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Everything posted by Yvonne

  1. A few days ago I started a post called "Talking About Religion" in which I asked if any one talked about their religion or faith with others. I clearly mistated the question because the answers weren't quite what I expected. What I really wanted to know was if anyone had a spiritual director or was a spiritual director. Before anybody answers that, consider this quote from Spiritual Direction International: "Spiritual direction is the process of accompanying people on a spiritual journey. Spiritual direction exists in a context that emphasizes growing closer to God (or the sacred, the holy or a higher power)." This has nothing to do with religion per se - and it isn't about getting the "right answers". It has to do with someone helping another or a group yo grow in the awareness of God (or Source or Allah or Yahweh or The Force,,,) I consider my dear friend a spiritual director - he taught me to open my eyes to other possibilities. I consider some posters on this forum to be spiritual directors because they know about the philosophical and theological questions I have. I feel I need a variety of spiritual directors because they offer different points of view, different experiences, different wisdom. While I think it is good and right that we reach find our path and our answers, I think it is equally important to sort of "touch base" with others now and then. Otherwise, who's to say we haven't become rigid and close-minded on our own journey? That's why I wanted to know if anyone talks about their faith or beliefs (I wrongly throw out the word "religion"). Yes, this forum is important to me. But I always feel like I want more personal interraction - after all, we (humans) are social critters. So, on my own journey, I like to "stop and ask directions" now and again. Do you?
  2. For those of you living in more metropolitan areas, this won't seem like much of a big deal. For me, living in one of the most conservative Catholic areas outside of Rome, its huge. The media around here is reflects the attitude of the region, notice how short the article is. http://www.thonline.com/news/tri-state/article_a5aee89b-84be-59f1-92b0-a753635434b6.html My ex-husband is Muslim and we had many open and honest conversations about our beliefs. We discovered that once we stripped away what I like to call “the fluff”, we shared much more than we differed. It was quite surprising because both of us at the time were quite traditional in our religious attitudes. What made the dialogue work was that we were respectful of each others' beliefs. It just goes to show that interfaith gatherings of any size that encourage open dialogue can only enhance our own spirituality, as I'm sure most of you will agree. Since my own beliefs have evolved since then, I'm not quite so sure we would find quite as many similarities, but I know we could still enjoy the respectful exchange of ideas. Your thoughts?
  3. Yvonne

    The Divine Feminine

    I recently started reading a book on feminism and the bible, though the content is much broader than some of the “feminist bible study” I've encountered before. The author (whose name I can't recall) makes some excellent points about educating women in the historical role of women in ancient religions and about some of the feminine symbols that the patriarchy of the traditional church has overlooked, downplayed, twisted, or simply ignored. There have been, and I believe still are, goddess cults (not using cult in the modern derogatory meaning). The book talks about the Shekinah or Sophia as the Wisdom of God being feminine. I have, since my 20's, always accepted Wisdom (as in God's Wisdom) begin feminine. What are your thoughts on the Divine Feminine?
  4. Yvonne

    The Underground Church

    I'm wondering if anyone has read this incredibly courageous book by Robin Meyers. A reviewer, Depeek Chopra, actually dares us to read the book. I don't think there is anything "new", but the way Meyers presents his ideas is, well, radical. He actually calls on us to be a little insane and foolish. He challenges both conservatives and liberals to take a good hard look at the "why' of our faith. I'm only about half-way through, but the book is both refreshing (as in a new way to look at what we probably know), and challenging (as it it makes me a little uncomfortable.) Definitely NOT for the faint of heart (or faint of faith as the case may be.) I highly recommend it - if you dare.
  5. Yvonne

