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grampawombat

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grampawombat last won the day on July 1 2011

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About grampawombat

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    Seattle, WA
  • Interests
    history, sociology (especially the sociology of religion), ethics, theology (especially liberation theology and process theology), social and economic justice, peace
  1. You might take a look at With or Without God by Gretta Vosper for ideas. I think she is a minister in the United Church of Canada.
  2. Hi Pete, I agree with you regarding the parts in red, but I have additional reservations. First, I'm not so sure about words like maker or creator. And I think there should be some additional words between "Mary" and "suffered." I agree that Jesus went somewhere, but I don't know whether or not "heaven" is sufficient. I can pretty much go along with the rest, though, and I particularly like the idea of "The Communion of Saints." To me it means all those in whom Jesus is seen to be "risen" by their commitment to peace and justice. There is a statement of faith from the United Church of Canada that I like, and one from New Zealand that I saw recently that I thought had a good feel to it.
  3. I can't say I know where I stand, so I offer some comments on how I got to be a TCPC member. Ten years ago last May I joined Beliefnet. I enjoyed participating in it for several years, especially on the science and religion board, the progressive Christianity boards, and in various discussion groups. But occasionally I would look around for something else, and in December 2004 I also joined TCPC. Mostly I stuck with B'net, as there wasn't much going on here that was of interest to me. A few years ago B'net was purchased by the Murdoch empire, and became less interesting. Maybe that is just a coincidence. But then I took another look at this site. It was ok for a while, though there was one extremely irritating person who was eventually asked to leave. But recently I haven't felt like participating, so I have mostly lurked. In the survey I called myself a denominational Christian, as I have been an active layperson in a Protestant congregation most of my adult life. But I also think of myself as progressive, and have read and appreciated the work of Borg, Spong, etc. I'm not a particularly philosophical person. I think that is mostly because I was an engineer by trade, and that concerns itself more with what works than with the nature of things. But I do think of myself as agnostic, as not only am I unsure about the existence of God, but am pretty sure that there is really little, if any, evidence of what you might call the existence of God. In the sixties through the nineties I was a member of a congregation that was heavily influenced by liberation theology. When I was in grad school in the eighties, I discovered process theology, and that has influenced be also.
  4. Hi Myron, About 25 years ago I took a class on Whitehead's Process and Reality (P&R). We used A Key to Whitehead's Process and Reality, edited by Donald W. Sherburne (1966, U. of Chicago Press). In that class, I wrote a paper incorporating some process ideas with liberation theology. In the paper I cited two liberation theologians, Schubert Ogden and Delwin Brown. Maybe looking at some of their publications would help to see the relationship between progressives and process folks. I get a somewhat different slant on P&R than what you have described. In that regard, I would recommend taking a look at God, Christ, Church by Marjorie Suchocki (1986, Crossroad). What I remember is that Whitehead concentrates on the process that takes place (he calls it concrescence) in going from one actual entity to the next. My further recollection is that Whitehead describes God as a "lure toward novelty" in each and every process. What I brought away from that is the idea that God is in everything all the time. Some folks call that "panentheism," but I'm not sure whether that is a process term or a later addition. Somehow, I think I get from there to what you have said about prehension and empathy. for me, this means that what ever happens to anyone else affects all of us. Kind of like Donne's "No man [sic] is an island..." quote that Hemingway used in For Whom the Bell Tolls. Don
  5. I just finished God and Sex by Michael Coogan. It was published last year. In it, I think he comments on all of the topics discussed on this thread. One of those is the Romans 1 passage that many claim "proves" that homosexuality is condemned by God. Coogan makes many of the same observations that Spong made in The Sins of Scripture to refute this claim. As to talk vs. action: The Presbyterian Church USA has now made it possible for LGBT candidates for the ministry to be ordained. In that, it joins various Congregational, Lutheran, and Episcopal denominations. Because of the emphasis on participation of clergy and lay representatives at all levels (local, regional and national) in the Presbyterian decision-making process, getting to this point required a lot of talk. But I suspect that, more than that, it was the result of people's minds being changed by first-hand encounters with LGBT people in their churches and elsewhere. So I am reluctant to "let go" of the topic.
  6. Mars Attacks--what can be better than Slim Whitman music causing brains to explode?
  7. Today, the PCUSA(the denomination I belong to) made it possible for LGBT candidates for the ministry to be ordained. For 37 years I have been a very small part of the effort that brought this about. I can't say I am proud, because, after all, pride is a sin, so I have heard. But I'm awfully pleased.
