Honoring the Divine Feminine: A Church Without Walls.

That phrase has served our community well, from nearly the beginning. A Church without Walls. You know that change I talked about a couple weeks ago? The change from old paradigm to new? From things that were working but now maybe aren’t quite working anymore? A Church without Walls is one of those old pathway things. It’s still working. It’s still a good tagline. But we can do better. You see, some people have a problem with the word “church,” and some people have a problem with the word “walls”. This is new energy stuff. The word “church” conjures up a brick and morter building with a pastor who talks on Sundays. It calls out people who go to the building but don’t live a spiritual life. On my way from Texas to Arizona this week, I passed by a HUGE building that said Faith Center in large words over the front door. It was clearly a church in the brick and mortar sense, but they chose not to use the word. Unmistakably, the word church is problematic enough that a church didn’t use it on their building. The word “walls” has been in the news repeatedly for the last 4 years and not in a good way. A Church without walls is itself is set in the negative. Without …something. As a description of our Community, it is lacking. Our new catchphrase is,

Honoring the Divine Feminine with Open Arms, Open Hearts and Open Minds.

You might notice that Arms, Hearts, and Minds are in alphabetical order so I can remember them. But beyond that, these three things represent concrete ideas for us. I want to define some terms. Open arms represent the physical body. The definition of with open arms is enthusiastically and warmly. (dictionary.com) Open Hearts represent the emotional or spiritual body. The definition of With Open Hearts is someone who is open-hearted is kind, loving, and honest. (Cambridge.org) And finally, open minds. The mind represents the intellect. The definition of open minded is a willingness to try new things or to hear and consider new ideas. (yourdictionary.com)

I want to talk about the phrase Open Arms for a minute. While I have tried to research this particular idea of mine, I haven’t quite come up with verification on Google so chalk this up to a past life memory. Historically, pre-modern age, people, men especially wore a sword, or dagger on their person for protection. My idea is that the phrase “with open arms” came from this time period in that if you greeted someone with open arms, you did not have your hand on your weapon, your hands were out and open to symbolize that you were not a threat. And of course, dangerous times being what they were, you could only afford to be open armed with friends.

Living with an open heart in this world is tricky. The challenge is to stay open hearted in a cruel world. But who better to accept this challenge than us, and the Madonna Interfaith Community as a whole! “To live with an open heart is to remember that the essence of our true self is LOVE. We must forgive, heal, and feel the depths of our emotions before we have the space to connect deeper and higher. This open heart space is where we reflect divine love and light for each other!” – Andrea Keh (https://wanderlust.com/journal/what-it-means-live-open-heart/) I want to be a person who reflects divine love.

Open mindedness is a hallmark of the Madonna Interfaith Community. A willingness to listen to new ideas, New pathways, consider alternative thoughts, and being inclusive and non-judgmental when some of those things differ from what we might be used to is what we strive to be. I think that these last four years have shown how many people are closed minded, refusing to accept anything new because it clashes with what they already think. As we change and grow in this ministry, it is going to be important that we listen, really hear the new ideas people bring with them.

In summary, while the phrase “Church without Walls” has worked for decades, I believe the catchphrase “Honoring the Divine Feminine with open Arms, open Hearts, and open Minds” carefully and more completely defines our group, the Madonna Interfaith Community. Using terms that are both subjective in nature and concrete in practice and which represent the three basic tenants physical, emotional/spiritual, and intellectual that most of us subscribe to, this new phrase will take time for us to become comfortable. There is nothing wrong with using the old phrase, but I believe the new phrase better and more completely defines who we are and what we strive to be.
~Marie Wilkes