A Message from Rev. Kathleen

July, 2020

Dear Anam Cara,
After months of reflection and prayer, and consulting with family and colleagues, it is time for me to resign as director of Anam Cara Connections, effective July 22, 2020. ACC became an official IRS 503(c)(3) non-profit on July 22, 2008. Twelve years is a good amount of time for me to have guided and supported a ministry of the soul. It’s time for a change. Consider these words from Ernest Holmes, founder of Science of Mind:
Nature will not let us stay in any one place for too long. She will let us stay just long enough to gather the experience necessary to the unfolding and advancement of the soul. This is a wise provision, for should we stay there too long, we would become too set, too rigid, too inflexible. Nature demands change in order that we may advance.

It is my hope that new leadership will emerge, and, with volunteer support, guide ACC to its next journey on the Upward Spiral. A few people are interested in helping, but the new leader (aka point person, the one who holds the center with volunteer support) has not yet emerged. It was decided at the May 16th council meeting that unless a new leader commits by July 1st, Anam Cara Connections will close its virtual doors and dissolve the Oregon non-profit.

A message from Rev. Beth Astarte, leader of the transition team.
Do you have interest in assisting ACC to move forward without Rev. Kathleen’s leadership? As a helper or leader? This is an excellent opportunity!!! What comes with the leadership is an already beautiful website, non-profit status with the State of Oregon, By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation, office supplies, and numerous other supportive documents and systems. They can all change to adapt for a new vision. The name can change to suit the new ministry. The direction can change in a way that serves the contemporary anam cara. Note that ACC is no longer a 501(c)(3), so moving forward will have very few restrictions previously enforced by the ever-changing rules and regulations set forth by the IRS.

If you feeling a calling, even if slight, please contact me. I can provide you with more information.

Rev. Beth Astarte
(503) 307-4357

So, what’s next for me? I’m not quite sure yet. I will turn 70 this coming December. Early last January I started an art journal to help guide me to an eventual Crone ceremony.

Why? Wait? What?

July 4, 2020

Part of being successful is about asking questions and listening to the answers.
Anne Burrell, American chef

There have been nightly protests for several weeks in my former hometown of Portland, Oregon. Some of it peaceful, some of it not. When destruction and violence occur, I hear people ask: Why is this happening? Why are they doing this? Why isn’t someone stopping it? Why? Why? Why?

When we launch into “why thinking,” our stress level elevates. It’s because our minds start to spin, and churn, and make guesses that can mascaraed as truths. We’ll keep the treadmill going as the brain seeks an answer because why demands proof. Guess what? There really is no proof. There is no logical answer to why because there’s really no good reason why all of this destruction is happening. What to do?


Pause. Step back and take a deep breath. Allow your heart and brain to sync up. Then ask the same questions only thing time inserting WHAT instead of WHY.

WHAT is the destructive rioting about?

WHAT causes people to act out in such destructive ways?

WHAT needs to happen to de-stress the situation?

Here’s another example. Remember the hot pursuit of toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic? I remember thinking, “Why are people hoarding toilet paper? I can think of a dozen things around my house that I could use of TP.” When I moved into “what thinking,” I soon had a better understanding. It’s amazing what you can find out after a few minutes of research.

Check out Bella DePaulo, Ph.D.

Other people are hoarding, unwittingly setting an example to be imitated.
Looters: Other people are doing it, so why not me? Why does it matter if I steal one thing or a dozen?

Images are suggesting scarcity.
Rioters: Empty store shelves imply that there’s not enough of something to go around. I will grab what I can.

People are worried and they want to do something.
Anarchists: I can’t sit home and do nothing. I must participate, even if its violent and destructive.

Then there’s the recent issues around racist labels, movies, songs, etc. A white woman friend told me that she thought that removing Aunt Jemima from syrup bottles was disrespectful of the woman’s image and her family. I asked a black woman friend what she thought. Stereotyping Aunt Jemima as a kitchen slave reminds her of her ancestry and it hurts.

