vow 1

I am HaShem your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt (Mitsrayim), out of the house of bondage.
You shall have no other gods before me.
— Exodus 20:2-3

Aware of the suffering caused by bondage to the false belief in the absolute, permanent, or immutable nature of all things, or of something in particular, be it an item, person, group, notion, belief, ideology, or system, I vow to recognize that all knowledge, people, groups, and systems are fallible, and incapable of expressing any immutable or permanent truth.

Aware that is possible to discover truth in science, philosophy, and religion, I commit to seeing every truth as a fragmentary expression of the knowledge we have gained thus far, breaking the bondage to the smug notion that we have arrived at absolute truth.  I will follow the evidence without prejudice, not putting my opinions or beliefs above known facts.

Aware that it is possible to encounter the Divine, the very unsearchable and unfathomable ground and abyss of Being, and to express that encounter through mythic imagery and ritual, I vow never to mistake any image, knowledge, person, group, or system for the God beyond Naming, but rather to allow the Divine Light to shine through them revealing the glory that lay beyond them.

The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to [Jesus]. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, Because he anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim release to the captives, Recovering of sight to the blind, To deliver those who are crushed, And to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
— Luke 4:17-21

The first and second vows are the hardest to keep. We must remember that God is our liberator who guides us from the land of Mitsrayim*, the land of bondage and slavery into the Glorious Kingdom of Zion. 

Ideas are the root of all bondage. The idea that one must be subservient to a belief system, a person, or an institution must be accepted on some level before they can exorcise any semblance of authority. This is not the way Jesus taught us.

He said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Command that these, my two sons, may sit, one on your right hand, and one on your left hand, in your kingdom.”

But Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, but to sit on my right hand, and on my left hand, is not mine to give; but it is for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

When the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation concerning the two brothers.

But Jesus called them to him, and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you, but whoever would become great among you will be your servant. Whoever would be first among you will be your bondservant, even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
— Matthew 20:21-28

Authority is invested by God in the individual and the assemblies who serve them. Not one person, institution, or belief system has been given the right to demand followers. Any who does desires to bring others into bondage and is defying the way. There are no natural leaders.

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he doesn’t follow with us.”

Jesus said to him, “Don’t forbid him, for he who is not against us is for us.”
— Luke 9:49-50

Mitsrayim is the Hebrew word for Egypt used in the First Utterance. Since there is still a country named Egypt, I prefer to use this Hebrew word when referring to the metaphorical land of bondage to avoid confusion between the metaphor and the real place.