The State of the Church Today
STATE OF THE CHURCH, PART 1
WHY THE CHURCHES ARE DYING
You may have seen Christian publications carrying feature articles decrying the ever increasing number of empty pews. It is no secret that all the major denominations have experienced a devastating decline in the number of active members, this past decade. What appears to be growth
in the large super-churches is not a growth from new converts. Rather, the growth of the mega-churches in some of our major cities can only be attributed to the movement from old churches to new churches which seem to promise a little more excitement or better activities.
This should come as no surprise. Over the years, I have been a guest in many churches and have observed their failure to draw any real kind of distinction between those who are mature and those who are not. This is quite evident when a person goes into a Sunday School class. Oh, yes, they may have young people’s classes and senior classes, even married
couples classes, but if one chooses to attend one of the adult classes, he will be struck by the readiness with which the ‘teacher’ drops the level of his teaching to that of the stranger, who walks into the class, be he a new convert or an unbeliever. If our university professors followed this practice, very few would ever graduate.
The simple fact of the matter is that the instruction of our modern churches fails to answer the age old questions, which mankind has pondered since the beginning of Time, in a truly intelligent manner. Only the Mysteries satisfy the hungry soul with meaningful and intelligent answers to life’s questions. The Mysteries enthrall and inspire men to
rise up to new heights because they are able to come to a true understanding of who they are and why the Universe exits and God’s Plan. But the Mysteries can only be imparted through initiation by gifted teachers to worthy students, who have prepared themselves.
THE CRYING NEED FOR IDENTITY
Within a matter of weeks, I suspect that President Bill Clinton will call upon Congress to authorize giving every person in the United States a national identification card, that will serve as Driver’s License, medical record, Social Security card and much more. It will be sold to the
American people as a way to prevent the theft of a person’s identity and subsequent abuse of that person’s credit and good name. This will satisfy the technocrats but it will not prevent abuses from occurring.
What is being ignored in our culture and society is the crying need for true identification. We can see the symptoms of ANOMIA in juvenile gangs, who create their own insignias and ‘gang colors’. In my book ‘Forbidden Truths Revealed’ I discussed the system of
identification used by the Peruvian Incas. It was said that anyone who came to the capitol could identify any other person who might happen to be there by the patterns on their clothing, which were somewhat like the Scottish kilts. They knew instantly which village, clan, tribe and province everyone was from.
Others in our culture derive their sense of identity from their profession or from the type of clothes they wear, or the car they drive. Yet, all this does not satisfy the inner quest for true identification, since it only unites individuals in a most superficial way, by their buying habits or whatever.
THE THREE CLASSES OF MEN
Before a teacher of the spiritual sciences can begin instructing others, he must first learn to differentiate between three classes of human beings. The ancient Christian teachers of Knowledge divided men into three distinct categories: The ‘hylics’, the ‘psychics’ and the ‘pneumatics’.
The ‘hylics’ (literally ‘wood’) constitute the mass of mankind, who are steeped in their vices and love of self. These may believe in God but they are totally unsuited to lay hold of the higher spiritual life, at least as long as they continue in their old ways. There are a few from this crowd
who do change and begin the climb up the mountain. But even for these, we are given rituals and sacraments to aid them to the extent they will be aided.
The ‘psychics’ are believers but are satisfied with the ‘simple, old time gospel’ as they perceive it to be. They seek after signs and miracles to bolster their faith and constantly seek God’s grace to cover their many failures and foibles. They are often inconsistent in their beliefs and
practices because they have failed to ‘Know’ themselves. To these, God has granted the gift of festivals and holidays. They may be urged to make pilgrimages to holy places, such as the tomb of a saint or some other holy place, like Mecca. Pilgrimages play an important function for
these because they must use their whole body to get where they are going. Others will be satisfied with ‘Bible Conferences’. But make no mistake about it, pilgrimages play a key and essential role for these and must not be discouraged.
