Jump to content

Leaderboard


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/23/2017 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Good evening, I am a Borg- and Spong-inspired justice-focused Christian. I was raised as a United Methodist and felt my faith gain traction and teeth upon discovering Marcus Borg, and also my aunt who is a leftist-Christian clergy! My hope for joining this space is to connect with other like minded people- especially if they are young-ish professionals who are now at home raising kids in a small community which is quite moderate-to-right leaning (although not fundamentalist!) now that's a tall order!
  2. 2 points
    In the NT, it seems like the standard communication method is "feeling something in ones spirit", visions and dreams, though. Like f.e. Peter on the roof having the animal vision, or Paul seeing a vision of a Macedonian man asking him to come over etc. The quotes make my posts look much longer than they actually are I am dealing with a similar conflict myself. The God I know through experience and intuitions etc. seems to be much more of a peaceful, understanding and a nice guy than the God of the Bible, especially the OT one. On the other hand, especially teachings of Paul and some teachings of Jesus heavily resonate with me. So, I am caught in-between of Christianity and something else that I can't quite define. I have tried other religions, it doesn't work, too much of the Bible is indeed my religion and I lose that if I try any other approach. Right now I feel like I'm too Christian to be anything else, but not Christian enough to be a proper Christian either.
  3. 1 point
    Nice, short essay on the subject. https://relevantmagazine.com/culture/the-bible-is-not-a-book-of-answers/
  4. 1 point
    Yes. Lettuce pray.
  5. 1 point
    God's essential being cannot be visualized- that's the most basic teaching in most Abrahamic religions. Islam and Judaism in particular are explict that God is more dissimilar to a human being than similar. When body parts are described for God, it is understood analogically.
  6. 1 point
    There was an old man called Burl. Rom's great idea he could not unfurl. He thought so hard, His brain turned to lard. He could not understand the pearl.
  7. 1 point
    This thread will present the many pivotal moments of my lifelong spiritual journey with special focus on my spiritual and paranormal experiences. (1) I was born and raised in the first Pentecostal church in Canada. I was born with congenital glaucoma in my right eye. My distraught parents were impressed by a famous faith healer named William Branham, who held healing crusades around North America. What set him apart was his clairvoyance. Before he laid hands on people, he accurately described one of their recent past experiences in awesome detail and he did the same for my parents. Mom and Dad were poor, but they spent their savings on a trip to Elgin, Illinois to bring me to a Branham crusade there. When I (age 3) finally made it onto the stage, Branham looked at my introductory note that said, "blind in the right eye," and shouted, "This boy is blind!" He then laid hands on my eyes and waved them in front of me. When I blinked, he yelled, "This little boy has been cured of blindness!" The huge crowd went wild but my parents were sick. Of course I blinked because I could see out of my good eye. This fraud devastated and disillusioned my parents. All this attention to getting me healed made me feel like they regretted my birth and ultimately created a deep desire in me to justify being born! It also sowed the seeds of a lifelong determination to discover whether miracles and divine healing were ever real and whether the Bible was trustworthy. God used those events to shape my calling in life.
  8. 1 point
    Hi, my names Dee and I live in Australia. I am engaged and my partner and I have been together for 5 years. I’m totally blind (I use voiceover to type and read text on my apple devices). I don’t let my blindness stop me from living my life. I hope to make friends and to learn about progressive Christianity.
  9. 1 point
    How can the Gospel of Mark be connected with eyewitness testimony about Jesus? Papias expresses his preference for eyewitness oral testimony about Jesus' words and deeds over written works: "What was to be gleaned from books was not so profitable to me as what came from a living and abiding voice." Papias distinguishes what disciples like John the son of Zebedee used to say orally from what still living disciples, Aristion and John the Elder were currently saying on their visits. Papias (c. 60-130 AD) is early enough to have conversed with the eyewitnesses or to have heard what they were saying during their visits. What Papias learns from John the Elder, probably one of the 70 disciples outside the circle of the 12, implies that Mark provides Peter's teaching notes: "[John] the Elder also said this: "Mark, being the interpreter of Peter, whatever he remembered, he wrote accurately, but not in order, that these things were spoken or done by our Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed Him, but afterwords, as I said, he was with Peter, who did not make an ordered account of the Lord's sayings, but constructed His teachings according to "chreiai" [= concise self-contained teachings]/ So Mark did nothing wrong in writing down single matters as he remembered them, for he gave special attention to one thing, of not passing by anything he heard and not falsifying anything in these matters (Eusebius HE 3.39.15)." Both Papias's testimony and the unusual number of Latinisms in Mark establish Rome as the most likely locale for this Gospel's origin. For that reason, Justin Martyr's reference to Mark as the memoirs of Peter is another important witness to its connection with eyewitness testimony to Jesus' life: “And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in his memoirs that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder (Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 106:3)." Mark (3:16-17) is the only extant Gospel that records Jesus' assignment of "Boanerges" (= the Thunder Boys" or literally "the sons of thunder") as a nickname for James and John. The nickname likely reflects Jesus' witty response to James and John's desire to call down a lightning strike on a Samaritan village for their rude treatment there (Luke 9:52-55). Justin's lifespan (estimated at 100-165 AD) is close enough to the NT era to have access to reliable oral tradition. What makes Mark uniquely credible are embarrassing details about Jesus that are not likely to be invented. Consider these 4 cases in point. (1) Mark implies that Jesus tried and failed to perform miracles in His home town: "He could do no deeds of power there, except that He laid hands on a few sick people and cured them (6:5)." NT scholars recognize the awkwardly worded except-clause as a later gloss. If this clause were authentic , we would expect the text to read, "He could do only a few deeds of power there." (2) the concession that Jesus' own family did not consider His ministry legitimate: "When His family heard it, they went out to physically restrain Him; for they were saying, He is out of his mind (3:21)!" Jesus: "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own kin and in his own house (6:4)." John 7:5 provides further support of the skepticism of Jesus' family: "Even His own brothers didn't believe in Him!" (3) the implication in 8:22-26 that Jesus needs 2 attempts to complete the blind man's healing. (4) Mark's willing to quote Jesus as apparently denying His personal goodness and eve distinguishing Himself from God: "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone (Mark 10:18-7-18)."
  10. 1 point
    (3) At age 11, I realized that I should be baptized to please my parents and obey the Gospel. I had to attend a few preparatory catechetical classes and I was the only child among about 11 adult male candidates. The classes appalled me because the lecturer used poorly explained jargon like justification, propitiation, and sanctification which produceded excruciation in the mind of this young boy who couldn't grasp the meaning of these big words. Quoting Colossians 2:11 , the lecturer informed us that we needed to be "circumcised in spirit." That might have been helpful if I knew what physical circumcision was and if he explained this jargon. I would be the last of the 12 to be baptized by immersion in a large tank behind the platform before a crowd of about 1,400 people. I was petrified because I learned I was expected to share a personal testimony in front of that huge crowd and because, blush, the bottom of my baptismal robe seemed to float up, exposing my nakedness! All the men gave a formulaic personal testimony that I can recite even today. Then I nervously waded out to the pastor and he asked me, "Donny, would you like to share a word for the Lord Jesus?" I shook my head in the negative. So the pastor continued, "OK, let me ask you some faith questions." I felt publicly humiliated as the only one not to share a testimony and at that point I just wanted to get this ordeal over with to please my parents. But after the pastor dunked me, something amazing happened as I emerged from the water. I suddenly had a vision of Jesus, smiling at me, radiating love and conveying the feeling that He found my predicament rather amusing. I sensed His empathy for my confusion over all the poorly explained catechetical jargon and my groundless fear about my nakedness being exposed by the floating bottom of my robe. And years later when I became a theology professor, I reflected that Jesus must have found it amusing that a motormouth like me would be utterly tongue-tied at my youthful baptism. My first and only vision in my life transformed an unpleasant baptismal ordeal into one of the most sacred and treasured memories of my life!