    Shut And Smile

    First of all Raven, your posts always make me chuckle a little - you have a way with words. Secondly, and I'm sorry if this appears to be off topic, but the turn-the-other-check with a smile attitude is great and commendable. However, for me, I think that this "shut and smile" and not letting something get to us is why liberals, especially religious liberals, get overlooked, outshouted, outvoted. If we don't stand up and SAY something, no matter how much we live like Christians ought to live, I think we're doing outselves a disservice. After all, Jesus didn't turn away with a smile on his face when the temple was turned into a market place with the priests taking advantage of the poor. No, the accounts tell us he drove the merchants out with a whip and overturned the money tables. Whether or not its factual, its true. Jesus was activity calling the conservatives out for their behavior. He even called one a "white-washed tomb", meaning he was clean and fresh on the outside but dead and rotting on the inside. Just something to consider.
  6. Yvonne

    Shut And Smile

    First of all, I'm not talking about confronting every conservative and every conversation - I'm talking picking the "battles" as it were. Joseph, I can't help but notice that conservations (both political and religious) are extremely vocal about absolutely everything. And, like my dad always said "the squeaky wheel gets the oil". I feel, in certain personal situations, that in order to be true to who I am and my own spirituality it is vital that I speak up. I think too many times we (liberals, progressive, etc) tend to not speak up. I had been searching the Web for anything and everything to affirm what i was thinking as I started to grow into a progressive. I never heard of the term "progressive Christianity" until I stumbled across the tcpc page by accident one day. I can see by other comments that I am alone in how i feel. But I cannot help but think of how Jesus didn't let people shut his mouth. Yes, we are to live like Jesus lived, but I think we have to speak up. It seems to me, if the historical Jesus was gathering crowds around him to speak (even to tell parables), that must have really ticked off the authorities. (Well, according to the gospels, it made the authorities mad enough to crucify him.) Every time Jesus speaks in the gospels, he almost always calls authorities to account for themselves, implicity or explicity. Lastly, he doesn't let the "little guy" get away with much either. Look what he said to the Samaritan woman at the well, or Peter, "get behind me Satan". Whether we take these accounts as "factual" or truth, we tend to think of Jesus as being all sweetness and light, but let's face it, Jesus WAS a subversive. He had a thing or two to say to even those closest to him. It seems to me we (progressives) need to be more vocal, more obvious, more, well, subversive. I know this will get many comments, picking apart each word or sentence but I don't know exactly how to express my thoughts in this - and I feel strongly about it (obviously). I really do not care if anyone else agrees with me. For me, this is about my own integrity and being true to my own beliefs.
  7. Yvonne

    Faith Healing?

    What is your opinion on faith healing? The reason I ask is because my niece's husband claims to have had one. He has a genetic disease that causes all kinds of health problems, the most obvious (though not the worst) concerns his feet - the skin is literally peeling off all the time. He went to a faith healing and claims he was healed. I personally have not witnessed it, but two people, my sister (who tends to blow thing out or proportion) and my other niece (who is extremely practical) claim to have seen his feet and claim they are completely healed. I cannot believe that God heals some people and not others. On the other hand, it would be really great if my nephew-by-marriage were healed. I just really don't know what to think. There are a lot of unexplained things in the world, and I'm open-minded enough to wonder at mystery. What do you think?
  8. Oh yes, I have relatives like this - a whole LOT of relatives like this - not only are they border-line fundy's but they are rabid conservatives. Not only do I get preached it, I get badgered politically. I get plenty tired of it. Its horribly rude, not matter if one believes s/he is right. I finally told one person to stop talking politics and religion because we were never going to agree. The next time I saw him, he started in again - so I told him politiely if he wanted to have a dialogue, where we both get equal time and actually listen to one another, I would be happy to discuss it. But if he was going to shout at me and not even consider my POV he should just (and these were my exactly words) "shut up about it". Guess what? He did.
  9. Norm, You are correct, I didn't mean politics as you defined it. What I mean is (in the US anyway) the jockeying for position and power, the lies and half-truths, and the fact people like me cannot hope to understand all the garbage that muddies the water during election year. I do not like the current system of delegates and electoral votes. I do not like the way candidates hijack religion to appeal to a certain demographic. So in this sense, I think there needs to be a trifle bit more separation between "church and state". When we have become a country in which a Muslim can swear on the Koran when being sworn in, I'll feel a little better about it. And you were right about socialism, too. The earliest Christians were eglatarian, they shared everything and took care of one another. They didn't need tax breaks, they just did it. They were "in the empire" but not "of the empire" You know? I think Christians everywhere need to adopt that attitude. Yes, I live in the U.S., I have a certain amount of healthy patriotism; but, no I do not have to let the government tell me what to believe or how to act in moral and ethical situations calling for a high degree of compassion, empathy, and social responsibility.
  10. I'm a little iffy about the question of religion and/or politics. For me, personally, I utterly thoroughly completely (!!) dislike politics. I know I have to be informed enough to make an intelligent reasoned choice when it comes time to vote. Otherwise, I'm not so sure politics and religion make very good bedfollows. As far as churches having or not having tax-exempt status, I would ask, does that mean there should be no exemptions for nonprofits? If so, well and good; if not, how does nonprofit get defined? I think a lot of liberals would shout rather loudly if their pet projects were taxed. I don't mean any disrespect to anyone, and like I said, I've not strong opinions on it, but I don't think its as simple as churches should (or not) be taxed. i have to say I too think Jesus' message and the example of the earliest Christian lives links with socialism. (I just heard my entire conservative family and community gasp.)
  11. Yvonne


