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  1. 2 points
    Greetings! My name is Miriam, and I have only recently come to reclaim the Christian label in my spiritual life. Coming from a more fundamentalist background, I have had to take time to reflect on my experiences of Christianity from a safe distance before re-engaging with organized religion. The writings of such authors as Rob Bell and John Shelby Spong have been a valuable support in that process. I am grateful to have recently found a local church group that accepts and supports me as an eclectic, progressive Christian, and I now hope to build on that experience by connecting to wider discussions of faith online. I am also in the process of developing a blog that focuses on engaging with faith through questions, so I hope that learning from fellow members will help to better inform my writing in the future. I look forward to taking part!
  2. 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!
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    Non-Progressive Christian are not allowed post in the Progressive Christianity thread. Which is fair enough. Anyway this led me to clarify for myself, if no one else, Why I am not a Progressive Christian. Progressive Christians: 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; Not sure I believe in the Sacred. The uppercase Oneness and Unity fill me with a little trepidation, I suspect it could be pointing to something that is not really there. I can see a unity and a oneness in existence but ... 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; Sacredness and Oneness of life, again the upper case. Sure the teachings attributed to Jesus might lead to the understanding the S and O of life. But I would argue it is not that we can draw from diverse sources ... we have to. Point 3: Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, ... I have no problem with this, but the wording is strange (I thought). While the word all is in upper case atheists are not mentioned but agnostics are. Also the incentive to write this post to some degree is caused by a lack of "complete" inclusiveness. OK I understand the wish to protect parts of the community; but ... Point 4: Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe; In a way I agree with this statement. It is a bit more complex than that. My behaviour alone is not the "fullest" expression of what I believe. Point 5: Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes; Again not sure what is meant by grace ... but using my definition (an ease) I would agree. But I have admit I find value in reconciling the results of our searches with the scientific method. Point 6: Strive for peace and justice among all people; I have no problem with this, but it is a bit of a motherhood statement,. Point 7: Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth; This brought me head to head with the free will debate. Can the Earth be any other way than it is? Now I might want it be different/cleaner/whatever but then, the universe unfolding will determine whether or not I will do anything about it Point 8: Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love. Well I have had a life-long path of learning. All of us do that to some degree or another. When the universe unfolds I may or may not find compassion Selfless love? "Love your neighbour as you love yourself"? Overall this 2011 version (for me) is harder to argue against than the original eight points highlighted in the front page of the forum. Perhaps it is time to update the points to the new Eight Points? Overall I cannot call myself a Progressive Christian, though (I think) I see fairly closely eye to eye with Paul when it comes to the profane and Joseph when it comes to oneness and unity (note the lower case ) Would others like to comment on where they agree or see differences in their take on the 2011 Eight Points.
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    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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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.
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    Welcome! I am a big fan of the Apostolic Fathers.
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    Welcome Lucian, I know the Easter expression differes from the Western in ways - that could provide some interesting discussions.
  12. 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?
  13. 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
  14. 1 point
    Mark 7:21-23 English Standard Version (ESV) 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Jesus did not 'hang out' with sinners because he thought sin was acceptable. That is a very silly idea.
  15. 1 point
    I don't think stories in the Bible must necessarily be understood literally or as scientifically verifiable facts to be sacred and meaningful. That is a common approach to the Scriptures in my church denomination; neo-orthodoxy rather than liberalism or fundamentalism. I see too much needless suffering in the world, based on nothing more than empty fear and hatred, to be unconvinced that salvation no longer matters. As a Lutheran, I believe salvation entails more than going to heaven when one dies, it also implies being open to living a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ because the evil of the world is contained by the hope in God's promises. Through trust in God's promises as a gathered community around the Word, life is transfigured into a sacred calling or vocation where we become God's hands in the world doing God's work.
  16. 1 point
    I don't think there's one answer to this. All I do know is that sin explains alot in what I observe in the world. My pastor sometimes uses stories of little kids fighting over toys to talk about original sin. But I think I've found a better example. Research an Yale's psychology department has shown that a baby's innate sense of morality is easily overriden by things like loyalty to people that are similar to them, and also they can be easily bribed contrary to those same moral intuitions. Things like racism and nationalism are easily understood in terms of human nature that's hard wired into us. So we're born with some dark tendencies from the get go that aren't merely the result of culture. So really I see sin as part of a useful story that explains some aspects of our experience in the world, especially how people are fundamentally perverse. As Paul says in Romans, he knows to do good, but there's another law at work within his flesh. The spiritual battleground is within the human heart, and none of us are pure in that regard.
