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  1. 2 points
    I know the feeling Lani and I felt very much the same when I was going through my period of anxiety and depression (which coincided with my kids being about 2 & 4). My wife was also experiencing post natal depression and we didn't recognize it for that until she sought help. I know there can be a stigma associated with depression/anxiety but I would encourage you to consider talking to a professional if that might be a possibility. There's nothing wrong with that and both my wife and I found such a process exceptionally beneficial. I am not saying that is your predicament, but it could possibly be feeding into your anxiety about your children. I don't know where I read it and I have since had trouble locating it, but I remember reading a a story around that time that I found particularly comforting. It went along the lines of this: A distraught mother had her three young toddlers in a bath, preparing to drown them. She was distraught with the thought that if she didn't raise them properly that they might not 'choose Jesus' and would go to Hell. She thought it better to kill them now as innocents so that they would see heaven, than take the chance of raising them and they possibly end up in Hell. In distress at the thought of killing her kids the woman cried out to Jesus saying "please don't let me do this - take my life instead and spare my children - grant them life with you". To this Jesus replied "Woman, if I loved you so much that I was prepared to die for you, do you really think I could allow you or your children to be separated from me". Now I could have the story wrong (wherever it was written) but that's how I remember it. For me personally, it just made me think that if there is anything 'existential' or 'spiritual' to our existence, whatever it is can only be a good thing in the end rather than a harmful thing. If my kids (or I) get it wrong in our tiny blip of an existence on an eternal timeline, then I'm certain that whatever 'higher power' might possibly exist, it would understand. This in turn has allowed me to better accept the day to day. I ponder spirituality and religion, as I do life in general, however i feel no compulsion to 'get it right' or for my kids to. In the end, they will simply work out for themselves what works for them. Sure, guidance is important in life, and opening up our children's minds to the possibilities of all things (not just the spiritual) is a burden that all parents practice to different degrees, but I rest easy knowing that what works for them, will be what works for them. I hope I make some sort of sense. Cheers Paul
  2. 1 point
    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.
  3. 1 point
    Hello, others on a journey. I'm an older, ex-clergy, in need of others with which to share and walk. For many years I tried, mainly without success, of changing churches from within and am now only on the 'edges' of local churches. I've written a bit (CHURCHES: A Time To Die - Hope For New Life) and do speaking where I'm invited. But with my book out, I rarely get the chance to speak at churches. I take 'The Kingdom of God' very seriously, knowing that what Jesus said and did CAN happen. Nothing else for me really matters. The world now needs real SHARING that only love brings, no matter how God is understood. If this isn't the basis for understandings, they need be discarded, NOW. I live near Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Are there any nearby who'd like to meet? Of course, any, anywhere are welcome to meet me here. Thanks for your time. Live well and love more by sharing.
  4. 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.
  5. 1 point
    Hello, i am a 30 year old mum of 2 year old and 4 year old. Although i have never really had spiritual peace i believe that since becoming a mother i have become more existentially anxious. I love my children so much that it is quite overwhelming. I feel a big burden that i brought them into this beautiful yet complex world. i am wondering if you know of any good books, pod casts etc anything for children to introduce them to spirituality in an open and relaxed manner (not dogmatic and non specific). Does anyone have any tips in regard how to overcome my guilt as a parent for not having all the answers (let alone the answers that humans have been seeking since the dawn of time). I know from a biological point of view obviously most of us are meant to have children (hence why we are all here). From a soulful point of view i feel a massive weight on my heart that i brought these two wonderful people into the world and now what..... so many unknowns ! Any tips or words of progressive wisdom appreciated
  6. 1 point
    In another thread that when down the track of some discussion on Buddhism, it was raised that: "this idea of avoiding others and leaving everything up to divine revelation has no self-correcting mechanism. That's a fault. It works for picking out a spiritual mattress to nap on but not much else". This comment to me would seem to suggest that the Divine can't be trusted, that it is incapable of revealing itself directly to a person and that the only way a person can trust any such revelation is be confirming it with somebody's else's idea of divine revelation. Whilst I don't consider revelation to necessarily be divine in a theistic sense, I do think that people can/do/should experience revelation on their own and do not necessarily need to compare it against other's view of revelation. Do we run the risk of bias if we need to compare our revelation to somebody else's? Should one's personal revelation be considered lazy if it doesn't meet expectations of other people's revelation? Is divine revelation even possible for somebody who may avoid others?
  7. 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?
  8. 1 point
    Although I follow the idea of change in our ability to act for the divine, It was an actual change for Jesus and made possible for others who heard the word. However, there are others who have not heard or, having heard, it either does not resonate or they have heard and prefer another way (of the Way). There are others who turn the key. I have Netflix but I also have Amazon, iTunes and have dallied with Hulu and others. People can access Netflix (once they know about it) but for others Amazon is the answer - there is no need to know about any others or, even if they do, the preference is not for Netflix.
