Friday, 19 November 2021

Unaffiliated Christianity

I am an unaffiliated Christian belonging to no church though raised in the Church of England and familiar with Catholicism as I had a friend who had been a Benedictine monk whom I often accompanied to Mass. The fact of my not belonging to a particular church might be regarded as a lack of religious commitment or being a spiritual dilettante but I see it as something positive, and I will tell you why.

Official Christianity arose during a time of humanity's spiritual childhood. We needed authority and guidance from without. Some people still do and that is fine but others, while not dismissing the external church, have reached the point at which they must begin to know God for themselves and that means they must turn to inner guidance. They must start to rely on their own spiritual intuition, albeit helped and supported by tradition, scripture and revelation. I certainly do not dismiss any of that. On the contrary, it is absolutely essential but there comes a point at which it is no longer enough.

There is an important difference between salvation where you see through the allurements of the world, the flesh and the devil and accept the reality of God, and theosis in which you actually start to become a son of God meaning of like nature with the Father. In the former, you are still centred in your earthly personality but have turned to the truth of spirit but in the latter you begin to know yourself as an authentic spiritual being, here in this world. It's a question of perspective. The former is outside, the latter has begun to step inside the spiritual world, to become a member of the heavenly host. This has to do with the sanctification of the soul which is what Christianity is all about.

If I am not a member of a church from where do I get my Christian beliefs and practises? Like everyone else I get them from the universal teachings of Christianity, from the New Testament and from the light shed by the saints and mystics, but these are supplemented by an inner awareness of Christ who dwells within all men as "the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world", as the King James translation eloquently has it. For Jesus does not just exist in the Bible and history. He can be a living presence in our own hearts and minds if we will but respond to him as he is, and as we do respond to him in that way we start on a journey to become like him.

Outer Christianity and inner Christianity are not rivals. They are two sides of one whole just like the soul and the body. But it is the soul that takes precedence over the body. If the two are in harmony then all is well but when, as now, outer Christianity has largely lost touch with its inner self then it becomes necessary for those who are serious about the spiritual path to withdraw from what is becoming a pile of ashes from which the fire has practically departed, and turn their attention inwards. I know many will disagree and quote scripture to prove I am wrong but the current uninspiring state of outer religion indicates that it is time to move into a new and higher understanding of life in which we no longer act just passively with regard to our religious engagement but seek to know God directly, without intermediary. This is not just possible but what God wants. Indeed, I would suggest we can tell it's what God wants by the fact that all the mainstream churches have fallen in line with the globalist agenda. They have left God and if we want to know God we must leave them or, if leave is too strong a word, then we must go beyond them as they are in their earthly forms. God himself is pushing us in that direction. Will we respond or not?


Francis Berger said...

Yes! That's all I can say about this post. Yes!

lea said...

As another blogger i appreciate alot puts it, although i will not introduce him yet since alot of his stuff literally goes into high weirdness. Man can ignore the spiritual, but it will never ignore him in return, only for a while maybe. You either make your own choices in that aspect of the world, or to some extent they will be made for you. Pure materialist reductionism is therefore a relinquishing of potential power, because thats what evil does, it takes, while offering deceptive promises or trades, if no trades were ever argued it just takes from the people that have no position in this at all. I really dont know how to feel about things happening currently, the speeding up of the nonsense and increased division and violence.

How do you stay compassionate with people that make thinly veiled cynical jokes about the horrific things they wish upon you if it could help buy back their freedom. My keyboard is rebelling hence the lack of questionmarks, i apologize.
Alas. One other thing he said is it helps to just go out into nature when you have no one else around, if possible, and find connectections there. And how humbling it is that a tree, or a cat, or mouse is just as present in the liminal as we are, just not wielding that enormous brain capacity we rarely use for good anyway. Sorry if this all sounded a tad despondent, current mood and such. Change can be quick, ive lived through it and regregressed and backed multiple times!

William Wildblood said...

How do you stay compassionate? It's not easy but that's what love your enemy means. I think if we understand they are almost under a spell, bewitched, in fact, we might find it easier to feel for them. Perhaps fear is at the bottom of their behaviour?

Anonymous said...

I know you don't like anonymous comments but out of curiosity, have you ever explored Orthodoxy or attended a liturgy? Because from an Orthodox viewpoint, it makes no sense to be an unaffiliated Christian. The Church is the body of Christ and the faith must be acted out in the liturgical life. Most importantly, it is not possible to know Orthodoxy from the outside, but it must rather be experienced. So if you have not experienced Orthodoxy, why would you rule it out? After all it's perhaps the only organization on earth that remains unchanged for two millenia. And if you have tried it out, why did you reject it? Is it because you are English, thus prone to more individual forms of Christianity? If that's the case, then are you a form of Protestant? If you believe in the evolution of consciousness, do you think the Orthodox Church is out of date?

William Wildblood said...

You make a very important point. Let me try to answer it bit by bit. First of all, I have not felt drawn to Orthodoxy despite recognising its profound spirituality because it is just not me. So, for me personally it's not so much that it is out of date (time) but it is out of my particular space. I have been very interested in Hinduism and Buddhism but I could never be a Hindu or a Buddhist because it would be artificial for me. Same thing with Orthodoxy. It would be a set of clothes I was wearing not my own skin.

