Raven

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Raven last won the day on December 19 2012

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About Raven

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    Female
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    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Reading, gardening, cooking, time with family, needlepoint, nature.
  1. Lots of things occur in nature, or occur naturally, that cause harm. Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean it's automatically good. As Dutch pointed out at the start of this thread, there is a difference between a relationship between consenting adults of the same sex, and a relationship between and adult and child. Those who like to make a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia are unable or unwilling to see the difference, and it drives me crazy. Whether or not pedophilia is a sexual orientation is outside my area of expertise. However, as an opinion I would say it likely IS a sexual orientation, if we are defining sexual orientation as relating to with whom we wish to engage in sexual activity. However, if it is in fact a sexual orientation, it's still not "ok" in my book, because there is irreparable harm done to the child. Child molestation is not an orientation, IMO, but an activity.
  2. Thank you all. We are planning for winter 2013 so I have suddenly become very busy lol
  3. Happy New Year, friends! I've been awol for the last while with the usual holiday whirlwinds, but am now back to business as (mostly) usual. I am super overjoyed to announce my engagement to the love of my life, who surprised me with a New Year's Eve countdown/fireworks proposal. It was a beautiful moment and we are both overjoyed. Anyway, I know it's totally off-topic but I think of you all as friends, so I wanted to share my happy joy with you. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday - welcome 2013!!
  4. The value in relegating women lies in the value of keeping men superior. Not to push the gender button, but you have to ask, "Who is being served by this?" Keeping women submissive allows men to keep the power and control. Women don't do so well under such a system, but the men certainly clean up. Conventional, old-school religion (not just Christianity) is often patriarchal. It's not coincidence that the Bible, written and "enforced" by men, features a male God. Considering that, stereotyically, women seem to be strong in areas of kinkeeping, emotional support, and the other "soft skill" areas, faith seems like an area where a lot of women would do very well. However, TPTB do not like change, nor do they like giving up their own strength. I always feel bad for women who are brainwashed by these misogynistic cults - told from day one they are second best, second-class, second everything. No dreams or goals of their own, no place but a few steps behind their men. Totally an untapped resource.
  5. I can really only speak on this topic from two different places, at least with respect to the question asked. In the United Church of Canada, women are treated as equals to men. Bear in mind that I have attended the same church, so this is based on that church. Women sit on boards, even chair them, with no issues of any kind. Our current minister is a woman, as well! (And she rocks!) In this environment, I have no trouble identifying as a "Christian" because I feel like I'm on equal footing with my male counterparts. When this minister arrived, we did lose a few people (very few, actually) but we gained a few more. Breaking even, I guess. While at uni, I was living in the Bible belt of my province. There were not many churches to attend that weren't at least slightly fundamentalist, evangelical, reformed, or "Bible-based." I tried out a few, optimistically. What I found varied from church to church; some churches had women involved in the running of things, but mostly "women's groups" - lay ministry was virtually always male. The themes in sermons, also, did touch from time to time on men's roles and women's roles. (Women's roles being more submissive.) I also, as a teenager, attended an evangelical service while visiting family. Their Sunday School lesson that day was all about saving virginity for marriage, otherwise we would "lose our light." It was confusing. I think the more liberal churches are accepting of women as equal - beyond nursery and Sunday School, beyond hostessing refreshments. The more old-school churches seem very hesitant to do this. As a woman, I doubt very much that I would ever feel comfortable in a more conservative setting. The men seem to do quite well there, but the women not so much.
