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DaveS

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DaveS last won the day on August 27 2013

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  1. I am a Friend of Jesus. "I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father" (John 15:14). 1. A Friend of Jesus affirms that the central and sole essential teaching of Jesus is the Law of Love – Love of God and Love of neighbor. The Holy Spirit helps us live out the Way of the Cross - to die to our Old Selves (egos) to be born again as a new creation through Christ. (Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28, John 13:34). 2. Having the "correct beliefs" is not necessary for "salvation". We experience and bring heaven into our lives when we follow the Law of Love and can create hellish conditions in our lives when we elevate love of self and love of power over compassion for others. Therefore, "salvation" is the product of developing a genuine love for other people and for God. We temporarily reject salvation if we choose not to love others like God loves us. Jesus clearly taught that it is our actions which are important and not what one claims to believe. Jesus taught us how to live, not what to believe. He did not exclude people because of their beliefs. (Matthew chaps. 5-7, Luke 6:17-49, Matthew 25:35-40, Luke 10:25-37). 3. A Friend of Jesus affirms the primacy of the current guidance of the Holy Spirit as the most important spiritual guide to our lives, rather than limiting it to the Bible. The Word of God is Jesus and not the Bible itself. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The Bible contains the history of the development of the church and its traditions and developed creeds as well as the cultural context from which they evolved filtered through the bias and opinions of the human authors. Therefore, Friends of Jesus read the Bible as a historical human response to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the past and as a secondary source of guidance. Even in the Bible, Jesus told us to rely on the inspiration of the Spirit rather than books written and compiled by fallible human beings. "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). 4. A Friend of Jesus affirms that every person is loved and continue to be guided by God through the Inward Light or Holy Spirit which we can learn to hear and allow it to guide us both in our daily lives. Contemplative practices such as Christian meditation, lectio divina, centering prayer, the rosary, etc. as well as the sacraments and sacramentals can help open us to the Spirit. We can know the guidance is true if it does not conflict with the Law of Love. If we are sincerely open to the Divine Will, we will be guided by a Wisdom that is more compelling than our own more superficial thoughts and feelings. This can mean that we will find ourselves led in directions or receiving understandings that we may not have chosen just from personal preference. 5. As a Friend of Jesus, I define myself as a seeker. It is readily apparent that there is wisdom in all the world’s living faiths and salvation through the Way of Love is not limited to those in the Christian tradition. All religions have goodness in them and are guided by the same Spirit, even if they have another label for it. Salvation is available for people of all religions and spiritual paths who develop love for others rather than only oneself. (John 10:16) 6. As God is Love itself and as a Friend of Jesus, I do not believe in the doctrine of eternal damnation as God will continue to seek to ultimately reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20). In His love, I believe that God will continue to love those who die without salvation and seek to bring them to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). 7. There are three steps to become a Friend of Jesus: First, to seriously confront his teaching. We are called to love God and love our neighbor. Second, to decide that Jesus was right-- this love of God and neighbor is the most important thing. Then, third, we have to decide that we will try to live that way -- with Jesus as our focus, our compass. This is what makes one a Friend of Jesus -- the decision to follow him, to make him function as the Christ in our lives. Then we should acknowledge and declare this decision to follow Jesus.