  11. 1 point
    (2) By the time I was 6 I had learned to hate church. There was no children's church or Sunday school for my age and Church bored me because I couldn't relate to much of the 1 1/2 hour services, especially the sermons. So I squirmed and protested in our pew and made myself a nuisance to my parents. My parents were weekly attenders, but one Sunday they stayed home for reasons I never understood. I suspect the nightmare of dealing with my hissyfits was part of the reason! I was so glad to escape church that sunny and clear July morning! God was the furthest thing from my mind. To celebrate I zoomed up and own the sidewalk to the ends of our block on my little tricycle. Then I noticed the big new blue Chevy with huge tailfins parked behind the Jewish shoe store salesman's building. Evidently he had just waxed and polished it and it just glistened as it reflected the brilliant sunlight. To me it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen; so I constantly road back to it to stare in wonder. Once, when I returned, I had my first life-changing God moment. For some strange reason, my attention was directed to a patch of blue near the sun. As I gazed at it, wave after wave of liquid love surged through my being. Suddenly I became acutely aware of the presence of a God who loved me and I just basked in that love! I told my parents about my experience, but they didn't seem very interested. That all changed a few days later when neighbors came over to tell my parents how impressed they were that I was excitedly sharing my embryonic new faith with my playmates. I knew little about God and the Bible and I have always wondered what I was saying about God and my experience to my little playmates. This experience didn't make me want to sit through church, though. Now Dad sang in the choir and my parents now let me sit by myself. This was fortunate because it allowed me to I sneak out of church to buy lifesavers at the little grocery store across the streets from the church. As I ate them, I browsed the comic books on the store shelves. The owner eventually got annoyed by my regular presence and shooed me out his store. So I ate my lifesavers outside and began to meditate on the meaning of my life.
  12. 1 point
    Not to derail the friendly banter, my friends, (interesting though it is), but I don't think there is such a thing as one God-given or divine purpose to life. This, of course, goes against some Christian teachings that we are made to know and worship God, but it is a fact that, according to orthodox Christian, God is hidden (which implies that we cannot know such a God) and I seriously doubt that He has self-worth problems that could only be assuaged by continual praise. If there is a purpose to Nature, it just seems to be to be what it is -- an ongoing cycle of life and death. Death is the cost of experiencing life in our Universe. In this sense, I think God allows us to generate our OWN sense of purpose and meaning. Within that context, I believe that we derive our best sense of purpose and meaning in relationships with others - ourselves, our families, our friends, the world. Key to this could perhaps be Jesus' observations about how we treat other found in Matthew 25. Those who experience the kingdom do so in community with others, helping them along the way. To me, this is the closest that I could see Jesus' teaching about our purpose as human beings. Or, in other words, love one another.
  13. 1 point
  14. 1 point
    Welcome! I am a big fan of the Apostolic Fathers.
  15. 1 point
    The "Imply then deny" - gambit. If this was the only statement of similar nature you've made in a while, I would give you the benefit of the doubt but it isn't. They are violent fanatics. The same way as the atheist NKVD officers who carried out Stalin's purges and tortured "the enemies of the people" for decades as their job were violent fanatics. In today's world, the worst extremists are religious. In the days of the Cold War, the most horrible things were done by atheists. I recommend taking a more historical look into the topic of fanaticism before making too hasty conclusions. To be clear, psychopaths can become the worst kind of violent fanatics but not all violent fanatics are psychopaths. Note: The medical term psychopathy usually refers to individual behavior, particularly to individuals who are out of line with everyone else in their society. People who are indoctrinated to behave violently or have grown up in a violent culture, or in a violent sub-culture, or have been radicalized at some point in their lives, fall under some other label. Psychopathy is a personality disorder which can't be cured or unlearned. The usage of the term "psychopath" in popular culture shouldn't be confused with the anti-social personality disorder aka psychopathy.
  16. 1 point
    I miss the old days (few days ago) when religious people were only irrationally rejecting the reality in your books, now we have been upgraded to delusional psychopaths... But I'll play along and address the points separately, delusions and psychopathy: That definition is seriously lacking some shades of grey and doesn't do justice for the reality! For example; My grandfather was a communist, he believed that the West is evil and socialism is good. By the time of his old days, there was plenty of evidence to the contrary but he refused to believe it. Was he delusional or just stubborn? Delusion is on a whole different level of crazy than mere holding on to a belief, is. People hold on to their false beliefs for all sorts of reasons. Being emotionally invested in to a belief is not the same as delusion. Shades of grey. Secondly, there is no proof that there isn't God. That negative has not been proven (yes, negatives can sometimes be proven). There is no need to treat the question as if the non-existence of God had been proven, when it hasn't been. A leap of faith there. Hollywood psychopathy aside, the real world definition of psychopathy is also known as anti-social disorder. To put it simply, it means that person lacks feelings such as empathy and remorse and is incapable of normal human attachments. Psychopath "doesn't have a heart". Psychopathy per se doesn't make a person violent but it means that the person might not have emotional breaks stopping his violent impulses, if he has violent impulses. Note; psychopathy is not an on-off condition, only for the purposes of the medical community it has been divided into clinical and sub-clinical psychopathy. It's common for religions to include "knowledge of heart" into the world view. So, actually, atheism is closer to psychopathy than religiousness or spirituality is, because atheism rejects the idea that your feelings or "knowledge of heart" should matter at all in forming your world view. This kind of "brains above emotion" is more typical for atheism than for religious beliefs. Maybe we should rather be discussing does atheism attract / create more psychopaths than religion does, because atheism as an ideology has the same heartlessness and idealization of reason that is detached from emotion, as psychopathy does? Should atheism be considered a form of sub-clinical psychopathy due to rejection of heart as a source for establishing ones world view?
