May I wish everyone good health and happiness in 2013.....
After a full month break from churches I am back at Falkirk Spiritualist Church SNU on Sunday.
2013 a Crucial Year for Spiritualism – The Religion?To some 13 is an unlucky number - and to Spiritualism – The Religion - the 13th year of the twenty-first century could be a crucial year. This could be the year that as a religion we sink below the waves and a year where many of our churches become looked upon as little more than places of entertainment. If things go on the way that they are doing, then there will be no comeback.
We in Spiritualism have a great responsibility on our shoulders. By “WE” I mean all of those who have anything to do in the name of Spiritualism. We must cast aside all the dross that has attached itself to Spiritualism the Religion.
We must separate the psychic from the
The entertainment from the
The ego from the caring and pastoral
The money making ventures from Spiritualism
According to The Spiritualist National Union; -
Spiritualism the Religion = 7 PRINCIPLES - PHILOSOPHY – RELIGION - SCIENCE - THE HISTORY....
Spiritualism is a religion that embodies the main ideas of all religions, that there is a life after death, immortality and the existence of a God.
"The aim of Spiritualism is to effect an at-one-ment and unison of Humanity with God until every action and thought of Humanity is in perfect harmony with the Divine Will."
(Adapted from the Spiritualists' Lyceum Manual)
One difference between Spiritualism and other religions is the acceptance of the ability, through mediumship, to offer evidence of spirit communication to a recipient and in doing so demonstrate that people survive physical death. The individual may decide if they have received sufficient evidence to give them personal proof that people survive death as individuals in Spirit. Where personally proven it provides conclusive evidence of the 4th Principle, 'The Continuous Existence of the Human Soul'.
Mediumship and the evidence is just the key to a door to encourage further study and understanding, the message is not the goal of Spiritualism. It is what an individual chooses to do with that key once they have it, once they accept that we survive death and continue on in the unbroken cycle of eternal life of spirit that forms the purpose of Spiritualism.
Spiritualism becomes the study of this earthly life's purpose as Spirit here and now and as such empowers anyone to take charge of the development of their own Spirituality, continually aiming to progress and live life with a fuller understanding and a greater learning experience for the Spirit.
Spiritualism is a universal religion, one focus of which is embodied in our 5th Principle, 'Personal Responsibility'. It is by our own free will we may chose to live a better life here and now reflected by how we live. It is by our own will and choices in how we act react and interact with everyone and everything that we must each be solely responsible and accountable. In understanding and accepting this, we accept our 6th Principle of 'Compensation and Retribution' encompassing the universal and natural law of cause and effect.
It is through personal experience and expression by the study, consideration and application of the many aspects of the religion, philosophy and science of Spiritualism that the Spiritualist gains understanding and Spiritual growth. No one person has all the answers and Spiritualism becomes a continual personal religion to be lived, to nurture and enlighten the Spirit within us, here and now.
For the title Spiritualist Church to be above the door, surely all that is connected with Spiritualism the Religion must be there at hand for those who enter. The full package and not “Those who attend, are not here for the address”. To be part of Spiritualism the Religion there has to be a Divine Service. Of course there can be a separate evening of Clairvoyance but without a regular Divine Service how can that gathering be part of a religion?
Ego – the biggest threat to Spiritualism. Whether it is one sitting on an influential committee, a small church committee, medium, healer, in fact anything where one is face to face with the public as a representative of our religion, one must take the responsibility seriously. We owe it to our religion and to the early pioneers who suffered a lot of personal hardship to get Spiritualism accepted.
The Medium – If taking on church work, must realise he/she is representing a religion - not themselves. That they have a great responsibility on their shoulders in representing Spiritualism the Religion. We should think also “Are we letting the pioneers of Spiritualism down?” Also mediums have responsibility for the results of their actions and words.
Charity Nights- are part and parcel of Spiritualism but we must be careful the tail does not wag the dog. In the past year or so such nights have seemed to snowball and it is as if there can be almost as many charity nights as church services. I remember listening to an old medium many years ago discussing charity nights. He said that two charity nights per church per year would enhance our Religion and the church with the local community, especially if the nights were for local charities. He also went on to say that too many such nights would lessen the impact of these nights as being special. There may also be Mediums who wish to arrange a charity night for a cause close to their heart and that is understandable. But when we have a charity circuit that is also competing with our churches then we have to at least take a look at the situation. Who runs this night and where, should also be up for discussion. Better a church or as I have mentioned, a medium rather than a charity themselves. Also better to have the charity night on church premises. But if that is not large enough to accommodate the special night then care should surely be taken for the venue. A charity night in a pub or club does Spiritualism the Religion no favours, even if no drinks are served during the actual clairvoyance. I say this looking at it from the general public’s side.
