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LibChristian

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About LibChristian

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  1. Hi TinyThinker, you've been added! Thanks for the note

  2. Hi mystictrek, Yes, the problem - which was my own backed-up To Do list because of too much work - has been solved. ~ Lib
  3. Hi Nanasharon! So glad to see you here :-) As another poster said, your link doesn't work. Could you repost it? ~ Lib
  4. TCPC Feedback: Future Steps for TCPC and progressive Christianity Hello all! Part of what I'm going to be doing here in the future is periodically asking you for input into TCPC's focus and planning. The following questions were given to me by TCPC's secretary and webmaster, Geoffrey Gaskins. 1. What are the major issues confronting progressive Christianity today? 2. What should TCPC’s role be in the broader progressive Christian movement? 3. What is TCPC’s perceived value currently? (e.g. what does TCPC do right now that you find valuable?) 4. How could TCPC be more responsive to the spiritual and community needs of individual affiliates/seekers? Please answer in as much detail as you want. Also, if you know anyone who is interested in TCPC yet does not regularly visit our boards, this might be a good time to ask them to visit the board and give us their input! Also, we constantly have new visitors so I may have to repeat these - please don't take offense and always feel free to add to your answer. ~ Lib
  5. Um, yes! If you claim that definition is a historical one, that is patently false. Marriage has been one man and one woman, one man and many woman, one woman and many man, two oppositely-gendered people of the same race only, of the same tribe only, of the same generation only, of different generations only, of the same If you claim that definition is the traditional one in our religious history one, that is also obviously false. Earlier it was one man and many woman, later it was two people who were both Jewish. If you claim that definition is the modern one...well that is still being built, and an increasing number of people believe that it is "when two people are brought together as a couple to build a life together." I'm confused about what you meant by that statement. Can you elaborate one please? ~ Lib
  6. I would rather say, fatherman, that whoever finds themself with set of opinions that is in line with a single ideological faction in every single way needs to examine whether they are thinking for themselves! The issue of "gay marriage" vs "civil union" issue has always interested me because it seems like it is we progressive Christians who should be the ones most concerned with gay marriage. At least most of us who try and follow Jesus do not subscribe to the cynical belief that "marriage is just about tax benefits." I have friends that spout that view, and certainly making a marriage LEGAL is "just about tax benefits." But the actual ceremony and practice of making a lifelong committment, and doing so before friends, is also a sacrament! It's a spiritual ceremony and we should care about it as people who care about spirituality. Civil unions would rectify a legal injustice, certainly. Couples could visit each other in the hospital, share the legal custody of the children, the care of whom is already shared, make end-of-life decisions, etc. There are secular rights that need to be settled. Everyone, religious or not, traditional or radical, who accepts gays and lesbians can agree with that. But shouldn't we be the first to also promote gay marriage? No pastor today is required to perform ANY wedding, and they wouldn't be required to perform a gay or lesbian wedding either. But progressive Christian churches could. Marriage is about making a commitment of love and respect between two people, to move a relationship into a "till death do us part" level. We should both offer and celebrate the same type of committment from gays and lesbians. I'm not saying that all relationships have to end in marriage (god no!) or that everyone has to get married sometime - some people don't want that. I'm not talking about individual relationships, where everyone makes the decisions that are right for them. But if we look relationships as a whole, we should not denigrate gays and lesbians by refusing them the opportunity to make that committment, nor denigrate them by assuming that their relationships are more shallow and that they should not strive for an equally loving type of committment - again, not that everyone should want to get married, but everyone should want to be in healthy loving relationships rather than shallow manipulative ones. Marriage is one way people express true loyalty, so taking away that option (in churches, not in the law) is like saying "Have legal documents, but don't presume to see your relationship as potentially deep as a heterosexual one." I feel like I'm explaining myself badly - does anyone get what I'm saying? ~ Lib
  7. I'm going to give a very "partisan" reply to this, and that is to suggest that you emulate the Quaker tradition of testimonies. Quakers have no creeds, but do have commonly held testimonies like the Testimonies of Simplicity, Integrity, Community, Peace, Equality, etc. I too feel that without some structure your group will not be as beneficial as it could be, but you don't need to use the word "God" if you plan to have an interfaith group. Instead, I suggest sticking to spiritual principles instead of theological constructs. What about something like " We are a group that values love, honesty, community, and the Golden Rule"? Just a thought ~ Lib
