Accepting a Calling to an Integralist's Ministry, Part 2
The Next Stage in My Spiritual Vocation Has Come
As many of you know or have presumed, I have a predilection for Integral Spirituality that goes beyond the ordinary. About 30 years ago, I studied comparative religion and philosophy as an undergraduate and took courses alongside Harvard Divinity School students. Later I dropped out of Divinity School in Chicago, and I never thought I would have a calling to ministry.
I was wrong. Nearly three years ago, I embarked on a course of affirming my calling to be an Integral Minister. I have more than incidental leanings to Roman Catholicism, but my actual philosophy goes beyond that institution’s catechism. I have flirted with the Episcopal Church, the Unitarian Universalists, Buddhism, Islam, Daoist Confucianism, and with Metamodern Philosophy, but the truth is that none of these options fit me exactly. I have come to understand that my ministry serves the Integral Tradition… and if people don’t understand what that represents, then I’ll need to enlighten them.
For the past three years, I worried that because I didn’t have a Church, my ministry would be hobbled. That’s definitely a difficulty: the so-called “integral movement” lacks a well-structured lower-right quadrant, which is to say that it’s small and disorganized. While no one can point me to the right way or best way to be an Integral Minister, there’s no reason that I can’t trailblaze a path forward without an institution behind me. I will just have to make it happen with whatever technological and social tools that I have available.
Soon after publicly declaring my intention to accept a religious vocation in a 2018 blog post, a disruption happened: I lost my main source of financial support. I felt that I had no choice but to do a job that I had done before, working as a technical writer specializing in writing documentation for software development teams. Around the same time, I suffered from creative blocks that delayed the completion of my books on mystical metalanguage… and then COVID-19 hit.
So, better late than never, I say. I am writing to let you know that I won’t be giving up my day job as a technical writer, but I will devote a portion of my time to ministry outside of work hours — or between writing contracts. What’s more, I don’t see my creative writing projects as separate from my ministry; I feel that they are basically God’s gifts to the world and I am his imperfect vessel for making them happen.
Most importantly, I am also writing to simply let you know that I haven’t forgotten you, and that I haven’t given up on ministry, and that I’m still working out what my calling will look like. Trace my journey in learning how to better serve the Integral community and the world by following me on Facebook, on my new blog at Jos. M. Perez Integral Ministry, and my Substack newsletter.
On my new ministry’s blog, I say:
You know the score if you’ve been paying attention: the world is facing multiple simultaneous catastrophes and nobody has all the answers. Those that say they do usually offer obsolete paradigms or rigid ideas that are woefully inadequate for so many wicked problems: the cruelties of late-stage capitalism, environmental wreckage, social isolation, and a decay in values such as honesty, fairness, and altruism. Many of us can imagine a better world filled with smarter, more ethical individuals and more enlightened communities that love one another, forgive one another, and live in harmony with the Earth and the Transcendent Spirit. So why don’t more of us do what we can to create that better world and a brighter future?
For a long time, I have been thinking about these things as a failure of imagination and a crisis of consciousness. But I refuse to remain powerless in the face of our nightmarish landscape. Fortunately, some years ago I discovered the existence of a movement of people called Integralists or Metamodernists or Evolutionaries who are meeting these challenges head-on, and they welcomed me in. Simply put, we are calming down by embracing the Ground of Being and rising up to meet the Spirit of Conscious Evolution. It’s as if there’s a mysterious Daoist principle at work that is uniting the yang of our spiritual aspirations with the yin of the world’s urgent cries. I have been actively working to address these concerns and have chosen ordination as an Integral Minister so that — with the help of the Spirit — I can do my best work going forward for everyone and everything that needs it.
Thank you, reader, for having supported my writing and work in the Integral community in the past. Let’s move forward together on this exciting stage in my journey.