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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
    As a retired pastor, I got to select the praise choruses for our first contemporary service and the more traditional hymns and choruses for our 2nd service which featured blended worship. I like one pastor's definition of "blended worship:" "something for everyone to be unhappy about." Anyway, I thought I'd post videos of my favorite songs for congregational singing. Let me know what you think of them and feel free to post videos of songs you like to sing or hear sung in church. I will post a video a day for your consideration and entertainment and will do so by category, the first of which will be a series of "contemporary praise choruses." (1) "Better than a Hallelujah:" I love the earthy lyrics of his unique but simple chorus: https://www.bing.com/search?q=better+than+a+hallelujah+youtube&form=EDGNB1&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&plvar=0&refig=3ed2b7da756f4255b1a74ca603c14cb4&sp=1&qs=HS&pq=better+than+a+hallelujah+youtube&sc=2-32&cvid=3ed2b7da756f4255b1a74ca603c14cb4&cc=US&setlang=en-US
  7. 1 point
    As does obfuscation Burl.
  8. 1 point
    Language is important. Every field of interest develops its own detailed language in order to communicate minute details with specificity. Medicine, physics, art, theology, psychology &c all have their own jargon which is necessary to communicate properly. Vernacular language often limited, confusing or have regional meanings. Consciousness has vernacular meanings, a theological meaning, a psychological meaning and a medical meaning inter alia. This causes problems in interdisciplinary conversations, but sorting it out is usually a profitable venture.
  9. 1 point
    Again, you misconstrue me. I never said that potentiality = success. I said that potentiality was the ability to develop, achieve or succeed. That is not the same thing as success, although there can be no success without it. This term 'human', verb or noun, is a moving goalpost: there is no universally recognisable line between what 'human' is and is not. It's fuzzy at best. It might seem clearly delineated in your mind, but that is entirely subjective - and the assumption that such a distinction exists has long been the source of undue suffering. The potentiality still before us (or within us) is the potentiality not to be or do 'human' but to be or do anything - it is limitless, because it is actualised not alone in ourselves but through our interaction and interconnection with the entire potentiality of the universe, absolute potentiality, God. What puts any perception of our 'humanity' in danger is to believe ourselves or others unchangeable, actualised, devoid of potentiality or limited by names and labels (I'm only human, she's just a girl, etc). We can make ourselves new with every moment, every interaction and every experience - we only have to see the potentiality around us. They were all human. I think you might need to read the bible again, and check that you're not reading judgment into the text. Jesus did not judged the priest or the Levite, nor did he judge the Samaritan. He simply provided an opportunity to learn the answer to the question: "who is my neighbour?" We are the ones who have added the title 'The Good Samaritan', enabling judgement of the other passers by as 'not good'. The point of the story is to draw attention to our desire to label others, to judge them and perceive or assume limitations on their potentiality - not the potential to be 'good' or 'bad' (these terms were not applied by Jesus), but the unlimited potentiality to be other than or more than 'Samaritan', for instance - to be 'neighbour' - and to see potentiality in others - not just a Jew or a stranger, but a fellow human being in need of compassion and care - and interact accordingly. Jesus effectively turned the common judgements or prejudices of the time on their heads - the two men whose labels may imply goodness and righteousness did not act righteously, while the man whose label at the time implied enemy interacted as 'neighbour'. Nor did Jesus judge the woman labelled and thereby condemned by the crowd as 'adulterer'. He already saw her potentiality beyond her 'sin'. He invited the crowd to see her as they see themselves (as more than their sin), and then told the 'woman' to recognise that potentiality and not define herself by past sins. And again, he did not judge the crowd either, but reiterated what was said in Luke: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." It is the crowd and the reader who judge here, not Jesus. I would hope that anyone who interacts with such individuals, or even talks about them, would withhold any judgement, as is their responsibility as a compassionate human being. You probably think I'm being unrealistic to suggest this, given the way society (and indeed Christianity) operates to protect itself from danger or 'evil', and yet this is what Jesus did and what he taught. Sure, it takes courage - more than we have at times - but I would think that this is what we should strive for. I acknowledge that it sounds rational, if that's what you mean by 'holds water'. I guess I also understand why you so strongly believe it - after all, it appears to govern our laws and our sense of safety - but I can't say I agree with your statement of this view. You make a distinction between what these actions do: they don't 'define us' (hopefully not?) yet they 'tell us who and what we are'? I don't see much of a distinction here. I accept that our actions, particularly consistent ones, may reflect a perception of who or what we were, but they have no bearing on who or what we are at this moment, unless we choose to interact with the 'self' in this way. Likewise in our interaction with others. As I said before, we can make ourselves new with every moment, every interaction and every experience, and in focusing on this instant and ever-present ability to change (not just the actual, perceived change over time), we can glimpse absolute potentiality, not just in ourselves, but in others and in all things. It is a civilised society's right and responsibility to condemn Hitler's actions and stop them. But you cannot confidently say that anyone would not be Hitler if they had the exact same (not just similar) circumstances of birth, upbringing, education and life experiences. To dismiss Hitler's humanity is to dismiss the possibility of another human being coming to power, with the support of the people, whose view of the world is so limited or distorted that his subsequent words and actions could bring about so much pain, humiliation and loss - not to mention the possibility of millions of human beings agreeing with him, admiring him and facilitating his mission to 'make his nation great again'...oh, wait... It seems that, for the most part, we continue to believe that we (and all the people we love, respect and associate ourselves with) are fundamentally different in our essential makeup to Hitler. We prefer to separate him out as some horrible anomaly - and yet it seems here we go again... I think perhaps we're closer here. On the one hand we can be called 'human', but on the other hand we are so much more. We are given the entire universe and we can make it more. Too often, we only see the faults, the limitations. If the rock is not seen for what it can be (ie. potentiality recognised) then work cannot start: there is no further actualisation and therefore no movement, no change - only a rock and unseen potentiality (not nothing). Whether potentiality is seen or unseen, ignored or rationalised away, it is still there, and all things are still possible. The rock may just have to wait for someone more aware of potentiality to come along - they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all. If what is shaped is not possible (rather than what is possible not shaped), to me this is nothing - or rather, nothing but illusion. Here we delve into mathematics a little, because shape, movement and change can be reduced to mathematical equation. So if an equation cannot be solved, then it cannot be true, and therefore the hypothetical shape, movement or identifiable point seems impossible to graph, and you have nothing but a bunch of symbols that look like they mean something, but actually point to nothing - just an undefined space on a graph. This is what I think 'pure actuality' might look like without potentiality. But then again, mathematics recognises potentiality even here: the ability of an equation to be solved, even if we never actually solve it. With things like imaginary numbers, it also recognises the significance of 'looking' beyond what is actual, to a potentiality that doesn't require interaction (observation) in order to be. And I believe that our unlimited potential remains before us to facilitate the 'creation' of universal beauty and harmony out of the diversity of the unfolding universe, by recognising the oneness and potentiality, not of 'humanity', but of all matter. Our interaction with the life, words and actions of Hitler as a human being, for instance, just as we interact with Jesus' story, enables us to recognise the falseness of perceived limitations and develop a greater awareness of this underlying ability to succeed: to achieve beauty and harmony from diversity. In this way Hitler's unlimited potential remains before him even 'after death'. Most of people just don't see it that way. So be it.
  10. 1 point
    In the western theology view, God is real but not bound by time. God acts sequentially, but the space between segments is not determinable.
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    I have found what gives life meaning and thanks. And, even though I borrowed from Sisyphus and Greek myths, it's more accurate to say, "all power to you and panentheistic (or even progressive) Christian theology." Twas fun!
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  15. 1 point
    Somehow the act of attempting to educate yourself on quantum physics makes it not understandable.
  16. 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.
  17. 1 point
    Over the last three or so years, I've noticed an alarming trend with religious social conservatives in the internet; these people have begun to adapt increasingly anti-democratic ideals and narratives, and seem to have found their new global hero in Russian president Vladimir Putin. At first this seemed to me like a random fringe phenomenon, but especially with Americans (where there are particularly lots of religious social conservatives) this seems to be on it's way to become the new mainstream of social conservatism. Lately also media has begun to pay more attention to this, which has convinced me that this is happening for real, and it's not just my bad luck of running into this Putin-conservatism. My thoughts on what is happening with religious conservatives: 1) The repeated losses at culture wars are taking their toll. Whenever the religious social conservatives have tried to push the culture backwards in the democratic world, they have usually failed in the end. I believe that this repeated losing has alienated religious conservatives, not just from the mainstream culture, but from the ideals of democracy as it seems to favor their perceived enemies. Why would they continue loving democracy, since it seems to place secular and liberal ideals at power? By contrast, when the conservatives look at Russia, where the cultural clock has been seemingly successfully turned backwards (feminist protesters at church are jailed, gay activism has been banned, even beating ones wife has become less of a serious crime and so on), they realize that conservatism can win, just not in a democratic context. This is actually a centuries old European idea made new; The church wanting a Christian king to rule a nation, in order to keep the nation Christian. 2) The massive information - and critical thinking - vacuum created by anti-intellectualism and anti-journalism by social conservatives has effectively made the whole group intellectually helpless sitting ducks for ruthless propaganda efforts, like the ones taken in recent years by Russian government. Conservative anti-intellectualist efforts have left the group as a whole with no way of sorting the credible news from mere propaganda and thus, they will end up believing the propaganda of Putin's Russia being the promised land of religious conservatism. Not unlike the western workers of the old world believed Soviet Union being the mythical paradise of the working class. Thoughts? Observations?
