Finding a Healthy Religious Community

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,081
    Rev. Rock Schuler discusses how to find a healthy religious community.

    Rock Schuler

    Rock Schuler is the Rector (Pastor) of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olney, Maryland. He has served as an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church since 1990 after studying for the priesthood at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He was awarded a Doctorate of Ministry in Congregational Development in 2002. In the course of his ministry, Rock has served on an Indian Reservation, in rural Wyoming, and in major suburban areas. In addition to pastoring the people of his congregation, he has been involved in community service projects to serve the homeless, refugees, and the addicted. He’s also been involved in international outreach projects in Latin America and Africa. Rock’s spiritual roots lie in the early Christian Church, in Native American spirituality, in the liturgical worship and traditions of the Episcopal Church, and most especially in his own personal relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ. He appreciates the mystery and mysticism of the Christian faith while offering thanks for a lifelong and joyous love of Jesus. Rock, born in 1965, is from Wyoming, where he served his first two churches. He is married to Jennifer, whom he met while serving a parish outside of Philadelphia, and has two beautiful daughters, Leia and Rebecca. Rock is into science fiction and fantasy (especially "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Trek," "Lost," and "The Lord of the Rings"), movies, reading, kayaking/canoeing, hiking, and running.

    Speaker: How does a healthy religious community address my anxieties and fears?

    Rock Schuler: All the great spiritual masters have said and I think quiet rightly, that the core anxiety, the core fear that is lodged within us as human beings is the fear of death. We fear the utter loss of our life; the loss of our experiences, the loss of who we are as individuals. Death comes to every human being and that inevitable reality creates great anxiety and great fear within all of us; as individuals and as human beings. A healthy religious community; being in touch with the spirit, being in touch with God, knowing how God loves us, frees us from this anxiety of death. In my own experience, I have found that watching Jesus become alive in the lives of other people, knowing the resurrection to be made real in the lives of other people and the worshipping communities of which I have been a part, has shown me that God has in fact, conquered death. The God has taken death out of the picture for us, so that our life will continue as he planned, as he dreamed for each one of us. That freedom from worry and anxiety about the loss of who I am as an individual, allows me to freely give of myself to others, to be moved by God s love and compassion, to try and become more like God. That is what God does for me; God does for all of us. When we are freed from anxiety and fear about death, we are freed essentially to love and that is the great joy of being a spiritual person, of seeing the spirit alive and at work in the world. The great joy of knowing God; to love, to be a part of love, a love that endures, a love that is remaking the world, a love that will endure forever in the lives of everyone we love, a love that will keep us alive as individuals, a love that will make us a part of the life of God for eternity.