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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/13/2009 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    I know the feeling Lani and I felt very much the same when I was going through my period of anxiety and depression (which coincided with my kids being about 2 & 4). My wife was also experiencing post natal depression and we didn't recognize it for that until she sought help. I know there can be a stigma associated with depression/anxiety but I would encourage you to consider talking to a professional if that might be a possibility. There's nothing wrong with that and both my wife and I found such a process exceptionally beneficial. I am not saying that is your predicament, but it could possibly be feeding into your anxiety about your children. I don't know where I read it and I have since had trouble locating it, but I remember reading a a story around that time that I found particularly comforting. It went along the lines of this: A distraught mother had her three young toddlers in a bath, preparing to drown them. She was distraught with the thought that if she didn't raise them properly that they might not 'choose Jesus' and would go to Hell. She thought it better to kill them now as innocents so that they would see heaven, than take the chance of raising them and they possibly end up in Hell. In distress at the thought of killing her kids the woman cried out to Jesus saying "please don't let me do this - take my life instead and spare my children - grant them life with you". To this Jesus replied "Woman, if I loved you so much that I was prepared to die for you, do you really think I could allow you or your children to be separated from me". Now I could have the story wrong (wherever it was written) but that's how I remember it. For me personally, it just made me think that if there is anything 'existential' or 'spiritual' to our existence, whatever it is can only be a good thing in the end rather than a harmful thing. If my kids (or I) get it wrong in our tiny blip of an existence on an eternal timeline, then I'm certain that whatever 'higher power' might possibly exist, it would understand. This in turn has allowed me to better accept the day to day. I ponder spirituality and religion, as I do life in general, however i feel no compulsion to 'get it right' or for my kids to. In the end, they will simply work out for themselves what works for them. Sure, guidance is important in life, and opening up our children's minds to the possibilities of all things (not just the spiritual) is a burden that all parents practice to different degrees, but I rest easy knowing that what works for them, will be what works for them. I hope I make some sort of sense. Cheers Paul
  2. 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...
  3. 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.
  4. 1 point
    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
    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.
  6. 1 point
    Hello, others on a journey. I'm an older, ex-clergy, in need of others with which to share and walk. For many years I tried, mainly without success, of changing churches from within and am now only on the 'edges' of local churches. I've written a bit (CHURCHES: A Time To Die - Hope For New Life) and do speaking where I'm invited. But with my book out, I rarely get the chance to speak at churches. I take 'The Kingdom of God' very seriously, knowing that what Jesus said and did CAN happen. Nothing else for me really matters. The world now needs real SHARING that only love brings, no matter how God is understood. If this isn't the basis for understandings, they need be discarded, NOW. I live near Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Are there any nearby who'd like to meet? Of course, any, anywhere are welcome to meet me here. Thanks for your time. Live well and love more by sharing.
  7. 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.
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. 1 point
    Imagine being one of those people that sees a tweet from your Presudent that you will no longer have your job! Even worse, no follow up with policy or detail - people are just left in limbo. Does the President mean it or is it just a cruel joke? This would affect several thousand individuals. What a disgusting way to treat people and a reckless abuse of power. Seriously, what goes on inside the guy's head? Do many Americans think this is quite an alright way to act as President?
  11. 1 point
    I will only do this once because I consider this space somewhat sacred and don't want it to become political. Student driver? The excuse of a teenager not a grown man: if you run for our highest office, if you have a transition team, if you can bring in all manner of experts to educate you and/or help run things - that is the responsibility. You now 'own' it and the country depends on you, no students allowed. No excuse. We are getting out of Syria? We will see as we have a new red line: we bombed once, we now have to bomb every time that line is crossed. However, the trade agreements seem to have helped - our allies are negotiating agreements among themselves. Merit badges are for scouts, not Presidents and check the legislation. There is no substantial voter fraud but I do like the states stating their rights and telling the commission to go jump in the lake, the ocean or the gulf. Of course he is ahead of others in 'researching' pardons: he spoke about it in the Oval, we know he didn't research anything and had to go to the legal minds but those minds insist they didn't talk pardons. Oh, communications are a hit though. And he is a fine example, how many times has he commented on a woman's body while in office? Oh, he was asked about God and he pointed to a man made landscape, might have been his golf course, as evidence. I guess all his buildings must also be evidence of God. No mention of his high regard for our intelligence services, the climate, his love affair with Russia/Putin, how he is getting China to help with N. Korea (I know student driver) or his fixation with size (like crowd size and popular vote size) and his Twitter fixation (but he has to do something with his hands and use that mind on something other that watching TV). Ok, back to high minded pursuits.
