source, etc. by learning about each other’s mystical and spiritual experiences. As such, much of Interspiritual belief is based on spiritual experiences, not necessarily concepts or teachings. I will speak to this much more in my next post.
Cool side note: The founder and spiritual director of my seminary, Rev. Diane Berke (who is an amazing spiritual teacher) shared that there is consideration in spiritual and religious communities that perhaps Interspirituality will be the “religion” of the third millenia. Given so many people have become disenchanted with their religion of origin (or choice), and accordingly lost some of the benefits of spirituality and community that religion once provided, the idea that this collective and inclusive understanding of faith and spirituality could become our foundation provides me great hope!
Ministry: Being spiritually of service. I was looking back at my notes from the very first weekend of classes and one of our deans shared with us that “our job description as ministers is to love.” And that can show up in so many forms (so many more than I had even considered). But at it’s foundation, a minister’s role is to help others to feel seen, heard, valued, held, loved and connected.
Many people ask me where I’m headed with this or what I might do with it. I do not know what this will lead to, but that feels exactly right. I do have some areas of focus and ideas that have popped up about how I might be able to be of service to others. But for now, I’m allowing myself to continue exploring and experiencing, to listen and pay attention to what calls me, and for now, to share with you.
Thanks for being along for the ride, and as always, feel free to share any thoughts and insights.
In Interspiritual love and light,
The Connected Way™