But that is not the main point which is that any outward form of religion can now potentially restrict one's spiritual freedom and therefore one's spiritual growth. This is clearly a dangerous doctrine because it might lead, it has often led, to all sorts of excess and illusion. But if we want to grow we have to move out of forms, which can restrict as well as liberate, into a greater freedom of spirit, one that comes from within our own soul.

There has been an evolution of consciousness. It's always ongoing but it has clearly changed over the last few hundred years and forms of the past, great and noble as they were, are no longer enough. That is my view. For those who don't share it there is no problem. They can pursue their spiritual path in the way which is most congenial for them, remembering that you cannot put lightening in bottle and that the Holy Spirit is always seeking new ways to express itself.

The main idea is that spirituality must now come from within oneself and not from outer authority. When all is said and done any religion is just a lamp. The light is elsewhere. Now, we certainly do need lamps to hold the light, I don't dispute that for a second, but there comes a time when we must start to become our own lamps.

Lady Mermaid said...

I believe that the purpose of the outer forms of Christianity are summed by Jesus Himself " For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt: 18:20. Church is not about ticking off certain boxes or following formulas. The presence of genuine believers united by the Holy Spirit is a powerful thing. I'm quite grateful that God has provided me w/ a church that has this access.

However, the events of the last year have forced many people into an inner path whether they want to or not as so many churches decided that public health was more important than seeking God. Even though the governor of my state made it clear that church was an essential service, many churches closed their doors voluntarily. The significance of this development cannot be underestimated.

While the path of Peter is important, perhaps God is exiling some of us to Patmos like John for a season. The outer forms of Christianity have become corrupted and are falling away as we are seeing so many churches integrate into the worldly system. I know so many have prayed for the unity of the various Christian denominations. Maybe a falling away of trusting institutions has to take place in order to rebuild. If we seek an inner path, eventually, a new outer path may emerge even though it will not be as before.

William Wildblood said...

I would largely agree with what you say Lady Mermaid. We need both the inner and the outer but ultimately the inner is more important because it is from the inner that the outer takes its inspiration. When, as now, the outer has lost its connection to the inner then we are forced to go inwards ourselves. After all, John was the beloved disciple, the closest to Jesus.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your answer. Unlike Hinduism (and to a lesser extent Buddhism), Christianity is supposed to be more "accessible", so it's interesting you view Orthodoxy that way. From a geographical pov, it is of course true. Western and Eastern Christianity are culturally specific and adapted to their environment. And Orthodoxy has perhaps the strongest ethnic/collective component, since it is not as much a centralized organization as a conglomerate of ethno-churches (which testifies that it is rooted in community rather than mere organization). Catholicism on the other hand seems instead highly organizational. You are right that a fully spiritual outlook needs to consider what place and tradition one is born into (rather than view it as accidental). Many westerners however convert to Orthodoxy and find something genuine there that is lost in the west. I agree that organizations can restrict spiritual growth if it only becomes about repeating outer collective behaviors. But if one has the proper attitude I don't see how the sacraments would cripple you spiritually. After all, theosis is an Orthodox concept.

I am trying to solve this riddle myself, hence why I asked. One really has to find a balance. Orthodoxy seems like the best option for collective Christianity, but on the other hand I see where you're coming from. The west seems to have a slightly different calling.

Petrus said...

Thanks William, for this post and for your follow up comments regarding Orthodoxy and the necessity of the inner way. I strongly resonate with everything you have to say here (which is probably why I find myself checking on your blog now and again, though not with regularity). I too have had to find my own way, along and through many different paths, and it has been an often intriguing yet also vexing journey, at least until I began to simplify things and allow much to fall away, which it quite easily does once one lets go of it.

I would only add one thing with respect to the matter of evolving consciousness. Since we struggle through many lifetimes as part of our journey (a view emphatically denied across most of Christianity, at least outside of Steiner, for all who consider his a Christian way), it becomes necessary to consider the matter of a soul’s evolutionary station, whereby some souls may be further along than others in their gathered wisdom, and also have particular reasons for becoming involved with religions (or not) due to predispositions that are at least karmic to some degree.

Moonsphere said...

Readers may have come across the following classifications - perhaps it came from Rudolf Steiner or Valentin Tomberg.

Orthodox Church - Father
Catholic Church - Son
Protestant Church - Holy Spirit

If this is an accurate characterisation then it seems that Christians might seek to embrace the best aspects of Johannine, Petrine and Pauline Christianity. An approach such as this would likely lead to the kind of "unaffiliated Christianity" that William describes. Such an approach may transcend the historical schisms of the Church and offer a path towards a true Trinitarian Christianity.

And yet, William is correct - something is still missing. The inner path of all three has been neglected and has atrophied.

These are not the end-times, but we are living through an apocalypse. We must respond, and that will require an appreciation of the high stakes involved - the perilous state of human souls and the courage to descend into the depths of our self and seek forgiveness for the darkness that lies within.

William Wildblood said...

Yes, Petrus, I agree that the reincarnation process puts a different light on outer and inner approaches to the spiritual with the inner taking precedence the further along the path one is as you start to become more conscious of the spiritual self. That's an important point to make. I am very aware of the risks and dangers of an independent spirituality but if it is anchored in Christ those risks and dangers are substantially reduced.

William Wildblood said...

Moonsphere, I believe that the fact that all churches to a greater or lesser extent have lost touch with the inner dimensions of being shows that God is pushing us to meet him within ourselves. We have to make that leap from outer to inner.