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About Timeflows

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  • Birthday 10/02/1968

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  1. Hello everyone, No pork or pizza here, as we are vegetarian. (It will be spaghetti with a vegetable sauce.) We have just installed rainwater tanks to lighten our global footprint and to help keep the vegetables alive during the water restrictions that inevitably come with an Australian summer. Winter here now, though and I have stood on a ladder in the rain today, watching those first precious drops pour into my tanks. I got wet and saw nothing much at all, but it was still a proud and symbolic moment. I want my kids to know that small steps for the planet are important and that I am not afraid to look silly!
  2. Welcome Dannan! Your music is very serene and the visuals very beautiful. Look forward to hearing from you on the board. There are many of us newbies here right now, so you will feel right at home.
  3. I come from a tradition where child baptism is the norm and adult baptism a rare, but exciting event. I have had four children over a period of 15 years, and an evolving faith. With child number one, I was reading Spong for the first time and had serious hesitations about proceeding. I was questioning not only the ceremony/process/implications, but everything that I believed in. I eventually bowed to pressure from parents on both sides and the child was baptised at around 18 months. It was not a very spiritual occasion, with parents bickering, and the minister having informed me that my best friend(who was in a lesbian relationship) was almost certainly going to hell. Child number two was born seriously ill, and I found myself, once again, under pressure to have her baptised(this time by chaplains, social workers and nurses) since her death was a real possibility. This time I was resolute that I would not be pushed and that no matter what, I had no fears of her dying outside of the family of god. A baptism, in this instance, amongst strangers, in a far away city and for reasons of fear, would have meant absolutely zero to me. Thankfully, she pulled through and became a loved member of the church community, but I felt no need for further action. When child number three was born, my faith was becoming more mature and comfortable and I was part of a church, that despite a traditional theology, had a great inclusive, social justice agenda and I felt that I was ready to have my children baptised into my church family. It was a vote of confidence in the community, and a sign that I was reconciled with my own beliefs, and a symbol of how I wanted to raise my children. It was a wonderful day and my husband and I(and many others) wept with joy. The elder of the two children being baptised, had one of the most wonderful days of her life. This time I felt that my own (unremembered) baptism was renewed. When my fourth child was born, I was an openly practicing Progressive Christian. I invited no guests. We had no cake or celebratory meal(other than the communion) and it was personal, and meaningful, and special. I feel with their baptism, I have given them membership of an active faith community. They have sat at my feet as I dispensed food to the hungry and played on the mat whilst I counselled people about their finances. They have sat through countless bible studies and church occasions and their baptism, to me, purely signifies membership of this particular community. Having said that, when I was lost, and I was truly lost, it was my baptism that called me back, even though I cannot recall it. When I needed something else in my life, I remembered that I was baptised a Christian and that was a point of return. I resurfaced in a Christian community far from my own. If my children, at some point, take up their faith, it will be because they have made that choice (and because of their upbringing) and not necessarily because of that water that was lovingly poured on their heads. The ritual has no magic in itself, from my point of view, but it was an important thing for us.
  4. I am very much in agreement with what has been said, about non-traditional forms of prayer, but what about the issue Joseph raised, of God still in some sense steering our lives? This is the bit that I struggle with most. If God has time to "steer" events in my life, why he is not steering nations and leaders? If I accept that God is not steering at all, then does this "centre-ing prayer" become just inner talk as Jake suggested? (Bio- feedback.) And does it matter, if it helps us to work towards the goals of inclusiveness and social justice that Jesus brings into focus?
