To simplify things for a friend of mine who wasn't sure what I had been up to, and who wanted to start following my blog:
I'm attending an Anglican church. I love it, the people are great, the church itself makes me feel comfortable and welcome, each time I walk through the 137 year old doorway. It's a small, old, beautiful church.
Ive decided to take the Education for Ministry course through the church. It is open to other churches of other faiths in the area, but the mentor for the class is our Deacon. Year one is The Old Testament. :-) First class starts tonight.
Now, on the not-so-mainstream path of my spiritual journey.
I am a seminarian in the Universal Church of Autogenes. The process might be long, and I'm totally okay with that. Lots of reading, yes, but also lots of interaction with the Bishop and with the Priests.
Within that Church, there is a monastic order called Holy Monastic Order En Deus. This order has a few different schools within it, and the specific order I am in is called the Brothers and Sisters of St. Thomas. I am a 'wandering nun'. Meaning that I do not live at the monastery, but instead, via independent prayer/praxis, I am on my own. It doesn't really feel as though I am on my own however, as monthly calls and skype meetings , both one on one with the leaders, as well as in a group, very much lend a sense of community.
The Universal Church of Autogenes has quite a few expressions within it. They are based on the schools of thought discussed in the Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Thomasine, Valentinian (which also has an Eastern Orthodox tradition within it), Sethian and Hermetic. This extends, as I mentioned above, into the Monastic Order as well.
So, ideally, one day I will be a priest within the Universal Church of Autogenes. And although I will be learning the core essence of liturgy, ritual, the sacraments etc., I will most likely practice and serve as a Thomasine Minister. The Thomasine Gnostic/Christian path is graced with eastern influences, and a service is similar to a Puja, or even a Quaker meeting , when taken to its simplest form. It is not very ritual heavy. An example of a Thomasine Liturgy can be seen in the Thomasine link above.
I decided that because I am seeking ordination within a framework of Apostolic Succession (Shannon, you might have to google that term, as I don't want to explain it incorrectly), that taking the Education for Ministry course could help. After all, I would like to have a good understanding of the bible and the Christian Church. Even though the bible does not contain my scripture of choice, (for me) I need to get a better inside understanding of mainstream Christianity before comfortably receiving my ordination and ministering outside of that structure. For well developed opinions, and objectivity, and to be able to sincerely relate to those in a more traditional Christian ministry, I want that even playing ground. Of course I know that a course like EFM is no where near as extensive as actual Theological Seminarian lessons, but it's a nice start.
I received a robe that I ordered off ebay a few weeks ago. The price was quite good, though I am not very fond of the material. But the robe is to wear as a nun within this Thomasine order. Brown, and quite nice really. Also, the image I posted below, of the Cross, well I am hoping that it will be made into a pendant for the future. Those things aren't necessary, however they are tools that help set the state of mind when one enters into a daily praxis. So, morning involves prayers and contemplation of passages from Gospel of Thomas, and throughout the day I have a mantra that I say to myself. Om mani padme hum. It brings to mind the Lotus, and how it takes root in the mud, only to grow up through the water and toward the light. There are quite a few deep meanings within that mantra, one only has to google it for a good idea.
Ok then, theres the up-to-date of what I'm doing. Shannon, does that explain things for you? ;-)