  17. 1 point
    My sense is that the bible is a literary collection of songs, poems,stories and history written by a faithful people. The concept of sin had very little meaning for me for much of my life mostly, I think, due to how it is used in many churches as an sword to keep followers in line. I always bothered me because I see some good coming out of forgiveness of sins if it is handled properly. People need to know that they can be forgiven for the mistakes they make. My current thinking on sin is that sins are nothing more than counterproductive mistakes humans make. and Original Sin is humans tendency toward hurtful thoughts and behavior many of which are remnants of our evolutionary path. Lust, selfishness, gluttony to name a few can be traced back to non-sentient animals and served them well in their society but are a problem in ours, so humans fight the urges. That, to me, is original sin. s
  18. 1 point
    Again, you misconstrue me. I never said that potentiality = success. I said that potentiality was the ability to develop, achieve or succeed. That is not the same thing as success, although there can be no success without it. This term 'human', verb or noun, is a moving goalpost: there is no universally recognisable line between what 'human' is and is not. It's fuzzy at best. It might seem clearly delineated in your mind, but that is entirely subjective - and the assumption that such a distinction exists has long been the source of undue suffering. The potentiality still before us (or within us) is the potentiality not to be or do 'human' but to be or do anything - it is limitless, because it is actualised not alone in ourselves but through our interaction and interconnection with the entire potentiality of the universe, absolute potentiality, God. What puts any perception of our 'humanity' in danger is to believe ourselves or others unchangeable, actualised, devoid of potentiality or limited by names and labels (I'm only human, she's just a girl, etc). We can make ourselves new with every moment, every interaction and every experience - we only have to see the potentiality around us. They were all human. I think you might need to read the bible again, and check that you're not reading judgment into the text. Jesus did not judged the priest or the Levite, nor did he judge the Samaritan. He simply provided an opportunity to learn the answer to the question: "who is my neighbour?" We are the ones who have added the title 'The Good Samaritan', enabling judgement of the other passers by as 'not good'. The point of the story is to draw attention to our desire to label others, to judge them and perceive or assume limitations on their potentiality - not the potential to be 'good' or 'bad' (these terms were not applied by Jesus), but the unlimited potentiality to be other than or more than 'Samaritan', for instance - to be 'neighbour' - and to see potentiality in others - not just a Jew or a stranger, but a fellow human being in need of compassion and care - and interact accordingly. Jesus effectively turned the common judgements or prejudices of the time on their heads - the two men whose labels may imply goodness and righteousness did not act righteously, while the man whose label at the time implied enemy interacted as 'neighbour'. Nor did Jesus judge the woman labelled and thereby condemned by the crowd as 'adulterer'. He already saw her potentiality beyond her 'sin'. He invited the crowd to see her as they see themselves (as more than their sin), and then told the 'woman' to recognise that potentiality and not define herself by past sins. And again, he did not judge the crowd either, but reiterated what was said in Luke: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." It is the crowd and the reader who judge here, not Jesus. I would hope that anyone who interacts with such individuals, or even talks about them, would withhold any judgement, as is their responsibility as a compassionate human being. You probably think I'm being unrealistic to suggest this, given the way society (and indeed Christianity) operates to protect itself from danger or 'evil', and yet this is what Jesus did and what he taught. Sure, it takes courage - more than we have at times - but I would think that this is what we should strive for. I acknowledge that it sounds rational, if that's what you mean by 'holds water'. I guess I also understand why you so strongly believe it - after all, it appears to govern our laws and our sense of safety - but I can't say I agree with your statement of this view. You make a distinction between what these actions do: they don't 'define us' (hopefully not?) yet they 'tell us who and what we are'? I don't see much of a distinction here. I accept that our actions, particularly consistent ones, may reflect a perception of who or what we were, but they have no bearing on who or what we are at this moment, unless we choose to interact with the 'self' in this way. Likewise in our interaction with others. As I said before, we can make ourselves new with every moment, every interaction and every experience, and in focusing on this instant and ever-present ability to change (not just the actual, perceived change over time), we can glimpse absolute potentiality, not just in ourselves, but in others and in all things. It is a civilised society's right and responsibility to condemn Hitler's actions and stop them. But you cannot confidently say that anyone would not be Hitler if they had the exact same (not just similar) circumstances of birth, upbringing, education and life experiences. To dismiss Hitler's humanity is to dismiss the possibility of another human being coming to power, with the support of the people, whose view of the world is so limited or distorted that his subsequent words and actions could bring about so much pain, humiliation and loss - not to mention the possibility of millions of human beings agreeing with him, admiring him and facilitating his mission to 'make his nation great again'...oh, wait... It seems that, for the most part, we continue to believe that we (and all the people we love, respect and associate ourselves with) are fundamentally different in our essential makeup to Hitler. We prefer to separate him out as some horrible anomaly - and yet it seems here we go again... I think perhaps we're closer here. On the one hand we can be called 'human', but on the other hand we are so much more. We are given the entire universe and we can make it more. Too often, we only see the faults, the limitations. If the rock is not seen for what it can be (ie. potentiality recognised) then work cannot start: there is no further actualisation and therefore no movement, no change - only a rock and unseen potentiality (not nothing). Whether potentiality is seen or unseen, ignored or rationalised away, it is still there, and all things are still possible. The rock may just have to wait for someone more aware of potentiality to come along - they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all. If what is shaped is not possible (rather than what is possible not shaped), to me this is nothing - or rather, nothing but illusion. Here we delve into mathematics a little, because shape, movement and change can be reduced to mathematical equation. So if an equation cannot be solved, then it cannot be true, and therefore the hypothetical shape, movement or identifiable point seems impossible to graph, and you have nothing but a bunch of symbols that look like they mean something, but actually point to nothing - just an undefined space on a graph. This is what I think 'pure actuality' might look like without potentiality. But then again, mathematics recognises potentiality even here: the ability of an equation to be solved, even if we never actually solve it. With things like imaginary numbers, it also recognises the significance of 'looking' beyond what is actual, to a potentiality that doesn't require interaction (observation) in order to be. And I believe that our unlimited potential remains before us to facilitate the 'creation' of universal beauty and harmony out of the diversity of the unfolding universe, by recognising the oneness and potentiality, not of 'humanity', but of all matter. Our interaction with the life, words and actions of Hitler as a human being, for instance, just as we interact with Jesus' story, enables us to recognise the falseness of perceived limitations and develop a greater awareness of this underlying ability to succeed: to achieve beauty and harmony from diversity. In this way Hitler's unlimited potential remains before him even 'after death'. Most of people just don't see it that way. So be it.
  19. 1 point
  20. 1 point
    I don't think meditation is about self-love, either. And having slept on it, I understand that the practice of meditation is engaging in attention to self as a search for self, and in the process of that search, looking beyond the fear of its non-existence and coming to terms with 'not self'. I have read Susan Blackmore before, and I highly recommend her writings on Zen Buddhism - she describes this process very well. Most commercialised western yoga and meditation practices (in my experience) stop short of this, however - they seem content with 'glancing' at the self illusion in a way that only reinforces its existence, like a comforting, absent-minded pat to reassure ourselves it is still there, functioning as expected. This chance to focus on 'me' is all people are chasing for the most part, so it sells really well in this form. Most people who have a go at meditation or yoga will pull back as it gets confronting, uncomfortable or challenging beyond the physical. After all, it's all inner experience from this point, and unless you're working one-on-one with a guru, no one else is going to care that it's as far as you're willing to go. As long as you keep paying for classes and telling everyone how 'centred' and 'peaceful' you feel after it...
  21. 1 point
    Sorry, Rom - I don't believe in summaries How did I form a belief that Jesus was born of a virgin? By trusting the source (parents, teachers, clergy, books, etc). I had an almost cloistered childhood - 'beliefs' were synonymous with facts. How did I lose that belief? By holding it up to logic and knowledge. I wouldn't at first - instead I tucked it away unchallenged for years, safeguarded as a connection to my family and culture. This is imperfectly simplified, but I think losing a belief is a conscious action to reject information that was previously trusted - it doesn't just happen when you're exposed to accurate and conflicting information. The mind is surprisingly adept at holding conflicting ideas safely apart from each other...one tied to logic and the other to emotion, for instance.