  8. Jim R., Maybe we are all just a bunch of overanalyzers too, but I hate reality TV shows, both the new kind and the older "Judge Judy" or talk show type shows, too! For many reasons: 1) Schadenfreude - the taking of pleasure in other's misfortunes. These are not actors, they are actual people getting hurt. 2) Justifying superiority complexes - People constantly justify their enjoyment by saying "These people are shallow, and they act like idiots so why not enjoy it when they get hurt." But since when do shallow people's feelings not matter? I don't care that you think you are better than the tube-top-wearing girl that had her brother-in-law's child, people that act shallow are still people. 3) Justifying ourselves - a previous poster was totally right, people think "at least I'm not that bad." I'm sure they are addictive - shallow behavior usually is - which is why I've never let myself watch one. Can you tell I have strong opinions on this? ~ Lib
  9. I remember you BrotherRog! Welcome back :-) ~ Lib
  10. I completely agree with you mystictrek. That's why churches are encouraged to write their own version (smaller community) and also why no one is asked not to have any statement separate. Putting our faith into words is a spiritual discipline that each individual should do separately. I do it by writing a blog and writing on message boards such as these. The Eight Points, or your Seven Points, or CrossWalk America's Twelve Points, aren't meant for anyone to say "Here I Stand." The very diverse nature of a progressive Christian faith prohibits that. Instead, such statements are meant to say "Here is a community within which I exist. It connects me to a spiritual family larger than myself. Now let me tell you about me." ~ Lib
  11. Well, I can tell you that TCPC, at least, is not trying to make progressive Christianity become a phenomenon separate from the many alternatives to traditional Christianity out there. If you look at our affiliates, we have Catholic, Episcopalian, Congregationalist, Methodist, and Lutheran traditions, for example. No "Church of the Progressive". But groups uniting together to show the world they exist. Especially when sometimes their denomination does not accurately describe them. The purpose is not to start something new, but to show the mind-boggling breadth of alternatives that have been extremely well-hidden in recent decades. In my experience is that there are three main reasons for the progressive Christian movement: 1) Non-traditional Christians are lonely. Non-traditional Christianity is based more around the concept of community than beliefs that can be written down, yet we are ironically fragmented by geography and denominations, among other things. I've spent the last few years moderating progressive Christian dialogues on Beliefnet, Delphiforums, and elsewhere. Over and over we get the same response "Thank you, thank you. I thought no one else felt like I did. I left my church and now I felt so alone." Or "Thank you, thank you for being here. I started to become interested in religion but all I could find was fundamentalist churches, so I just read a couple of Spong books and didn't share my faith with anyone." Later on they'll often ask how they can find (or start) a group of like-minded Christians in their area. So how do you draw people together who are less interested in doctrine and more interested in the experience of living within a faith? All the different alternatives have been reaching out individually with little success. To truly let people know we are here if they want to join us, we have to speak louder than "calling all Low Church Episcopalians" or "calling all social justice oriented Catholics." A lot of people who may be hungering for a non-traditional community don't even know they exist, let alone how to go about finding others like them. Uniting by saying "We are, besides being Christians and Lutheran and ____ and ____, also progressive Christians" provides people who are totally bemused a way to distinguish non-traditional approaches. Now, we could just call ourselves non-traditional. But then an at least vague explanation of that term would be needed too. 2) So many people are not aware Christianity outside traditional Christianity exists. In all my activities I also get a lot of "Wow, I never knew you guys existed. I always thought fundamentalism was not close to Jesus and wondered why there weren't any different kinds of Christians." We have had atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians say thanks for showing them not all Christians were like the ones in the headlines, and that they have been educated about the choices. How many people on the street know about the witness and examples of Bonhoeffer or Thomas Merton or George Fox? How many know about the historic openmindedness of Congregationalists or the contemplative services of Quakers or the wonderful insights of Higher Criticism or the metaphorical power of the liturgy? Most people don't already know about all the alternatives to traditional Christianity. You do, but most don't. And what do our members do? They point them towards TCPC, sure. But they also point them towards their denominations. They point them towards resources on contemplative prayer, lectio divino (sp?), and taize. They point them towards spiritual works by people in all branches of Christianity, very few of which labeled themselves "progressive Christians" because a lot of them are dead and gone. 3) Numbers lend air of legitimacy. Its unfortunate, but