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Kathy23 last won the day on September 7 2013

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About Kathy23

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  1. I can very much relate as well Steve. I've had that feeling quite a bit lately and attributed it to the fact that I'm getting older and more reflective. And while I've always been somewhat of a contemplative person and have had gratitude for existence in the big picture, what I've noticed lately is my ability to pick up on the little things and appreciate them as they happen - my daughter's laugh, a beautiful day, a new idea, etc.
  2. Thanks everyone, this is great. And Annie - kids do have a way of keeping it all real don't they?
  3. Well said Pete. Although new here, I think I can echo just about everything you said as the reasons I'm here....
  4. Lot's of good food for thought here. Thanks for the comments Soma and Eric. Soma, the feeling is strong and has stayed with me a while so we'll see where I land on this. Eric - I enjoyed your website (and friended it on facebook) and particularly love the Socrates quote about change coming from focusing energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new. It reminds me of spiritual guidance I received 20 years ago. I've shared on another post that I was frustrated in the liberal church I was attending in my 20s. I felt that the views I would express were tolerated but not respected. My right leg is hard core scientist and my left leg is amateur mystic and I need both to move forward but neither of those viewpoints are well received in churches. So I went in for psychological and spiritual counseling and lucked out by getting someone who was very progressive (he had been performing blessing ceremonies for gay couples since the early 80s or something). After a couple of months of counseling, he told me that I reminded him of a horse that was hanging out at the fence looking at all the wonderful ideas that lay outside of the fence. He advised me to stop complaining about the fence and all the other horses that are completely content within the fence. He said I needed to just jump the fence and go into the wilderness. I had a good sense of direction and should just follow where the spirit led me. So I did and found a great career that allows me to use science to make the world a better place (or at least try to) and have a wonderful family and all that. But seems I wound up back complaining about the fence again and it's really not how change occurs. I know my energy is much better when I'm part of being creative and building something new - whether it's new ideas at work or raising a wonderful child. I need to get to that place spiritually. Throwing stones at the old can be cathartic at times but it's not particularly productive. Anyway, I keep turning these things back to me and I need to stop that. It is nice to find a group of like minded folks to converse with but I'll try to decrease my egocentrism a bit going forward..... Thanks!
  5. Good point Norm. I should consider that as my point with a such a label is really to provoke thought but not hostility. I know very little about Judaism so will look into that. Thanks.
  6. This is an interesting thread because over the last year or so, I've struggled with the idea of a label. For the last 20 years, I've been content to pretty much go without one - although if asked I would usually say I was technically an atheist in that I'm a non-theist but my concept of god is complicated, or something to that effect. I would not claim to be christian because I didn't want the "beliefs" and "thoughts" that tend to come along with that to be ascribed to me. I've been content to live my life as best I can and have found sufficient insights for spiritual growth from a variety of books. But as a result, I have stayed out of any meaningful spiritual discussions with anyone other than my husband. But for reasons I am unable (because I don't know) to explain, I feel the need to take on the label christian again. I think it is partially because I feel the need to be part of the larger discussion and not just sit on the sidelines on this conversation anymore. My thought is, gosh darn it, I AM a follower of Jesus in that whether he was real or not, the story of his life and his teachings were very meaningful to me as a child and as I was developing my inner core - it's an important part of my inner compass. And who is anyone else to say that's not a valid way to follow Jesus because, as several of you pointed out, Jesus did not start a religion and it's the religion of christianity that has set out these requirements of beliefs/ I'm actually trying on the label of christian atheist for size as I do think it accurately describes where I'm at and I'll be interested to see what kind of conversations it might generate in the future. It's not like I'm out there flaunting it so could be a while before it comes up..... But perhaps progressive christian would be more fitting? It is certainly broad enough to cover the full range of ideas that I either hold to or completely respect. I still feel the need to distinguish myself from the overall christian label - not sure if that's a healthy need or not but it's there so I need to keep riding that wave for now....