  22. 1 point
    Well, let me preface this by saying I am not a theist, I don't take the bible literally, so that includes a literal understanding of A&E and the sin brought into the world by their specific action. Also, I believe in the theory of evolution and do not believe we were created perfect and then fell. Nor do I believe we are 'separate' from God, theistically understood (ala A&E and sin) or that in the same vein, we need saving from sin - again understood theistically - which, to me, it seems, you are referring. Let me add, I am (non formal religious) Christian, believe “God”Is (again not a supreme being in his heaven, judging actions and keeping score, etc.,) and, to your point, I believe we can speak intelligibly about ‘sin.’ Some contemporary theologians use the conception of the Greek Fathers, such as Irenaeus (200 years before Augustine), concerning the gradual movement of the human being from an 'initial site of immaturity" which contrasts with Augustine's fall from the original state of righteousness (perfection). So, there were different views early on. Sadly, the Western, Roman expression and Augustine prevailed. Many define sin as self-centeredness or selfishness (also depicted in the Eden story) and further that the original, actually the only sin is self-centeredness. And it shows itself in numerous ways: simply, I lie for me, I lust for me, I kill for me, I dishonor another for me, I am envious of another for me and on and on. And, it seems evident that selfishness is the act of man and so it can be said that selfishness ‘enters’the world when 'man' steps forward in the process of evolution (which could dovetail with ‘possibility’stake). Now, Spong, among others, notes that early man, of necessity was self-centered: it was survival and he had to look out for and protect #1. Makes sense! However, as man progressed, it can be asked if the circumstances have changed and looking out for # 1 has taken on a life beyond survival (difficult subjects include slavery, colonization, western expansion, re-settling native populations, Nazism, Henry VIII, Trump, or simply Cain and Abel). Others speak of individual and communal self-centeredness (both are witnessed in the examples cited) that all newborns are born into. Leaving religion to the side for a moment, there is something to the idea that we are born into self-centeredness: it ‘marks' all men and women. And, at its worst, it destroys life, community and is devoid of ‘humanity.’There seems to be an awareness of this reality: of a killer, a terrorist, or someone who rapes a child, we say, "what a monster" or "he's inhuman" or she is an animal”or "he is evil incarnate." And of the cop or fireman on 911 or a soldier who saved his buddy, a woman who dies giving birth, knowing the risk, we often hear: "the finest human being I've ever known" or “the best of us”or “what an incredible person" or "this guy is someone to live up to." The truly self-centered, the most selfish among us, who care nothing for others, we strip of humanity (the monster) and those who give to others, who have concern for others, the most loving among us, we heap humanity on then (the best of us). One definition of sin is 'missing the mark' and the mark is to become (truly) human, understood/defined as self-less, compassionate or loving. And to the degree we are selfish, to that degree we miss the mark, we 'fail' to (self-) actualize, we fail to become (truly) human. Obviously, the term human here connotes more than species. So, can self-centeredness be called sin? From the Christian perspective, the answer is yes! And if we talk of being saved from sin, we start with Baptism: properly understood, is an orientation away from self-centered behavior and toward self-less-ness. There is no magic washing of sin; it is symbol and the human community (parents, godparents, community) is the essential element in the nurturing of a child away from self-centeredness and toward selflessness (compassionate concern or, apologies, love). This locus of love is essential for a truly human life. Is sin separation from God? Well, self-centeredness or sin is seen as separation from the possibility of our best self: we are off the mark. Then, before we get to God, the question is how can this separation be overcome? Simple, as shown, by becoming less and less selfish - or to put it in a positive light: by becoming more and more self-less, by becoming more loving. Finally, Christianity believes that God is Love. So, are we separated from God and is God necessary for salvation; do we need to be saved? If God is Love and if love or loving is what enables us to be truly human, then until we love, it could be said that self-centeredness is the textbook opposite of and separation from love. From the Christian perspective, self-centeredness (sin) is separation from love (God). It can be said we need to be saved from sin, which, in this scenario simply means, we need to be healed of selfishness, and, thereby, made whole, i.e. human. What is a whole human being? The fireman on 911, the mother who gives here all on a daily basis, the man who tries to be compassionate and concerned for those in his life, even the stranger, the kid who decides not to be a bully: all are on the way to wholeness (in the Christian understanding). BTW, it is not a consistent process and sometimes we simply do a lousy job of being human: two steps forward, one back, one step forward, four back and on and on. So, is God necessary for salvation? To become whole or human, one becomes selfless, one loves (and, thereby, selfishness, the only sin, is overcome). One must 'embody' love, one must 'become love;' one must allow love to become flesh, which simply means to reside, to be expressed in their flesh, in their lives. This is the 'incarnation' of Love; this is the incarnation of God. Man cannot be human without love; man cannot be human without God. God/Love is necessary for man to be whole (i.e. salvation although I actually never use this terminology anymore because it gets in the way, given its historical baggage). In Christianity, even if there were no sin, God would still be one with man (and this too is captured in the story of Eden). The Lover always wants to be one with the Beloved: even when man was not ‘separated’from God in Eden, God is with/for man: it is what love is; it is what love does. I always thought the very best reason to have a child is simply love. It is pure gift, so another, yet to be, might be and have life. We, hopefully, or the best of humanity, do not create life so it worships us, to obey us, to be a little us, so we can bask in our glory; we love, we create so the beloved may have life and the desire is always to be with/for the beloved as it moves to and lives fully. In the Christian perspective, properly understood, this is the reason for creation. It is Letting Be (which is God). Please note, you asked for a Christian explanation and what I have tried to do is give you an explanation based on a more contemporary take on Christianity.
  23. 1 point
    A few days ago I was wondering how would Trump fit here? To be fair I do not know the inner workings of Trump's mind, but I can only think his actions are some sort of reflection of his thoughts. Point 1: Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life; Far from convinced. Point 2: Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey; I don't see 'wisdom' in his actions, regardless from what well he has drawn from. Point 3: Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, ... Oh dear. Point 4: Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe; I sincerely hope not. Point 5: Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes; This is my problem, but I see little grace in Trump. Point 6: Strive for peace and justice among all people; ???? Point 7: Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth; Pruitt. Point 8: Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love. Selfless love?