  2. The essential spiritual teachings of such luminaries as Jesus, the Buddha, Krishna, etc. have the same transformational core couched into language and terms that were appropriate for their time and culture. We can enter the gate of true spirituality through any one of these teachers. The essence of the Good News of the Gospel as taught by Jesus is very simple and can be understood by even a child. The purpose of life is to have good and fulfilling relationships with other people and the larger community of life. Real "salvation" is found in the practice of certain principles Jesus taught that still apply today, such as the Great Commandment, the Sermon on the Mount, and his parables. We need to focus on what Jesus said in the Gospels rather than the theological musings of early Church leaders who never met Jesus personally, such as Paul. Jesus told us that the kingdom of God is found within us. That means we don't have to die to go to heaven. We create heaven on earth by living out the teachings of Jesus. The core of his teaching is following the radical grace of his Great Commandment - "Love God and Love one another" rather than Pharisee-style legalism or having the "correct beliefs" (please refer to the Good Samaritan parable which discusses this principle). Jesus saved us, not through his death, but by showing us how to live our lives. His entire life on earth was about overcoming evils and temptations, and his death was the conclusion of that struggle. Just as we are faced with evils and temptations in our lives, Jesus struggled against those same temptations as a human. In overcoming them, He taught us the way to live. It is only by so doing that we can be truly happy. Salvation is the product of developing a genuine love for other people and for God. We reject salvation if we choose not to love others like God loves us. Salvation is not dependent on the doctrinal specifics of the religion you have followed on earth. The choices that we make on a daily basis are what determine whether we end up in heaven or hell. In one of the most defining moments of his ministry, Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest. Matthew 22:36-39 “[Jesus], which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” In the Gospel of John, he reclarified the Great Commandment. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). Or as I like to put it - Love God through loving service to others. This teaching of the Great Commandment of Jesus fulfills the intent of the Golden Rule and surpasses it with the higher intent of love. By following the Great Commandment, we can order our Ruling Loves in a Heavenly manner - Love of God, Love of Others before Love of the World (Power, Money, Prestige, etc.) and Love of Self. Obviously Hellish Ruling Loves would be in an inverse order. Heaven and hell are often states of consciousness that we choose by what we love. God does not judge us. We judge ourselves by what we love and how we live. Salvation is granted to all people who love God and try to live a good life according to what they believe is right. We play an active role in our salvation every day of our lives. When we look to the Divine and live according to what we believe is right, we move closer towards heaven. If we shun good, we move closer to hell. Thus, salvation and freedom of choice are inseparable from each other. We need to get that change of heart so that we can connect and value something larger than simply our own egos so we can be "saved" from our self-centered hell of our own making when we elevate our Love of Self over Compassion towards Others. We can order our Ruling Loves in a Heavenly manner - Love of God (the interdependent web of all existence), Love of Others before Love of the World (Power, Money, Prestige, etc.) and Love of Self. Obviously Hellish Ruling Loves would be in an inverse order. