Gnostic Mass- July 17th

We are having our monthly Gnostic Mass on July 17th from 2pm – 4pm at the Unity Spiritual Center at 3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Mass will be held in room 111, and will be followed by a talk from Rev. Joe Revels on the topic of Tarot. Afterwards there will be a meal for all that are able to attend. If you are interested and have any questions you may contact the Rector, Rev. Joe Revels by emailing [email protected]

An Amazing Weekend!

The Official Visit of His Excellency, Bishop Scott Rassbach, was a rare treat for the community. His cleverness and insight was a real boost to both the intellectual and spiritual health of the community and our services together were a blessing to everyone involved. We had one baptism, four confirmations, and our Senior Warden, Olivia Riley, was consecrated as an Acolyte, allowing her to assist and serve at the holy altar during Mass. But beyond any advancements that took place “on paper,” there was a general spiritual elevation of the entire community; a gnostic revival, if you will. All of us who were present have been positively impacted by this weekend and without exception, everyone is renewed and restored in their dedication to the Great Work.

Truly, let it be said, “Little is much if God is in it.”
Love, Light, and Gnosis to all.
~Rev. Deacon Joe Revels

Bishop’s Visit! – April 30th-May 1st

We will have the honor of receiving a visit from His Excellency, The Most Reverend Scott Rossbach, in eclessia Mar Iacomus.

On Saturday, April 30th, from 2pm-5pm, we will be meeting at Unity for a meet and greet. This will be an opportunity for us all to get to know the Bishop in a casual setting. Off and on throughout the day those who are interested in receiving the sacrament of confession will be invited to speak privately with the Bishop. Snacks will be served.

On Sunday, May 1st, from 12:30pm-3:30pm, we will be meeting at Unity for mass, baptism, confirmations, and the ordination of Olivia Riley to all minor orders, including to the acolyte. Dinner after.

We hope to see many of you there!

Gnostic Mass and Baptism- April 10th

We are having our monthly Gnostic Mass on April 10th from 2pm – 4pm at the Unity Spiritual Center at 3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Mass will be held in room 111.

This service will be particularly special, as not only are we celebrating Easter, but we will be preforming a baptismal service for a new member of our parish! Afterwards there will be a meal for all that are able to attend. If you are interested and have any questions you may contact the Rector, Rev. Joe Revels by emailing [email protected]

Gnostic Mass – March 13th

We are having our monthly Gnostic Mass on March 13th from 2pm – 4pm at the Unity Spiritual Center at 3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Mass will be held in room 111, and will be followed by a lecture on Kabballah by Brian James-Fountain. Afterwards there will be a meal for all that are able to attend. If you are interested and have any questions you may contact the Rector, Rev. Joe Revels by emailing [email protected]

February 13th – Gnostic Mass

We are having our monthly Gnostic Mass on February 13th from 2pm – 4pm at the Unity Spiritual Center at 3597 Parkway Lane, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Mass will be held in room 111. All are welcome to attend. If you are interested and have any questions you may contact the Rector, Rev. Joe Revels by emailing [email protected]

Seasons’ Greetings from St. John’s!

From the Rector:

Congratulations to our newly baptized sister Olivia, and thank you all for such a blessed new year. St. John’s has gown from nothing to something and it would quickly return to nothing if it wasn’t for all you amazing people! I look forward to more amazing experiences in the year to come. Merry Christmas, Happy Advent, and a Joyous Epiphany for you all!

Rev. Deacon Joe Revels

Walking the Walk

Like many Americans, I’ve struggled with my weight for years. Occasionally, I’ll lose weight but eventually I always seem to gain it back. A couple of years ago I got more committed to weight loss than I have ever been and over the course of just over 7 months, I lost over 90 pounds. During this time, I really went to school on nutrition. I taught myself the ins and outs of BMR and cellular energy production, phytonutrients and monounsaturated fats. I even fancied getting a job as a nutritionist as I had learned so much already that any certification would be a snap.

Weight-loss is often a spiritual journey and unfortunately for me, my spirituality got lost in this process. I was becoming overcome by what I now know to be toxic masculinity. Too much testosterone. Too much “gym bro” mentality. I’m glad to say that I got away from that dangerous mindset but not before leaving my weight-loss journey in the process. It’s complicated, as these things are, but the short version is that I got more spiritual and more mentally healthy but regained those 90 lbs in the process. However, I never forgot all the things I learned.