  6. I've been hesitant to post here, as this topic is one I feel strongly about, and thus I don't always trust myself to express myself rationally here. Before I go any further, let me clearly announce my bias - I absolutely HATE guns, and I don't think people should be allowed to have them. I also think it's terrifying that people can legally buy rounds and rounds and rounds of ammo without raising an eyebrow. Ok. This tragedy is absolutely heartbreaking. A few unconnected thoughts: 1. I think it's disgusting that media outlets photograph/videotape grieving family members. It's extremely poor taste. These folks have been through enough without having cameras in their faces during the worst moments of their lives. It's totally shameful. 2. Those who say that the teachers should have been armed make my blood boil. Teachers in the classrooms with guns? Are you kidding? I have a very hard time believing anything good or helpful would come from that. It's not enough to know how to aim and fire; in a situation like this, you also have to consider response time, ability to focus during panic, not accidentally shooting the children, and being able to compartmentalize the aspects of the situation. Gun training is more than physics. (And would parents really want their little ones in a classroom with a gun? Maybe some would, but I find the idea scary.) 3. Mike Huckabee's statement, once again, makes all Christians look like lunatics. The shooting happened because we've kicked God out of the public realm? Bad things happened because we don't force non-Christians to read the Bible during school anymore? Children died because we don't allow nativity scenes in the public square? 4. The messages on FB and Twitter about "God calling home" the kids and teachers made me sad as well. It makes me sad that people think God would do something like that. God "needed more angels" so He broke up a bunch of marriages and families in a horribly senseless and tragic way? Not the God I believe in, that's for sure. A human being, with some serious issues, took those people. It's sad, and defies reasonable explanation. 5. The time to talk about changes to gun control is NOW. How many more innocent people have to die before TPTB recognize that there is an actual problem with the status quo? How many more deaths will it take? People should not be allowed to just amass all the guns they want, and carry them on their person. They should not be allowed to order massive amounts of ammo without someone looking into it. Will some people cry that it infringes on their rights? Of course. But I would think that other people's right to LIVE trumps their right to their Rambo lifestyles.
  7. Thanks for sharing that! In the face of tragedy, it's always good to try to find something comforting.
  8. I'll add my own two cents - the fact that a "King" was born in a stable, rather than a castle, I think speaks to the potential for all of us to live in a Christ-like fashion, regardless of where/what we come from. The Kingdom is within all of us - not just the rich and powerful.
  9. I like to look at Biblical stories for the spirit of them, rather than the letter. Sure, it most likely didn't literally happen the way it says in the Bible, but what's the spirit behind it? What's the purpose of the story? What can I take from it that will be positive and encouraging?
  10. If we allow ourselves to be too caught up in the packaging, we miss out on the product. To give ourselves confidence or comfort, we tell ourselves what God's intentions are, the purpose behind the things that happen, or blame Him for what we don't like. This packaging is comfortable. We're used to it, as it comes from the lessons and cliches most of us heard growing up. The product, however, is different from the packaging. The product is less tangible, less predictable, and harder to nail to the wall than a bowl of jello. In my mind, however, it surpasses the packaging a billion times over, and then some. Personally, when I finally stopped relying on packaging, and started to connect with the product itself (which I personally believe resides inside all of us, as part of us, rather than as a man (?) in the sky rewarding and punishing at will), my journey truly began, and I began to feel peace.
  11. Thank you for the compliment, Kaykuck. I tried to explain myself as best I could. Personally, I think of the resurrection less in physical terms and more in metaphorical terms. To me, the concept of resurrection is about a new life with Jesus - a new outlook, walking a new path, a chance to start over and begin with a new perspective. I don't buy the concept of Jesus dying for my sins (or anyone else's sins), as much as I consider it to be part of the guilt story co-opted by the church. As for Heaven and Hell ... those are ideas I'm still sorting out, but I don't believe in a physical place where just the "good people" go after they die...