  7. Scott - that is a very good explanation of God and resonates with me as well!
  8. Thanks Joseph and Bill. I've contemplated quite a bit on this today, thanks to all the probing questions here, and I think where I've landed is that I just need more engagement on these issues as I'm so totally in my own head on this stuff. It's helpful to have a forum like this. And I also think that rather than treat the subject as taboo with my religious friends (most of whom are more liberal so I'm not setting myself up for battle or anything), I need to break that divide and engage in conversation on these matters, including the question I posed to start this discussion. These are folks I respect and there's no attempt to persuade, it more to break down the barrier that exist between atheists and christians. Small steps..... Thanks again everyone.
  9. Realized as I was signing off my "one less baby" comment might be misconstrued. When my niece came to us, she had been trying to get pregnant as a way out of her screwed up home. We took her out of the home instead and helped her avoid pregnancy to get through high school. Thanks again.
  10. That's a great story Paul! And Soma, I love Gibran's On Children.....
  11. That's a good question Steve - what am I trying to achieve.... I started to type out some grandiose vision of progress but I'm not articulate enough to do that justice. On a very selfish level, what I would like to see is a more accessible christianity, one that is no longer hostile to thinking that goes too far out of the fence as that is certainly not consistent with my thoughts on how Jesus would be. I think I would benefit from being part of a spiritual community where I could be challenged to grow and not just merely tolerated at best for my scientific and mystical approach to applying the teachings of Jesus to my life. And I do think there are likely other people out there that would benefit from this as they struggle for wholeness. While I try to stay away from dichotomous concepts like right and wrong because I think life and most situations are a series of multivariate equations, I do think there are some things that other christians are doing that are wrong (bigotry being primary among them) and I do see the need to challenge those views from inside christianity as well as outside of it. While they may be doing the best they can and coming from a place of fear and all, gay I am humble on most matters, as I know I don't have all the answers, but not all. And while it is true that many people are not inclined to change their views, when approached in certain ways and presented with sound arguments, some people are. And change occurs one step at a time. So I think christianity is capable of growing and moving forward by having the unhealthy components of the religion challenged more vocally. There is an arrogance involved in stepping in other people's lives but just because I'm flawed and don't have all the answers, is no excuse not to do it. We recently took in our troubled teenaged niece for a couple of years. And while I made my share of mistakes and it's not clear how much she learned while here, there is one less baby being raised by a completely messed up teenager right now as a result. I'd go through the dark times on this again if I had to for that. I struggle daily with the question "am I doing all I can (while still staying healthy) to make the world a better place" and I don't think it's a bad force in my life. So Paul, I welcome the discussion of what we could be doing to better serve all the starving and sick children on the planet. Not sure if that answers the question but thanks for letting me think out loud so to speak. And thanks for all the thoughtful comments on this question. I respect the place where all of you are and appreciate the insights.
  12. It's interesting reading these comments as it's almost like conversations that go on in my own head. I would like to comment on a couple of things. While there are some progressive congregations, they are not in a lot of locations, even in some where you might expect them like a large area such as DC, unless I did the search wrong. So more progressive forms of thought are not commonplace yet and thus Christianity is most often associated with backwards thinking and not welcoming to critical thinking. I think, and maybe I'll reach a better place one day where I can be at peace with the evolution of spirituality, that religion does a lot of harm, in some of the ways I've mentioned and others as well. But as I've pondered this the last few days, I think maybe the way to make a meaningful difference is in our one on one encounters with others, whether it be leading by example (which is what it sounds like most folks here do and I totally respect that) or in directly challenging folks in the spirit of growth and love. One of the things I love about being a scientist is being challenged by the folks around me - it's part of the culture and if you can't stand the heat, you don't belong in the kitchen. Maybe I'm seeking to make religion something more like that but I don't know....