  8. For a long time I have had the impression that the author of Revelation was writing for a people who were experiencing severe persecution, and intended to help them endure their trials. So the emphasis being on the idea that in the end the bad guys will get theirs is consistent with that. But it also makes sense that the author might eventually turn to a vision similar to Isaiah's peaceable kingdom.
  9. There is a lot in the whole incident that I continue to try to sort out. When the story first broke, I had the impression that bin Laden died during an exchange of fire. Now it seems more likely that this was not the case. Perhaps the person who shot him would have us believe that he appeared to be going for a weapon of some sort. Another possibility is that someone else in the area fired and bin Laden died as the result of returned fire. There was a quote to the effect that the Seals were prepared to take him alive if the occasion presented itself. So it is difficult for me to know whether or not killing him was in any way justified. Of course, philosophically, killing is not justified anyway. On the other hand, my gut response was to recall how people reacted to the news that Hitler was dead. The positive reaction was pretty much universal. I can't imagine that there was much concern about whether or not he received his day in court. But Hitler and bin Laden in many ways are more symbols that actual people. I realize that to dehumanize them in this way does go against some basic convictions of mine, but I can't seem to be as objective about this as I think I am supposed to be. It also occurred to me that capturing him might lead to a person or perhaps several people being kidnapped and held as hostages until bin Laden was released. I do see this as rationalization, but I find it sensible in a way. I do hold a presumption of guilt relative to bin Laden, and as with Hitler, I don't find much to support a contrary point of view. But what I find most disturbing is that none of the reports I have heard or read give any indication that my observations and thoughts are in any way shared by others. Only here on this forum is there the sense that perhaps people acting on our behalf have done something wrong, even though their intentions may have been honorable.
  10. You might try Parkview or Westminster Presbyterian; Parkside or Pioneer UCC; or Centennial, St. Mark, or St Andrew Methodist. They are all in Sacramento.
  11. Well, I just got through identifying myself as a "Jesusian," so maybe I'm not. On the other hand, I have been an active lay member of one Protestant congregation or another for almost 50 years, and my brothers and sisters mostly call themselves Christians. So if I didn't, I would feel that I'm not taking them or their convictions as seriously as I should. And as I have said many times, "go figure."
  12. I generally use Jesus, and I suppose, given my convictions, should probably be called a "Jesusian" rather than a Christian. W Philosophically, words like Christ, Lord, and Savior tend to elicit a less than positive response in me. On the other hand, there have been so many people through history who do use those words, and whose actions in response to whatever they believe about them has demonstrated such a commitment to peace and justice, that I feel compelled to take them and the words very seriously. So I can live with the word Christ, but don't use it much.
  13. Maybe this is a case of "loving the sinner and hating the sin." After all, there are evangelicals, such as the Sojurners Community, with whom I share almost all of my social convictions. And there are others whose convictions could be called fundamentalist (at least in the early 20th century sense of the term) who ardently support such organizations as Habitat for Humanity. It is when people use their convictions, whatever they are, to act in ways that I find harmful that I get distressed. For example, this fellow Phelps (I think that is his name) from Kansas, who pickets funerals of slain soldiers, or people who support concepts like apartheid that I must put beyond the limits of my ability to be tolerant.
  14. Kath asks, "Why even quote the bible when we as 'progressives' know that what you quote is probably and most likely not accurate?" I realize that, for many, quoting the Bible has to do with citing facts to back up one's position. However, I find it more useful to think of the Bible as a vehicle for dialogue. In other words, in the Bible we have a document that we take seriously, and that provides us with stories and metaphors that we can use to illustrate aspects of a position. It is common ground and can therefore give us images to share. I think of the Bible as "a set of documents that describe the human search for the divine." Now if that is the case, then what we find in it should illustrate how our search relates to our understanding of reality as regards a particular topic. Just because we run the risk of putting too much reliance in what the Bible states doesn't mean we shouldn't at least take advantage of its universality. Or something like that.
  15. The first of the eight points states that progressive Christians are those who have found an approach to God through the life and teachings of Jesus. I have the impression from the discussion so far that this statement is not sufficiently restrictive. Is that the case? Now I have been an active Protestant church person almost all of my adult life, serving on various boards and being involved in my denomination at the local, regional, and on one occasion, national level. I also spent about ten years studying the sociology of religion at San Jose State and the Graduate Theological Union. I would say that at least makes me someone who takes religion in general, and Christianity in particular, pretty seriously. But I consider my beliefs heterodox (a nice word for heretical), and I frequently refer to myself as agnostic. So, am I a Christian or not?
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