  18. 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.
  19. 1 point
    Indeed, tragedies like Grenfell seem to bring out both the best and the worst of people. Overwhelmingly I think we see more of the best than the worst, but still, why others need to be cruel and unkind in the face of so many who feel the hurt is beyond my comprehension. At the very least, if people have nothing nice to say about it then I wish they would say nothing at all. A beautiful film clip Derek. Thanks for sharing.
  20. 1 point
    I hadn't chimed in Derek as I don't know an awful lot about Jung (although you have piqued my interest). However your post trying to stimulate a response certainly rings true for me. About 18 years ago I left our State's police force after serving about 13 years, during which time I attended probably 20 or so suicides. People jumping in front of trains, hanging themselves, shots to the head, car exhaust through the window, etc. I always wondered whether they were brave to take their own life or just too gutless to face life. It wasn't until I seriously considered committing suicide some 8 or so years ago (I was suffering anxiety & depression brought on by financial reasons at the time, but soon thereafter suffered mental anguish about my childhood indoctrination and needing to 'believe' in Jesus as my personal saviour in order to avoid Hell. The problem was that I couldn't make myself believe this as it just went against my principles of justice and it seemed plain wrong to me. That didn't stop the thoughts from tearing me up though and even with a wife and young kids at the time, I thought I was going to have to kill myself to make the pain stop, to escape this hole that I couldn't get out of mentally. Thankfully I did get through that period without killing myself (obviously), after which I was very curious to better understand Christianity. Was there another way to understand it other than what I had been taught? Previously I had written off what I had been taught about Jesus & God because it simply didn't feel right, in fact it felt wrong and harmful. I now wanted to understand 'why' it didn't feel right which then led me down a whole other path toward a better understanding of history and Christianity. It also drove me to volunteering with a crisis hotline to help others who may be suicidal. I learnt a lot more about suicide and felt that by volunteering I could help others in need. Acknowledging my 'wounds' concerning Christianity was important (as was a better understanding of mental health) especially on the crisis line as we were trained to not to let our personal beliefs creep into influencing the call. I won't say it's always easy to ignore those wounds and they still do hurt sometimes, however by acknowledging and understanding them better I am freed to help others. And in turn, I almost always inevitably find I am taught something or otherwise helped in return. Sometimes it's just a sentence or two that triggers something in me and other times it might be a a piece of information or interpretation of something that helps me clarify my thinking. So for me, I would indeed say that knowing and acknowledging some of my wounds has indeed made me more able to help others and in doing do, I in return am helped also. It's a win-win really!
  21. 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.
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    I am a liberal Christian- actually an Unitarian Universalist. But, I am stuck in Kissimmee and it is too far to drive to the other side of Orlando to go to church. I am on Social Security and have tight finances and have to budget my gasoline. Anyway, I would like to find a liberal church within driving distance to Campbell, Fl. I seem to be stuck in the middle of Fundamentalist Country...help! Any liberal churches around Kissimmee?
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 1 point
    It is a fascinating subject. I know C.S. Lewis addressed it in his "Space Trilogy". Basically he had a solar system full of life, but only earth was fallen (we were called the "Silent Planet"). It allowed him to portray unfallen cultures on other planets, and he did a great job. I have read quite a few short stories over the years that have addressed the question. Some have Jesus incarnating as one of the natives to offer salvation, others have it being our job to carry the Gospel into the universe. No solid agreement, so the creative field is open. Until we have definite contact of one form or another it will all be speculation. But that can be good. Speculation in this area is a fun and creative way to deal with the question: how does God relate to us, what are that relations forms and boundaries? I am really undecided on this question. I believe there is extraterrestrial life. I believe God loves and relates to them as He does to us. But the exact nature . . . ahh, there's the fascinating part.
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