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness that we choose by what we love. The essence of true spirituality, as opposed to the authoritarian dogmatic claims of organized religions, is demonstrating our reverence of through our love and compassion for others, both personally and collectively. The power of that selfless love is our salvation, and it is available to all people, everywhere. Through heeding the promptings of the still, small Voice Within, we can gradually change our hearts to help bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth. God is Love and nothing but what is good can come from Him. By following the core teachings of Jesus, we can become the children of God by becoming that radical love. As we live, we choose what kind of love we will be. We may choose to be egocentric and regard ourselves as the only reality where our own needs, desires, and feelings are all important. Or we may choose to focus on others. In the former instance, we shrink in spirit, allowing a part of our potential as loving beings to atrophy. In the latter instance, we grow spiritually, heightening our awareness of the nature of love and thus also of the nature of ourselves and God. God gives everyone the freedom to choose their beliefs and live their lives accordingly. Salvation is available for people of all religions. All religions have goodness in them. There are many paths to heaven. The requirements for salvation are simple: live well, believe rightly, and you will be saved. Truth is love in action. Actions performed out of love are genuine expressions in a physical form of what love means. All people who live good lives, no matter what their religion, have a place in heaven and the Kingdom of God here on earth. Loving service to others is the way love works. True happiness is not possible unless it is in accordance with being of use to others. The spiritual life involves the active development of a useful and meaningful life in service to the betterment of the world as a whole. Whereas the religious life often connotes withdrawal from the world and life, active participation in the world is a commitment to actualizing faith and charity. The life of charity and faith parallel the union of love and truth which is the essence of God. As we increase compassion, integrity, understanding, and healing in our lives, we are helping God create a "new Heaven and a new Earth." It is the responsibility of all people to develop their own beliefs and live their lives accordingly. The result is a whole greater than the sum of its parts, a Zionic Way of Life where one developmentally evolves from a completely egocentric or self-centered view of life to a more unselfish and community-focused view of life. If there is an afterlife, it is likely that we continues to live in a heavenly life or a hellish one, based on the quality of life choices made here. Heaven and hell are not rewards or punishments distributed on judgment day but the present inner experience we freely choose. We may choose to enjoy peace and openness, or to close ourselves in fear. We can discover the highest joy of a loving life by giving to others, or the loneliness of self-centeredness. We may choose to enjoy peace and openness, or to close ourselves in fear. Life is an opportunity for learning and spiritual growth. As we choose between giving and taking, loving and hating, right and wrong, we participate in the creation of our own spiritual character. To become an angel, reject self-centered longings, do what is good, and love God. Heaven is for everyone who wants to live there. The only reason someone would go to hell is because they have chosen to go there of their own volition. Those who choose hell are people who put themselves above all else, repeatedly indulging in things which are hurtful to others. The only reason hell exists is to preserve the freedom of choice which God grants to all His people. The Gospel is a powerful vehicle for inner and societal transformation. Inner transformation results from connecting to something larger than the ego. By settling down and heeding the promptings of the Spirit, we can connect to God as that interconnectedness or ground of being underlying all things, especially living beings, in the Universe. This divine connection through Christ then transforms how we behave when we are mindful of this interconnectedness by helping us to see Christ in others and prompting us to live out the values within the Sermon on the Mount. Our changed behaviors cause different responses from others which can lead to communal and societal transformation through the power of the Gospel. When we view this interdependence as love then we tend to get the same back from it. From this foundation, we should try as much as possible to extend loving-kindness to all other living beings which is the primary point of the Great Commandment of Jesus.
  3. DaveS