    I would love to see something like this addressing liberal, progressive issues of faith. However, in my limited experience, progressives seem to take a much quiter approach. I don't really see a lot of outreach from religious liberals of any ilk (at least in the my corner of the U.S.) And, from the posts here, I think that holds true for many places in the U.S. I would dearly love to do something like this from a progressive POV, but I'm not too sure how successful it would be. Maybe I'm just cynical.
  12. Yvonne


    Orthodoxy - right belief Orrthopraxy - right practice. I like it when people accuse me of being unorthodox. That means my Christianity isn't bound up in 2000 years of change from the original followers of Jesus. It means I'm open-minded and think for myself. I have to admit to being a little bit proud of that. On the other hand, orthopraxy (would i say I'm orthoprax?) seems to made sense. If I practiced what the early Christians practices, I would be for non-violence and practice it, I would be for radical inclusiveness and practice it, I would be egalitarian (or, I suppose, some people might call it socialism, but socialism has political connotations. When the early Christians did was put into practice what Jesus taught.) I think Christianity got hijacked early on. We went from being loving and non-violent to... well...right belief. What do you think?
  13. Yvonne

    Three New Books

    I think these are excellent discussion pionts - could this start a new topic?
  14. I saw a picture posted on facebook today that offended me more than some soft porn pics I've seen. It was a picture of an American soldier in full gear kicking in a door. The caption read "Knock, Knock...Who's there?...America mother---!" I think this aggressive patriotism is nothing short of idolatry. When the country (dare I say empire?) becomes more important than anything else, it becomes our god. What's worse, the person who posted it constantly posts things about how Jesus loves us and angels and such. And she's certainly not alone. I don't understand that. I'm ashamed for these people.
  15. Yvonne


    Exactly, they cared for one another, acting the way Jesus taught them to act. In "The Underground Church", Robin Meyer accuses Constantine of hijacking the church, and claims Constantine's reign was the worst thing to happen to Christianity. I'm pretty sure I can agree with that. When Christianity went from being this tight-knit non-violent, egalitarian community to a state religion (more or less), and bishops obtained more and more power and wealth, and "right belief" was paramount, we lost something - a lot of somethings.
  16. Yvonne

    The Ultimate Sacrifice?

