Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Co-Ordination: Yes, The Pun Was Intended!

“Co-Ordination”—An Increasingly Popular Outgrowth of the Interfaith/Interspiritual Movement

This article is a re-post of the new (and now second) article on OUnI in the newly revised 300-page ezine, "The Coming Interspiritual Age," published by Namaste Publishing on page 171 at: http://tinyurl.com/brg5amk

Rev. Tim Miner OUnI and Rev. Dr. Kurt Johnson CMH

As the Interfaith and Interspiritual movements have grown worldwide, the idea of clergy becoming ordained in more than one tradition and/or also being ordained with the additional “tag” of Interfaith or Interspiritual Minister has become more and more popular.  What has resulted is an interwoven tapestry of clergy whose ministries reflect the increasingly fewer and fewer boundaries among and across traditional religious denominations.  Further, co-ordination has allowed anyone who may have run into difficulty with purely denominational ministry, especially because of their own interfaith or interspiritual activities, to find a new community if unfortunately they have been forced to leave the community of their original roots. 

One path of co-ordination has grown from the work of the Order of Universal Interfaith (OUnI) (www.ouni.org) which is organized as a religious order in the District of Columbia and has a charter for such ordinations.  It formed a partnership with the interspiritual constituency of Brother Wayne Teasdale (www.isdna.org) early in 2010 and the idea of co-ordination has grown ever since.  On a cold January evening in 2010, over 50 clergy from a wide variety of faith traditions descended upon Washington, D.C., USA, to take part in the first co-ordination ceremony of OUnI that would provide a dual stature to serve all people of all faiths through the interfaith and interspiritual ecclesiastic religious society of OUnI.  After almost 40 months and a dozen ceremonies all over the world, OUnI co-ordained clergy are actively meeting the spiritual needs of the world in many different ways and venues.  Seven different subcommunities allow for a variety of expressions of the inclusive theology, spirituality and consciousness that defines the movement.  They have created a theology conference to serve as the apologetic and publish on the movement.  This event is the “Big I” (Interfaith, Interspiritual, Integral) conference, to date hosted by OUnI at the Scarritt-Bennett Conference Center on the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee (www.bigiconference.org) and in 2014 in Arizona.   These conferences have further breathed a synergy into the entire interfaith, interspiritual and integral enterprises.

The association of multifaith clergy facilitated by OUnI, now on five continents and in twenty countries, has become a living embodiment of the vision that all forms of human spirituality are diverse expressions of the same spiritual goal—which is to be connected with higher callings and community beyond one’s own self or one’s conventional ethnic, national or religious identities.  The idea of a universal order was envisioned in the creation of the Universal Third Order in the 1980’s (and now part of OUnI) and throughout the seminal interspiritual writings of Brother Wayne Teasdale.  How that process is beginning to play out through the diverse constituencies now emerging across the interfaith, interspiritual and integral landscapes is an interesting phenomenon to watch. 

OUnI has also provided recognition to “clergy level” leadership across traditions that are outside the conventional western boundaries of ministry.  Through OUnI’s “Wisdom Keeper” status, the Order has been able to give recognition to the leaders of a myriad forms of human spirituality, many having no other legal recognition.  This recognition is important for community and ministry building.  Further, it has developed ordination specifically tailored for the diverse need of hospice and chaplaincy ministry.  Further, OUnI has provided clerical status for community building, especially for community action-related programs, to communities who desire to use the terms “Brother” or “Sister” in their ministries. 

At a September 2010 co-ordination in Sedona, Arizona, OUnI gave a seminal recognition to “integral ministry” with an ordination of integral teachers supported by philosopher Ken Wilber, author of another important book for our time-- Integral Spirituality.   Ken Wilber is one of nine “Sages” recognized by OUnI, all of whose works have helped define the emerging universal spiritual path.  We understand now that communities within the wider international integral community are also looking to co-ordination as a way to create and expand viable integral communities.  OUnI has continued to offer its resources in those directions, realizing that its own seminal actions across the co-ordination phenomenon may lead many constituencies across the interfaith, interspiritual and integral landscape to now further think through what educations programs, and ordination, may mean for their uniquely emerging communities.  As Brother Teasdale himself said “there are many paths to the tree-top but the ultimate view is the same”. 

We have written this short article in response to many inquiries and responses that we have had speaking to how popular the vision of “co-ordination” has become.  Anyone further interested in co-ordination as envisioned by The Order of Universal Interfaith is welcome to write to Rev. Miner at thminer@ouni.org