  9. 1 point
  10. 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
  11. 1 point
    Two Friars and a Fool did thing a few years back, 95 theses against Hell. In short, they couldn't bring themselves, on Christian principles, to accept the idea of eternal conscious torment as a punishment a just god would inflict on anyone, let alone someone who is merely a nonbeliever. Here's a link There are lots of different ideas about the afterlife that have come from mainstream sources within Christianity. Universalism is one. Karl Barth, one of the greatest Reformed theologians of the 20th Century, promoted it, and the Orthodox had apocatastasis, which is effectively the same thing for most intents and purposes. There's also annihilationism, or the idea that there is no afterlife (possibly for anyone, or just for unsaved). My point in bringing all this up is that the tradition of Christianity is so much more than a single doctrine. Don't get fooled otherwise.
  12. 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".
  13. 1 point
    Just speaking of debate and dialogue ... here I think is a really sweet example of dialogue.
  14. 1 point
    May God bless you and help you through this.
  15. 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!
  16. 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 )
  17. 1 point
  18. 1 point
    Hi Bonnie, It's nice to meet you also and welcome to the forum. I would strongly encourage you to be as 'me' as you want. In general, we have a understanding and accepting group here. There are sometimes diverse views on many things, but as long as we remain civil to one another and respect that many of us have different beliefs and views on things, then we can all get along just fine. I hope you enjoy participating here. Cheers Paul
  19. 1 point
    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?
  20. 1 point
    Indeed Fatherman. We all have our own understanding of what 'God' and "Sacred' means to us. In fact the tagline in my signature under the old software (this new software version seems to have dropped that) was a quote from an Italian Poet named Antonio Porchia which read: “Because they know the name of what I am looking for, they think they know what I am looking for!” I'm thinking for me it might be time to drop that as I am not so much actively 'looking for' as I am more so 'floating down the river and observing what i come across' (that and also the new software seems to have made the decision for me anyhow ). Nonetheless, what I meant was using the term God (big G or little g) is loaded with assumptions, personal biases, experiences, etc which can make it hard to share that word. When we can openly discuss this and sometimes even challenge it (if appropriate such as in the Debate & Dialogue threads) then I think the experience is useful for all (and for many to come or who may sit silently in the wings observing).
  21. 1 point
    https://relevantmagazine.com/article/the-revolutionary-truth-of-good-friday/
  22. 1 point
    I'm new to this site and am jumping in here without having read everything that's gone before. But someone in another topic suggested that something I wrote there might be of interest here, so I'm sharing it here. This is an argument from personal experience, not theological belief or scientific research. I realize that that approach upsets some, but I think that ultimately everything we believe is based on our subjective evaluation of what we experience (including what we read about technical matters). So, here goes: My view of the physical world is mechanistic, predictable. That if I press the "Y" key on on the keyboard, "Y" will appear on the computer screen. That if I heat an egg in very hot water, the liquid contents inside the shell will turn solid. That the rotation of the Earth will cause the sun to appear to rise in the East. We constantly depend of the fact that a certain cause will have a certain effect. What happens in the physical world is predetermined by what happened previously. Theoretically, every physical event today was the result of a series of fixed causes and effects since the Big Bang. Of course, some processes are so complex it is difficult to imagine that we could gather enough information for a precise, correct prediction. But I take that to be a limit of our ability to gather sufficient data instantly, rather than a failure of cause and effect. I also recognize that quantum mechanics describes a different process at the atomic and sub-atomic level, but I'm not aware that anyone has claimed that this atomic activity invalidates Newtonian laws at the scale we experience reality. But I do find that my experience of life doesn't match this mechanistic view. First, regarding predictability. After reading your post, I considered how to reply. I thought of one approach, then abandoned it for the approach I am now taking. And, as I type, I revise sentences and substitute new words for ones I have written. That's not how the laws of nature work. Nature doesn't correct errors and make revisions in a specific case. My toaster doesn't correct itself if the setting burns my toast. My radio doesn't correct itself if a short distorts the sound. Nature doesn't "correct" a mutant cell division. One could argue that evolution is self-correcting, but that's not because nature "fixes" a specific mistake; it's just that some causes lead to more enduring results than others. Getting "heads" five coin flips in a row is not due to nature changing anything; it is just a matter repeatedly flipping the coin enough times. When I decide this morning to have a waffle rather than an egg for breakfast, I don't think it is reasonable to believe that that choice was determined at the moment of the Big Bang. I think it is more reasonable to think my human consciousness was able to make an unpredictable choice. Second, regarding experience itself. I experience my life being full of sensations — color, sound, taste, scent, etc. And yet, none of these exist in nature. Grass may reflect electromagnetic radiation of a certain frequency, but there is no color there. Slamming a door may send shock waves through the air, but there is no sound there. We have evolved to have receptors of data about our bodies and our surroundings. But evolution has also created brains and central nervous systems that make consciousness possible, but the raw data bombarding us is useless as raw data; it must be interpreted. So where does data turn into the experience of color? Not in the rods and cones of our eyes. Not in the neurons of our brains. There is no physical locus where we can objectively show that data has been turned into the experience of color. So I conclude that experience is non-physical, and that our consciousness is affected by external stimulus, but is not totally controlled by it. Hence, our consciousness enables us to choose among real options, and that's free will. Our choices are limited by physical realities, and our ability to carry out our decisions is limited by our physical location and capabilities. Free will does not, to me, mean anything supernatural, anything in violation of natural law. It is the product of natural processes that created, first, life out of non-life, then consciousness out of programmed responses, then human consciousness that permits our decisions to take into account abstract concepts. So, that's what made me side with free will. But that's not a decision against cause-and-effect. It's an addition to cause-and-effect.