During the Reformation, the Reformers turned against every form of mysticism. Consequently, they were forced to deny the importance of Pilgrimages to sacred places. Thank God that many in Europe are again beginning to visit places like the tomb of Mary Magdalene near
Marseilles, or the tomb of St. James in Spain or Fatima Portugal, where the Virgin Mary appeared to three small children in the last century to warn the world of its madness.
The third class of humans are the ‘pneumatics (spiritual ones). It is not uncommon to find persons belonging to this category, who have developed unusual abilities. They have often passed through great suffering yet still continue in their pursuit of God and the Kingdom of
Heaven. And they are usually careful not to display their gifts for the merely curious. Like Jesus, who was tempted by Satan to use his new powers to turn stones into bread or to jump from a high elevation with the expectation of being saved, these usually go to some trouble to hide their abilities from the incredulous.
However, there are many who belong to this class of beings, who possess no unusual abilities. They are simply beautiful and sincere persons, who manifest God’s love to their fellowmen. The true life of the ‘pneumatic’ begins when he realizes that his is a quest moreso than a pilgrimage. His quest may actually involve several pilgrimages of a spiritual nature. The Knights of the Round Table come to mind here.
As part of their initiation, the Knights set out to find the Holy Grail. Along the way they endured various tests and ordeals before they eventually reached the Grail Castle. This Castle was in Scotland until the fifth century when the Holy Grail was moved to a castle in southern
France, probably the one at Mount Segur. Even though one might know the general location of the castle, getting there often proved very difficult because of the rugged mountains surrounding the castle.
So, too, is the life of the individual who sets out to be a Seeker. He will experience various hardships along the way and he may be even tempted to think that God has forsaken him. Even those who have been fortunate enough to have a good teacher, who told them which landmarks to look for, sometimes become confused and are tempted to turn back but God ultimately rewards their tears.
JESUS’ PARABLE ABOUT THE THREE KINDS OF MEN
There is an illustration which Jesus used that I am fond of quoting, which points to the three classes of men, I just mentioned. It was given at the conclusion of his Sermon on the Mount. Jesus said, " There was a man who owned a large House. In it he had Sons, Servants, cattle and pigs. He also had corn and barley, hay, castor oil and
acorns. Being an intelligent man, he knew which food was proper for everyone: he gave his own children meat and bread. To his servants, he gave castor oil and meal. To his cattle, he gave hay and barley. To the pigs, he gave acorns and scraps from the table
and to his dog, he threw bones. Consider the disciple of God, If he is intelligent, he will understand what discipling is all about. He will not look at the outward bodies of men, but at the condition of each man’s soul and will thereby speak with him. For there are
many kinds of animals that wear the human body. If he sees that one is a swine, he will feed him acorns or if he sees a cow, he will feed him barley and grass. If he sees a man who is a dog, he will throw him some bones, but to the servants he will give elementary
lessons. To his sons, he will give complete instruction. Therefore, do not give sacred things to dogs and do not throw pearls to the swine because they will only trample them underfoot and turn on you, tearing you to pieces. Every disciple who has been trained in
the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of the house, who brings out of his storehouse, things new and old. Bring out of every other house and into the House of my father but do not take anything out of the House of the Father or carry it off. Thou shall therefore keep my Mysteries for the sons of my House."- (Quoted from the Complete Gospel of Jesus Christ)
THE IMPORTANCE OF INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES
One of the realizations I’ve come to over the years is that Initiation, is move effective, if the Initiate is part of a Community. Here, I am not necessarily referring to a church. On the contrary, the majority of ‘intentional communities’ that I have visited are not churches.
Back in the mid-seventies, I visited several communities with the thought in mind of writing a book about them. Some were agrarian experiments, some were economic arrangements, some were inner-city shared housing co-operatives and some were
intended as Gnostic (knowledge seeking) communities. But after investigating various groups and researching others, I decided to wait a few years before writing about them, because it seemed fairly apparent to me that some of them were going to fall by the way-side due to their inefficient leadership or no leadership at all.
Certain of the groups tried to govern themselves by consensus or mutual consent, which sounds great on paper but works poorly in practice. Others had a strong sense of purpose and well-thought- out governing policies but the most successful were the religious
communities. It was while on one of my trips to investigate a community in Arizona, that I found the answer to something which had been puzzling me for three or four years.