    Friends Of Jesus

    1. OKay - I can see your point about the 10 Commandments so I may do a creative edit. 2. While you may find salvation to be a loaded term, one of my goals is to communicate with some of the more moderate believers and even questioning former conservative believers so I do not want to toss all language of relevance to them (instead I'll redefine the terms gently). 3. I agree with #3 completely but do not feel that a short 7 point intro is the place to discuss how scriptural canons were developed by human committees with political concerns and intrigues behind them. The Bible is important only because it lets us know how SOME people in the past interpreted their interactions with the Holy Spirit and Jesus. It also gives us the basics of the Jesus mythos. 5. I'm fairly familiar with Islam and other world religions - but also, in general, you will find the Golden Rule to be a common thread. Focus on that. If you focus on what divides us, it becomes much harder to follow the Law of Love (conflict never leads to love). 7. I don't get your point here. My Point 3 pretty much says the Bible is a human creation (which means it should not be taken literally). If you are heeding the Spirit, then NOTHING should be taken "literally". ;-)
  4. DaveS

    Friends Of Jesus

    OK - based upon some of the feedback, I reedited this little essay to make it even clearer. This is my own personal theology that I have written out for myself. I just thought I would share for any constructive feedback or to see if it speaks to anyone else. I am a Friend of Jesus. "I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father" (John 15:14). 1. A Friend of Jesus affirms that the central and sole essential teaching of Jesus is the Law of Love – Love of God and Love of neighbor. The Holy Spirit helps us live out the Way of the Cross - to die to our Old Selves (egos) to be born again as a new creation through Christ. God’s Law of Love is the ultimate fulfillment of Biblical law, including the Ten Commandments, as the Law of Love fulfills the intent of such lesser laws. (Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28, John 13:34). 2. Salvation cannot be earned but is a free gift through the Law of Love. God saves you because He loves you. Salvation is the product of developing a genuine love for other people and for God. We temporarily reject salvation if we choose not to love others like God loves us. Jesus clearly taught that it is our actions which are important and not what one claims to believe. Jesus taught us how to live, not what to believe. He did not exclude people because of their beliefs. (Matthew chaps. 5-7, Luke 6:17-49, Matthew 25:35-40, Luke 10:25-37). 3. A Friend of Jesus affirms the primacy of the current guidance of the Holy Spirit as the most important spiritual guide to our lives, rather than limiting it to the Bible. The Word of God is Jesus and not the Bible itself. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The Bible contains the history of the development of the church and its traditions and developed creeds as well as the cultural context from which they evolved filtered through the bias and opinions of the human authors. Therefore, Friends of Jesus read the Bible as a historical human response to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the past and as a secondary source of guidance. Even in the Bible, Jesus told us to rely on the inspiration of the Spirit rather than books written and compiled by fallible human beings. "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). 4. A Friend of Jesus affirms that every person is loved and continue to be guided by God through the Inward Light or Holy Spirit which we can learn to hear and allow it to guide us both in our daily lives. We can know the guidance is true if it does not conflict with the Law of Love. If we are sincerely open to the Divine Will, we will be guided by a Wisdom that is more compelling than our own more superficial thoughts and feelings. This can mean that we will find ourselves led in directions or receiving understandings that we may not have chosen just from personal preference. 5. As a Friend of Jesus, I define myself as a seeker. It is readily apparent that there is wisdom in all the world’s living faiths and salvation through the Way of Love is not limited to those in the Christian tradition. All religions have goodness in them and are guided by the same Spirit, even if they have another label for it. Salvation is available for people of all religions who develop love for others rather than only oneself. A Friend of Jesus should find meaning and value in the teachings of many faiths and should also be a friend of Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, and other holy teachers. 6. As God is Love itself and as a Friend of Jesus, I do not believe in the doctrine of eternal damnation as God will continue to seek to ultimately reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20). In His love, I believe that God will continue to love those who die without salvation and seek to bring them to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). 7. There are three steps to become a Friend of Jesus: First, to seriously confront his teaching. We are called to love God and love our neighbor. Second, to decide that Jesus was right-- this love of God and neighbor is the most important thing. Then, third, we have to decide that we will try to live that way -- with Jesus as our focus, our compass. This is what makes one a Friend of Jesus -- the decision to follow him, to make him function as the Christ in our lives. Then we should acknowledge and declare this decision to follow Jesus.
  5. DaveS