  24. 1 point
    Tough one. I think our language is ill equipped to define what may exist in the universe that is independent of physics and chemistry. So I'm going to ramble for a bit, if you'll indulge me, because I can't deny that there is something... We often refer to it as 'something else', something undefined, unexplained, strange or surreal, a sensation, a gut feeling, a sense we can't put into words. We struggle to observe it, measure it or quantify it objectively, and often dismiss it because it exists only within the subjective experience itself, and is changed by the act of observation or measurement. Perhaps it is that 'wave of potentiality' inherent in each particle, oscillating continually in spaces between molecules, between elements of matter, between life forms and objects. Perhaps it is 'life' in action. We tend to think of the universe in terms of subjective experiences that we can share with others. If I experience something, I know it is real only if that experience is verified by others. The more people I can share it with, the more real it seems. If others can't relate to what I communicate then they doubt the experience, and I begin to wonder myself if I really experienced it at all. This is the basis of science. The key is communication. If I see a flash of light move briefly across the sky at night and disappear, then I turn to others around me and ask "Did you see that?" "See what?" "That bright flash moving across the sky." "Where?" "Over there, above that clump of trees." "When?" "Just a second ago." "Oh - no, I was looking at my phone." "Oh." Then someone else speaks up. "I thought I saw something, too." "You did?" "There was a flash out of the corner of my eye. In that direction." "Yes! It was moving down like this, and then it disappeared." "What was it?" "Maybe it was a meteor?" "Probably. It makes sense." The flash of light could very well have been a meteor, or it could have been something else. But it is an experience successfully shared through communication, and that makes it 'real'. But sometimes we respond to something in our subjective experience that we fail to share or verify convincingly with others. David Eggers' novel The Circle illustrates this purely subjective element of experience, and its rapidly decreasing importance in a world that relies more and more on sharable data. A crucial turning point in the novel comes when the main character must justify her decision to paddle on the river alone, without sharing the experience with others. She is unable to articulate the value of her unique experience, where she encountered a group of seals, and eventually accepts that her actions were dangerous, selfish and anti-social. For those of us who acknowledge the value of such an experience independent of any sharable data, her capitulation at this point is tragic. Society may be rapidly approaching that point where you can no longer trust your own experience - as if you didn't really go on that holiday or swim with dolphins unless you've posted a selfie on Instagram to prove it, and it's almost considered selfish or anti-social to not share everything. But the experience of paddling with seals or swimming with dolphins can't be fully expressed in a selfie, a tweet, or even a conversation. There is an element to the experience that can't be recorded or measured, satisfactorily explained with physics or chemistry, or proven to exist. Admittedly, you won't understand quite what I'm talking about unless you've perhaps swum with dolphins yourself, and even then you may not have been fully in the moment, or your own experience may have had a different focus. I'm think maybe what we insufficiently describe as the 'beauty' or the 'magic' of such an experience exists only in the space between molecules that are actively participating in that particular place and time. You're either conscious of it at the time, or you're not. And once the moment has passed, your memories (the retrievable data in your mind) can only point to the experience without recapturing it entirely. The subjective value of the experience leaves no trace in your physiology that can be reliably attributed to anything other than a 'feeling' or 'emotion', which we then reduce to chemistry and physics. But every possible method you have available to objectively share this subjective value with others feels incomplete, insufficient. Something isn't covered. And yet it is that 'something' more than anything measurable, that has changed you. Your view of the world is different, your decisions affected, even in some small way, by the experience. The closest you may get to sharing such an experience is through artistic expression: fine art, literature, dance, music, sculpture, theatre, film, etc. In this way you can attempt to fabricate a subjective experience for others that approximates your own. Looking at pictures of Michelangelo's David, for instance, or reading a book on the subject, is so far removed from the lived experience of standing at the statue's feet imagining a young man at the turning point of his career, embarking on a task that many 'greater men' had abandoned, using nothing but a questionable method of approach, his courage and his raw potential. The parallels are striking, and the result is nothing short of a masterpiece. The experience is as if thousands of years and thousands of miles were condensed into the truth of humanity carved into this block of stone, humanity in the process of conquering its sense of fragility and realising its own awesome potential. But many people don't share this experience at the feet of David. Does that make mine less credible? If I make decisions based on this experience, can it be reduced to chemistry or physics, or is there something else there? Is inspiration perhaps independent of physics or chemistry...?
  25. 1 point
    One has free will in choosing attitudes, intentions and viewpoint/perspective. Frankl is the arguably the most well known philosopher on this. What one does may or may not be determined, but there is definitely free will in the cognitive processes surrounding the action.
  26. 1 point
  27. 1 point
    Hi everyone, you may call my Davy, Dave, David, or whatever you like I'm a newly baptised Australian Christian, and am seeking like-minded family in the Lord. My current family seemed to judge me very critically, as I divulged my past during a prayer meeting last night. I felt really put off by this because I was pouring out my heart and being open and trusting of which I've struggled in the past, and which made me feel like shutting down again. I'm suffering from a number of conditions due to emotional pain from past abusers, and of my past in general which has been very trying. But with the help of the Lord Almighty, I hope to overcome all my issues and settle into a good year of study at university this year where I'm enrolled in English with a major in Writing. I have some physical issues which are debilitating to some extent, and am on a disability pension for my past mental health issues (which re-occur occasionally) but also am on the autism spectrum and for this reason will seek to have my pension reinstated on this basis. I'm boarderline level 2 aspie which means that I do need support to live properly. I need others and have suffered from suicidal depression in the past. From which I've attempted several times, and have since put some effort into bettering myself. I'm hoping for much help from the Lord, in being self sufficient, and capable of completing my studies this year, and hopefully into the future, for I really need to complete this course in order to honour my Mother who wishes I could complete a course instead of dropping out through hardships.
  28. 1 point
  29. 1 point
    Just thought that I would post a short history of my time on Discussion Forums, now that I have in effect retired. It has been a personal journey and for me, fulfilling. I'm going back a few years to when I first got on the Internet. Maybe about twenty years ago. A whole new world, at least for me. What do you look at? Pondering, I remembered a Buddhist magazine, Tricycle and wondered if they had their own website. Sure enough, yes, and I found it and looked over a few articles and photos of various Buddhas and Buddhist wannabees sitting on cushions seeking to meditate their way to nirvana. Scrolling down the Home Page I spied the words "Bulletin Boards" and wondered what they were. Perhaps private ads along the lines of "Buddhist, GSOH, wishes to meet like minded for zafu sessions". But no. Investigating I saw that here we had a rich assortment of various people, with "screen names" such as Dharmakara, Lotus Flower and other such exotic titles, all raising questions, answering back and forth, and all sounding quite knowledgeable as far as Buddhism was concerned. For a couple of days I read a few of the threads and then the thought popped into my head..........I too could register, I too could assign myself a name, I too could join in the talk, actually express a point of view. Believe it or not this thought gave me the collywobbles. Did I have the nerve? Seriously, my hands shook and my heart thumped. Nearly fifty years old and the thought of expressing an opinion, even on the relative anonymity of the internet, filled me with apprehension. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. With trembling hands I registered. As a first swipe at the obvious conventions of the media, I gave myself the name of "Dookie", a name my daughter had often called me - I have no idea why. Then I had to decide upon my very first post. There was a deep discussion taking place between two suitably named worthies, posting back and forth on various points raised by the classic zen book "Zen Mind, Beginners Mind" by Shunryu Suzuki, a book they obviously relished and admired. Me, it was one of those books I had found it hard to get into and in fact never really got into it at all. To be frank, it had bored me rigid. Should I say this? Should I step in and have my say? I hesitated but then thought that if I feared to do so and held back, what was the point? So in I went, speaking my mind. I was totally ignored! The conversation carried on around my meagre and rather paltry post as if Dookie was non-existent. Perhaps the fate of so many in this world. But Dookie was made of sterner stuff; what does not destroy us makes us stronger says Nietzsche. Soon I was back on another thread and this time drew a response! Someone in cyberspace had actually read my words and seen fit to answer! Very soon, another thanked me for "making my day" and I have to admit, this almost reduced me to tears. The thought that words of mine had touched another's emotions. From then on there was no stopping me. An English teacher in the USA, in fact a published novelist, sent me an email and told me that I was one of her "favourite voices on the Boards", another asked me where did I get my wisdom from. I never associated myself with wisdom and told them so in one way or another. The fact is that for me it was a question of self confidence, self esteem. There is a thin dividing line between this and pride. I tried, and endeavour, not to cross it. Good to take to heart the words of Honen, one of the "fathers" of Pure Land Buddhism, who said:- "When a scholar is born they forget the Nembutsu". Everything that is truly of worth is a pure gift of Reality-as-is; given, not attained, realised, not earned or gained by merit. Anyway, eventually I learnt that Dookie was a word in the USA used by children for poo, a fact that threatened to tarnish my reputation just a little, not to mention forestall any suggestions of wisdom. But I soldiered on. The Bulletin Boards on Tricycle finally disintegrated, unmonitored they sunk under their own weight of spam, flaming, sledging and insults. So much for Buddhist ethics But I had the bit between my teeth. I registered again and again on various Boards. Christian, Secular, Atheist, Agnostic, Islamic, General, Ex-Christian, Inter-faith and various new Buddhist forums. Two hiccups when once I was censured for a "racist" post ( I had posted of my thinking that Wei Wu Wei was a "wizened little Chinaman" before finding out his true identity as the Irish Aristocrat Terence Gray) and then received a lifetimes ban on another when I crossed swords with the Administrator who took exception to my implying that a post of his was based upon gossip. But it has all been good for me. I have retired from all Boards now after perhaps 30,000 posts or so. In my time I have been called a hypocrite, a liar, the "voice of satan", even the Anti-Christ; I have been called wise and been called stupid. I have been known as Dookie, Tariki, Cobblers Apprentice and one or two other equally preposterous names, as the mood took me. Generally I have sought to be polite and truthful. We can only try. One of my fondest memories of meetings in cyberspace was various exchanges with a guy in Sri Lanka who had ambitions to become a Theravada bhikkhu (Buddhist monk) who eventually thanked me for extending his knowledge of the Buddhist Scriptures. My worst? Crossing swords with a member of a Fundamentalist Christian Sect whose bigotry, which he was totally oblivious to, was, to me, shocking. In the end, as the wag said, "There are only two types of people in the world, those who divide the world into two types of people and those who don't". There is great mileage in the zen advice that if we wish to know the truth then "cease to cherish opinions", simply because, as per the great parable of the raft, the Dharma is for "passing over, not for grasping". For me this has its echo in the Gospel advice not to judge others. From being afraid to say boo to a goose I will now say what I like, when I like. If not now then when? Anyway, I have cut and pasted this from my blog, and the full illustrated edition can be found by those who enjoy punishment, on:- http://mydookiepops.blogspot.co.uk Thank you
  30. 1 point
    I have been wandering around the Internet of late in search of a faith community. I was raised Catholic: church every Sunday, private schools, 'the pope is infallible', and 'ours is the one true church' type of Catholic. Then I went to university and discovered the rest of the world as well as my own mind. I soon stopped attending church, married an agnostic and put aside any thoughts of spirituality. I was never an atheist, but I lived almost entirely in the material world for the next two decades, before a series of life experiences led me to pick up the bible and read it, from the beginning, with an open mind and a quiet prayer seeking understanding. What I began to realise was that the bible communicates something very different to what I had been taught - and that it actually makes more sense. If God is eternal and unchanging, then all the many instances of change in the nature and personality of God as described in the bible must have been written in by the authors themselves. Suddenly the bible was just a series of very human writings, documenting a particular cultural group's valiant attempts to share their experience of 'God' as it developed over many centuries, and in doing so, try to make this spirituality appear more concrete than it is. These days I still consider myself to be 'Christian', in that I strive to follow the teachings and example of Jesus as a human being who connected so completely with this eternal and limitless source of life, wisdom, power and possibility. But I don't consider 'Jesus' to be the only way to this spiritual connection. I cannot say the creed, and I cannot assert what are widely proclaimed as the main tenets of Christianity: the divinity of Jesus, the concept of the trinity and the physical resurrection, among other things. I firmly believe that we've somehow got confused - we got lost somewhere between the death of Jesus and the creation of the bible, and then we called a halt to what, up to that point, was an ongoing journey of spiritual discovery and understanding. So I explored other faiths, as well as online forums and meeting points of Christians, atheists, ex-Christians, biblical hermeneutics, interfaith communities, etc. I found lots of argument and debate, lots of attempts to label my beliefs as agnostic atheist, Christian, New Thought, Jainist, etc. Then I read Spong's Twelve Points for Reform, and I have never felt more fully understood. That's why I'm here.
  31. 1 point
    Somehow the act of attempting to educate yourself on quantum physics makes it not understandable.
  32. 1 point
    I have shared my testimony on other forums of the internet. But wish to share it here as an introduction to some of my experiences and beliefs. When I was a 9 year old boy and loving the Lord, I saw Jesus in all white, dressed as a shepherd on the wing of an airplane while it was still boarding. I erroneously thought someone was playing a trick on me to make me become highly religious. Then I became agnostic and got lost for 35 years. I began hearing, seeing, wrestling with the unseen and witnessing powers of the invisible spirit world. Evil spirits had come into my life as a consequence of my sin. I nearly died at the hands of these spirits - both human and demon alike. I've noticed the humans lose their family and friends. They are scattered throughout the netherworld. They have anger and hatred in their hearts. They are masters at the art of deception. Their evil shall not stop without divine intervention and restoration of the soul. They thirst for all that only a most loving Creator can give them. I've discovered that it is the human condition that we are evil and wicked without God in the afterlife. The soul is in ruins and in need of salvation - divine restoration of the soul. Father God reached out to me and I heard Him say, "the battle against good and evil has been here since the beginning of time." God battles evil by salvaging souls through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Father's voice sounds of greatness not of this world. The room was filled with an ancient scent from a world long ago. God had done this to let me know that He was there in the beginning of man's time. I suffered at the hands of these evil spirits for 7 years until I learned that they were real and hence Jesus as well. This is how Jesus had found me to begin my undeserving vocation to be an adopted child of God. He left the flock to find that one lost sheep when I saw Him on the wing of that airplane 35 years earlier. I prayed to Jesus that He would not leave me here to be evil like these spirits. He put my deceased mother behind me. And the most loving scent of her holding me in her bosom as a small child came over me. Jesus had done this to let me know it was her. He was letting me know that I would be with my mom and that He would deliver me from this evil condition known as hell. I asked Jesus who these spirits were persecuting me. He told me through the Spirit of truth that they were the dead. I could see that they were lost and inquired about them going to heaven. Jesus had sent down the Holy Spirit stopping in front of me and pointing at me. He was telling me that I would make atonement for them. And that He would forgive them of their sins and deliver them into heaven. Jesus is mighty to save. Later, I had a dream were Jesus had removed the anger and hatred from these poor souls hearts. He was informing me that the work for atonement had been done. Then, with His powers going through me, He changed them back because the work could not be accepted until the door to my hearing and seeing them was closed. I am currently working on this. Also, an angel made himself known to me. I've had many dreams and visions, some arranged by God and by the powers of the higher angels, guiding me away from sin, in truth, toward salvation. I thank God for my sufferings and wisdom gained. I am looking forward to being with God in heaven, seeing these spirits restored, and seeing my mom again.