  13. Thanks again everyone. I didn't mean to suggest that this forum or the progressive Christianity should organize in some sort of "call to action" so much as what I would like to see is more vocal pushback to religious conservatives by more liberal and progressive voices. And I'm not really talking about in the political sphere but just more generally. There are plenty of people out there struggling to find their way, as I did once, and are very turned off by the folks with the bullhorn right now. I was lucky enough to stumble on a very progressive spiritual counselor but would have benefited, I think, by hearing more varied voices in the media and such. But as I think on this more now, my struggle occurred before Amazon and widespread internet use (good grief I'm old) and I suppose it is easier now to seek out alternative ideas now. And maybe the best that can be done is to speak up on a more individual basis (similar to the video Bill posted) and counter destructive ideas at that level. While I can be at peace that everyone needs to follow their own path and that a fundamentalist approach might work for some, I'm not at peace that they are being so active and destructive in our politics and society and can't shake the idea that there is more work that needs to be done on this front.
  14. Thanks everyone. Appears I'm not the only one using a largely "let them be, answer questions as they come up" approach on this matter.
  15. So, I've spent last night and this morning reading threads here about Taoism and Sufi wisdom. Both were very interesting and I think I will be exploring both more in the future for my own growth as quite a bit seems to resonate with me. But the other reason I've recently returned to exploring religious teachings more closely is that I have a daughter, who is currently 9, and I want to be more knowledgeable about the various spiritual paths in order to, hopefully, be more helpful in guiding her on her path. One of the things that frustrated me as a teenager was how I had only been offered one spiritual path (I grew up in a Methodist church) and then was essentially asked to either accept that or reject that without being offered a fuller range of options. So I was guided through most of my teenage and early adult years by the music of U2 and John Denver and authors like Thoreau, William James, Carlos Castenada, Krushnamurti, MLK, and Paul Tillich (to name just a few) - all of whom made more sense to me than anything I ever heard in a church. I found my way just fine but I wonder if those who are less introverted and bookish fair as well. One of the things that has struck me as we have raised our daughter is how little need there has been for teaching religious concepts to her thus far. The way I see it, she came into the world with a light to share (and her gifts include joy and energy) and it's my job to nurture that. The concepts of god as I understand them are way too advanced for a small child and one of my observations is that we tend to simplify god for children and then people grow up attached to and even worshipping those simplified definitions of god. When my daughter was 5, she asked me who god was. My response was basically that that was something she was going to have to discover for herself (as there are alot of different ideas about god) and I that her Dad and I are here to help her in that. I told her my understanding of god was different from many people's understanding and that I'd be happy to share my ideas when she got older but for now, I just explained that I see god as a "what" rather than a "who". She seemed to be cool with that. In the meantime, one of our favorite bedtime books has been one with Buddhist stories and I have shared with her some of the lessons and values I learned from Jesus. We also have a book about the various religious traditions that we've referred to a couple of times when she's had questions. To date though, her biggest fascination has been with the Greek gods and goddesses, which is fine as they are fun and it is an introduction to how people through the ages have sought to make sense of the world. So all this is to say, we've basically taken a "feed the hunger when it arises" approach to spirituality with our daughter - not by design but because this is what has felt right. I have no clue how this will turn out but..... Thus far, my daughter seems to be a much more concrete thinker than me (I'm off the charts on the Intuitive side of Meyer's Briggs/Jung). She has little patience with fiction, but we are working on that as she'll need to gain some patience here, and, again, thus far, struggles with abstract ideas (all of which were always my strong suit). I bring this up as I realize that her spiritual path may very well be quite different from mine given our different ways of thinking. I'm struck by the lack of respect for our children's soul that occurs when we, as parents and as a society, hand down one tradition and say "take it or leave it, but you better take it because this is the path we are on..." I know parents mean well but it strikes me there is a lack of sensitivity to the unique individual that their children are and maybe that's because they are not sensitive to their own uniqueness or something. I'd be interested to hear about other people's experiences with children and spirituality. Thanks for letting me ramble....
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