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Deborah last won the day on November 11 2015

Deborah had the most liked content!

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About Deborah

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    New Member
  • Birthday 09/08/1982

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  • Location
    Enschede, Netherlands
  • Interests
    Theology, Psychology, Spirituality, Australia
  1. Taken or not...hi Wonder-Full , I can see why you would have chosen that one...I guess Wonnerful also does the trick! Yes, I also enjoy listening to Rob Bell and Brian McLaren. I'll have to take the time to listen to your suggestion of Amy-Jill, I'm curious! If it is true that it's a genetic cause...that I think I experience the divine (yes, part of reality for sure, perhaps even more real than our earthly experience?)...and that it's genetics that cause you to 'feel' nothing...then I am amazed that you can relax into it the way you do, I have respect for that! Perhaps you do not need it then...if it's born out of need...? I enjoy sensing things while interracting with what I call God and because it's so enjoyable and beneficial I would wish it for everyone. But if you are right, and one can compare it with differing tastes...like I don't care much for death metal...some people thrive on it...then perhaps if you sensed something it would do nothing for you anyways? So if God exists then He/She/It communicates with you in a language that you understand...namely reality. Reality does it for you, so God goes with it? And by the way, I do appreciate that you do not mock or reject my experiences and I respect your personal view on the matter. So thanks for that .
  2. Hi Soma, I like your analogy of ocean and wave and yes, I agree that we are spiritual beings having a human experience!
  3. What a shame that the quality of the recording is so low because it is clear that there is talent behind the piano and mike! Thanks for sharing that! I grew up in a family of musicians and singers and studied music as well at a Christian arts college, but never considered myself a rock star, just wanted to use the talent within church circles. But since my faith shift I have not played my guitar or piano for a church band, nor led worship since. I don't miss the christian stage much, but I do miss jamming and singing with others and am afraid that I'm getting a little rusty...I hope those things are like riding a bike . When it comes to surrender I'm a little confused as to what that means exactly, because unlike you, most of my life I've been in a submission, self-sacrificing mode. In other words, always putting my desires on the back burner and giving first place to other people's desires. There is something unhealthy to that, but hard to put a finger on because of the Christian idea of surrender and self-sacrifice. So I always thought I was doing the right thing and that God would look after me and my desires. But it seems it's not as simple as that. Trying to figure that one out is hard. My conscience conflicts with my emotions and experience. Take Australia for example. I grew up there and love it there. My soul flourishes in Australia, as though I was born to live there (I was born in Germany). I was living in Sydney when I met my Dutch husband, who was there doing Bible College for 2 years. It was my intention to live in Australia for the rest of my life and certainly never wanted to live in Europe again. Europe has a dampening effect on my soul. I knew all of this and so did Bram, but when we got engaged our pastors convinced us to move to Holland so that Bram could finish his studies (studying medicine is very expensive in Australia). I didn't want to, but seeing I was used to always putting my own desires second I relented and we had a verbal agreement that we'd come back to Australia when he was done...big sacrifice on my behalf knowing he still had 5 years to go and then still needed to specialize...another 5 years! So at least ten years away from Australia. He gave the impression that living in Australia would suit him just fine, so I never thought it would come to this... Once we were here though I noticed that Bram started showing signs of having no intentions of moving back. Especially when our kids were born...at which point he made it clear that he wasn't planning on moving back (he's very close with his large family and wanted our kids to grow up with them in their lives). You can imagine that at this stage I started feeling trapped. Bram put it down to his own ignorance at the time...when we made the verbal agreement he couldn't have known that he'd end up feeling attached to Holland. So now that the agreement was broken and in Bram's mind no longer valid...who's desire would weigh heavier? His or mine? I'd given him the little finger...or should I say the whole arm and it was clear that he wouldn't have any scruple taking the rest, with or without my permission. For years this was a sensitive subject that always ended in raised voices, so we decided not to talk about it until we got closer to the end of his specialisation...meanwhile I prayed, feeling abandoned by God on the matter and imprisoned by my own choices. I felt selfish and guilty for wanting Australia, so I felt I'd lost any right for God's assistance in the matter. All the while angry at Bram and myself. Those were tough years. About 6 months ago, so 10 years later, he finally came around and said he'd be willing to move back with me...not that he wanted to, but he couldn't deny that it was only fair. He still thinks it's a bad idea and will not serve our children, but he's willing to do it. He still regularly gives me the room to change my mind and let us stay in Holland , which still gives me the feeling that I'm expected to surrender my desire. Now I realize that this story makes Bram sound like an #*@hole, but he's not. This is just another one of those human struggles, everybody has them. I've disappointed Bram plenty of times and have my own share of needing forgiveness. The reason I'm sharing this is because of the confusion this causes in regard to surrender. Is surrendering to God perhaps something different to surrendering to other human beings? That would make sense. While feeling hopeless that I had any right to be moving back, I prayed daily that God would either take away my desire to live in Australia or to change Bram's heart. Is that surrender? I don't know. Somehow surrender feels like more...like I had to let go of Australia all-together, but I just couldn't manage. I didn't know how to shut down my love for Australia, my yearning to move back...it just simply was there, how does one let go of something like that? Is surrender willingness to let go and in my situation be willing to live in Holland for the rest of my life? I could have decided for that, but even just at the thought I could feel my heart shut down. Something inside would break, I could sense it. For my own sanity's sake I had to hold on to hope that despite my selfishness (as perceived by Bram and myself and others), God might actually turn the tide somehow and make a way where there seemed to be no way. That was my prayer...pretty much all the time. It became my mantra. Because I felt I had no right, it was hard for me to trust God... and tried to tell myself that what God had for me would be better than what I had in mind for myself...even if that meant Holland. But what about "He gives us our heart's desires". Dude, seriously, I was confused and in pain and angry. An atheist, feminist friend of mine feels I need to discover my autonomy and stand up for what I want...none of this weak surrender stuff! If I don't help myself it won't happen...others will not do it for me, others have their own desires that they'll push through, unless I take my stand. That's the gist, fight for yourself, because nobody else will. I think the healthiest approach is somewhere inbetween, still trying to work that one out. Something along the lines of: I don't need to get rid of desires...I can't anyway. Let myself feel what I feel, communicate what I want, even work towards it, but trust that God will turn hearts where necessary, even if it's my own...and that in doing so things will become clear as time progresses. Is that your idea of surrender?