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    The Sparrow and Children of God, both novels by Mary Doria Russell
  20. 1 point
    Interesting discussion, as usual. As someone who has looked into Western yoga and meditation practices from time to time, I think the Buddhist practice of attempting to quiet the ego does not seem to be their aim for the most part. The focus is very much on the self: self-love, self-care, taking time out for oneself, centring oneself, improving oneself, etc. The only link to Buddhism is the word 'namaste' spoken at the end of the session - which is taken to mean "we're finished, thanks for coming, you can go home now." That's just my personal experience of the participants' attitudes before and after these sessions, the words spoken by instructors during the sessions, and the way these sessions are promoted. I might be a little cynical, but I certainly wouldn't associate Western yoga and meditation practices with the tenets of Buddhism. That's like saying that attending church every Sunday is living the life of a Christian. As for DPD, I think the feeling of disconnect associated with this disorder suggests that it is not the same as the Buddhist concept of 'not self' - which seems to be more a perception of interconnection that renders any sense of self irrelevant, rather than this sense of disconnection from a self that one still believes is essential. Just thinking out loud...
  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
    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?
  23. 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...?
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    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.
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    Hello, everyone. I am joining this community in the hope of enjoying the virtual company of other people with whom I may share something in common even in the midst of our differences. A little about myself: I was not raised with religion, but was introduced to a branch of Oneness Pentecostalism through my grandparents at ten years old. There I had a transformative ecstatic experience as a boy, but by the time I was 14 I knew through the reading of the scriptures that they could not be the infallible Word of God in the sense in which I was taught. I moved on to other things. After transitioning to agnostic atheism I read Spong's Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible Through Jewish Eyes, and biblical imagery came alive for me. At the same time I had been introduced to the eucharist in the Methodist Church and one day integrated the experience in my own way. Later I received a trinitarian baptism in the Episcopal Church, was confirmed, and received Holy Communion. I have been there for about ten years or so. In practice I am an Anglo-Catholic. I am liturgically quite traditional. I am a non-realist in religious matters, using doctrines as a guide to how to live and as symbol sets to engage my imagination with rather than objective or supernatural truths -- I am still an agnostic. I have neo-pagan influences and work with saints and angels traditional and non-traditional in an Anglo-Catholic context as well as formats inspired by neo-pagan and folk practices. I create my own rituals and write my own prayers. I also keep the traditional Anglican discipline of the Daily Office. I have Buddhist influences as well. I guess I could say I am a religious non-realist, Anglo-Catholic, liturgically traditional, eclectic, and socially sensitive Christian. I hope this will be the place to share my ideas and path with others. I have had a hard time finding that place.
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    I disagree: I don't think the rules of etiquette for the site violate the teachings or the real meaning of the message of Jesus. And this house "is worthy."
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    Burl wrote Well I have been trying explain Burl. Perhaps as an example ... for the next fifteen seconds, Burl, choose to believe there is no God, just fifteen seconds. Apparently we can choose our beliefs?
  29. 1 point
    Hello Romansh, I agree or sympathize with much of what you are saying. My concern is not so much the 8-points definition, which you are reconciling to. None of us have proof of the divinity aspects, or what degree divinity applies. For me, the exciting concept is convergence between the Six Jesuit Values, the UUA Seven Principles (unitarian universalists, ie humanists), and any well-done categorization of the 37 parables of Jesus and Sermon on the Mount. There is convergence which I refer to as "the real Trinity". The positive value of those principles does NOT require metaphysical connotations in Jesus, though it does not deny it either (frankly, debating/guessing is of less interest to me). Actually, I believe the UUA Principles are the finest extract of Jesus' moral teachings that can be found --- far better than my UCC creeds. And only 12% of UUA members consider themselves Christians, or believers is some degree of divinity of Jesus. So that coincides with some of your rationale as well . . . what's sacred or not. As some might know based on my earliest post, I believe "Apostle" Paul was a fraud, a canard. "Romans" is the 90-proof vodka that dominates "Christianity", the Gospels only the chaser or mixer in Paul's cocktail. And I believe the fraud evokes Matthew 7:13-23, that nearly all believers would be misled to doctrines which grew "thorns and thistles" (ie Calvinist indignation, elitism, intolerance). That passage also says Jesus ultimately returns., and on that day "Then I will declare to them, I never knew you, go away from me, you evildoers". As Gomer Pyle said, "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise". The point is, Jesus disowned what would become of the church in his name. It would be easy for me to give up on Christianity, except for my prior life as a Mormon and Southern Baptist, where I experienced the radiance of brotherly love and service in the Beehive. Qualities which also apply to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I believe that type of community, or agape, is the life of the era of the Didache, of the