Fast forward to today. Several of my work friends are beginning weight-loss journey’s of their own. They are aware of the tidbits of insight I have to give and so they ask me regularly about nutrition, exercise, and short term goals. I’m happy to help, of course, but I’ve come to realize a strange dichotomy as I do. There I sit, eating Cheetos and drinking soda while lecturing a cadre of newly healthy conscious dieters on which salad dressings are the lowest sugar and what kind of exercise plan they should be on. There is a reason that fitness coaches, as a rule, are not morbidly obese. No one would take a 400 lb man seriously about cardio or “fat free” vs “lite” for the same reason they wouldn’t take a homeless man’s word on diversifying a stock portfolio. At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding as they say. Only because I have very close and kind work friends would they listen to a word I have to say.

This illustrates a very important point. You can “know” a thing but it is different to “grok” a thing. Perhaps another word you could use instead of grok is “gnosis.” Regardless, the point is the same. Saint James said, “You believe in God and this is well but the demons believe and tremble.” No one would accuse a demonic spirit of being at one with The One and at the very least would agree the relationship is largely adversarial. There is a difference between intellectual knowledge and making that knowledge, or gnosis, a part of your being. Demons know of God and His Power but they tremble before it as vanquished foes. A fat man at work knows what calorie total will result in weight-loss for an overweight coworker but shows no indication of eating with such restrictions himself. Priests can lecture the laity on the ins and outs of theology and the history of the Catholic tradition but if their lives are not ones filled with prayer and ritual, spiritual pursuit and spiritual growth, they will be “as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”

A priest without a spiritual life is like a morbidly obese personal trainer. On some level, no matter how accurate or in-depth his or her knowledge may be, the proof is in the pudding. If you don’t live what you preach, and not only that, BE what you preach, your influence will be mitigated if not nullified entirely. That goes for not only your ability to help others but also yourself.

It goes without saying that having friends begin the process of watching what they eat and trying to replace cheeseburgers with cobb salads is inspiring and pushes me to start again on my weightloss journey. But more than that, it has inspired me to really think about what I mean when I call myself a seminarian on the path to receiving Major Orders. If that day comes and I lay prostrate before God’s Holy Altar, will I tremble as the demon’s do? Or in the midst of my unworthiness will I hear the still small voice that says I am forgiven?

Can I really expect to hear that voice if my God is a stranger to me who never hears me pray? Hears me weep for the evil of the world? Hears me call upon the Name of His Son? Sees me battle the forces of darkness by serving my fellow man with humility?

There is more to being a priest than giving the Eucharist.

The Eucharist never ends.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”


Bro. Joe


Reflections on B.O.T.A.

Recently, we had a Narthex Field Trip where we went to a B.O.T.A. meeting (Builder’s of the Adytum) and it was an interesting and edifying experience. One thing in particular stuck with me and I wanted to comment on it here.

I will not quote it properly, but in essence, the coordinator for the meeting said that they welcome new people of all types and greatly value their input. They clarified that they do not have some special knowledge that they are hording but rather everyone arrives already containing all the knowledge they ever need within. The techniques of Paul Foster Case and Anne Davies are there to draw this out and refine it, not replace it.

Indeed, I personally noticed this come out in the meeting. For those who don’t know, Case’s system draws heavily upon Tarot and its symbolism as the primary teaching tool. There were people in attendance that were Golden Dawn Adepts and there were people who had their fortune read one time and just arrived through serendipity. The visitors who knew a lot of the “standard” symbolism of Tarot, the elements, and astrological correspondence tended to follow these common tropes together. While their input was always unique to them, it definately contained a number of shared presuppositions. In contrast, the “newbies” had a perspective that was in a sense “cleaner” or more “pure.” Since they did not have a memorized correspondence table rattling around in the back of their brains, their input was frank and childlike. Believe me, I mean that in a very positive way. Untainted by various versions of “the right answer” they just gave their own answers and they guided the discussion in immensely edifying ways. That isn’t to say that their answers were perfect. There is no “right” answer after all, and theirs were certainly lacking in nuance. That said, they filled an important gap that the answers from the “old guard” seemed to leave behind.

This is the most important thing I took away from the meeting from the perspective of a Gnostic Christian Church. We don’t have some secret that we are holding back. There isn’t some amazing doctrine that only the fully realized Adepti among us can fathom. We are little worlds, microcosms of the universe in toto, and we already have so much within us. We are Divine Sparks. We are the Sacred Flame. We don’t need membership in some special club to access that, nor is what we already hold within ourselves somehow inferior to the gurus and learned masters. That isn’t to say that time and effort, practice and study don’t yield significant results. But rather, the innocent perspective of new eyes should never be discounted. We should seek to always make room keep such perspectives near to our hearts and minds.