  4. Very, very interesting! when you put it like that it does make a certain kind of sense. And looking around me I would agree with the idea that God 'intervenes' via us. I'd be hesitant though to limit God's workings to 'just' that. Other experiences, which some would call miracles, also seem to happen to some extent... what does one do with those? I've had my share. But this story still trips me up: A friend of mine, who is very down to earth and not at all prone to drama tells of his experience...: he was riding his motorbike and was nearing an intersection. From the adjacent road another vehicle ignored their red light and was headed straight for him from his left. A collision was so imminent that my friend expected his demise and not knowing what else to do, called out 'Jesus'...still expecting to feel the impact, hoping to survive, but knowing it was unlikely. The next moment the vehicle was on his other side, as though it had passed right through him and he rode on unharmed. He cannot explain this to himself and has confessed that it is the reason he hasn't left the faith, even though in other circumstances he certainly has had reason to. This is one story. There are plenty of such stories. Was it quantum physics? Did he mentally transport that other vehicle, or himself? That's so in the realm of the strange that one might as well just call it a miracle. What do we do with those? But why the random stories of protection, when other people, who also pray, do die??? It seems so random! Does prayer play any kind of role? All I can say for sure, is that the charasmatic formulas that I grew up with do not work for me. If someone got healed or protected then it was attributed to God and considered a miracle. If the opposite happened, then it was simply their time to go home...or it was blamed on a lack of faith on the part of the person praying or of the person receiving prayer. All these clauses to try and explain away the seeming randomness of 'God's' intervention...and yet I can't seem to negate that 'miracles' do happen (the seemingly supernatural ones). Have you wrestled with those questions?
  5. What a neat story! I'm guessing your family was happy with the change aswell?! I like your pragmatic approach to staying in the moment. I do think that is very important. Yes, I have noticed that the views expressed on this site are very divers, which makes it so interesting (and sometimes overwhelming). It's good practice for me to handle different views...letting them rub off on me to an extent of my choosing and without losing my sense of self. I pray that one day I might find a similar church to yours. Until then, I can live in the moment and learn from you all! You said you surrendered music to God. And you also mentioned in one of your posts that you are the music director of your church...is that what came out of surrendering music to God? What did you do with music before then? Do you have anything online? I would be curious to have a listen...
  6. Yes, I agree. The experiences I had were not super-natural in that they bent any laws of nature...instead they came through my senses and thoughts which moved my emotions...so I guess in that way it can be called neuroscience...I guess what gives it its mystical feel is that it felt like it came to me, from outside of me, through my human experience and changed the way I thought and felt about things. Goodness, it's hard to put into words! And yes, definitely something each individual needs to work out for themselves. I like to see it in terms of language and inter-relational-dynamics. I have a personal and unique relationship with my husband and we have our own jargon that developed over the years and comes from insider knowledge. With other people I have a different kind of dynamic and insider language. PC has different jargon to CC. What I'm trying to say is that the way I communicate with the divine is different to how my husband communicates with God. And I've noticed that when someone feels that God has showed them something, it's always very unique to them personally. So when I experience God, I feel like He/She/It speaks my exact emotional, personal language...in such a way that I can understand it in my deepest being. The depth of such an experience and its profound impact gives it its mystical feel (speaking for myself). I guess that's just how I'm wired...and God uses my unique wiring to communicate in a personal way (in my opinion). Some one may suggest that it's not God at all, but my sub-conscious that is communicating something. I guess that could be true. And even though I'm open to such attempts at explaining the mystical, I also feel like I wouldn't be staying true to my current inner sense if I "down-play" them. Perhaps my opinion on the matter will change in the future...as have many other things, but right now I'm trying to word my current understanding. Using logic to define something that feels intuitive...not an easy task .