early communal church . . . and it is what maximizes what we as human beings were designed for. That does not depend upon belief or creeds or communion. While the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith turned out to be a charlatan, and there is that toxic Mormon sexuality so well dramatized in "Angels in America", I still retain much enthusiasm for the Beehive (where most of my family remains). Frankly, the UCC where I find myself now, is so atrophied and anemic that while it tries to be progressive, it is unsatisfying. It straddles both Paul and Jesus, afraid to alienate anyone. Yet back at the UUA, shucks, you hear more about Native American Totems, or Paul Bunyan, than you do Jesus. Still in terms of some creed or list, as you are reconciling to, I like how the UUA and Jesuits both parallel the teachings of Jesus, with or without the "Sacred" or "Divine". And one of the Jesuit values is about allowing for a wide diversity of faith and belief traditions. Thank you, Craig
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    Adding "a little bit of humor" to the mix: The issue raised pertaining to (someone's/anyone's) presumptuously ascribing his or her personal point of view and/or conclusions deriving therefrom to a collective 'we' reminded me of the joke relating to the Lone Ranger and Tonto who, according to the joke, were at one point surrounded and besieged by much greater force of hostile (colloquially called) 'Indians'. As they were running out of bullets with the Indians closing in on them, the Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and said: "We've had it, this is the end for us, Tonto!" To which Tonto replied, "What do you mean 'we', Paleface!" LOL
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    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.
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    Hi everybody, I am a life long christian in transition from conservative theological views to whatever my final faith destination may be. I have been deconstructing and reconstructing my faith for six years in the isolation that comes from living in a very conservative area, both religiously and politically. Texas may be proof that hell actually does exist! There is no opportunity to dialogue on spiritual topics without being the "bug eyed alien" in the room. I don't even try politics and policy prescriptions. So I hope to find others here to discuss our common spiritual path away from fundamentalist, bible inerrancy christianity toward something different and better that nourishes compassion, forgiveness, respect, reconciliation, humble non-judgement, etc. If there is an area of the site that lends itself to this, please point me that way!
  33. 1 point
    Not suggesting I am a hero of any description () , the idea is Joseph Campbells. He seems to see everything in the context of this idea. Not so sure myself. Anyway, I am reading his "Creative Mythology" at the moment and would recommend it. Nice pictures and the ebook has less typos than some of his others - though I had to laugh at the point where he quoted the zen master who said that we "must seek the face we had before we were BOM"........ Moving on, I had a dream last night where I saw and met once again the old guy who converted me to the Lord all those years ago. I think he must be long gone now ( with the Lord? ) and I only stayed with his version of the Lord for about six months. But in the dream I thanked him and told him it had changed my life for the better. I remember though that his face dropped when I added that I had moved on. Well, my reading "inspired" the blog below, to be found ( with illustrations ) on mydookiepops.blogspot.co.uk. So my own journey has been to return to where I started and knowing it for the first time (where have I heard that before?) The simple love for another. I am still ploughing on with Mr Joseph Campbell, now with his "Creative Mythology". I have reached Chapter 3 and a section entitled Symbolic Speech. Here is how that section begins:- The best things cannot be told, the second best are misunderstood. After that comes civilised conversation; after that, mass indoctrination; after that, intercultural exchange. And so, proceeding, we come to the problem of communication........ What sort of "problem" is communication? What exactly needs to be communicated? What would we wish to be communicated? Turning once again to Thomas Merton, in one of his very last talks before his untimely death, he had this to say:- True communication on the deepest level is more than a simple sharing of ideas, conceptual knowledge, or formulated truth...............And the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless, it is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers and sisters, we are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are. So, if this is correct, what we should wish to communicate is the means of becoming who we are. (At this point I would just say that more often than not I am talking to myself, even learning from myself. Whatever anyone else may or may not gain from wading through my blogs, in writing them I clarify my own thoughts. Often things come together, for better or for worse) Just thinking back I remember the little story of the Jewish guy who travelled far upon hearing of a certain holy man - not to hear what he had to say but "to see how he tied his shoelaces." I think all good stories are multi-faceted but this one now takes on added resonance in the context of the questions raised here. Anyway, onward, from the Jewish to the Japanese. There is an old word in that language, menju, meaning "face to face transmission", person to person, a learning not to be found in books. I learnt about this in a book (!) and its author, Hiroyuki Itsuki, spoke there of his own attempts to learn. Itsuki spoke of all the philosophers he had read and yet, he said, he had "learnt more from his father's sigh" than from any of them. His father's sigh when, at the end of a long day, life's ambitions thwarted once more, he sunk down upon his bed. Others have said that we can only ever truly learn that which is already in us, that which we already know at some level. If true, this would bring me back to "salvation" being recognition, realisation, and not any accumulation of knowledge. Which again suggests that, indeed, we are already one, and that what we have to become is that which we already are. By grace we recognise grace in others; I think not by seeing perfection in them, but simply by seeing their humanity, pure and simple. Lay your sleeping head , my love, Human on my faithless arm...... .....but in my arms till break of day Let the living creature lie, Mortal, guilty, but to me The entirely beautiful. (W H Auden, lines from "Lullaby") I have never really been sure of the exact meaning - or meanings - of the whole of the poem "Lullaby" by Auden. I have gathered it speaks of "gay" love. Of what else I'm not aware. But I have always loved some of its lines. Moving on, but on the same theme, the love of Heloise for Abelard, a truly tragic story recounted by Joseph Campbell in "Creative Mythology". Campbell summarises the love of Heloise after first calling it "(perhaps) the noblest signature of her century":- (her love was) not the natural, animal urgencies of lust, nor the supernatural, angelic desire to glow forever in the beatific vision, but the womanly, purely human experience of love for a specific living being, and the courage to burn for that love were to be the kingdom and the glory of a properly human life. So, communication, or rather communion. That is it for now. Just the final thought that the love of Heloise was unrequited. Does it take two to tango? Thank you
  34. 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
  35. 1 point
    Hi Burl, I've only recently found this forum, and this set of lectionaries. I enjoyed reading them from the beginning, including your attempts to stimulate discussion. Having recently grappled (unsuccessfully) with biblical hermeneutics, I was interested in exploring interpretations from a PC standpoint, and many of the readings are precisely the ones that both resonate with me and seem to be ignored or misinterpreted, in my opinion, by many Christians. But I noticed some changes occurred as I progressed through the thread. The discussions have ceased, and the bible version seems to have changed to a modern, 'easy-to-read' one that incorporates its own interpretation, rather than inviting one. Are both of these changes intentional or incidental? Are you still attempting to stimulate discussion, or is this serving a different purpose? I wonder if there are some further details you could offer in your introduction regarding what you hope to achieve here... Previous discussions seemed to get caught up in the idea of an 'original version' of the writings, and the assumption that when one offers their opinion they are trying to persuade others to agree with them. There is a tendency for those 'discussing' to attempt to provide some kind of solid, widely accepted basis for their opinion - but the problem is that no such solid ground exists in spirituality, so this seems a pointless exercise to me. All we can do is share our own subjective experience of the text (which in itself is an attempt to share subjective experience and form a basis of 'truth'), and recognise that there is no 'truth' or 'fact' - only an interconnection of a variety of experiences. Perhaps 'debate' is not how we should approach this particular thread, although I am not so naive as to think it can be avoided completely. I like BillM's idea: perhaps this is an opportunity to offer our personal interpretation of how a particular reading resonates with our own lives and our understanding of Progressive Christianity, of 'God' and of our experiences with traditional Christianity. Maybe we can enter discussions in this thread acknowledging that: - there is no 'correct' or 'original' wording or interpretation of scripture that can be agreed upon; - any interpretation of scripture is a personal one, based on the sum of our own personal experiences including what we think we know; - all we can offer to these discussions is opinion and personal experience, not facts, evidence or truth. Or perhaps I am being too naive...
  36. 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.
  37. 1 point
    Praying for the sick and going to doctor is not what I meant by supernatural-free theistic practice. That would be a perfect mix of both, natural life and pursuit for supernatural, the ideal way imho. I've met lots of Christians who don't believe that God heals, and don't pray for it. Just for an example. But again, I live in a rather secular place, so I might be biased to think that Christians generally are more rationalists than they globally speaking might be. Now that I think of it, maybe there is not a fundamental distinction, but rather the difference is in intensity. Or in the level of expectation in how much God is supposed to be interested in interventions. Let's take another example from our conversations earlier and use the trinity - doctrine as an example. Supernatural-including version of practice would be there to assume that God will somehow give a mystic understanding of it through faith. Therefore the fact that the doctrine on the surface-level is somewhat irrational, wouldn't be a problem, if there were a path to find a spiritual, mystical knowledge of this seemingly irrational doctrine. A supernatural free version would either 1) confess it as a blind faith - kind of a thing, it just is so without any explanation or 2) would seek to correct the seeming irrationality of it by ditching the doctrine. In my opinion, if all supernatural interventionism is rejected, faith becomes a rather authoritarian concept where things are just believed because someone says so and that's it. I find mysticism to be much more satisfying version of religion, the one I find most worthy of practicing. In mysticism, things that make little rational sense can be often understood in spirit, through personal revelation, kind of as a series of mini-enlightenments. It's neither blind faith on authority, nor figuring religion out rationally. It's just playing on an alternative playfield. I can accept that I don't understand some things I believe in with my brain, but mysticism provides me with an an alternative way, to seek to understand them through personal spiritual revelation.