When I heard that “Gone with the Wind” was pulled from TV I was shocked and saddened. How is it a part of the BLM healing movement? I’ve seen the movie probably a dozen times. I always saw it a tragic love story. When I watch it next time, because I will, I vow to see it with different eyes. Mine and the eyes of the slaves.

One recent night, when I was fed up with it all, I decided to watch “West Side Story” on TV. Something to take my mind off racism, white fragility, whys and whats. It wasn’t long into the movie that I realized it was a story about Puerto Rican immigrants unwelcomed by white gang members. Natalie Wood, as Maria, wore brown face makeup. I had to turn it off. As my black woman friend advised me, “…Once you open your eyes and start to see the world through my eyes, you can never turn back.”

My hope is that this will inspire you to catch your Why thinking. When you notice the spinning of whys, pause and wait. Then ask What is this about. At the very least, you’ll find a few moments of peace.

My Privilege by Mary

June 5, 2020

“White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions–maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.”

Peggy McIntosh is an American feminist, anti-racism activist, scholar, speaker, and Senior Research Scientist of the Wellesley Centers for Women.

STUFF I KNOW – My Privilege
by Mary, Anam Cara 2013

This is about a time in my life that I don’t talk about but maybe it’s time.
In 1968 I became a guest of the Washington State criminal justice system. It was a year of racial unrest all around the country. This was my initiation into being the minority. It had taken a few months to process through the system to finally walk through the gates of prison. I was a skinny white kid who just wanted to be left alone. I was also a kid who’d been taking care of herself on the streets and knew how to look like absolutely nothing fazed her while shaking with fear.

I was escorted to my assigned “dorm,”, briefly introduced to the matron, and then walked the gauntlet of girls sizing me up. “Hey you white girl, you, yeah you, girl you soul or psychedelic?” (Psychedelic meant hippie; Soul meant black.) While this is being yelled, I remember wondering; what the hell are you talking about?

I made it to my cell, a small cubbyhole of a space with a bed, dresser, desk combo and enough space to almost spread my arms, enough length to pace about 10 small paces and a window to remind of where I couldn’t freely go anymore. I was told that as long as I followed rules the door would remain unlocked during the day. Groovy. I didn’t want any trouble. I’ve never wanted any trouble. I have always managed to walk into it however.

I got my ass beat regularly that first month every time I came out of my cell. All because of that stupid question–“Are you soul or psychedelic?”–that I wouldn’t answer because I didn’t know what in the hell they were talking about. The black girls said things like “James Brown is my Daddy and Aretha is my Mama.” Music was the dividing line. Music was a life line. Music defined all of us during those years. The white girls who didn’t want to get beat up chimed in with them. Then there was me. This strange hippie girl who got the Blues. Janis was my soul sister. Aretha was the Goddess. I was neither soul or psychedelic and I wasn’t about to claim to be either. So, I took my beatings until they either got bored or decided I wasn’t worth the effort. I continue to refuse to be defined by anyone else’s standards although many have tried.

What stands out most to me about that time is even as the minority among the girls and treated as such in the beginning, I could see how I was treated differently by staff. I could push rules further before being punished. There was also a hierarchy among the races, white, black, Hispanic, mixed; it was the mixed-race person that was looked down the most. Somehow, I fit in with all of them simply by being myself. I used to joke around about being so Irish I’d at least turn blue in the winter for some color.

During the holidays, between 68 and 69, the staff was trying to bring us together and determined that we would put on a talent show for the entire institution. I took part as one of a handful of white girls dancing to Motown on stage with about 3 dozen black girls. We did it together as a team with one goal; to put on the very best act any of them had ever seen. And we did it. I want to believe we all learned something about ourselves in that act. We really are better together in our differences.

I’ve never forgotten, no matter how good or difficult my life has been over the years, if I was any other color, I would never have survived my life. I’ve experienced the prejudice of having been locked up. I was tagged bad, period. I was refused entry into Battle Ground High School because I was on parole. My dad threatened legal action, I was admitted. When I walked down the hallway the other kids moved to the other side. Kids weren’t allowed to have anything to do with me.

