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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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 1 point
    Paul quits. Thormas wins.
  7. 1 point
    This thread will present the many pivotal moments of my lifelong spiritual journey with special focus on my spiritual and paranormal experiences. (1) I was born and raised in the first Pentecostal church in Canada. I was born with congenital glaucoma in my right eye. My distraught parents were impressed by a famous faith healer named William Branham, who held healing crusades around North America. What set him apart was his clairvoyance. Before he laid hands on people, he accurately described one of their recent past experiences in awesome detail and he did the same for my parents. Mom and Dad were poor, but they spent their savings on a trip to Elgin, Illinois to bring me to a Branham crusade there. When I (age 3) finally made it onto the stage, Branham looked at my introductory note that said, "blind in the right eye," and shouted, "This boy is blind!" He then laid hands on my eyes and waved them in front of me. When I blinked, he yelled, "This little boy has been cured of blindness!" The huge crowd went wild but my parents were sick. Of course I blinked because I could see out of my good eye. This fraud devastated and disillusioned my parents. All this attention to getting me healed made me feel like they regretted my birth and ultimately created a deep desire in me to justify being born! It also sowed the seeds of a lifelong determination to discover whether miracles and divine healing were ever real and whether the Bible was trustworthy. God used those events to shape my calling in life.
  8. 1 point
    Hi, my names Dee and I live in Australia. I am engaged and my partner and I have been together for 5 years. I’m totally blind (I use voiceover to type and read text on my apple devices). I don’t let my blindness stop me from living my life. I hope to make friends and to learn about progressive Christianity.
  9. 1 point
    As does obfuscation Burl.
  10. 1 point
    Not to derail the friendly banter, my friends, (interesting though it is), but I don't think there is such a thing as one God-given or divine purpose to life. This, of course, goes against some Christian teachings that we are made to know and worship God, but it is a fact that, according to orthodox Christian, God is hidden (which implies that we cannot know such a God) and I seriously doubt that He has self-worth problems that could only be assuaged by continual praise. If there is a purpose to Nature, it just seems to be to be what it is -- an ongoing cycle of life and death. Death is the cost of experiencing life in our Universe. In this sense, I think God allows us to generate our OWN sense of purpose and meaning. Within that context, I believe that we derive our best sense of purpose and meaning in relationships with others - ourselves, our families, our friends, the world. Key to this could perhaps be Jesus' observations about how we treat other found in Matthew 25. Those who experience the kingdom do so in community with others, helping them along the way. To me, this is the closest that I could see Jesus' teaching about our purpose as human beings. Or, in other words, love one another.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 1 point
    Joseph, as previously mentioned this is not a burning issue for me and I place it along side of the belief that all (we included) is illusion. Further, I don't think either position or belief is in sync with the experience of most human beings.There is a common acknowledgement (conscious or unconscious because a great many human being simply go about there lives and don't bother with such discussion as many of us here) and agreement (affirmation) with Descartes: " I think therefore I am." For most, as it is for me, the experience is simply that, 'I' am: I am me and I am not illusion. And, the further common experience is, 'I am the captain of my ship.' Most of us recognize influences (see below) but also recognize, accept and defend the idea that I am the maker of decisions, I am the one who decides. I think there is a wisdom in the lived experience of men and women and I think some of us (myself included at times) are too much in our heads. So, as I said earlier in this thread: "I accept that I am not a absolute first cause but I also, acknowledging the paradox, accept that I have freedom." In this statement, I am not denying prior experience, genetics, physical limitations, strings, or the coffee that makes one jittery if they have too much or cranky if they don't have any - I am saying they do not so determine one to remove all true (free) choice. All behavior is not determined; there is personal agency (i.e.. free will). Free choice (and, with it, culpability, responsibility, accountability) is real and most of us accept and live this even while acknowledging that which influences us. I am neither reifying or deifying consciousness or experience: I just do not accept that environmental and behavioral determinism are absolute or that free choice is illusory. Determinists reduce all to a physicalism or a naturalism and reduce personal agency to nothingness. I disagree: "this is a position I find impossible to believe" and not worthy (for me) of serious consideration. I accept and respect it is for others but it is not my position or belief. Perhaps it might be helpful, if this is an established position you hold that is important to you, to present your case and let others react/comment. tom
  15. 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...