  38. 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."
  39. 1 point
    That was the point ... even today people like Spong are taken as atheists as they do not have a literal belief. Did Spong and others start off with a literal belief? Is this metaphorical interpretation a post hoc belief? Was it for you? Personally I never had a literal Christian belief. Yes we all are to some degree indoctrinated in our beliefs ... I cannot choose to be a Buddhist at least not in this moment. But because of the new insights and better education fewer people have this desire for faith. It is difficult to be indoctrinated into faith when those around you are faithless. At university very few of my associates were religious and if they were it did not show. At work (in a science and engineering type world) there were fewer religious people so it was more difficult to pick up this religion meme. And finally they are not my points ... Those points were a distillation of what some religious scholars/investigators believe we can reliably ascribe to Jesus. There are a large handful. You can find the complete list here.
  40. 1 point
    Not sure how we would measure the present "poor spiritual state" with the same poor state in past eras. Even in Biblical times, you have the people of Israel who again an again and again and again lose faith and create 'false' gods to worship - yet good people still existed and the 'miracles' occurred. And consider Jesus: he was rejected by all - except a small group of disciples and followers (and many ran in his hour of need); talk about a poor spiritual state, yet for Christianity, it resulted in the greatest miracle. So too in any age, there is a mixture of those lost, those who deliberately go another way and good people. On this reckoning, if there was 'supernatural activity' in some of those ages, that activity should be present in any age. One wonders, then, if there was ever such supernatural activity as recorded in the bible. The paradox (and the wisdom) of Christianity is that the spiritual (or God) is not found in another dimension and not found above and beyond the natural: the spiritual is not found in the super-natural. Jesus proclaims the treasure found in the beginning of his public mission: "Behold, the Kingdom of God. " The Jews and Jesus believed that God would establish his Kingdom here, 'this world' would be (become) The Kingdom of God. The paradox of Christianity is that the supernatural is in the natural; it is in the natural that one finds the 'supernatural.' For Christianity, God's is incarnate; he is only found with us (Emmanuel).
  41. 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.
  42. 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?
  43. 1 point
    When conscious contact is continual, repetitive and unchanging perception turns off. An orienting/analytical response is only useful in changing circumstances. Live near train tracks or an airport and after a short time they will not wake you at night. People to habituate to the presence of God in the same way. It takes an active effort to avoid that habituation. Some people have God running through their thoughts like a Montana coal train and deny God even exists.
  44. 1 point
    If this was proposed by some serious leader, it would be worth analyzing the pro's and con's of the decision from the military point of view. But, in this case, given the character and the track record of the current US president, the default assumptions should be that 1) The actual facts and the real world consequences on the matter have not been given any serious thought 2) The motive behind the announcement is something else than what it is claimed to be 3) The timing of the announcement is likely a product of entirely short-term political reasons and 4) At least something related to the announcement itself is either completely untrue or at the very least, presented in a hugely misleading fashion. Those factors have been true for about everything done by pres. Trump so far, so until proven otherwise, those factors should be assumed to be true in this case as well. And due to this, I don't have much of a motivation to try to analyze the issue itself in terms of actual military realities, since the actual military realities are most likely irrelevant for the decision making process behind this. I would rather analyze this in terms of political image building, as an attempt to control the media attention or very simply as a yet another petty decision to reverse something Obama has done, rather than as a fact-based military decision, since those are more likely the actual reasons behind this announcement.
  45. 1 point
    For me: Acceptance: Understanding things could not be otherwise, despite the many alternatives we can imagine for the past, present and future.
  46. 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."
  47. 1 point
    God only grudgingly allowed the selection of a king of Israel. Prophets, priests and judges yes but it was the arrogance of Israel which demanded a king. See 1 Samuel 12.
  48. 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.
  49. 1 point
    Kind of you. It seems that I am a heretic everywhere I go. :-)
  50. 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.
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