That level of shunning affects a person at their very core. I’ve never completely covered the scars or erased the story of not quite being good enough. I am very grateful for my life and make no apology for it. I recognize my privilege and renew my pledge to work for a better world for those without my privilege. In my attempts to understand some of the many different opinions that have become more blatant, since 2016 I find myself in the position of having to take a hard stand on racism. I’ve turned the other cheek more times over the last 3 years than most of you can imagine when I’ve read horrid comments from “friends” about certain NFL players, Democrats, liberals, etc. I simply can no longer do this. I can no longer turn the other cheek when racist comments are made or implied.

While I have no intentions of calling anyone out, please don’t be offended when you discover you are no longer seeing my posts on your Facebook page. I haven’t stopped loving you, I’ve just realized I can’t teach you anything new either. And I can’t help but ask myself, would you still say you love me if I weren’t white?

P.S. The day I walked away a free person I swore an oath that somehow, someday I would make a difference for someone else.  Little did I know I would one day become one of the MH/Addictions counselors at Washington Corrections Center for Women.  While working there I was able to gain an understanding of just how much had changed within the criminal justice system while a great deal more remains to do.   By using a combination of various forms of art, talk therapy and behavioral changes, I was able to help some of the women to make lasting change. An opportunity to develop and administer a specialty treatment group for women with a focus on trauma and addiction brought me to Vancouver in 2000.  Over the years I’ve been blessed to participate in Anam Cara and other spiritual based groups and in turn have been able to pass the teachings on to women whom otherwise would never have had the opportunity to experience the Sisterhood of Anam Cara that we share. 

The Void

May 21, 2020

“Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.” Simone Weil, Love in the Void: Where God Finds Us (1909-1943)

As news of my upcoming retirement from Anam Cara Connections circulates, I realize that I have taken a conscious dive into The Void. It’s that often disparaged space between the past and the future. What a minister friend calls “living in the leap.” She describes an aerial artist’s moment of hovering between letting go of one swinging bar before making contact with another bar or person. I may want to watch this, but I certainly don’t feel called to do it.

Better said, writer Thomas Moore has named this the Pregnant Void, meaning that it can be a very rich time, and not just for me. We are all currently dwelling in The Void caused by the pandemic. Life before the virus. Life after the virus. In between is The Void. We can’t go back to the lifestyles we enjoyed before the pandemic and yet we are advised not to move forward too quickly. It makes sense that the Latin root of the word void is, “to be empty.”

When I see that something is empty, I have the urge to fill it. When the empty warning light comes on in my car, I have the thank filled. When my water glass is empty, I re-fill it. Could this be the root of the over-indulging many of us have been doing while in isolation? Trying to fill a void we can’t quite name? I know I certainly have. There are Milk Duds in my office drawer, potato chips in the kitchen, ice cream in the freezer—all just in case I let that empty feeling in. Shhh….don’t tell anyone.

Another not-so-healthy isolation practice is to over think. I tend to do it anyway, usually related to an idea I’m brewing, a conflict with someone or an event that didn’t meet my ego’s standards. But with so much time on my hands, and wacky news reporting, I’m not sure what to think, believe or feel.

According to Alice in Wonderland, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Alice, those six impossible beliefs can fizzle by the time my breakfast is over. And there I am again. Empty, in The Void—worried, angry and in despair.

There are many things we have done and will be doing while in The Void. What interests me most is how we are BEING—with the global/national/local pandemic, and, for me personally, as I prepare to let go of my ministry and consciously move into my elder years. My human tendency is to shake my head with worry, knock my angry head against a wall and hang my head in despair. My poor head! Consider the origins of the three words:

WORRY To constrict

ANGER To choke


When you find yourself in The Void and feel any of the three feelings above, remember that we have choice. According to a Chinese proverb, “When fate throws a dagger at you, there are only two ways to catch it: by the blade of by the handle.”

If I catch the worry side of the blade, I will remember to release. The next time I’ll catch it by the handle.

If I catch the angry side of the blade, I will remember to breathe. The next time I’ll catch it by the handle.