  33. 1 point
    One of the Lindau gospels.
  34. 1 point
    Branching off from our thread on Agnosticism, I've wondered what it would take for me to be a theist again. Back when I was a theist, I was an external theist. In other words, I believed in God because of what the bible said, or what the Church said, or what Christianity said. A good, common definition of a theist is someone who believes in God as a supernatural being who is personally involved in our lives. I believed that way for many years, yet, in hindsight, I found little evidence that God personally loved me or that he listened to and answered my prayers or that he had some kind of great and wonderful plan for my life. In fact, I left theism because the evidence for such a God was so paltry. So what would it take for me to be a theist again? I guess it would have to take mystical theism. I mean, consider the mystics in the bible. God personally appears to Abraham and Moses and speaks to them (according to the biblical record). God personally appears to Jesus, talks to him, answers his prayers. Jesus, who is God in Christendom, personally appears to Saul and speaks to him. Nothing in these theistic accounts is "hearsay." These people claimed to experience the personal, living God. And these experiences changed them. That's what I would need in order to be a theist again. I'm not going to trust in hearsay. If God is truly personal (as theists claim he is), then he should personally appear and speak to me. There should be some evidence that convinces me that he exists and is real, at least as a "person" (or three persons as Christians say he is). I'm 58 now. To date, God is a no-show for me. As a theist, I had to trust the testimonies and experiences of others. No longer. I won't hold to second-hand faith. I tend to believe the adage, "The invisible and the unreal often look pretty much the same."
  35. 1 point
    This. I don't think that this is the stance of Christianity, but I do think that it is the truth to which Jesus pointed. God's Presence doesn't descend from the sky. Rather, it is in each of us. Being spiritual doesn't mean being above the world in order to escape it. Rather, it means going deeper into the world to connect, love and transform it. God is not found in temples, books, or institutions. Rather, God is discovered, recognized, and celebrated in each other. Namaste.
  36. 1 point
    I too believe Christianity 'overstepped' when trying to come to terms with the divinity/humanity of Jesus. I think it was a human effort gone wrong; I think believers, Church leaders and thinkers were trying to 'capture' or say something about this man in whom they 'experienced' God and lost their way. They were limited by their worldview, by Greek philosophy and by the desire to head off what they seriously thought was wrong opinion. However, harm was done, yet one wonders if Christianity would have made any impact if not for them. I agree that the theophany is and continues to be a stumbling block yet many theologians and thinkers have moved to the ideas that we 'are born to be' the manifestations or embodiments of Divinity. And realizing and living out this reality would/could be incredibly transformative. As to the idea of God doing something about suffering and death in the world, I accept that the latter is inevitable since we are mortal. It is the former, especially the undeserved tragic suffering (cf. Wendy Farley) that is the issue for many. Following others but especially influenced by Farley, I believe she has hit on something important and I believe you have hit on it too: Love which created and by its very nature must 'step back' is immanent, impacting creation. However, that Love must be incarnated or embodied in and through humanity to heal (very broadly understood) and effect a change in the 'undeserved tragic suffering' that robs us of our 'humanity' before death takes us. Source will follow soon.
  37. 1 point
    My son was "warned" at his place of employment that the end was nigh. I've lived long enough to see this kind of thing come around and around every few years. In fact, when I was very young, the film "A Thief in the Night" (about the rapture) scared the dickens out of me, so much so that I questioned my salvation and rightness with God for quite a while. As PaulS pointed out, even Jesus taught that he would return in his generation to establish the kingdom of God on earth. So far, he is still a "no show". Personally, I have no need or use for fear-based religion and, perhaps like you, Joseph, I would simply wait for the steam to run out. To me, there is no sense in arguing with those caught up in end-of-the-world scenarios or fear-based faith. Fear is seldom rational. To me, if/when the end does come, it will be due to our own short-sightedness as human beings or due to the natural course of nature (our sun becoming a red giant). I no longer fear or expect God's intervention.
  38. 1 point
    I wonder if people of an eastern culture would pick up a book by a 'Bob' or indeed a "Joseph' or 'Derek' and think that the author's name sounds more 'sage-like' than what they're familiar with such as Wei Wu Wei?
  39. 1 point
    It's a disgusting comment and typical of his small mindedness toward justice. What about all the innocent people who are arrested by police but later released when proper investigations demonstrate their innocence? What, too bad for them, they should just get hurt by the police anyway? Don't be nice to them just because they might not be innocent? Craziness.
  40. 1 point
    Tom, the Catholic monk Thomas Merton once said that a "saint" is not so much one who has reached a certain level of sanctity, but more that they always see something to love in others.
  41. 1 point
    You'll probably be shock to hear *me* say this, Burl, but one of the reasons I became so disillusioned with the church (as an institution) is that because the more I read the gospels and what Jesus had to say about the kingdom of God, the more I became convinced that the koG and the church are not the same thing. I mean, there are definitely hints of the kingdom (as Jesus interpreted it) in the OT. I think he fleshed it out more with his teachings, parables, and interactions with people. Granted, the church has sometimes done some very good things. But I don't see it as a fulfillment of the koG on earth. It seems that, even at the beginning, the disciples believed the church was going to be about who had the most power, who had the best seats. That is far from what Jesus taught, IMO. I've been Baptist, Southern Baptist, Assembly of God, Bible Church, Disciples of Christ, Pentecostal, Pentecostal Holiness, Wesleyan, and UMC. I've learned a lot in each of these churches. I've had good friends there. And there have been some good times, times that I would even call holy. But I've never felt that any of them were the kingdom. As the U2 song says, "I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
  42. 1 point
    Not to derail this thread further (for many people are blessed by Lectionary readings and study), but I think you make a great point, Paul, about the state of the world and Christianity's role in helping our world. For far too long, IMO, Christianity has embedded itself in the sin/savior myth that posits that the world is broken, in sin, and that the only remedy is for God and/or Jesus to save it through either forgiveness or destruction (in order to create another world). This myth teaches that we can do little to nothing to help our current state except to plead to God to come rescue us. The result of this, in much of Christianity, is escapism and waiting for Jesus to return at any moment with God's divine clean-up plan. Granted, it is an appealing myth. But I don't find it to line up very well with most of Jesus' teachings. I don't see anywhere in Jesus' teachings where he says that we are born in sin. And while some of his statements seem to imply that he would return shortly, he also stressed that his followers should be about the business of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the poor, working for justice, visiting prisoners, etc. I haven't been able to thoroughly plumb all of his teachings about it, but Jesus seems to say that the kingdom is already here, already in the human heart. I don't see this so much as a remedy to some "sin problem" but as a seed to the growth and maturation of humanity that could heal the places in ourselves and in our world that need healing. Yes, the world is a wonderful and amazing place and we are an incredible species. But we are still immature and have a ways to go before we are fully human. And I think, in my own Christology, that Jesus, in some sense, shows us what it is like to be fully human. He was ahead of his time. The Gentile church didn't know what to do with that, so they declared him to be divine. In doing so, he lost his humanity. And I think that changed his role from example to savior, and I think a great deal was lost in this demotion. This is why, for me, Jesus is not a way to get to heaven. Rather, he shows me how genuine relationships grounded in compassion can change the world, not from sinners to saint, but from strangers to friends.