For example, I heard of a young couple who had lost their son when he was only a few months old. Over the following year their grief intensified and they felt they would never get over the little one’s passing. One night they visited a Spiritualist Church and the pair were astounded by the good evidence surrounding both sides of their families in spirit, and they got a message about their son. The grief was still there but it had lifted a little. That was until a few weeks later; the pair were passing a pub and saw a flyer in the window. The Medium that gave such wonderful evidence was appearing at the venue for a night of clairvoyance. It would have been a night in aid of a charity but the couple did not notice anymore than the name of the Medium. Their first thoughts were “Is all this just a game, for fun all part of entertainment and we took it seriously?” The message they had received in the church was good, was accurate for all that I heard about it. The Medium was sincere in working with Spirit that night of the service. But the venue of the pub cancelled most if not all of that out a few weeks later.
The entertainment side is I feel, partly fuelled by mediums appearing in theatres like other forms of entertainment. Their name brightly shining in lights outside of theatres must certainly confuse some people. Tickets can be expensive and I wonder if any/all celebrity mediums give a percentage of the takings to a small churches in the area, who’s numbers will have dropped that night because of his/her appearance. But should not churches take more responsibility for Spiritualism the Reliligion and not book mediums for Divine Services who go down the theatre path?
In relating back to what the general public think of us. Another story I heard was about an elderly lady who had lost her husband and had not much ready cash. She felt that the brighter the lights the better the medium. So she borrowed money for a ticket, not realising in her grief, that only a few of the several hundred attending would get a message. The outcome was that she did not get a message and now she was in debt. Should we not be trying to educate the public a little more about what we are about? This widow could have went along to her local church, her only cost would have been a free will offering and then it was up to Spirit if there was a message for the old soul or not.
So many people today want to understand their psychic abilities and that is an area that our churches seem to neglect. Most of what is on offer, in our churches, is all about platform work. Many on their spiritual journey turn to what is on offer outside our churches and attend anything and everything. There is so much out there that one wonders what is manmade and what is from Spirit? The mentality these days is: the more it costs the better it must be. Or if the person taking the session has indicated they have trained under a ‘big name’ in the psychic world, then they must be good. One can sit through a workshop with someone but that does not mean one has excelled.
Certificates are on offer with many courses and workshops but what clout does such a certificate have? The S.N.U. and some other Spiritual organisations, have well established education programmes, and it’s generally regarded that their certified students have achieved a particulate standard. But there are other Spiritual organisations and individuals who give out certificates, which are only recognised by the issuing group/ individual. Many of these certificates are for attending so what does that tell us? I have several certificates from criminology classes that I have attended at college. But that says nothing about how much I learned and more about my attendance.
Speaking to a well respected elderly medium recently she said the she was taught to “give in the service of Spirit” rather than always looking to receive. Maybe we should make this a priority and get back to that way of thinking for those who tread the platforms of our churches.
One of the biggest areas I feel that Spiritualism should make much more effort is Pastoral Care. Many are turning towards our churches for assistance these days and we should have some form of system in place to help them. If someone asks for help, no matter what that help may be, if we cannot help, then we should be readily equipped to pass them on to a suitable organisation. At one time it was the ‘awareness of spirit’ that would be the main reason for someone contacting our churches, not in these troubled times; it can be almost anything that troubles an individual that makes them contact us. No matter the problem the individual has contacted us about because we are flying under the banner of ‘church’ or ‘religion’. They have chosen us before any other church/religion so it is up to us to play our part. No matter how strange a person’s story may sound over the phone they should not be dismissed and we should take time to sort things out or to get help from another direction for them.
The snowdrops remind me of a story a friend told me a few years ago. She was recovering from a serious
Illness and looking out of her window one morning she saw her first snowdrops of the year. Only four, but
It gave her so much pleasure as she was feeling sorry for herself that morning.
All of a sudden a neighbour’s little girl appeared in her garden and started to pick the snowdrops. Anne opened the door and shouted to the girl to come back then told her off for picking the flowers. She was floored by the little girl’s explanation. “I only took one and it was for my Nan who I am going to visit in hospital this afternoon, and I left 2p on your doorstep step for the flower.” As Anne looked down, there were three snowdrops still blowing in the wind and two-pence on the doorstep