    I have to agree 100% with Steve. Sacrifice as atonement just doesn't make sense to me. Like George, I too am a bit agnostic when it comes to Jesus' divinity and the whole resurrection thing - clearly something happened or we wouldn't be talking about it more than 2000 years later. I can't remember it it was Borg or Michael Morwood who said it, but I can think of Jesus as savior. Jesus saved the "masses" (that is, the poor and marginalized) by letting them know they were loved, that they mattered. I think this same message rings true today. Just my 2 cents worth.
  17. Paul - Congrats on the new job!
  18. Yvonne


    I believe that after death we retain some kind of awareness, anything else would (IMO) be complete annilation, Physicists claim that information can never be lost...so why can't we "exist" in a way that's a mystery? Paul, I think you said it very well indeed. Although I think God is "More" than the energy of the universe. I also think that the energy is a part of God.
  19. Friends, As some of you are aware, I am working toward my MDiv and ordination in October. I have been reading and studying and learning 'til my heart and mind are full! Three books, especially, have touched me deeply: A Monk in the World, by Wayne Teasdale, The Underground Church by Robin Meyers, and The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg. In these books, i have learned what makes a Christian. It isn't about doctrine, it isn't about us vs. them. It's about radical inclusiveness and taking only what we need so others have enough. It's about turning the other cheek and seeking the way of nonviolence. It's about proclaiming Jesus is Lord (as opposed to Ceasar). It's about standing against the empire in favor of the poor and disenfranchised. I see the way Christians act, and it seems to me many have forgotten the injunction "love your neighbor as yourself". I'm not saying there aren't good Christians doing acts of mercy and compassion. There good people reaching out, I know that. I believe that as Christians, it isn't so much what we profess to believe, but in the way we conduct our lives that counts. The early Christians were subversive in that they took care of one another, refused to worshop Ceasar, wouldn't bow down to the empire. I want to conduct my life like that. And yet, because I am practically home-bound (due to a disability, among other things), because I have no influence or power or money, I feel there is little I can do to influence others. I think that's why this forum, and my new spirituality forum, are so important to me. At least I can write. And pray. But, sometimes, that just isn't enough. Thanks for letting me share.
  20. Okay, I'm in a silly mood - did anybody catch the reference in the topic? I don't know if this allowed or not, so I'll throw it out there and if it is not allowed, I won't take offense if the topic is removed. For a a very long time I have wanted to talk about spirituality - specifically. So, I have created a new community/forum that is specifically about spirituality (in or out of a particular religion). It is literally brand new, so I don't even have anybody else registered yet. I was wondering if anybody in this community would take an interested in it. The site is http://onedestination.hoop.la This is a temporary url until I can screw up the courage to pay for my own domain name. I'm certain that this community will not be in competition with tcpc, but rather I think we complement one another. Thanks.
  21. A great big giant huge "THANK YOU" to that who have registered and participated in the forum. Its kind of tough getting a forum off the ground without a ready-made member list!
  22. Today is day 2 of my umpteenth attempt to stop smoking. I am determined to succeed this time! Wish me luck, pray for me, hold me in your thoughts, or whatever works for you because I'm going to need all the support I can get!
  23. Dutch, I'm not sure if this is answering your question, but I think anytime I am confronted with someone who is represents something outside my experience, I try hard to understand, find common ground, and dialogue. Other than that, when I meet with someone who behaves in a way that is makes me uncomfortable I have to ask myself "Why?." What is it about this person that makes me uncomfortable? Can I learn something about myself? Does this person represent my anima or shadow? I agree completely with Armstrong's statement. I have tremendous respect for her.
  24. Yvonne

    What One Thing?

    Good question! I think the one thing I learned that has been most helpful on my journey is that it is ok to question and doubt. Before, I always felt I had to believe everything the church taught (implicitly or explicitly) and was not allowed to question. Once I was free of that limiting belief in "The Church" and the church's authority, I began to grow. Sometimes the growth was painful, and sometimes I didn't like the answers to my questions, but rather that than stagnate.
  25. Yvonne

    Friends Of Jesus

    Well Norm, I don't think you're getting an answer, I like the ideas put forth in the original post, for the most part. But to address your question Norm, even though it wasn't directed toward me, I personally do not take every word ascribed to Jesus in the bible as fact. I think the earliest Christians had it right though - radically inclusive, egalitarian and a belief in Jesus as Lord (as opposed to Ceasar being Lord). I don't think the earliest Christians believed in Jesus' divinity.