CHURCH THAT IS NO CHURCH
Verily I say unto you that there shall be no need of churches, although if you were in the market for a new church, you couldnt go far wrong with the Church That Is No Church. No other church giveth so much and expecteth so little.
What then giveth the Church That Is No Church? In a word: freedom. As a member of the Church that is No Church, you are free to worship as you will, or even not worship at all. You might even join another church if you were so inclined and the need to belong so overpowering. We wouldnt hold it against you, even if you told us.
So whats the catch, you ask? The catch is this: as much freedom as you can carry, which, of course, if entirely up to you. You may take what you wish, which,.we trust, youll use judiciously.
The Church That Is No Church giveth, but the church never taketh away. Yea verily.
What then are the benefits of the Church That Is No Church, you ask? Let me show you the ways of the churchless path.
1. Free thought.
The Church That Is No Church shall never tell you how to think. Firstly, only an open mind can fill itself with love. Secondly, were not entirely sure how to think on all issues, particularly when right thinking takes so many forms. Thirdly, it is not our responsibility to tell you how to think. It is yours and yours alone. Besides, the minute we start telling you how to think, the more youll turn to us for answers and the more youll expect us to be right. Your increasing expectations will hold us to standards we may not be able to meet, the result of which is invariably disappointment. Please bear in mind that it was not our intention to claim an authority on all matters or to claim we know that which we do not understand.
Freedom, after all, is a two way street, and provided you attempt to answer your own questions, we wont try to prove you wrong; and just as we trust you wont fault us for our errors, well turn a blind eye whenever you wish to make an ass of yourself.
Give us this day your discernment and your perspicacity, and forgive us our thick-headedness as we forgive you for yours.
2. No Worship Required
The key benefit of the Church That Is No Church is that the worship of God is no longer required. That is not to say you cant worship. What it does mean, however, is that we neither expect it nor encourage it. Besides which, were not in a position to monitor your private conversations with the deity of your choosing, nor would we be particularly interested in doing so. Your business is your business, and hopefully it stays that way.
It is our belief that there is a divinity in all things, that all gods are emanations of that same divinity, and that all beliefs are different means to the same end: that of finding the limitlessness of immortality in the seeming limitations of our Earth-bound lives. As such, all worship is good worship, and the failure or refusal to worship is just fine by us. Theres no need to worship anything, in fact; although a little love goes a long way.
3. Live and Let Live
Just as the Church That Is No Church refuses to govern thought, it shall also refuses dominion over your body. After all, there is no sin that isnt just a perception of wrongdoing, and there is no doing that can ever be wrong if it comes of love.
If you have an error to confess, you would be better served by attempting to put it right by yourself. All the confessions in the world will never give us the better world we pray for and that will only come of building it ourselves. Besides, if your personal failings are a downer to you, you can safely assume that those failings are a drag to all concerned. In short, no confessions, please.
Rest assured that without sin, there is no shame and no need for self-inflicted pain. Not only will the Church That Is No Church never require self-flagellation, hairshirts or even vows of celibacy, it will neither encourage censure nor condemnation. The Church That Is No Church believes that it takes all sorts, even the fringe lunatics in perpetual self-disputation, and that if it only took one sort there would be altogether too much squabbling over what sort is the right sort.
4. No rituals
The Church That Is No Church has never recommended repetition as the cornerstone of a full and meaningful life. If anything, repetition dulls the senses and closes the mind to the wondrous minutiae of the ever-evolving world. This is not to say that you should dispense with ritual altogether. What it does mean, however, is that ritual should be chosen and never required or even expected.
Its for this reason that the Church That Is No Church has no rituals to speak of, and that means no ceremonies, no signs - public or secret - and absolutely no dress codes. Unfortunately, there are no gatherings either, nothing official or required, that is. Fortunately, festive gatherings are highly encouraged.
The absence of ritual should free up your schedule considerably, leaving you more time to think great thoughts and to act on those thoughts with great deeds.
5. Keep your money
The Church That Is No Church is of the firm belief that money is better put toward making the world a better place than in paying people to merely promise a better world. As such, we require no funds, and the advice we give, we give gratis without hope of self-gain. Really. Although, this is not to suggest we dont want your money. We want it desperately. Yet, you may rest assured that donations will neither be required nor expected even though they will always be graciously accepted.
The Church That Is No Church is also of the belief that all happiness is not real happiness if it can only be accomplished by means of a gold-backed or floating value medium of exchange. If we permit economic valuation to restrict self-worth, how then will there be enough worth for all of us? We should not live by principles of scarcity alone but by the promise of fullness, and it is by the commitment to fullness that we might find sufficient happiness for everyone to share.
6. No worries
Best of all, the Church That Is No Church will never attempt to impress upon you the horrors of a hell to punish those who neglect to follow the dictates of the church. It is your love we want, and love can never endure if founded on fear.
Without commandments, none can be broken. Without punishment, none need be endured. Without shame, no one shall be cast out. And without self-imposed suffering, we may once again be deserving of happiness without the need for sacrifice or self-denial. How else will we achieve a better future unless we believe ourselves worthy of it?
Although we welcome whatever sacrifice youre willing to make, no sacrifice will ever be coerced, nor will it even be expected. Besides which, there is no sacrifice that isnt the agony of acting against self-interest. Sacrifice ceases to be sacrifice when its second-nature.
Sacrifice or not, you will still be loved, since what use is love if it isnt unconditional? Although if you can send a little love our way, wed be most appreciative.
7. God optional
The Church That Is No Church is unique in that it neither posits the belief in a divine being (presiding impassively over our daily gnashing of teeth and clenching of fists which invariably precede the bloodied punch-ups undertaken with divine blessing) nor presumes a Godless world. Its not that we havent made up our own minds. Its just that wed rather you do that yourself, since its our belief that only by choosing your own path to happiness will you ever achieve it. Besides, we are presently unable to promise advice that isnt without considerations of self-interest.
Its also our belief that those who seek out God yet fail to find God are only looking for God in all the wrong places; or, rather, assuming that God whiles away an eternity of eternities disclosed only to those who quake with fear, when, in fact, God is everywhere. Call it God or call it the Godless void that promises only the finality of death, it is what holds everything together and gives us the ability to think about it. We might also call it love.
It is only with love that you should join the Church That Is No Church since we have no budget for hate-charged crusades, it being exceedingly difficult to run on a church on little to no income. So please bring love and, provided you expect as little from us as we do from you, there will be no disappoint and no reason why God optional church will ever fail.
Still not convinced that the Church That Is No Church is the right church for you? Remember that that attendance is not required; although, as yet, we hold no services and have no intention of performing a service. Were not joiners so you dont have to be.
While we offer no single, absolute uncontestable truth, there are still considerable benefits to seeking your own truths. By joining us, you will learn that truth takes many forms, which is why weve never been able to embrace just one.
For those of you still hesitant about joining a church, now is your chance to join a church without the inconvenience of commitment. And if youre not completely satisfied, there will be no regrets since you spent nothing and gave none of your time.
So what are you waiting for? A formal invitation? Let it be known that you are always free to come and go as you please. We are the first free church, after all, and since the best things in life are free, or so its said, you can be sure that joining the Church That Is No Church will be the best thing youve done in days.