    Friends Of Jesus

    Sorry, I've been away from the board for a couple of months. To your question about divorce from an abusive husband, my answer is - OF COURSE! The Bible is a human creation for one and may not accurately reflect what Jesus taught. Also, if something taught even by Jesus is not consistent with the Law of Love, then it must be rejected. Friends of Jesus affirm that the central and sole essential teaching of Jesus is the Law of Love – Love of God and Love of neighbor.
  6. This is a personal theology that I have written out for myself as a progressive Christian Quaker universalist (and isn't that a mouthful?). I just thought I would share for any constructive feedback or to see if it speaks to anyone else. We are the Friends of Jesus. "I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father" (John 15:14). 1. Friends of Jesus affirm that the central and sole essential teaching of Jesus is the Law of Love – Love of God and Love of neighbor. The Holy Spirit helps us live out the Way of the Cross - to die to our Old Selves (egos) to be born again as a new creation through Christ. God’s Law of Love is the ultimate fulfillment of Biblical law, including the Ten Commandments, as the Law of Love fulfills the intent of such lesser laws. (Matthew 22:35-40, Mark 12:28-34, Luke 10:25-28, John 13:34 ). 2. Salvation cannot be earned but is a free gift through the Law of Love. God saves you because He loves you. Salvation is the product of developing a genuine love for other people and for God. We temporarily reject salvation if we choose not to love others like God loves us. Jesus clearly taught that it is our actions which are important and not what one claims to believe. Jesus taught us how to live, not what to believe. He did not exclude people because of their beliefs. (Matthew chaps. 5-7, Luke 6:17-49, Matthew 25:35-40, Luke 10:25-37). 3. Friends of Jesus affirm that every person is loved and guided by God through the Inward Light or Holy Spirit which we can learn to hear and allow it to guide us both in our daily lives."When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come” (John 16:13). Friends of Jesus gather to wait expectantly in the silence to come into the presence of the Divine and to be guided by the still, small voice by which God speaks to us from within. During the silence anyone—child, woman, or man—may feel moved to offer a simple spoken message (vocal ministry) that is inspired by this holy encounter. If we are sincerely open to the Divine Will, we will be guided by a Wisdom that is more compelling than our own more superficial thoughts and feelings. This can mean that we will find ourselves led in directions or receiving understandings that we may not have chosen just from personal preference. 4. Friends of Jesus define ourselves as a community of seekers. There is wisdom in all the world’s living faiths and salvation through the Way of Love is not limited to those in the Christian tradition. All religions have goodness in them and are guided by the same Inner Light, even if they have another label for it. Salvation is available for people of all religions who develop love for others rather than only oneself. Many Friends of Jesus find meaning and value in the teachings of many faiths and are thus also friends of Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, and other holy teachers. Our meetings are open, welcoming, and inclusive of all in the spirit of love in order that we may share our truths with each other through the guidance of the Inner Light. 5. Friends of Jesus take the Bible seriously but not literally. The Word of God is Jesus and not the Bible itself. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Therefore, Friends of Jesus affirm the primacy of the Holy Spirit and the words of Jesus (the "Red Letters") as found in the New Testament as our sole authority rather than the teachings of the Old Testament or the writings of Paul. The rest of the Bible contains the history of the development of the church and its traditions and developed creeds as well as the cultural context from which they evolved filtered through the bias and opinions of the human authors. 6. As God is Love itself, Friends of Jesus do not believe in the doctrine of eternal damnation as God will continue to seek to ultimately reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:20). In His love, we believe that God will continue to love those who die without salvation and seek to bring them to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). 7. There are three steps to become a Friend of Jesus: First, to seriously confront his teaching. We are called to love God and love our neighbor. Second, to decide that Jesus was right-- this love of God and neighbor is the most important thing. Then, third, we have to decide that we will try to live that way -- with Jesus as our focus, our compass. This is what makes us Friends of Jesus -- the decision to follow him, to make him function as the Christ in our lives. Then we should acknowledge and declare this decision to follow Jesus.
  7. DaveS