  16. 1 point
    Hello my name is Lani, i was raised a Baptist church that spent a lot of time talking about hell. This caused a lot of anxiety in me as a child and teenager. I left the church at 14 years old. I am now 30 and going thru quite profound change and existential crisis. I am a social worker/psychologist and mother of 2 little boys. I am searching and looking for a community this fits. I stumbled across this webpage and the 8 points of progressive Christianity really resonate with me. I look forward to touching base with everyone and learning about this emerging faith.
  17. 1 point
    A spin-off from the Theism-thread. Let's make this a thread of it's own for more input on the topic: I would be more welcoming for the idea of re-inventing Christianity, if I saw it work in practice the way it's supposed to work. The reality in practice for kicking God out of the church doesn't seem to live up to the promise. The State Church in my country has pretty much done this, embraced the liberal, moralism-focused, humanistic, downtuned-in-supernatural - version of Christianity, and has done a lot to distance itself from more "judgy" branches of Christianity and yet that has done nothing to help the decline in numbers, the decline has continued steady. Also, a necessary note, we are here talking about a phenomenon that is massive in scale, one that is a (maybe even "the") defining phenomenon of our time in the West, so trying to summarize it to be a result of any one factor risks being a grotesque oversimplification. Historically speaking, social and cultural changes of this scale are always very complex in detail, and tend to have many overlapping dimensions going on simultaneously within them. Personally, I have been interested in the phenomenon and studied it a bit and it seems to me that the standard reaction from Christians, when it's brought up, is the blame game. "It's the other team who's ruining this thing". I think such hijacking of the phenomenon for a propaganda weapon against some other versions of Christianity is not a particularly good approach. The statistical reality seems to be that to much of my dislike - may I add - it actually seems to be the more fundamentalist - leaning branches of Christianity that have survived the process better than the more liberal ones. Historically, The United States decline of Christianity, that seemingly begun in 90's, is a curious phenomenon. In Europe, the churches used to be part of the old order, they were the trusted allies of the monarchies who ruled the continent for centuries, and when Europeans finally kicked the kings down from their thrones, their allies, the churches (perhaps deservedly) got their status damaged in the process too and apparently have never really recovered from the blow. On the other hand, Christianity in the United States never had this problem, due to it's historical lack of state religion, and for a long time it seemed to make an exception in the western world. But, that too is now changing, for reasons which remain a bit of a mystery to me. I have some theories, but they're little more than guesses.
  18. 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.
  19. 1 point
    I don't know :+}
  20. 1 point
    Well done. We are not aware of things which we definitively know or have mastered. Our nose is in our visual range, but we are not cognitively aware of it because cognition is unnecessary so the brain habituates to it and deletes itbfrom perception. We can drive for miles without thinking about it, and muscle memory works without cognition. Autonomic functions, reactions, dreams, and archetypal structures are also subconscious. The very presence of consciousness indicates someting unknown or unfamiliar.
  21. 1 point
    It's a disgusting comment and typical of his small mindedness toward justice. What about all the innocent people who are arrested by police but later released when proper investigations demonstrate their innocence? What, too bad for them, they should just get hurt by the police anyway? Don't be nice to them just because they might not be innocent? Craziness.
  22. 1 point
    Guys, if this is already a thread, please link. I've reached a point in my path where I'm just not sure what to do with intercessory prayer. When someone asks me to pray for them, I don't want to say no, but I also just don't know what to do about it. I believe in the power of prayer, but I don't believe in giving God a shopping list of things I or other people want. I've tried and tried and it never works. What has worked for me are prayers of surrender. I also believe in praying with someone who I'm physically present with. My daughter is trying to get a job. She's already interviewed. She asked me to pray. So what do I pray? Do I pray that she gets it? Do I pray that God's will be done? Do I pray for God to be present with her? I'm just not sure that that's the way that God works. I can encourage her to put it in God's hands. I can counsel her to let go of her worries and accept that it is out of her control. But who am I to know God's "Will" for her? I cannot, and I'm not sure God really cares if she gets the job or not. The God of my understanding is a God of relationship, not choreography. Then again, my understand is so finite. Sometimes, I just do it anyway because I love people. Thoughts?
  23. 1 point
  24. 1 point
    Hello to everyone. Talking with you from southwest Louisiana. Glad to be part of this community. Hope to make many new friends. Please say Hello.