  12. 1 point
    It has been a long time since I posted on this site. I am a former Eastern Orthodox Christian that has been on a long religious journey. I was raised in Methodism, then became agnostic for many years. Then I practiced Buddhism for a few years. I went to a conservative Anglican church for many years before becoming an Eastern Orthodox catechumen, and this was the first religion I really felt I could call home. Sadly, my priest gave me a very hard time for years, and my parish was overall quite conservative and pietistic. I left the faith after I had a spiritual/mental health crisis and became searching. First at a conservative Episcopalian church, and then finally I found a small ELCA Lutheran congregation that I am now a member of. I would describe myself as not easily fitting into a particular religious box. Though I don't seem to get along well with conservative evangelicals, I would not describe myself necessarily as totally on board with Protestant liberalism, and of course my background is not Protestant. I'm not perfectly aligned with the "typical Lutheran", but it seems as close as I can get to a safe church that believes all the essentials, and they just don't seem like very judgmental people, though I find a surprising number of ELCA Lutherans that have a narrow religious perspective in their own way. They can be socially liberal but theologically very stuffy and wooden. Our church does have a conservative wing that is not insubstantial, as well. My own pastor is from that conservative confessional tradition though in my dialogues with him I have helped him broaden his perspective.
  13. 1 point
    Many Christians will say they 'hope' for eternal life. Of course, that usually means they are convinced they will enter eternal life after they die from this physical one (and/or some believe it will be a 2nd physical life due to resurrection of the body and a new earth), but my discussion here is asking just 'why' hope for eternal life is so important to those people. Myself, I don't think there will be any life after this one. When my eyes close for the last time I think it will be like going to sleep and I won't awake. Personally, that doesn't bother me as I know it can't bother me once I am dead - because I won't know I am dead. Yes, I will no longer experience the company of loved ones and friends, but I won't know it. Yes some will mourn and miss me (maybe a couple I hope ) but eventually they too will die and no longer suffer any such feelings. The fact is I'm sure they will get over it long before they pass! I guess this is heading toward Buddhism territory which I understand talks about letting go of the ego, which is possibly the thing that drives one toward such 'hope', that our ego, our 'self' will never die. Anyone here hold onto that 'hope' and prepared to discuss why eternal life is so important to them? Are you afraid of no longer existing or do really desire 'eternity'? Anybody here a previously heaven-believing Christian who now thinks more like me? Why is eternal life NOT important to you? Maybe it's because I'm nearing 49, maybe it's simply because I read the latest PC newsletter which had an article on hell not being Jewish/Christian, but for whatever reason I am presently reflecting on just why some people think living forever is such a big deal, whilst others like me, don't really care for it.
  14. 1 point
    Hi Im bonnie..Ive been searching for quite some time for a place I could "be" and actually be me and I feel pretty lucky to have found this forum.Havent felt at home in other christian forums and churches in town..though there is a Universalist church I found recently that I might try.Im pretty introverted...on the freespirited side..as odd as it is to say Im a freespirited introvert.I really love walking and writing..I really love feeding and watching birds ..in my situation /area I dont get to do it as much but when I do I really enjoy the surprise .Anyway its nice to meet you.
  15. 1 point
  16. 1 point
    I feel Jen's frustration here. This site isn't really what it should be. But when I started posting in the early 2000s (a little before Jen did), I don't recall it being any different. I was a Christian humanist (or whatever you want to call it). I believed in a non-personal God if at all. I spent most of my energy trying to debunk essential components of Christianity. And so I fit right in. This, and people who felt beaten up by traditional Christianity, were the target audience and that hasn't changed. I changed though. I had a spiritual awakening that put me at odds with the spirit of this site. There was a small group of us who raised up issues of spirituality (Jen, myself, Alethia Rivers, and Soma.) There were many good discussions, but we were always the minority. Also, there has also almost always been a more traditional Christian who gets treated like a troll here. Nothing new here. I've attended an all progressive church which at one time posted the eight points on the wall by the sanctuary. And many of the members share the same atheistic tendencies. But many were also very spiritual and participated in prayer and meditation groups. Everybody gets along there for the most part. No one runs the show really. I think the frustration for people like me and Jen is that atheists are running the show at a Christian site. From an outside perspective, it looks like trolls have long since taken over this site. I know from the inside that that's not a fair characterization, but you have to admit that that's a reasonable conclusion. I've seen members bully on the basis of science and intellect (me included) those who's faith it spiritually, faith-based. I've been called immature for taking a spiritual approach to faith, and it has been suggested that when I "grow up", I'll see that science is the only answer. I've been accused of being mentally ill for having spiritual experiences. This is not in any way in accord with the 8 Points, and it is most certainly keeping spiritual-minded progressive Christians away from what could be a valuable experience within an accepting community. But like I said, it's not like this is new, and there's really no point in fighting it at this point. I accept that that's who were are here, and I do my best to find meaning here among you. I hope to be a participant here for many years to come.
  17. 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."
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