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  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
    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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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...?
  6. 1 point
    In a recent post, my 'credentials' as a Progressive Christian (yes, I use that label for myself) were called into question based on, amongst other things possibly, my leanings as an Atheist. In fact, I was told that in regard to the 8 Points that I had "justified myself in a way that works for me". As timing would have it, an article in today's Weekly Progressive Christianity.org Recap really spoke to me and summed up where I have been personally going on this journey (still to yet arrive possibly). I would go so far as to say that the author represents word for word much of my feelings and thoughts. I think it is an article that may also speak to a variety of others in this forum - past, present and future, who find the 'old model' of God not necessarily working for them, yet still associate themselves with PC. Sometimes we are accused of not 'getting' God, of not being inclined to think 'hard enough' about spirituality, and quite often accused of shutting ourselves off to 'spiritual learnings'. This article might help those so accused at understanding they are by no means alone in their seeking, their thinking, their 'philosophising' and indeed, their spritual quest. I have included the link below for your convenience. I hope you enjoy the article. https://progressivechristianity.org/resources/resurrection-as-change-part-iii/ Peace & goodwill. Paul Footnote: I probably should have pointed out when I originally posted above a few hours ago, that of the hundreds and hundreds of posts I have contributed to this forum over the years, most often I have received nothing but encouragement and fair and reasonable discussion from other PC's participating here. Throughout that time I have openly discussed my atheism and lack of traditional belief, and recent events are the first I have seen here of anybody asserting that I am not a PC. What I am trying to say is that overall, I have found PC and those participating here to be generally encouraging on my journey. Thankyou.
  7. 1 point
  8. 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...
  9. 1 point
    One of the Lindau gospels.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 1 point
    For me: Acceptance: Understanding things could not be otherwise, despite the many alternatives we can imagine for the past, present and future.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 1 point
  16. 1 point
    Welcome Lani, I grew up in a fundamental church in Australia (Churches of Christ) which was very much like the Baptists. Around 18/19 I was leaving that sort of Christianity but came back for a brief 6-9 months to a Baptist church (before I finally decided that I was right in leaving Christianity behind in the first place ). So I am very familiar with those teachings of Hell. When I was 40 (9 years ago) I too suffered a bit of an existential crisis when as a result of suffering anxiety (caused by financial matters and probably aggravated by career and young family pressures) my friend told me it was Jesus trying to call me back. This brought back all my childhood teachings about Hell and the requirement to 'believe in Jesus'. I had a very hard time of it for nearly a year. But I found this forum and some other progressive christian authors and scholars who helped me learn more about the history of Christianity, including what we can say for certain and what we can't. Why I like this forum is it has shown me that I didn't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are some positive things about progressive Christianity that I find value in (which incidentally I think can also be found elsewhere too, but Christianity is the religion I am most familiar with). But for me, condemning unbelievers to an eternal punishment is certainly not one of them and this place has helped me understand what I consider a better picture of Christianity, based on better biblical scholarship and interpretation than what I had been indoctrinated with. I hope you enjoy participating here. There is also a lot of information in previous threads that you will find throughout the archives. Cheers Paul
  17. 1 point
    Really, I'm not actually looking for a new path. The last thing I need is another set of buzz words - in this case "anima", "archetypes", "individuation", "synchronity" and a few more. All a bit of a jigsaw puzzle needing to be put together to try to sort out the mysterious "self" we appear to experience ourselves as being. But I have bumped into an old mate of mine, one of those ex schoolmates who I have also bumped into at odd moments over the years, and he - at least in the past - had a great interest in Jung. Myself, I like biographies, life stories, and actually find the actual meaning of the buzz words easier to grasp when put into the context of a life as lived and experienced. Letters to friends by the subject of the biography are often another source of insight and illumination. On the face of it, the idea of individuation (of the self) seems to fly in the face of "not-self" (anatta) but closer inspection reveals such not to be the case. Well, at least to me. "Universalism" is not a creed to be believed, more a lived openness to all things, sifted in the meeting of them and responded to, then moving on. Jung's individualised "self" seems always more a process rather than a "finished product" that justifies itself by being who it is. Anyway, thought I would just mention this as I dip into a biography of Jung's life. An early quote from Jung's letters caught my eyes so I'll copy it here..... The journey from cloud cuckoo land to reality lasted a long time. In my case Pilgrim's Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am. If anyone has read his "Red Book" (that's Jung, not Mao) I would appreciate an opinion. Thanks Derek
  18. 1 point
    Just speaking of debate and dialogue ... here I think is a really sweet example of dialogue.
  19. 1 point
    May God bless you and help you through this.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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."
  24. 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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