numbers make people give us a chance at explaining why we are, in fact, legitimate Christians. It shouldn't, truth should exist apart from numbers, but it does. And I and many others I know have been told to our faces that we aren't Real Christians - and not by fundamentalists. By secular people. Our ability to be open and genuine about our faith is hampered by the fact that the public is convinced there is only one way to be Christian, and that is authoritarian. This way, I can point to one of the progressive Christian organizations and say "Look, the love-based community-based understanding of Christianity (instead of the authoritarian-based way) is bigger than me and even bigger than all Quakers. There are millions of us. We are Christians and we need to be taken seriously as having valuable spiritual inputs into the national dialogue. Don't tell us to speak only from secular positions because we are not "allowed" to speak from a spiritual position. We do and we can and we should and we will." ~ Lib
  12. Hmm. I think everyone is trying to take the Eight Points far more seriously than we intend them to be. There needed to be some kind of explanation (not definition but explanation: big difference) of progressive Christianity so people could understand what we're talking about. Are we un-fundamentalists? Are we fundamentalist Democrats? No. But these are common misconceptions if you just give the phrase "progressive Christianity" to people and then say "Um....well...we can't really put our faith into words so we're not gonna try." Its not mean to be an exhaustive list, or even a definitive list. That is why TCPC: 1) Plans to revise the 8 Points every few years, to keep it from becoming a stagnant creed to anyone. It already has 1996 and 2003 versions. If anyone thinks they have a thoughtful comment for the board to consider in their next revision, PLEASE post it under the appropriate point here: https://www.tcpc.org/about/the_8_points_1.html 2) As part of the affiliation process, churches are asked to study the Eight Points and then write their OWN version of them that describes who they are as a unique community. Church versions have had more than 8 points, less than 8 points, and radically different language. Its not supposed to be an exhaustive definition or even a definition. But you have to have something written down to explain to people who you are. To give an analogy, its like the Faith & Practice books for Quaker Yearly Meetings (I'm Quaker). We are a noncreedal church. You don't have to recite any statement of faith to belong to us. But we have to explain who we are so that newbies get a sense, a feeling, of what kind of community they're coming into. We just understand from the very beginning that truth is only imperfectly captured in words. The Faith & Practice book doesn't define us, but it does attempt to explain us. But if you don't even have a loose explanation (again, not definition) of progressive Christianity so people get a feeling about who you are...what's the point of trying to become a larger community instead of lonely fractured people and churches at all? :-) Oh yeah, and I love the Eight Point being about social justice. It has the last word. I do wish the 2nd point will be revised in its explanation of pluralism, and it probably will be and maybe in the direction I want. But PLEASE leave comments on the webpage!!! You can see that the early comments were taken into consideration when making the 2003 verson. ~ Lib
  13. I guess I'm harder on liberals when it comes to free speech, because I feel like we ought to know better. I know exactly what you mean FredP! I feel exactly the same way - about most subject, not only free speech. ~ Lib
  14. >Its sad that people feel they have to choose between the narrow fundimentalist interpretation and rejecting Christ altogether. I totally agree mzmolly. In their zeal to get people into heaven, they have often driven people away from Christ as effectively as if they had intended to. For instance, take the C.S. Lewis quote which is used so often: "Jesus had to be God, a liar, or a madman. Those are the only choices." For people that cannot at that point in time accept Jesus as God, or ever accept Jesus as the literal biological son of God or part of the Trinity etc. etc. they say "Ok. I think he was a liar." And that's it. They gave people the choice of "Agree with me or ignore Christ" and lo and behold, some people take them at their word. ~ Lib
  15. >lindalou: My favorite quote from Spong was "my heart cannot worship what my mind does not understand". >Gerard: But is Spong right? That's a good question Gerard! My opinion is that Spong is indeed wrong about this. Even in the revised quotes that lindalou gave. Here would be my revision of the statement: "My heart cannot worship what my conscience cannot accept." ~ LibChristian There are a lot of things I don't understand about God and Jesus and Christianity, and that's okay. But where I have to reject it, is when God is protrayed as cruel or unjust or bloodthirsty. I can worship what I am confused or frustrated or uncertain or even skeptical about. I cannot worship what I am sickened or revolted by. >fatherman: Sometimes its ok to be in a community that loves you more than they agree with you...beliefs change, but love does not. Amen! I'd take a community that loves me over a community that agrees with me anyday. As long as it was real love, and not "I love you so much I'm preaching that you are Satan's minion for your own good" love of course ;-) ~ Lib
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