1. Articles of Incorporation Secretary of State of State of California Feb. 9, 1987 (Shows Church intended purpose)
2. Recognition Letter Franchise Tax Board State of California Jun. 17, 1987 (Shows legal Church status)
3. Recognition Letter Internal Revenue Service U.S.A. Jan. 8, 1988 (Shows 501[c]3 Public Charity status)
4. Amendment to Articles Secretary of State of State of California Jan. 14, 1998 (Shows name change)
Now, again, back to the bear story – you people get so easily distracted. Try again to pay attention. This is the same way that we tend to do the daily lessons in the Course (lots of distractions). I had given Sunshine-Adventure that huge beef bone that I told you about. She was eagerly devouring it in the front yard near the porch. As was my usual custom, I left the door ajar so that she could push the door open if she wanted to come back inside. I know; I know. Bears could also push the door open and come inside too. My two sons, Seth and Justin, keep telling me that also. But, I'm so spiritual that only very friendly house-trained bears would ever come in. While my sons do warn me about the dangers of my open-door policy, they certainly have not suggested that I build a high wall around my property to keep out illegal immigrant bears. Besides, who would pay for the wall? Certainly not the bears – and certainly not the Mexican government. From what I learned in the Course, if I defend myself by closing my door tightly. I am attacking the bears. So I faithfully remain defenseless. "In my defenselessness my safety lies." (OrEd.WkBk.153)
Okay. Stop interrupting my story. While the dog chewed on that most delicious bone (I'm guessing, since I'm a vegetarian and sometimes vegan), I started watching a fascinating, two-hour long, History Channel film about ancient religions. Periodically, maybe every 20-30 minutes, (see how I started this sentence with a "big" word to impress you, but you were not impressed), I would get up from my potato couch and walk to my front door to check on the dog out in the front yard. (By the way, I also mentioned that "ancient religions" film to impress you. I guess that didn't work either. You're a tough audience). Okay, onward! Everything was fine for the first couple of dog checks. But this time, when I peered out the glass top of the door, I was looking at maybe a 400-pound black bear running full-tilt out of the woods into my front yard.
How does the water flow? The way the water flows means we have to look at how we live our lives. Let's do something secular. How do we live our lives in the terms of our relationships, in the terms of love? What do we do when we want more love in our lives? Well, most people would say you have to be vulnerable. In other words, you have to be open to being hurt possibly. You have to open yourself up to pain. People have difficulty doing that so they shut themselves down. They are not vulnerable and so they do not have love in their lives. This a very common thought of the world. This is the way relationships flow in the world.
A Course in Miracles has a very different thought. A Course in Miracles is teaching us to love without ambivalence. Love without that idea that there is an attendant amount of vulnerability that is needed, that there is an attendant amount of pain or fear that might be around, circulating around the love. Generally, we open ourselves up to be vulnerable and then we find somebody – someone or sometimes some things – that don't appear to cause us too much pain. And they don't, usually in the beginning. Then we embrace those things. We think that these must be the chosen ones, because we are not feeling the pain, and we were vulnerable. However, inevitably because we were defending against the pain, pain comes into our experience at some point.
To the people who will be here and carrying this organization forward after whenever – maybe Rev. Kelly and some of you whose years are fewer than mine – the one bit of wisdom I would want to empower you with is just keep showing up. Ninety percent of success is just showing up. No matter how dark and impossible it seems – and it will seem dark and impossible, it will – just keep showing up. Just find a way to keep the doors open and the Sunday Gatherings going. Just keep doing them because it just has a way of transforming and resurrecting itself if you just keep doing that. I have talked to a lot of people who tried to do something like what we are doing. They stop after awhile. What I see at a certain point is that it just got difficult and they got the guidance to stop. All I can say is that I never got that guidance. It really did seem difficult plenty of times, and I just kept going. I found a way. We found a way as an organization. A lot of that way now is with help from many people, certainly our Ministers and our great Board of Directors. Rev Rudy really helped with our last transition. We just rally and find a way to do it. So, you just never, ever give up.
The last thing I want to share is that one of the things that I do now, along with everything that I do. I am an Administrator on a very large Facebook group based on A Course in Miracles. Sharon Casey is here and she is an Administrator there with me. This is a great group but it is also a challenge because people in the group get really feisty. People get really triggered; people get really angry. A lot of things go on that seem like conflict. Then there are a lot of people who are conflict adverse and think we shouldn't be in conflict like that. Then there is conflict over the being in conflict. This spins around and around. People say we should have rules that would prevent this conflict. However I believe conflict in that type of group is inevitable. Actually conflict can be a positive form of communication if you don't judge the conflict as being bad. Conflict comes up because we have conflict in our minds and we are projecting it out there. You can't be so conflict adverse that you never allow conflict to come up. In the 30 years of the CMC, conflict has come up plenty of times. We just had to look at it, deal with it, try to resolve it, and not just brush it over like peanut butter on burnt toast.
As part of my spiritual practice, I have been consistently prodded to distill the teachings of A Course in Miracles into some type of declaration or statement that would provide me with a foundation for reaffirming daily my allegiance to its thought system using as much as possible Text, Workbook or Teacher's Manual passages. We receive great encouragement to align our thinking to the Course's thought system when Jesus says, "To join with me is to restore His power to you, because we are sharing it." (OrEd.Tx.8.38) While I am mindful of the need to consistently consult the Holy Spirit for guidance, developing and using a personal statement of faith allows me to take the initiative to begin the process with the acknowledgement of my choice to follow the Holy Spirit and remember fundamental teachings. This assists me in reaffirming my allegiance to God and leads me into a mindset of receptiveness to be still and listen for guidance.
The process of developing a statement of faith began by assembling some of the content that "leapt off the page" to me during certain periods of reading, engaging in Workbook practice or participating in Community Miracles Center sponsored class times. Recently, I have begun my day with the following excerpts on being happy, the responsibility for sight, what is often referred to as the Course version of the Lord's Prayer and the opening paragraph to the Workbook section "What Am ?" "Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you. This is the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit, and even this He gave to you to give yourself. For by this gift is given you the power to release your savior that he may give salvation unto you." (OrEd.Tx.21.17)