  12. How does language “an approach to God” fit your spiritual needs? “An” approach, instead of “the” approach, fits me perfectly. It gives me the flexibility to find a path that works for me, with the understanding that someone else’s path might be different, and that my path may also change as I do. I also like the concept of me doing the approaching, rather than waiting for God to approach me. 2. What language would you have used for you own spiritual journey? I would use words like “winding,” “open,” “confusing,” “fulfilling,” “challenging,” “frustrating,” and “rewarding.” 3. Do you feel as the life and teachings of Jesus have brought you closer to an experience of God? How so? Through the life and teachings of Jesus I feel I’ve come closer now to the purpose of what (for me) life consists of. The most basic, soulful parts of Jesus’ teachings relate to helping others, showing kindness, serving, being honest, and being open. I experience God on a daily basis through these types of acts and experiences. 4. How does the absence of salvation language help or detract from your spiritual path? It helps immensely. In other faith traditions, and in other Christian denominations, there is a theme of people being broken, being unworthy, being in need of “saving” from a lot of issues, including themselves. The absence of salvation language lets me connect with God’s unconditional love. I am worthy and I am loved, as I am now. I am already good enough. 5. How does the Jesus of history or his teachings affect your understanding of God? I don’t have too much knowledge currently of “historical Jesus” but it’s an area that interests me. Maybe I’ll come back to this point at a later date. 6. How might our understanding of who and what we are, as human beings, change if we remove the need for the sacrifice of Jesus as the Pascal Lamb, our redeemer? I think those concepts relate to the guilt that we find in so many faith traditions and other denominations. The idea of, “Jesus died for our sins, so we need to be worthy to receive this sacrifice” causes a lot of guilt. Are we good enough for that? Do we deserve that kind of massive sacrifice? Is His death on our hands, or on our souls? It’s a lot for people to take in. If we remove that concept, I think people would feel more comfortable, more worthy approaching God as they are, without having to denounce themselves and their former lives, and become “born again” as a worthy individual. God’s love is unconditional, and it’s not about guilt or shame. 7. What is the difference between savior, hero, master, teacher, or prophet for you? Saviour – someone who rescues someone from something negative Hero – similar to a saviour, but the word “saviour” has a more religious vibe Master – someone who is better than I am at something; someone above me Teacher – someone who gives knowledge, wisdom to others Prophet – someone who speaks their version of “truth,” perhaps claiming to see what others cannot, or the future/visions
  13. "Justice" sounds like retribution when it's as basic as "an eye for an eye," which I don't believe in. However, I do think that when people do something to cause harm to another person, they should have to suffer some consequences. If you take the life of someone else (or cause them so much damage that their life is forever altered in a way they didn't choose), I don't think you should be able to just walk away from it. It's not about "making it fair," but about having an understanding that actions have consequences. It's an easy enough concept - we teach it to children from the time they are born. If you do something that is harmful, there will be consequences you probably won't like. If a 16-year-old kid decides to shoot someone, they should face strong consequences. A slap on the wrist shouldn't cut it. If you take someone's life, should you not have to sacrifice at least part of yours? I'm not talking about the death penalty, but I am talking about adult prison time, instead of a juvenile centre with a revolving door - the victim's life should be worth more than that.
  14. Excellent points by both of you! Paul - you're right, the way I phrased it did sound like a big, boring burden. What I really meant was just the idea of cohesion for some, while other communities may actually have really specific goals and ideas. Some communities may actually be born out of those goals and ideas - people coming together out of a shared desire for something specific, like in the case of advocacy, or a neighbourhood watch system. I love the internet communities. It's amazing how we can connect with people who may be physically very far away from us but emotionally/intellectually/spiritually/etc our next-door neighbours. It's a beautiful thing. Annie - you make a great point here. Self-interest is a natural instinct, and I suppose any community group is going to look after their own interests before the interests of others, if they have to make a choice. When we are all able to come together and support one another, regardless of the differences, it can/will be a beautiful thing. We've been talking a lot lately in our book club about using faith to tear down walls instead of using it to build them up. Too often people are weighed down by what's different about other people, (and different is "bad," apparently) and not recognizing the potential for strength and co-operation.
  15. The concept of polygamy is interesting to me, from an outside perspective. As far as I know, I've never met anyone in a polygamous marriage/relationship, so all I know is what I've seen on tv and read in books. Warren Jeffs and his people have been in the news on and off for the last couple of years, and I have a few books written by those who survived his dictatorship and other similar dictatorships. If people actually willingly enter into polygamous marriage, I see no problem with that. If three (four? five?) competent adults decide to do that, that's their business. From what I have read though, forced marriage seems to be a common trend. Young girls (teens, even pre-teens) being married off to men they don't love, men old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers - that turns my stomach, and in my mind, is child abuse. The polygamous structure within FLDS (for example) is quite misogynistic, with girls and women being forced to marry, and in some cases, then taken from those husbands and given to someone else, and so on and so on. It is, essentially, rape and sexual slavery. Therefore, as far as I can figure from what I know, polygamy doesn't really belong in the same category as what we're talking about, because it seems to be (quite often) harmful and based on power, rather than on love. Again, what I've read is by no means exhaustive, and there may be FLDS (and so on) polygamist women who are quite happy with their situations, and perhaps their situations are not cohersive and abusive. However, the system does not seem to have been designed for women to be equal partners, but rather sex workers (essentially) and baby factories.