  43. 1 point
    Guys, I've been rereading recent threads and realizing that my perception of them were colored by a bit of bipolar mania. I'm much better now. My posts don't show it, but they were motivated but all kinds of negative feelings. I bring some baggage to this site which doesn't really have anything to do with any of you. I'm prone to a little drama because of this stuff. I see, in retrospect, a lot of really good discussion some of which has had positive impact on me. I'll give it another try.
  44. 1 point
    Well very interesting, I will have to reread the blog and responses, but I can surely see where, environment and how we were raised greatly influences us throughout life. My RC's beliefs were ingrained from a early time and I never questioned till my 50's, so I pretty much just believed and my actions in life were based on my family and religious upbringing. Since I have got to this point now, I am more clear, or how should I say more aware of my reaction to things, and how I would normally react, say feel hurt, now I can look at the person who perhaps said a hurtful thing and choose not to react to it as I understand more why the person may of said it. I read something that by the time were about 7-10, what ever has been put in our sub conscious mind will become automatic behaviors that we keep repeating and repeating until we become aware, and then we can change our reaction. So say if my husband comes home moody , its not me, its because he had a bad day, or when the check out person is short and rude, I chock it up to her having a bad day, we just don't know. The choices we made or make in life are greatly influenced by events prior and , so in a way I think the more older and wiser we become , they call it street smarts or life experiences I guess, yes I think the more free will we might have or the illusion of having more free will. Goodness who really knows anymore.
  45. 1 point
    I know much is said about free will and the self being illusionary but I would go with many things holding the possibility of an illusion. Firstly the mind does not connect to reality. It draws in impulses through the senses to the brain. The brain then tries to make sense of what these impulses mean and then forms a cognitive representation or a map in the mind of what it thinks of the stimuli it is getting. So one can say that these cognitive maps are useful for us to negotiate our way through life but it is also a fact that these cognitive maps are not the actual territory. So the concept of self and free will in the mind may be illusionary but equally that does not mean the self and the belief of having free will does not come from the reality of existence. It just means we cannot be 100% sure of what we perceive as reality being reality in a sense because perception is cognitive we each build our own reality. The mind can also be tricked and these maps in the mind took time to develop. A young baby can be tricked with the presentation of three dots (representing two eyes and a nose) attached to it cot as being its mother looking on but in later life this would not suffice. However, there are ones adults struggle with :- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_illusion Being as we each make sense of the reality we each have formulated in our minds each can come to differing conclusions as to what is reality. Where one can say that free will does not exist and it is the universe unfolding another like me will say that although the universe unfolds we do have free will as to what we make of that and seek to do within the realms of the universal environment we inherit and the cognitive maps we have produced.. Now I do not believe I am going to convince someone that they are wrong because according to their model of the world a thing is such and such but equally according to my model of the world the self and limited free will exists. We each make our own reality and what is perceived as illusion or fact may also differ from person to person. Given enough research all things are provable.
  46. -1 points
    I used to think a little like you Craig, but you are missing the forest for the trees on the OT. Some of the big messages are: There is one God but also a rich and diverse variety of other extant supernatural and human/supernatural entities. God communicates to us through intuition, voice, visual theophany, poetry, fiction, song, history, myth and human rationality. God has an active interest in human development and protects us under a mutual covenant. God reveals itself to humanity in a gradual fashion. Not exactly dispensational, but rather progressive revelation.
  47. -1 points
    No, I said that if one assumes (i.e. believes) that Jesus (i.e. what he taught) was right, then (given such assumption) you have it 'wrong'. I was questioning whether ThomasM's saying that he thought you may be pleasantly 'surprised' was in keeping with "Point 1' of the 8 points listed as 'axiomatic' to what is being postulated as being a "Progressive Christian" philosophy and outlook - and suggested that the thought that you me UNpleasantly 'surprised' by what you experience and realize after the 'death' of your body. You are perfectly free to not subscribe to any or all of Jesus' teachings and (so), by operational definition, to not be a "Progressive Christian" (as 'defined', that is, by the "8 Point" 'manifesto'). I fully recognize and 'accept' the fact that you are not one such. My comments were addressed to ThomasM who, by implication at least, identifies himself as a "Progressive Christian", thinking that perhaps (given the way I understand Jesus' teachings) he was not being 'true' to said principles. He has since clarified that he thinks and is acting on the basis of thinking he is, which I am also fully 'accepting' of.
  48. -1 points
    I didn't say they 'violated' anything. Talk about 'capacity' to comprehend! I said that Jesus' teachings and 'actions' (verbal and otherwise) indicated that he and his teachings were at variance with the notion and value of 'etiquette' so centrally placed on the 'altar' here - and thus, of course, implied that what's going on here is not in keeping with what I consider 'Christianity' (Jesus' kind at lest) to really be. IMO, everyone is 'worthy' of being spoken to and what anyone say is 'worthy' of being considered. You think I haven't listened to/hears and considered what Paul, you, Joseph et al. have said? And given you the truth (as I see it) in response because I considered (past tense, now) you 'worthy' of being 'given' the truth as I see it to do or not do with whatever you will? Regarding my putting that in the past tense, please know that what a person deems 'worth' relating to and engaging with is always a relative assessment, and that anyone/everyone with any sense of what practicality really entails, instead of aiming to just live in a nice-nice-in-relation-to-everyone feel-good 'fantasy', will choose to make 'judgment calls' as to what may or may not be 'worth' expending his or her (limited amount of) personal energy attending to, nurturing, buddying up with, etc. Thank you for engaging and thereby giving me the opportunity to (hopefully) more clearly explain what has gone into my decision to depart from this (IMO, real-meaning-of-Jesus'-teachings-ignoring, unrealistically fantasy-based) we are all 'worthy' POH-BAHs arena. This is not to say that I endorse any other 'Christian-label-using "church's" or "social movement's" value system, mind you. Just that I think that the one that's been established here will, if it just continues in its present fashion, prove to have been (past tense!) creatively dysfunctional (based on my understanding of Jesus' teachings, of course).
  49. -1 points
    Still having trouble looking things up yourself? Paul, if I spoon-fed you that trivia what use would you make of it? Better you look it up yourself and develop more meaningful questions.
  50. -1 points
    My precise point in not just naming someone. All of the Apostolic Fathers wrote meditations on Scripture. These were not cathechisms. They were lengthy prose ramblings written to people who were being severely persecuted and martyred. I believe there are about 12 volumes, and I am not about to go through my 80 semester hours of seminary notes to figure out exactly which lecture covered this for people who don't believe they even have a soul or any reason to be concerned with its care and training or consider divine revelation to be the primary source that it is. I told you a name was a useless response to a trivial question. Maybe now you believe me since that you have proven it to yourself. And for goodness sake give up on Wikipedia.
×
×
  • Create New...