  25. 1 point
    On the odd occasion it has been questioned why I am here and I have gotten the sense of the question why is my presence even tolerated? is being asked. Is my lack of belief so threatening? Karen Armstrong said in her book The Case for God “Religion was a matter of doing rather than thinking” ​And somewhere in the same book it she goes on to suggest Christians focus too much their beliefs rather than what they do. I volunteer at the local community chest, community living, Rotary and other organizations. Is that not Christian enough? I am surprised by that at times a Christian (especially a progressive one) might baulk at contact on this forum with those that don't have the same beliefs. I would have thought it is this contact that is the "doing" that is of value rather than the "thinking".
  26. 1 point
    My own thought is that "perfection" is an awful idea. Involved with its pursuit is judgement ( of others/of oneself ), self hate - and obstructions to appreciating what is and thus stifling gratitude. For me the heart of reality is Mercy and Grace - how can that fabric/heart know itself within "perfection"?(And trying to squeeze the idea of perfection back in by positing a "finality" towards which we "progress" for me just corrupts the time we are actually in) So, "Your not OK, I'm not OK, but that's OK"......or "Mutual forgiveness of each vice opens the gates of paradise"..... I think now that seeking the "meaning of it all" is a red herring. "Love has no why" ( Eckhart )
  27. 1 point
    I moved to Vegas last year from Reno the mountains to the desert and still l am in a Zen Garden, just rocks and cactus not trees.
  28. 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.
  29. 1 point
    Not to derail this thread further (for many people are blessed by Lectionary readings and study), but I think you make a great point, Paul, about the state of the world and Christianity's role in helping our world. For far too long, IMO, Christianity has embedded itself in the sin/savior myth that posits that the world is broken, in sin, and that the only remedy is for God and/or Jesus to save it through either forgiveness or destruction (in order to create another world). This myth teaches that we can do little to nothing to help our current state except to plead to God to come rescue us. The result of this, in much of Christianity, is escapism and waiting for Jesus to return at any moment with God's divine clean-up plan. Granted, it is an appealing myth. But I don't find it to line up very well with most of Jesus' teachings. I don't see anywhere in Jesus' teachings where he says that we are born in sin. And while some of his statements seem to imply that he would return shortly, he also stressed that his followers should be about the business of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, helping the poor, working for justice, visiting prisoners, etc. I haven't been able to thoroughly plumb all of his teachings about it, but Jesus seems to say that the kingdom is already here, already in the human heart. I don't see this so much as a remedy to some "sin problem" but as a seed to the growth and maturation of humanity that could heal the places in ourselves and in our world that need healing. Yes, the world is a wonderful and amazing place and we are an incredible species. But we are still immature and have a ways to go before we are fully human. And I think, in my own Christology, that Jesus, in some sense, shows us what it is like to be fully human. He was ahead of his time. The Gentile church didn't know what to do with that, so they declared him to be divine. In doing so, he lost his humanity. And I think that changed his role from example to savior, and I think a great deal was lost in this demotion. This is why, for me, Jesus is not a way to get to heaven. Rather, he shows me how genuine relationships grounded in compassion can change the world, not from sinners to saint, but from strangers to friends.
  30. 1 point
    I know much is said about free will and the self being illusionary but I would go with many things holding the possibility of an illusion. Firstly the mind does not connect to reality. It draws in impulses through the senses to the brain. The brain then tries to make sense of what these impulses mean and then forms a cognitive representation or a map in the mind of what it thinks of the stimuli it is getting. So one can say that these cognitive maps are useful for us to negotiate our way through life but it is also a fact that these cognitive maps are not the actual territory. So the concept of self and free will in the mind may be illusionary but equally that does not mean the self and the belief of having free will does not come from the reality of existence. It just means we cannot be 100% sure of what we perceive as reality being reality in a sense because perception is cognitive we each build our own reality. The mind can also be tricked and these maps in the mind took time to develop. A young baby can be tricked with the presentation of three dots (representing two eyes and a nose) attached to it cot as being its mother looking on but in later life this would not suffice. However, there are ones adults struggle with :- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_illusion Being as we each make sense of the reality we each have formulated in our minds each can come to differing conclusions as to what is reality. Where one can say that free will does not exist and it is the universe unfolding another like me will say that although the universe unfolds we do have free will as to what we make of that and seek to do within the realms of the universal environment we inherit and the cognitive maps we have produced.. Now I do not believe I am going to convince someone that they are wrong because according to their model of the world a thing is such and such but equally according to my model of the world the self and limited free will exists. We each make our own reality and what is perceived as illusion or fact may also differ from person to person. Given enough research all things are provable.
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