If I catch the despair side of the blade, I will remember that I always have hope. The next time I’ll catch it by the handle.

When we neutralize the anxiety associated with the void, we can allow grace to fill the space. Consider the various word origins for grace: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks.

Today, on this New Moon, may favor, charm and gratitude guide you to your inner home. Then fill it with grace!!!


Assuming Aristotle was right, that nature abhors a vacuum, then it stands to reason that we should fill that vacuum, The Void, with something empowering and supportive. Check out the website for Ashana, one of the premiere healing music artists and New Age vocalists of our time. https://www.soundofashana.com/


May 6, 2020

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” Margaret J. Wheatley, American writer

Knowing that I’m a long-time fan, a friend recently forwarded to me a talk given by spiritual teacher/author, Caroline Myss. The title: I want to give you a word today that is pure grace. Intrigued, I watched the whole thing. The word? Reflection. During this time, Myss urges us to find deeper meaning while isolated. In truth, I find it easier to look back then to try and imagine a future beyond the pandemic. What has been revealed is cleansing and healing. Surely, this will support me when I re-emerge from isolation.

Last January I started an art journal intended to guide me to an eventual Crone ceremony—claiming the Wise Woman Within. It wasn’t until listening to Myss’ blog that I realized my journal is filled with reflections. Without intention, what emerged was devoting a few pages for each decade of my life. Childhood, teens, 20s, and 30s. I’m about to start reflecting on my 40s. I will look through old photos, calendars, cards and such to shed light on the past. Stickers, collage images and acrylic paints light up the pages.

Reflection has nudged me to go within and feel. To allow memories of my life to surface. Some happy, some sad. Some to keep, some to let go. I’ve performed letting go rituals at each of the Full and New Moons. It’s been a fun and creative work in progress, especially with so much time on my hands.

With Thursday’s Full Moon, the last of a trinity of Super Moons, I intend to use the time to sit quietly and just be. By day under the Sun and by night under the Moon. To reflect, and in reflecting come home to myself. There I find a much lighter and brighter version of the current me. Anxiety slips away, even if for a short time. It’s my birthright—and yours—to enjoy life, regardless of appearances.

“And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet, and learn to be at home.” (From THE EARTH SPEAKS, passage written by Wendell Berry)

Caroline Myss (pronounced Mace) is an American author of numerous books and audio tapes, including five New York Times Best Sellers: Anatomy of the Spirit, Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, Sacred Contracts, Invisible Acts of Power, Entering the Castle, and Defy Gravity

Forty What?

“It is all about numbers. It is all about sequence. It’s the mathematical logic of being alive. If everything kept to its normal progression, we would live with the sadness–cry and then walk–but what really breaks us cleanest are the losses that happen out of order.” –Aimee Bender, American author

There are many theories circulating about the meaning of Covid19, including Biblical prophecy. Whether Christian or not, you must admit that the spiritual alignment with the number 40 is interesting. The passage below has been circulating on Facebook and caught my attention. I do not know the source, but I invite you to ponder it as food for thought. The number 40. Hmmm…..

The official lock down started March 23 and will likely end May 1st. That is EXACTLY 40 days. The Latin root of the word “quarantine” is “forty”.

So what does the Bible say about 40?

  • The flood lasted 40 days.
  • 40 years Moses fled Egypt.
  • 40 days Moses stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the Commandments.
  • Exodus lasted 40 years.
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days.
  • 40 days for a woman to rest after giving birth.
  • Optimum number of weeks for human gestation is 40.
  • A group of theologians thinks the number 40 represents “change.” It is the time of preparing a person, or people, to make a fundamental change.
  • Something will happen after these 40 days. Just believe and pray.
  • Remember, whenever the number 40 appears in the Bible, there is a “change.”
  • Please know that during this “quarantine” rivers are cleaning up, vegetation is growing, the air is becoming cleaner because of less pollution, there is less theft and murder, healing is happening, and most importantly, people are turning to Christ.
  • The Earth is at rest for the first time in many years and hearts are truly transforming.
  • Remember we are in the year 2020, and 20 + 20 = 40.
  • Also, 2020 is the year of the United States Census. Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, was born during a census.
  • Lastly, 2020 is perfect vision.

