What We Don’t Believe
We are not a belief-based spiritual community. We take a non-dual approach to Christianity.
Churches create belief-based doctrine lists so people know if they belong. Our community doesn’t work that way. If you are here, you belong—no matter what you believe. We share a hunger for spiritual growth, wholeness, and wisdom, but we don’t impose what that should look like. We don’t organize around doctrine. Instead, we organize around a non-dual, way of relating. You might call it oneness or a non-dual approach to Christianity.
Yes, we are a Christian community, but we have rediscovered in our heritage more inclusive ways, non-dual ways, to be Christian. Below are the few things we do believe:
1. We believe you belong.
We do our best to accept, respect, and encourage one another on our diverse spiritual journeys. Consequently, at CTC, people hold a broad spectrum of beliefs about life, religion, and spirituality. Some of us are deconstructing, trying to figure if we believe anything at all. For us, a diverse community of people all along the spectrum is welcomed. It’s honest. It’s authentic. It’s real. You can belong here even when—maybe especially when—you have religious doubts. Deconstructing? Sinner? LGBTQ+? Scientist? We believe you belong.
We are an affirming and egalitarian community. We welcome LGBTQ+ people in all levels of participation and leadership at CTC and we encourage them in their relationships. Women are encouraged to and do serve at all levels of leadership at CTC.
2. We believe in paradox and humility.
Christians can’t be honest without honoring paradox. Just listen to the non-dual ways we talk about God: God is one: God is three. God is good: God allows evil. God is all-powerful: humans have free will. When our spiritual truths are so vast they can’t be contained in fixed doctrines, humility is a really good idea. It serves us well not to be too rigid in our beliefs. It’s better if we cultivate curious hearts constantly seeking deeper experience of God’s inclusive, diverse Life and Love.
3. We believe Christianity is worth saving.
For many, dualistic Christianity is not relevant. For good reason. We church folk have behaved badly these last few generations. The word “Christian” has some baggage. And yet, our community is holding on to the word – the tradition. Because when we take the long view, we see it has been our Christian way to lose our way. We might as well admit it. It’s been a recurring refrain. But through the centuries, it has also been our way to re-find our way. After we wander and behave poorly, we do come back to our roots. We rediscover Jesus and return to the ancient Way of Love. We become good neighbors again. We fulfill our mandate to repair what is broken, rebuild what is destroyed, and redeem what is lost. And that is happening now, in our lifetimes, across the world. The Christian tradition is finding its way again. And our community has thrown in its lot with that quest to rebuild an inclusive, non-dual approach to Christianity.
4. We believe the church is worth saving.
We think of church as a house for spirituality to live in. A house is a wonderful thing – a hearth to warm us, a table to gather around. Spiritual community is like that too. It warms us. It gathers and supports us. But sometimes houses become toxic. They get radon, black mold, some other toxin. When that happens, the best thing to do is move. And when we do, phew! What a relief! We’re out of the toxic stew.
Spiritual communities can become toxic too. When they become unsafe, we languish instead of thrive, and the best thing we can do is move. Many at CTC have been spiritually homeless and have felt the deep relief of being out of the toxic confines of church. But we are now alone on our journeys. Without community, we aren’t supported. We aren’t challenged to grow. We aren’t prompted to reflect on our habits and question our assumptions. A healthy house is good. A healthy religious community is good. So rather than abandoning church, our community is committed to gutting the toxic parts and rebuilding. Read about our efforts toward building an inclusive, non-dual approach to Christianity on our history page.
5. We believe sin is not a big deal.
That sounds scandalous when you say it, and to be honest, we kind of go for that effect. Of course sin damages our lives. It damages our families, our relationships, and our futures. But compared to the vastness of God’s inclusive grace and forgiveness, sin is just not a big deal. It is certainly not a big enough deal to organize our spiritual lives around it. Consequently, at CTC, we’re not too focused on sin. We don’t spend energy trying to keep one another on the straight and narrow. Rather, we encourage one another to listen to the Indwelling Spirit, and let God move us. We listen carefully for inner spiritual conviction, and then respond fervently to what we hear. Do that, and sin tends to take care of itself.