MY DISCOVERIES IN ARIZONA
About three years earlier, while living in Evanston, Illinois, I was doing some research at Northwestern University on the energy grids and ley lines which crises-cross the earth. I became interested in these after reading Plato’s remarks about such energy lines, in which he likened
them to seams on a large ball. Plato pointed out that where these lines intersected, was where men have built holy cities and sacred temples. As I studied a model utilizing his lines, it dawned on me that one of the major power grids must be somewhere in the great Southwest, possibly
Arizona. So, while on a trip to Arizona to visit one of the communities, which had invited me to visit with them, I determined to resolve this question if possible. I found the community I was looking for and spent a few days getting acquainted with them. Then I left and went to the newly emerging town of Havasu City to see the London Bridge, which had been brought over from London.
While in Havasu, I was having an interesting conversation with a very knowledgeable woman, who would have been what I would call, a ‘New-Ager’. I casually asked her if she knew of any centers of energy in Arizona. She responded instantly, "Oh, yes, that would be Sedona." She informed me that there were energy vortexes there and that it was a very
beautiful place to visit, so I decided to go there and see for myself. Two days later, I arrived in Sedona and found it exactly as the woman had described it to me. No sooner had I arrived than I decided to go back home and move my household furnishings and personal effects to Sedona, so as to spend some time there.
Well, I never did feel the energy the way some of the more sensitive people were able to, but I did enjoy the people of Sedona and the beautiful, breath-taking vistas to be enjoyed there. Still, I knew that Sedona could not be the central vortex, even though it does rest astride one of the powerful ley lines that runs down to Machu Picchu in Peru, a truly powerful center, where the Peruvians built a center high in the mountains.
It was not until I began studying the teachings of the Hopi high Initiates that I learned that there is another great energy source at Canyon de Chelly National Monument. (Yes, the Hopis have a society of Initiates, called the Wuwuchim and Kachina Orders, who study truly
wonderful things and perform special rituals handed down for hundreds of years.) The Hopis and the Apaches call this place, the home of ‘Spider Woman’ because of the web of energy which she radiates to the four corners of earth.
According to Frank Water’s ‘Book of the Hopi’, the ‘Spider Woman’ is the assistant to the Great Spirit. It was she whose job it was to nurture the earth and give it Life. She created the power grid which spans the earth like an invisible spider web. She in turn created two twin beings,
one of which guards the north and south poles, so that the earth rotates daily in a regular course, while the other sends out a vibratory sound that resonates along the paths laid out by Spider Woman. This Sound is to keep Earth in tune with the Sound of the great Creator.
Unfortunately, the United States government has intruded upon the sacred land of the Hopi’s by setting up mining and drilling operations for uranium, coal and oil. This violation was accomplished with consent of the ‘tribal council’, not the Hopi chiefs. they fear that this violation of land which was specifically designated by the Great Spirit as sacred. (What people in their right mind would choose to farm the Black Mesa, unless told to do so by the Great Spirit?)
After completing all the migrations which had been their assigned lot, the Hopi clans finally settled on the land located at the four-corners of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, because that was the land assigned to them as their final home land. But the Hopi’s are no ordinary
tribe of Indians. They were given special rituals and dances to keep the earth in balance. There are two very powerful ley lines that run through their lands. One runs south to the western cost of Peru. The other runs east-west from Bermuda to the Mt. Shasta.
I am told by sensitive individuals who sense those tellular currents that they have been greatly agitated by the mining and drilling operations on the Hopi lands. The Hopis are predicting a period of purification for planet Earth that will prove extremely painful for most of mankind
because we are violating Mother Earth in serious ways, polluting rivers, and upsetting her natural balance. The Sioux spiritual leaders are telling the other Indian nations the same thing but advising them that they must relocate to the safety of the Hopi lands, if they wish to survive the
coming catharsis. Even as I write, members of various Indian nations have been coming to Arizona, which brings me to another subject: What do I foresee for Arizona after the coming Purification of earth?