May our sight focus on the Lord and living according to His perfect vision for us knowing He holds us in the palm of His hand.

May these days of “quarantine” bring spiritual liberation to our souls, our nation, and our world.

Could We Talk?

April 6, 2020

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” Nancy Willard, author (1936-2017)

Easter 1962 I stood before the congregation at the First Christian Church in Ames, Iowa and declared my faith. Following my family’s tradition, and months of study, I was baptized by immersion. I loved the ritual of it, especially wearing a white robe. Before the dunking, the minister stood before our group of 13-year olds and asked: “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?” One by one everyone said yes. I recall feeling antsy because the question didn’t make sense to me. Exactly what did Jesus save me from? My mom used to tell me that I was my own worst enemy. “Stop asking questions, Kathi.” Would Jesus stop me from being me, the bad and good parts of me? Gosh, I thought, wouldn’t that be a neat and tidy way to live. When the minister stood in front of me and asked the question, I couldn’t bring myself to say yes. Instead I nodded in agreement. But what I really wanted to say was “Could we talk?”

Fast forward twenty-five years. After my dad died I started attending the First Christian Church in downtown Portland. It had a beautiful sanctuary with circular seating, symbolizing unity in community. The minister walked among us. The choir was called Joyful Noise. The feeling was wonderful, but still I longed for a meaningful dialogue about my faith. The opportunity arrived when the minister phoned me and suggested a get acquainted meeting.

He was a lovely man, truly interested in who I was as a person. For the first time I asked what I wanted to ask way back at my baptism. “If I have God, why do I need Jesus? I mean, isn’t Jesus kind of a middle man?” The minister paused, leaned back in his chair and clasped his hands on the top of his head. “That’s an interesting question. No one has ever asked me that before. Let’s talk about it.”

He explained to me that most people can’t comprehend the enormity and vastness of God. That God is creation itself. All knowing, all seeing, everywhere present. Therefore, we need to bring God into human form in order to relate. This is the role that Jesus played and still plays today.

I continued my line of questioning. “If God is the Almighty, then why would we pray to Jesus and not to God? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to bring our prayers to the source?” He chuckled at that while inviting me the next Sunday to listen closely to the prayers. “We pray in the name of Jesus, not to Jesus.” That statement allowed me to think of Jesus as a human expression of God.

I continued attending Sunday services at First Christian Church, and, at the time, I wasn’t sure why. Sanctuaries often feel like home to me. Safe and sacred space. That’s what I felt throughout the year of going to church. Then, one Sunday, something profound happened.

Sitting next to me on the pew was a young family; dad, mom and a few little kids. The dad kept looking at me in a quizzical way. While he was looking at me, I was looking at the stained-glass window of Jesus holding a lantern and saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” (Revelation 3:20) I would do this Sunday after Sunday. Just stare at it while thinking, “Please knock on my door. Please don’t knock on my door.”

On this particular Sunday, with the family nearby, I silently prayed to God for a sign. Is this church right for me? Is any church right for me? When service was over the man came over to me and asked, “Do you belong here?” After a long pause, I smiled broadly and replied, “No, I don’t belong here. Thank you!” He chuckled and said he was asking if I was a member of the church. “No, I’m not. But, again. Thank you. Your question was answered prayer.” With that I quickly departed. I wonder what the man thought after that?

The next week I attended a wedding of a long-ago friend at the Portland Church of Religious Science. The next day I attended a service at the bride and groom’s church. I wept the whole time as I finally felt at home. I learned that, like Jesus, I too am a child of God. And, as Jesus said, I would too would do his works and greater.

This Easter, now 58 years after my baptism, I have come full circle as a proud member of an open, welcoming and progressive Christian Church. There, I found, Life Itself continually knocking on my door. Life invites me to enter into the Highest Expression of My Good/God Self. Easter is a great time to renew my own personal resurrection. May you find peace in your heart this Easter and beyond.