It is this final ambition that I feel that a Gnostic Christian Church is particularly good at. There is always a new person on the block. There is a field white for the harvest. By engaging our newer members as equals we help stave off the calcification caused by pat answers and rote responses.


God Bless You All,

Bro. Joe

The Yazidis and Me

In recent months we have heard a number of disastrous reports of the Yazidi people being specifically targeted by members of ISIL for rape, torture, enslavement, and murder. The terrorists seem to take special glee in butchering Yazidi men and forcing Yazidi girls (some as young as six) into sexual slavery. In part, I believe this is because the Yazidi people have long been a persecuted minority in the Muslim dominate countries and called “Devil Worshipers.”

The Yazidi are a small community nestled amongst the Kurdish communities in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey that have religious beliefs that predate Islam by hundreds, possibly even thousands of years. As is any living religious system, the details and nuance of this belief system are far too vast to handle here with even the most cursory treatment but I will say that many of their beliefs appear to be strangely Gnostic.

The Yazidis themselves would balk at such a categorization, I’m sure, and even modern scholarship would disagree but I can’t help but think about Classical Gnosticism when I hear of their worship of “The Peacock Angel.” They seem to have a concept of a “god above God” and on first blush worship al-Shaitan, the Satan of the Muslim world.  This parallels greatly to the Gnostic idea of the Demiurge being an inferior world creator and there being a greater Being behind him. This also parallels the labeling of Gnostics as “Satan Worshipers” because some Gnostic systems glorify beings that are traditionally portrayed as pure evil, such as the Serpent in the Garden.

While ISIL is not in any way representative of actual Muslim beliefs, most of the members have grown up in a Muslim world and from childhood have been inculcated with doctrines that include the Divine Inspiration and lifelong focus on the Koran and its teachings. The Yazidis have often offended even the religious moderates with their divergent beliefs and practices and so the normal mercy shown by a sensible and devout Muslim even for so called “Devil Worshipers” will be utterly compromised by a terrorist zealot that appeals to the most deranged interpretations of Scripture. In short, whatever basic decency that society has taught these villains is regularly thrown out in the pursuit of their political aims but even more so among the Yazidi in whom even the most compassionate Muslim could find cause for great disagreement.

The human tragedy of all this is painful for me to bear, sheltered and safe, thousands of miles away, how much more so is this agony endured by these victims? In no way do I wish to appropriate this sorrow but I do feel a certain kinship to it, distant as it may be. As Gnostics, we are the radical group nestled amongst the Evangelicals and the Catholics and all the others that make up the Christian majority of our home. While it would be ignorant to the point of evil to say that we have it anywhere near as bad as the Yazidi people, I do believe we share the kinship of having to be a bit more circumspect in our religious discussions in the public forum. We can and do face minor aggression and are targeted for social attacks or shaming. In the same way the “Muslims” (and I use the word very loosely) of ISIL feel extra free in targeting the Yazidis, I know that many of my Christian brethren feel extra free in showing the poorest parts of their character to the oddball religious minority we are a part of.

It’s strange how bigotry works. As a lifelong resident of the South, racial tension has been part and parcel of my life here and in that context, “half-breeds,” those who have both a white and a black parent, are hated by the lunatic supremacists even more than a full-blooded black African. It is somehow more vile to them that you are somehow corrupting the white blood with black blood rather than just stay a seperate, “inferior” black. I bring this up because this same schema plays out among Christian Gnostics who are seen as worse than actual atheists or possibly even cult members because we “corrupt” Christianity and deceive ourselves in our take on the Christian faith. We are the “half-breeds” of Christianity and have a large target on our back.

I’m very glad to have the freedoms that I have and any micro-aggressions I receive from the angry or ignorant are a far cry from rape, torture, and forced servitude. But with the Yazidi in mind, we should always work to insure the religious freedom of all people and despite being under the Christian banner, we should always take care to never let the assumption of Christian faith and values blunt our ability to relate to marginalized groups, even if they were our personal enemies. We have to love our enemy, after all; a very difficult command indeed.

Let us pray that the Yazidi people find peace and freedom from their torment and let us do all we can to protect the religious minorities in our country from persecution even if that persecution is often more annoying than lethal.


Hold up the Light of Christ in All Things,

Bro. Joe