  23. 1 point
    Guys, I've been rereading recent threads and realizing that my perception of them were colored by a bit of bipolar mania. I'm much better now. My posts don't show it, but they were motivated but all kinds of negative feelings. I bring some baggage to this site which doesn't really have anything to do with any of you. I'm prone to a little drama because of this stuff. I see, in retrospect, a lot of really good discussion some of which has had positive impact on me. I'll give it another try.
  24. 1 point
    Energy is united at different stages or vibrations and is never destroyed, but it does interact and change from one energy frequency to a different vibration. One of most fundamental laws of science is the Law of the Conservation of Energy. Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another. Therefore, we can infer that energy is not currently being created. Present-day measures of energy are considerably vast, indicating a power source so great that "infinite" is the best word we have to describe it. The whole cosmos is inter-related energy interacting at different vibrations or frequencies. This unified field of energy is information reacting in a field of intelligence that I label as consciousness. As a Christian I can say it gives me the vision that this energy that makes up everything that moves the force fields of this Earth of ours is a part of the pure energy consciousness of everything or God. We are experiencing this change and will be able to move and flow with it if we see the energy upon which we are moving. I feel we have the choice or free will to see an experience with the unified field if one chooses or not if one wants to see everyone and thing as individual packets of energy. The belief institutions teach us to rely on the systems and not our own connections to the energy around us so we restructure our skills, but I feel we can choose to open our selves to the infinite energy around and within in us to understand the different frequencies and subtle energies that permeates and connects all things. Everything is energy in one form or another and is more than what we perceive with the five senses. We have the free will to see everything as a symphony of vibrations of light and sound, a system of atoms and packets of energy that make up our cells, which are like a system of universes. Each cell being a solar system of atoms with a subtle energy at the center I call consciousness. Each cell is a key to the universe, a consciousness with the information to set us free. They contain energy with the knowledge and experience to shows us that we are not spectators, but participants with free will and co-creators in our existence. The parts of our cells are interacting and changing the electromagnetic fields around us and in us. A tapestry where the vibrations and threads are interwoven in a fabric of interactions. We are not observers of an independent, separate, external world, but participators interacting externally and internally with the whole. The charges and spin of our micro parts affect the micro parts around us. The “Quantum Entanglement Theory” states that there appears to be an eternal inter-connection between all elements. If two electrons are created together, they are forever “entangled,” much like two people in love. Regardless of the distance between the two electrons, a change in quantum spin in one electron immediately causes the other electron to change spin as well. Leon Balents, senior author published in the journal Nature Physics an article where he explains that Quantum Entanglement Theory represents the extent to which measurement of one part of a system affects the state of another. In our example, measurement of one electron influences the state of another that may be far away. Scientists have acknowledged that the entanglement of electrons is present in varying degrees in solid materials. This insinuates that information is being transmitted at speeds faster than light. Some scientists claim that Quantum Entanglement substantiates that there is no such thing as space, and that everything in the universe is in touch. Our inside and outside are only different sides of the tapestry. The inside is dealing with unity while the outside is involved in the duality of objects. We have the free will to acknowledge either the unity or the duality. Therefore; I feel we have free will with a limitation because of the interactions. When I feel pain in the world of duality I have the free will to dive into the unity inside and when I feel I am a participator, I can head out again into duality. Yes, I am a Yo Yo, but I feel I have a small amount of free will to affect the tricks I can perform. I enjoy my individual packets of energy, but like a Buddhist need to bath in the unified field of energy to wash away the attachments that cause pain.
  25. 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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