  5. Hi Jake, I agree with you. The issue of prayer is complex. Without it, there are parts of my life, that I would have struggled to get through. And I agree that the traditional stuff remains a comfort some times, despite problems that I may have with its theology. Hearing people sing "Oh Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world" should offend me theologically, but it is calming and I still love it (and many other hymns of a similar time in history and way of thinking.) Just as religious singing from other traditions, that I know little about, can have an effect. The Lord's Prayer is unproblematic for me and something that I can pull out of my repertoire, as my only voice, when I am in a situation of absolute despair. I have chanted it over and over when I have had no strength to formulate anything else. Today, I pray very rarely in a traditional sense. The centreing prayer that you talk about is what I would do most often. Like 'Help me to be more tolerant in this situation. Help me to be patient. Help me to focus. Help me to calm down.Help me to think clearly and make the right decision.' I agree with the writer Anne Lamott on this "Help me.Help me" and "Thank you. Thank you." are powerful prayers. I still enjoy more traditional forms of prayer as a way of thinking of others, on a personal, but also global scale. I have no idea when I speak these things, who I address it to, but as long as it is helpful, for me at least, I will persist. For example, with a sick person, I cannot pray for their recovery, but I will pray that they know that they are cared for and thought of and that they may find peace. I struggle in a church situation, where people are wanting a structure of praise, thanksgiving, petitions etc and it all ending with "we ask this in Jesus name." I am really bad at that kind of prayer and I am glad to have learnt new ways to pray as I have gotten older. I have no answers, but I find they are less important as I go along.
  6. Janet has suggested that perhaps we should discuss the relevance of prayer for Progressive Christians. I am assuming the question is about when we have given up on the concept of a god who is constantly steering the events of our lives? Do other progressives still pray in any form? Or is prayer a dead ritual when individual requests are no longer on the agenda? Do the concepts of thanksgiving and praise still make it a worthwhile concept? And how do people deal with a request to lead prayer in public, when listeners may be expecting something quite different from what you are comfortable with? I have many questions about prayer, but this is a starting point. Talking about people's prayer life seems to be like asking someone what they earn...a very personal topic. This topic was moved unchanged from debate section to dialog for progressive Christians --- JosephM (Moderator)
  7. [quote name='jerryb' date='Jun 19 2009, 12:34 PM' post='1766 And lately I am "haunted" by this sobering question: What if the only God there is, is the God inside us? God help us if that is a fact.....reminds me of the old cliche..."If it is to be, it is up to me" Hi jerryb, I think prayer is the most challenging aspect for me as a progressive Christian. I know that many people, having reached this point on the journey, where they no longer believe in a God who intervenes, give it up completely. I was never raised to think of prayer as an opportunity to ask a kindly "dad" figure for help ( I was also raised to think parents had to pay for the gifts Santa Claus brought each December) but I have a very dear friend, who is travelling this path with me, who feels alone, now that she believes that she cannot call on God to step in and save her loved ones in times of danger/sickness/emotional distress. It saddens me to have pushed her a little further along the path, than perhaps she was ready for. She feels very alone. For me, prayer was always about giving thanks and asking for non-tangible stuff like tolerance and patience (although I know plenty of people who pray for parking spots and the like!) If there was a request to be made, it was more a corporate thing, food for the poor, comfort for the lonely. Having said that, I can honestly say that I pray less now and I do have questions about why I am doing it. Sometimes it is just a daily spiritual audit about what I did well and where I fell down, and a list of things that I am thankful for. Other times it is just quiet contemplation. I listen to my feet as my march my way through my daily walk and am thankful that I have a strong body to carry me about. I still really enjoy the prayers of people like Walter Brueggeman and if it turns out to be simply powerful poetry, that grabs me in my chest and makes me sigh, I am okay with that. I feel connected to a community of believers and prayer connects me to them, regardless of our differences. In terms of god being inside us and within everything, I really don't know. Am I praying to some collective goodness? I have no idea. I do know, that when I first realised that I no longer believed Jesus to be the biological son of God, that I had the thought "What am I doing in church then?" It was the knowledge that I still really respected the teachings of Jesus and that was still my life, that kept me hanging in there. With time, my understanding has changed and I still feel that I belong there. I feel the same about prayer. I am hanging in there, in the hope that wisdom hits me sometime soon. Until then, I am happy with "I don't know." BTW I don't believe in hell and when I bow my head and close my eyes, I am just shutting out the world. Yes, I am using gestures that meant other things to ther people, in other times, but that is what it means for me today.