THE COMING FOOD SHORTAGES
We do have a problem, here in Arizona, which is not really unique to this state. because of the growing climate here, even in winter, the farmers around Yuma and eastward, get seven to nine cuttings of alfalfa each year. They grow abundant amounts of lettuce and other vegetables each year but this has been accomplished with a staggering price tag.
Due to the pesticides and fertilizers used to produce these crops, the well-water all across the southern part of Arizona is becoming undrinkable. The water has so many carcinogens that one is advised not to drink well water. I have seen this same problem in the Delta region of central California and other areas. The streams and rivers there are so polluted that most of the wild-life has died or developed strange cancers.
Another problem we have in this country is the reliance upon our modern shipping and transportation systems. Rather than raising food on a local level for personal needs, the average citizen buys his food from the local supermarket, which has shipped in fruits and vegetables from states on the other side of the continent. This is a very precarious
situation, if the transportation system should ever come to a halt - a possibility more real than most of us would like to contemplate. History shows how multiplied thousands of people starved to death in Peru, after the invasion of the Spanish because the wonderful system of food distribution they had built up ceased to exist.
Secondly, too many farmers are using hybrid seed, which cannot reproduce itself. It can produce one crop but that’s all. Today, the farmers of the Mid-west use hybrid seed to grow corn and wheat. The original primitive seeds are disappearing completely. We have already seen fungus that can wipe out millions of acres of hybrid grain, in one
season. We have been lucky so far that the weather has been on our side but that can change over night. This is why I believe in small, intentional communities so much. A few of them are trying to find the original seeds so they can grow their own food. Not only is the food grown from these original seeds more resistant to insects, it is often more nutritious. We need more communities to grow their own food. This is just too difficult for individuals.
EVENTS AFTER THE PURIFICATION OF PLANET EARTH
I have never hidden my belief that Arizona is truly a sacred land, despite what elements of contemporary society may do to spoil the special sanctity of this region of the world. There are thousands of individuals who ‘feel’ that something is about to happen to rectify the evils perpetrated in our world today. There are also many thousands of
individuals who make the annual trek to Arizona in the winter time to escape the bitter ice and snow and cold of the northern climates. It has been a belief of mine that the winter season would be an ideal time to recreate the ancient Mystery dramas, if the proper setting can be found.
And I believe that it will be found in Arizona. There are already churches in Phoenix who prepare throughout the year for their wonderful production of the Nativity scenes and the Passion Play. Many hours go into practice and preparation for these presentations and they do a
splendid job. Yet, the Nativity and the Passion of Christ are not part of the High Mysteries. They do belong to the Lower Mysteries, however. I do not believe that the High Mysteries - or I should qualify that - those portions of the High Mysteries that can be presented in the form of Drama should be performed in a large metropolitan area like Phoenix.
I strongly believe that those who would participate in such dramas must have a special area that is relatively peaceful throughout the year. It must also serve as a special kind of School as well. Then, at stated times of the year, those who wish to make the trek should come and participate in those performances.
We have as our example Richard Wagner, in Germany, who built a beautiful theatre, for the performance of his special plays. Initiation presupposes many forms of inoculation of the Divine Mysteries. In some instances, we use verbal instruction, in others sacred symbols
which contain more than one meaning. At appropriate times, tests are used to prove whether the Initiate is progressing or not. Just as with the Knights of the Round Table, physical tests may form part of the Initiation experience. And certainly pilgrimages to holy sites have been used.
Jerome, I trust that you will come to appreciate the real significance of John’s vision of the descent of New Jerusalem to Earth. If we begin to realize that the wall with twelve gates made from solid pearls represents the process of Initiation, we will begin to understand the importance which our forefathers placed on this Science. The purpose
of this wall is to keep out "dogs and sorcerers and whore-mongers and murderers and idolaters and those who love lies and make them."2 I believe the day hastens, when ". . . you shall return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him who serves me and him who does not."3
May God bless you, your father, Jeffrey Brackeen
1. Chap. 7, Verses 109-121 The Complete Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. Rev. 22:15.
3. Malachi 3:18