A Church? Really? WHy?
Being a human can be brutal, filled with loss, disappointment, disease, and ultimately death. This should come as no surprise —Buddha Shakyamuni said it 2,600 years ago with the Four Noble Truths, which stated that human existence is defined by suffering (dukkha). He also outlined a path out of the suffering, but contrary to today’s constant promotion of liberation through fame and material satisfaction, the Buddhist path was for those who let go of their attachments to ego gratification and material satisfactions. Similar messages are fundamental to Christian, Hindu, Islam, Indigenous, and other spiritual lineages.
More than ever, humans need robust resources to deal with suffering, not more consumer goods, services, or medications. Humans need alignment with Reality, not more hashtags and online conflicts over manufactured controversies. Humans need more sages and spiritual leaders, not more CEOs and brand ambassadors. Humans need more art, song, and dance, not more apps and screen time. Humans need accessible, community spaces to connect with themselves, their community, and the Eternal every single day, not more stores and destinations where they are only valued as customers. Humans need a Church.
THE Ultra Church
The mission and intention of Run Haus was always spiritual in nature. Running, for so many, has a similar aim as religion, providing a means to perfect one’s body and mind and move past the limitations of our minds and waking reality. Training and racing is a way to experience and transcend suffering. Clubs and group runs are ways of connecting with fellow humans. Social media and big corporations may try to distort these ends for commercial purposes, but the truths running reveals to the runner aren’t so easily manipulated. The experienced runner understands on a deep level that enduring performance only comes about by mastery of one’s mind and body. Gear may improve running comfort or relative performance (i.e. faster than other gear), but it will not make one a good runner —only repeated effort and practice will do that.
The word “practice” is important. Though yoga gets a ton of well-earned credit as the athlete’s spiritual practice, many of us find running to be every bit as spiritually demanding and rewarding. To realize one’s performance potential free of injury means committing to doing the right thing for our bodies and minds, not simply the convenient, easy, or pleasurable things; it requires habits and a support structure to ensure our practice continues and evolves; it requires mental and physical balance. Ultra Church is a place for people who’ve made these commitments and want support in keeping them.
Ultra Church borrows heavily from conventional churches both in form and content, with regular meetings, events, and service structures. Ultra Church will use the Christian cosmology as an epistemological tool, but it will not restrict source material to Christianity, accentuating the throughlines of Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, indiginous, and other time-tested ideologies. Like other spiritual communities, Ultra Church will give space to creative expressions of Nature’s awesomeness, so expect to hear/perform music, see/make art, dance, and eat good food.
The big difference between Ultra Church and other places of worship is the running, which is its core meditative and community building practice. Most Ultra Church activities will revolve around a run, preceded or followed by more stationary activities. We believe many of the world’s biggest societal problems can be addressed when people get moving, move their bodies, and turn good intentions into action.
Details for Ultra Church’s first service are still being sorted out, but it should happen within the next month (today is August 19th). Sign up for the Ultra Church mailing list (form below) for updates, and don’t hesitate to add questions and suggestions in the comment section for evolving the idea.
Yours in love, gratitude, and running economy,