What does Easter mean?

“The origin of the word easter isn’t certain. The Venerable Bede, an eighth-century monk, and scholar, suggested that the word may have come from the Anglo-Saxon Eeostre or Eastre – a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility.  Another possibility is the Norse eostur, astur, or ostara, which meant “the season of the growing sun” or “the season of new birth.” The word east comes from the same roots. In this case, easter would be linked to the changing of the season.”

Additionally: Easter falls on the first Sunday, after the first Full Moon, after the Spring Equinox. The hare was the spring goddess’s totem animal. Eggs were painted and placed in fields as fertility symbols for the beginning of the growing season. What will you do with your painted eggs this year?

Fun with Easter Bonnets!

What If?

“You’re worried about what-ifs. Well, what if you stopped worrying?” ― Shannon Celebi, author of Driving Off Bridges

Push finally came to shove. I had to cancel both my Ireland and Scotland tours scheduled for this month. For several days, before self-isolation, I walked around with “what if” perched on my shoulder. WHAT IF we go? WHAT IF someone on the airplane carries the virus? WHAT IF we get there and someone gets sick? WHAT IF we have to hunker down there for 14 days? WHAT IF we can’t return home? WHAT IF we don’t go? WHAT IF we all lose money? I was driving myself into a frenzy with so many What If’s. It was time to make a decision.

Last Saturday I phoned all of my travelers to make sure they were in agreement. Everyone was disappointed and supportive. We simply could not and would not go. That’s when I had an uplifting What If. “WHAT IF we move the tours to September?” Most travelers were on board with it. So, I started moving ahead with re-booking everything. Soon I discovered that the many sites and hotels in both Ireland and Scotland are closed. How could I possibly re-book? Then the What If’s returned.

WHAT IF I move the tours to September and the virus does not wane in the summer as graphs are predicting. WHAT IF we still can’t go then? That’s when I realized I was drowning in another sea of What Ifs. My own personal ones, and then the huge one that is close to sinking all of us. Then the tears started to flow. Finally, I allowed myself to feel the fear that I’ve been trying to avoid.

I realized that the What If mindset was controlling my thoughts. A perfect way to avoid feelings. Reminds me of a quote I heard years ago, something like, “It’s hard to fight an enemy with outposts in your head.” My sanity has been restored. The enemy was not the tours or the virus. The enemy was of my own making. Enough! There will be no tours in 2020. I’ve made peace with that, although I get teary when I think I should be walking on Ireland’s green grass. Then I remember how blessed I am to live outside of town with my own lush green fields, with two doggies always up for a walk.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a fun links to funny things being created around the pandemic. Some people on Facebook are taking offense by such nonsense. I disagree. Humor heals. Enjoy!

Do Re Mi – Covid 19 version

Social Distancing During Corona Pandemic Funny Video

Toilet Tissue from The Carol Burnett Show (full sketch)

Triple Spiral

March 23, 2020

“A sacred Sabian Symbol for the degree of the new moon is A triangle with wings.” Mark Dodich, astrologer

A triangle with wings? Thanks, Mark, for a great visual during this time of self-isolation!

Today is the New Moon. It’s a time of cleansing, preparing the womb for the new seed. We get to decide what to plant. Fear or Faith? Or, just maybe, a third option? That’s when I turn to the Triple Spiral for wisdom, comfort and inspiration.

Visit our website to learn more about the Triple Spiral.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the Labyrinth page, you’ll see this. Download the triple spiral labyrinth! Click on “download” and print a few copies of the Triple Spiral. Get a pen or marker. Set an intention. What is this New Moon about for me? Enter the labyrinth at the bottom with the heart facing you. With your pen, travel it slowly and mindfully. At the center of each spiral, pause for a few moments. Anything come to you? Then move on until you reach the very center. Then start making notes on the periphery. What comes to mind? Maybe a word, a color, a song? A message from The Universe? Mix it up and have fun. Kids love to do this as well. Print and share with family and friends.

Continue the fun by posting your triple spirals on ACC’s Facebook page: Anam Cara Connections. Let’s stay connected!!!