  8. I found this question quite surprising because I have never known anyone to look up in prayer. I see it in religious images etc, but in the churches I have belonged to, everyone has always bowed their head downward when in prayer or reflection. To be honest, I never thought of prayer residing in a specific bodily location like heart or head. If I were to raise my head, it would be more about intensity of thought, than any sense of God being "up there." (But then maybe this is a Christian cultural remnant that I have unconsciously adopted, like beard stroking, which is something some people also do when in thought, even without beard!) Recently, I have been reading Barbara Brown Taylor's "An Altar in the World" and she talks of our physical bodies as being part of an ongoing prayer life. eg. prayer walking, but also hanging out laundry as being like hanging prayer flags. It is about every aspect of our lives becoming opportunities for thankfulness. This kind of prayer requires no set posture or practice at all. I think being progressive, means opening prayer up to all sorts of practices and there are some exhausted and emotional times when wordy prayer is just beyond my capabilities...
  9. I agree with October's Autumn. I would be terribly sad to see Revelation have to be jettisoned. To hear people like Borg and Crossan talk about it, makes one realise how important to our history it is. I also enjoy it for its imagery and language.
  10. Hi Suz C, I find that I have to take each opportunity on its merits. Sometimes, a person keen on debate, is genuinely fearful about their belief system falling away, and in that case I might persist, but only as far as I am happy to do so. There are many who enjoy the fight for its own sake and I am respectfully opting out of the conversation in that case. I also have to consider where I am feeling, personally, on any given day. On a day that I am tired and frustrated, I am not going to add much of value, so if a person really wants to persist, I am happy to have that conversation on another day. In cyber space, discerning people's motives is far tougher, as irony can come across as anger, or disrespect, and depths of feeling are almost impossible to make out. (The English language differs greatly across the globe too. I know, I have wounded friends uninentionally with my Aussie idioms.) I was never raised with evangelism on my radar; Australia is a very secular country, and intrusions into people's beliefs generally not welcomed, so talking about faith issues is something that I have only done fairly recently, with my more mature faith behind me. And yet...despite the reticient culture here, I find myself having those conversations. (And I am too busy to purposely seek them out!) This board is a good place for progressive Christians to talk safely and I know that I don't have all the answers anyway, ready to dispense to angry questioners. I try to remind myself that each journey is different and that I have been angry and alienated at various stages of mine. If you are not someone who wants to debate your faith that's okay. I am new here too, so I look forward to reading more from you. Regards Timeflows.
  11. Thanks for the welcome, Joseph and Adi Gibb. Good luck AG with your progressive book club. I have attempted Living the Questions twice, with an established bible study group, and both times the groups petered out, citing too much homework and too complex material. It was a great disappointment to me, because I was enjoying the study thoroughly. I have an email friend (in the US) and we read progressive books "together" and discuss them, but we also delve into ethics, atheism, Buddhism, politics...anything that might seize our interest. Discussing ideas with others prepared to think outside their own traditions is always exciting, which is why I am here...
  12. Hello everyone, I have been reading these boards for almost a year and never managed to attain posting privileges, until now. (So I feel like I know everyone!) There have been conversations that I have desperately wanted to take part in, and questions that I would love to have posed...oh how frustrating, but I am here now! (And very thankful.) I have been a Progressive Christian for around 20 years, although I had no idea that there was a name for it, until quite recently. I know no other progressives in my actual life, although I have one international email contact, who reminds me, when I need it, that my beliefs are not completely alien. I am a member of a church, in Australia, but find myself only an infrequent visitor these days, because I want my children to have more of a thinking faith, than what they encounter in their Sunday school. My church is passionate about social justice issues, but reluctant to take the accompanying theological leaps, that seem so obvious to me. I have great supportive friends there and have never been made to feel on the outer, despite holding views that differ greatly. So I guess I should count myself lucky. My husband comes from a non-religious family, but recent exposure to some progressive preaching (a wonderful brief interlude from a visiting minister) has made him finally able to see where I am coming from. I read voraciously,and widely, follow numerous blogs and will talk about my faith in any forum that presents itself. I find other belief systems give me wonderful insights into my own, which is always a work in progress. I am so glad to be finally able to be part of an online community where diverse beliefs are welcome. And...by the way, I have really enjoyed all the discussion over the time that I have been dropping by.
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