    Christian Atheist Perspective

    I'm very open to nontheistic interpretations and applications of Jesuism, otherwise known as Christian atheism. (I often use the term "God" in more metaphorical sense to represent the interdependent web of all existence or ground of being, rather than a anthropomorphized supernatural creator entity anyways.) Jesuism (Jesusism or Jesuanism) is the personal philosophy encompassing the moral teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and commitment or adherence to those teachings. Jesuism is distinct from and sometimes opposed to mainstream Christianity. In particular, the term is often contrasted with the theology attributed to Paul of Tarsus and modern Church doctrine. Jesuism is not necessarily opposed to the Christian Bible or Church doctrine, but rather it does not affirm their authority over the teachings of Jesus. As a philosophy, Owen Flanagan characterized "Jesusism" as naturalistic and rationalist, rejecting the conflict between faith and science. Though not specifically associated with Jesuism, the red letter Bibles are one method of studying the teachings of Jesus. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesusism http://en.wikipedia....ristian_atheism For myself, I believe in living in such a way as to honor both those who have come before me (my ancestors and my heritage) and those who will come after me (my descendants). I believe that all things in the Universe (Nature) are interconnected and that we create unnecessary suffering when we forget about the profound interrelatedness of all things. I believe that how we treat each other, other living beings, and our environment should be based upon this understanding. I believe the ethic of reciprocity, commonly known as the Golden Rule, is a good, general ethical guideline for daily living. I think it is important that we consider the needs of others, especially the less fortunate, before our own wants and desires. I seek out supports which help me to maintain this perspective. I do not think any of this requires one to be "religious".
  8. What is the Essence of the Way of Jesus? The essence of the Good News of the Gospel as taught by Jesus is very simple and can be understood by even a child. (Note - I really don't worry too much about the historical nature of Jesus just like I do not worry if Krishna was not a historical person - for me, the primary question is: "Are his teachings transformational?"). My focus is on following Jesus as Lord which means following the radical grace of his Great Commandment - "Love God and Love one another" rather than Pharisee-style legalism. In one of the most defining moments of his ministry, Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest. Matthew 22:36-39 “[Jesus], which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, ’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” In the Gospel of John, he reclarified the Great Commandment. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). Or as I like to put it - Love God through loving others in the same spirit as God's love for you. I believe this teaching of the Great Commandment of Jesus fulfills the intent of the Golden Rule and surpasses it with the higher intent of love. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12, King James Version. "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version. A central tenet to my personal theology is the Rule of Love, which stated simply claims that if a person's actions are motivated by unselfish, sacrificial love and are not intentionally hurtful to others, such actions are in accordance with the teachings of Jesus and are, thus, lawful in the eyes of God. I reject any so-called doctrines which contradict the Great Commandment of Jesus and the Rule of Love which is how we apply it. Therefore, I hold that we should reject any teachings or interpretations which would contradict the intent or inhibit the practice of the Great Commandment or imply that God would contradict the Great Commandment. By following the Great Commandment, I hope to order my Ruling Loves in a Heavenly manner - Love of God, Love of Others before Love of the World (Power, Money, Prestige, etc.) and Love of Self. Obviously Hellish Ruling Loves would be in an inverse order. To me, heaven and hell are often states of consciousness that we choose by what we love. I find that daily mindfulness of God through devotional practices of chanting or singing to the Lord (I tend to use a shortened version of the Jesus Prayer - "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."), drumming, meditation, and prayer helps me to better follow the Great Commandment of Jesus ("Love God and Love one another") in my daily life by always remembering Him. And this helps me to become a better person. Below is the link for the Facebook Page that I administer for the Society for Jesus Realization which is nonsectarian and supports the progressive and inclusive practice of Christian mystical and devotional practices for anyone who may be interested: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Society-for-Jesus-Realization/164307366969275
  9. What is the Essence of the Way of Jesus? deleted... this is a duplicate post of the one found here. and should not be placed in multiple areas JM as moderator 6-25-2011
  10. DaveS

    Christianity And Buddhism

    I think that both the teachings of Gautama Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha (the Enlightened One), as well as the original teachings of Jesus, the Christ (Anointed One), focused on compassion and overcoming egocentrism and parallel each other quite well. Their teachings became overlaid with the cultural and historical manipulations of sociopolitical institutions in their respective cultures to evolve into the organized "religions" that we see today. I always saw Jesus as a mystic much like Gautama. It certainly explains the 40 Days in the Wilderness as well as some of his nondualistic statements.
  11. DaveS

    The World Is A Neighborhood

    Hmmm --- it seems that we are moving in similar directions although you are probably a little more "formal" in your approach. Basically I live in an area with only one progressive spiritual resource - a UCC church which is open to progressive theology but has a very traditional style of worship and music and a small, mostly older congrehation. They do offer Sunday School for the children and offer 2 weeks of a "VBS" style program in the summer (August). Let me quote from my other post on what I am trying to work on in my area. I'm thinking of a lay-led family ministry midweek evening group maybe once per month starting in the fall. My preference would be for it to meet at a home. The purpose would not to be "overtly religious" or "churchy" or a "bible study" or "book discussion" group. Instead, it would uphold progressive Christian values through fun activities involving both parents and kids like family games, outings, barbeques, picnics, movie nights, service projects, arts and crafts, etc. maybe with some really informal sharing of values or stories to the kids. For the adults, I think that we get more of progressive Christian values through discussion, connecting with others, and living out those values rather than sermons or lectures anyways. Dave
  12. DaveS