Christian? by Rev. Casey Moffett-Chaney

March 8, 2020

“I’m always amazed when people walk up to me and say, ‘I’m a Christian.’ I always think, ‘Already? You’ve already got it?’ I’m working at it. And at my age, I’ll still be working at it at 96.” – Maya Angelou, American poet (1928-2014)

Introduction from Kathleen

Has anyone ever asked you, “Are you a Christian?” That question recently came up when I was in conversation with a few other independently trained and licensed ministers. Because we do get asked that! If pressed, my best response has been, “I’m outside the box of church, yet inside the circle of God.” One of the ministers had a response that had never occurred to me.

Let me introduce you to a colleague, Rev. Casey Moffett-Chaney. She is the retired minister of Portland Center for Spiritual Growth. Enjoy!

When pondering the question, “Are you a Christian?” I suddenly revisited the origins of my spiritual path. I was a music education major in college. I didn’t understand what was happening to me at the time. Why were we music majors headed in one direction for our classes, all the religion majors headed in the opposite direction. I felt a huge tug on my heart during those times, as if I was supposed to be going with the religion majors. This always struck me as strange, because I was not raised religiously. In fact, I was raised Jewish, but at that, not in the least bit orthodox.

Suffice it to say, I graduated and taught public school music for 10 years. Then I was introduced to New Thought by means of a 12-Step Program. All of that old heart tugging became foremost in my consciousness, and I realized that I wanted to be a rabbi. The main problem with this, was that I had no desire to move to Ohio or New York to study for several years. Even if I did, it would’ve been impossible, because at that time, being female, meant that I would not be accepted in the program anyway.

Enter New Thought, and in particular, the New Thought church down the road from where I lived. I enrolled in the ministry program, graduated in three years, became licensed as a minister, and ultimately, ordained. my Jewish roots played a huge part in this ministry, but I was not a Jew for Jesus. That would have implied that I believed in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, having died for my sins. This was simply not the case. During my studies, I had grown to love the Sermon on the Mount from the book of Matthew In the New Testament of the Bible.

The Sermon on the Mount was as close to a classroom setting as any other story from the entire Bible. In short, it says that Jesus went up onto a hill of sorts, and a whole bunch of people followed him. As soon as all those students we’re sitting and listening, Jesus began to teach. “Blessed are the meek…” I found an awesome book by Emmett Fox, called, The Sermon on the Mount, and proceeded to devour it. From this book and Emmett Fox’s teaching, I came to realize that the entire Sermon on the Mount was the essence of Jewish Law.

For the next 24 years, I was the senior minister for the Portland Center for Spiritual Growth. During that time, I was asked to define the spirituality called New Thought. Most often I was asked if it was Christian? I responded by saying…

New Thought is the Judaism that Jesus taught.

Then I would refer them to the Sermon on the Mount. If directly asked if I was Christian, I responded with…

Jesus is my teacher.

Now, this did not always make the asker happy, but, oh well, it was and is my truth. I have been known to suggest that the asker feel free to take their concerns to Jesus directly. And by all means, feel free to pray for my soul. I can use all the help I can get!

Curious about Jews for Jesus? Here’s one website that might answer your questions: https://jewsforjesus.org/

What to know more about New thought? http://www.religionfacts.com/new-thought

More on the Sermon on the Mount – The Sermon on the Mount, chapters 5-7 in the gospel according to Matthew, contains the most important teachings of Jesus. The Sermon begins with the Beatitudes, and their call to humility, peacemaking, purity, and righteousness, and continues on to sharp condemnations of anger, lust, revenge, and hypocrisy, and then to the beautiful exemplar of the Lord’s Prayer. This is followed by strong admonitions against materialism, worry, and judging others. But it’s not all “thou shalt not,” for the Sermon on the Mount ends with Jesus’ encouragement for his followers to pray frequently and fervently, to live by the Golden Rule, to bear good fruit, and to build on the rock. https://www.bruderhof.com/en/topics/the-sermon-on-the-mount