Flip Wilson’s comedy role as Reverend Leroy of The Church of What’s Happening Now is the perfect precursor for the Church as it Ought To be. For one thing, he is comedic and doesn’t take himself seriously. For another, the Church of What’s happening Now is intently focused on, and involved with, the present moment, which, of course, is eternal and unending because it, in fact, never ends. It evolves, morphs, transitions forever into nothing more than the present moment right here, right now. Still. Some more. Again.
The present moment has everything we need to find what we need to rise to the occasion and do what the situation is calling for in every situation as it arises–using the gifts, genius, daemon, virtues, character, that came with us from the womb. To know that it is so, we only have to trust that it is so, and act as though it is.
The moment is equipped to bring us forth. Joseph Campbell said, “It took the Cyclops to bring out the hero in Ulysses.” Our moments do that for us. The Now is all we need to discover who we are, and find what is ours to do.
But, of course, there is a catch. We cannot impose our ideas for the moment on the moment. We have to enter each moment, and each situation as it arises, as innocent and as sincere–as empty of designs, and plans, and agendas–as a stream looking for the sea.
The wonder is that every moment is in search of something. Every situation calls for something to be done. Our place is to know what’s what, and what needs to be done about it, and how we might best respond with what is ours to give.
This requires us to see what we look at. To hear what is being said to us. And to leave contriving, conspiring, conniving, desiring and having to have at the door. We have to approach each new now, each moment, each situation, wondering what is needed here, now, and how we might be of help–without imposing our desires for the situation on the situation. We simply respond to the need of the moment, with nothing in mind beyond seeing where it goes.
This positions us to respond spontaneously, without thinking, to what is being called for–like the Prodigal’s father welcoming him home, or the Samaritan helping the man in the ditch. This attitude of sincerity and spontaneity is the center and ground of right seeing, right hearing, right knowing, right doing and right being. And it is the heart and soul of the Church as it Ought To Be.
Living in the moment, with the moment, for the moment, moment-by-moment-by-moment, is what the old Taoists meant by “living in accord with the Tao.” Living in accord with the Tao is being true to ourselves within the context and circumstances of our life. When we live like that strange things happen, “for no reason.”
Ulysses defeats the Cyclops, for instance, and David defeats Goliath. The moment opens before those who are open to the moment–without “being open to the moment” as a secret strategy for getting the moment to open before them. Miracles of pace and timing are always happening, but they cannot be manipulated into being, or made to happen with a certain outcome in mind–having anything at all in mind destroys the innocence and sincerity that is at the heart of oneness with the Tao. We cannot do anything with an eye on what’s in it for us and be one with the Tao.
“Tao” is another word for “Grace,” and “Dharma,” and “Synchronicity.” They are all words for the experience of things happening that we would never expect to happen, as if by magic, for no reason, out of the blue. They happen regularly in the presence of those who live innocently, sincerely, attuned to the time and place of their living, responding to what the moment is calling for with the gifts that are theirs to share for no reason. And Grace happens for no reason. There is a connection.
And that is all we can say.
That is what Lao Tzu said about the Tao. “The Way that can be discerned and designated as The Way is not a reliable way.” Trying to define it, explain it and set up rules to govern it is to ruin any chance we might have had of experiencing it.
There is something else about the Tao that has implications for us and the way we live our life. We cannot live our life as though our life belongs to us. We are born with a purpose, with a task, with a work that must be done.
Martin Palmer says, “The Tao Te Ching lays out a cosmological view of the universe wherein the Tao is not just the path of heaven; it is not just the purpose of heaven; it is not even the origin of all life within the universe; it it the origin of the Origin.
The Tao gives birth to the One;
the One gives birth to the Two;
the Two gives birth to the Three;
The three give birth to every living thing.“
Palmer says, “The Tao begets the One–the Origin. From this, according to later classical Chinese cosmology, come the twin opposite forces of Yin and Yang. From these come the Three, Heaven, Earth and Humanity. And from these flow all creativity.” (Palmer is writing in “The Illustrated Tao Te Ching)
Human beings are from the beginning, The Middle Way between the Yin of Heaven and the Yang of Earth. We are built to bear the pain of integrating opposites, of incarnating balance and harmony, of living within the tension of mutually exclusive polarities and making peace where there is no peace–and no hope for peace.
We are the peace makers. The troth keepers. The negotiators. The diplomats. The masters of the right touch. The servants of the Tao, of Grace, of Dharma, of Synchronicity, of Miracle, of Magic.
And we do it using the basic tools at the heart of creation.
Seeing. Hearing. Understanding. Knowing. Doing. Being.
Silence. Patience. Faithfulness. Good Faith. Integrity. Sincerity. Innocence. Transparency. Truthfulness. Timing.
We do not step naked and alone into any moment, any situation, any context, any circumstance. We always go forth in the company of all that we need to find what we need to do what needs to be done–to do what needs us to do it the way only we can do it–in all times and places of our existence.
Here is what we have at our disposal: Our Original Nature; The Face That Was Ours Before We Were Born–Before Our Parents Were Born; The Gifts; The Genius; The Daemon; The Virtues; The Character; The Spirit; The Energy; The Vitality; The Balance; The Harmony; The Stability; The Source That Is A Reliable Presence Moment-To-Moment (And the origin of our knowledge of what is right for us and what is wrong for us, what is good for us and what is bad for us, where we belong and where we have no business being, etc.–if we would only Stop-Look-Listen, and know what we know, moment-by-moment)…
The Church Of What’s Happening Now is the truth of how things are that enables is to square up with how things are, and do what needs to be done about it, in each situation as it arises, all our life long–without theology, or doctrine, or dogma, or creeds, or beliefs, and nothing but our experience of the moment, and of all that is with us in the moment, to guide us and sustain us in the work of seeing and doing what is right in response to the time and place of our living, for as long as life shall last.
Becoming a Member of the Non-Subscribing Church of What’s Happening Now is a simple matter of embracing the Annual Agreements, which consist of two things:
1. Agree to financially support humanitarian causes that are dear to your heart throughout the next 12 months.
2. Agree to watch the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube Videos on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (The shortest ones first), and practice Mindfulness Meditation throughout the next 12 months.
That’s it. Upon making a Covenant of Agreement with yourself, you are an official member of the Non-Subscribing Church of What’s Happening Now for the next 12 months (Non-Subscribing because there is nothing to subscribe to, no Book of Doctrine [And a hymn book is a clandestine Book of Doctrine!], no Book of Worship, no Creeds, no Statement of Faith, etc.). Just you and your experience of the here right now, and what is being called for, what needs to be done, by you with the gifts you have to serve and to offer.
Membership is to be renewed annually.
There is no penalty for forgetting.
Welcome to the way and being on it, such as it is, such as we are!
Additions to this site will be forthcoming over time, so check back in periodically to see if anything is new.
The foundation for The Church of What’s Happening Now was poured in two books I wrote before, and just after, my retirement in February, 2011. Both can be purchased ($2.99 each) from the Kindle Store on Amazon, and both are available free on my companion web site here on WordPress, https://www.jimwdollar.com
They are, A Handbook for the Spiritual Journey, and, An Old Preacher’s Manifesto. These books lay out what is not working in The Church of Our Experience, and how things need to change for the Church to be what it needs to be in the life of the people, here and now.