We just got back from a jaunt over to the best bakery/cafe in town, a trip which ended in complete disaster when the dog, who we had decided to take with us out of pity when she yelped and whined about being crated, ended up eating the most beautiful and huge-est loaf of sourdough bread which we purchased there.
But I digress. While standing in line to get our pastries and the loaf we did not yet know would be marked for destruction, I noticed a wonderfully strange and somewhat ridiculous business card on the community board there. It read as follows:
Spark of Light: A Loving Way to Become a Happier and Healthier Person
Accredited Journey Practitioner
Certified Visionary and
Conscious Leadership Coach
Reading it made me wonder how one goes about getting accredited as a journey practitioner. I thought that's what seminary was for, but I am glad to know I could have bypassed that entire undertaking in favor of a simple accreditation process! A quick search of the 'net (Google: "Journey Practitioner Accreditation") left me giggling in a not-very-compassionate-or-Christ-like way. I found a network of professionals all of whom are available to help:
Release your pain!
Obtain inner peace!
Feel valued and confident!
Have abundance in everything!
Uncover the blocks and silent saboteurs that limit you to be all that you can be!
Well thank God. Here I was thinking that such benefits would be the result of a lifetime of diligent seeking, reflection and practice.
And what about my visionary certification? Having once before been accused on not being a visionary, this is a particularly sensitive topic for me.
All this made me have the simultaneously terrifying and comforting thought: this is why the church is dying. Because we are competing with folks who can bring you inner peace, pain release, confidence and limitation de-blockage in 6 easy sessions, while we're sitting around talking about whether a Palestinian carpenter and his unemployed fisherman pals 2,000 years ago really did or did not fundamentally change the world on top of which we in the liberal wing of the church must admit that which we believe to be true which is that we don't have all the answers to even the easy stuff.
There are days when I feel that working in the church is like playing in the band on the Titanic as it goes down. And maybe it is. And I recognize that to some people it's not much better than selling inner peace on a sliding scale. But there are more days when I'm glad I've got more than a visionary certification, but instead a tiny bit of faith left in a real visionary.
Seriously, though, God, if you exist and you're reading this, I could have done without the dog eating the bread.
Postscript: If you too are feeling not very compassionate, and instead are feeling cynical and snarky, take a look at this somewhat terrifying person who accredits journey-practitioners: http://www.thejourney.com/