Let me introduce myself to you: I am admin and webmaster of this site, Marko; I was born in 1970, and I live in Tampere - Finland, with my partner and our cats. More of my personal thoughts and experiences you can read on my blog Via Veritas Vita [First link left].
I used to be a leader of discussion group on spiritual matters at the local LGBT-association since 2005; I was also a volunteer at the Hospice for six years.
Before Christmas 2006 I was interviewed by the local Newspaper about being gay and Christian. I was also interviewed for the documentary film, Encounters with Jesus, first shown on Finnish television during Easter 2010. On the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene, July 22nd 2010, and the first day of Tampere Pride, I was organizing Rainbow Prayers in cooperation with the Lutheran Cathedral Parish of Tampere, by my initiative, and gave a speech on Freedom (Video is available on Finnish site, but only in Finnish!). After that, I was interviewed for Lutheran program on local radio.
I maintain four blogs in Finnish - besides the one mentioned above - concerning mainly different aspects of Spirituality. I'm also active on Facebook and YouTube.
"Magdalene" - as this website was first called - came forth out of necessity of my calling, to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ, which required a different form than my work so far: to profess Christian Faith, thus placing the Bible in the centre, and including a common Prayer; It was my experience that discussion on spirituality does not unite people, but it rather may raise many disagreements if people have different backgrounds. It is the Spirit within that draws people closer together and here the Prayer plays essential part!
Magdalene group was a long-term dream. The website was created a year and a half before the group finally began to meet (September 2009). Without a straight friend it wouldn't have been possible even then! Since time passed it became obvious that LGBT-people cannot be the main target, but rather a footnote. Sexual orientation is not a common bond, otherwise a majority of human race would be one big happy family! Sexuality does not define a person as a spiritual being. Spirit works invisibly within. So, tolerance is self-evident - as it always should be; we don't need to emphasize it.
Magdalene is a circle of kindred spirits wherever they are found - and that has nothing to do with like-mindedness, agreement on opinions, which is always a bad sign in religious groups, sign of spiritual dictatorship and blind faith. Let us rather have the "mind of Christ" (1 Cor.2), a prayerful mind, a loving mind.
My approach is both mystical and esoteric: Esoterism emphasizes Knowledge, understanding, and mysticism is based on deep inner experience, it is practical. We may call this way simply Gnosis Kardias - "knowledge of the heart".
My mission is certainly not the quest for personal fame and honor, since this is very lonely and frustrating work. It would be easier to stay in one's room behind the shut door, just praying in solitude, but "Christ's love compels us" (2 Cor.5:14)! It is my ideal and starting point that "He must become greater, I must become less" (John 3:30), and the goal is, "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal.2:20). Yet I'm not a Saint; they often wear their halos too tight.
It was my wish to be part of something bigger, even international - and yet staying very independent and free - that made me to approach the Mystical Order of the White Rose in 2011 and ask for possibility to become an affiliate. It was a recognition of existing kinship, and didn't change anything; what has changed since then, has only been natural development.
However, it did better justify this English section that has been here since the very beginning, and gave a whole new meaning to the website as part of global online Monastery; "Mission" on the front site may best be understood in the light of first period of our activity, but of course it is still relevant. "Vision" was written later, and well depicts expansion of views and orientation towards the future. I don't think metaphors should be explained in detail; I rather leave interpretation for readers.
This is my personal insignia, made by my own hands. It's hanging over my home altar. A phrase I have chosen for my motto is from the 1 Samuel 3, where the Lord is calling Samuel and Samuel answers 'Here I am; you called me.' This is my spiritual attitude. My mission is a reply for God's call - vocatio in Latin is 'vocation' in English, after all. When I pray to God, it's not because I want something from God, it's because God first has called me. To love God with all your heart refers to Prayer, and we love because God first loved us - we only reflect his love back, and open ourselves to be channels for his love toward others.
And 'Ecce Ego' translates more literally as 'Behold, I'! This is very significant to those who know anything about a concept of I or I AM, which is not our earthly personality but immortal spirit. Unlike word "ego" might suggest, it has nothing to do with egocentricism, rather this is exactly what is meant in Exodus 3, where Moses meets God in a Burning Bush and God tells his name, 'I AM WHO I AM'. We share this name with God - part of his essence, his spirit.
What about the symbol? Violet pentagon reminds me of my church around the world (which I don't actively attend anymore). Pink triangle obviously is a gay symbol, originally used by the nazis. Red heart doesn't need explanation (but you'll find it anyway!). Golden Chalice is The Grail, goal of spiritual quest of a man, but it may also relate to the Holy Communion.
To be a seeker for Truth may be a lonesome path, so let there be Holy Friendship between us! Just like there were hermits who lived in the desert practicing their spirituality in solitude, that is also my way. I don't obviously isolate myself from society, but I do practice alone at home, and only rarely share these special moments with anyone - at least in physical reality, that is.
See my spiritual profile on Explorefaith.org; I find it very accurate!
See also website - English introduction - of my friend, another founding member of our former group.