    I'm Just As Good Without Church

    I thought this discussion may be a good place to bring this up. The problem I see for the "spiritual but not religious" crowd is that typically the most progressive churches have the most traditional forms of worship and music - and often lack activities for kids and families as the congregation is often older. Quite frankly, many of us under 60 do not find these traditional forms of worship and music to be interesting, compelling, or attractive (certainly my wife does not). So I thought I would share my ideas to get feedback on a family group (us younger folks under 60 with kids at home) to supplement what we get from the local UCC congregation on Sundays, and may be something also attractive to those who are not into "church services" or being "religious". The local UCC church is progressive but the congregation is primarily older and they are stuck in very traditional worship service patterns (and not likely to change given the board composition). At the same time they are the only progressive resource in the area so I would not want to "compete" with them. The point would be to try to meet needs that are not being met from just the Sunday services and Sunday school (they do not have resources for kids and families during the week). I'm thinking of a lay-led family ministry midweek evening group maybe once per month starting in the fall. My preference would be for it to meet at a home. The purpose would not to be "overtly religious" or "churchy" or a "bible study" or "book discussion" group. Instead, it would uphold progressive Christian values through fun activities involving both parents and kids like family games, outings, barbeques, picnics, movie nights, service projects, etc. maybe with some really informal sharing of values or stories to the kids. For the adults, I think that we get more of progressive Christian values through discussion, connecting with others, and living out those values rather than sermons or lectures anyways. Obviously we would need to come up with a catchier title. I'd like to get the word around to other younger family folks at the church and in the community to see if there is interest. Outreach ideas would be welcome.
  13. I thought I would share my ideas to get feedback on a family group (us younger folks under 60 with kids at home) to supplement what we get from the local UCC congregation on Sundays, and may be something also attractive to those who are not into "church services" or being "religious". The local UCC church is progressive but the congregation is primarily older and they are stuck in very traditional worship service patterns (and not likely to change given the board composition). At the same time they are the only progressive resource in the area so I would not want to "compete" with them. The point would be to try to meet needs that are not being met from just the Sunday services and Sunday school (they do not have resources for kids and families during the week). I'm thinking of a lay-led family ministry midweek evening group maybe once per month starting in the fall. My preference would be for it to meet at a home. The purpose would not to be "overtly religious" or "churchy" or a "bible study" or "book discussion" group. Instead, it would uphold progressive Christian values through fun activities involving both parents and kids like family games, outings, barbeques, picnics, movie nights, service projects, etc. maybe with some really informal sharing of values or stories to the kids. For the adults, I think that we get more of progressive Christian values through discussion, connecting with others, and living out those values rather than sermons or lectures anyways. Obviously we would need to come up with a catchier title. I'd like to get the word around to other younger family folks at the church and in the community to see if there is interest. Outreach ideas would be welcome. Suggestions, feedback, and all that is welcome.
  14. Oh, I quite agree. I'm hoping that this is the approach (focusing on what Jesus is recorded saying in the four Synoptic Gospels) that they are using with the development of the TCPC children's curriculum. You are quite right that to discuss the Golden Rule and Great Commandment (implemented through the Rule of Love), one must clarify as to whom is our "neighbor" (Good Samaritan parable) - and a life lived in this way would look like the Sermon on the Mount. (Wouldn't this be what is really meant by following Jesus as "Lord"?) ;-) This is the same approach that I think that TCPC and progressive churches should take when presenting progressive Christianity to others (often the articles seem a little like "preaching to the converted".) My perspective anyways. Dave
  15. Ah, yes, you mean the parable of the Good Samaritan? We do seem to ignore what Jesus actually taught versus the contradictory messages taught by institutional Christianity - such as the doctrine of eternal damnation vs Jesus' parables about the Prodigal Son, the Lost Sheep, and the Lost Coin (plus referring to God as "Abba" and his definition of how many times we should forgive - which would hold people to a higher standard than God if one upheld the doctrine of eternal damnation). For me, all of these things interrelate.
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