  7. By the way, I see that I have missed some of your posts, so some ideas are repeated in my post that may be out-dated, sorry about that. Please pick and choose what you respond to. And I also am sorry for your loss Bill (and Wonnerful). I lost my mother to cancer, despite a praying church, so I know what you two mean!
  8. Hello Bill and Wonnerful (I always read that as wonderful , which I'm sure you are too ) My goodness, where to start! First of all, thank you both for sharing your insights and stories. It is true that cherry picking is frowned upon by fundamentalists, but I recognise that we all cherry-pick...from fundamentalist to liberal. And so I also find myself cherry picking from PC and from your posts. All these new ideas can be a little overwhelming so I find myself picking through the information with my gut feeling, while at the same time letting my mind process and present the information to my 'inner cherry picker' . So everything you two have written about the divinity of Jesus appeals to my mind and in summary I would agree that the concept of the trinity developed over time. Like the idea developed over time that slavery is contrary to the heart of God ... an idea that is now commonly accepted. Looking at the over-all picture presented in the Bible as I see it currently, I can understand why the church has come to the conclusion that Christ was God incarnate. But as my dad likes to put it, we are all little incarnations of God. So in that sense I have no problem with Jesus having been one with the Father or him being divine...perhaps we all are on some level? If only because we have the breath of God in our lungs...that already means that our spirit, our breath came from the divine / is divine. So what I'm trying to say is, all the attemps to 'un-deify' Jesus, in my mind, are attempts at understanding our own connection with the Divine. CC somehow portrays Jesus as perfect in comparison to the rest of us being scum and utterly carnal. I have since discarded this comparison and I think intuitively most CC'ers would reject this view as well...instinctively we and they know that human life is utmost precious and anything but scum! So valuable in fact that according to CC God him/her/itself came into our midst to meet us in our pain and show us a better way, namely sacrificial love. So perhaps there is not such a big difference between Jesus and us. As Bill said in one of his other posts in another thread (which I can accept), perhaps Jesus is not different in kind, just different in degree. A kind of first fruits. Perhaps by elevating humans to the divine I am attempting to let Jesus keep his divinity status ... the reason I do this is because of my inner cherry picker (in other words, very personal!). Unlike you, Wonnerful, I have had 'mystical', emotionally moving (too close to Mormonism?) experiences that I attributed to Christ, perhaps because I have been conditioned to assosiate that 'feeling' with that name. And that is why my mind is also at odds with my heart. My heart tells me that there is something to this Jesus...a feeling I can't shake. My head is tasting different theories concerning the person of Jesus, but its my heart/spirit that make the defining desicions as I go along. So you can blame my heart, and the assosiations with Christ that have been handed down to me, for the fact that I haven't managed to discard the historical Jesus yet. Now of course all those experiences...whether they were 'just' neuropsychological and due to a 'god-gene' or not...they have affected me and influenced me. If I believe in the existance of God, which I do, then why attribute (some of) the experiences to Christ? Why not lump it all together under 'Divine'? Perhaps that is my human need to make the divine relatable? But then, not every one of my experiences has been specifically defined by the 'feeling of Christ'. Some 'felt like' the Holy Spirit. Some felt like 'the Father' and others still felt transcendent, where I didn't associate them with a name...more along the lines of "I AM that I AM". Where all those experiences 'just in my head' with some biological/evolutionary advantage? Perhaps, but they don't 'feel' like that. It feels like there is more significance to them, would you agree Bill? Why have Bill and I experienced something that we call 'mystical' and Wonnerful has not (according to Wonnerful)? Or do Bill and I name certain experiences as mystical, experiences that Wonnerful also has, but simply labels them natural/biological etc? Wonnerful you mention that you would want it to be true, that you would want there to be more. But your brain and experience tell you there's nothing beyond the natural. Is that where the tension stems from that you mention in your post? And perhaps you're right, perhaps you don't need to resolve the tension, but in that sense I think I agree with Bill that the very simple, but profound, experiences of love and life are divine, while at the same time working within the natural. Perhaps the natural is divine? Along the lines of 'everything is spiritual'? We live and move and have our being in the divine? In which case you can stop and marvel and wonder at the smallest most natural things...a butterfly, a couple holding hands, an older brother protecting his younger sister, a dead flower that still manages to catch the eye with a certain kind of beauty...life. As you labelled it Bill: panentheism. I'm sorry Wonnerful if I'm giving you the feeling that I'm trying to resolve the tension for you. In a way your questions are mine too, so in fact I am trying to resolve my own tensions, and may never succeed. Perhaps we both have to resign to that?
  9. (Replying to Bill, Joseph and Soma.) Thank you Bill for sharing which worldview has closed the gap between mind and heart for you. It makes sense to me and I think I'm heading in a similar direction. Although process theology is something I'm still wrestling with. I, Deborah, will not change in essence, my views and opinions are always in process, but in essence I will always stay Deborah (I think). Perhaps then I am projecting onto God, but it seems to me that in essence God does not change either. Our perception of God changes all the time though. I'm comfortable with applying process theology to the Bible. I think there are very clear themes of progression within the Bible...which IMO says more about the authors' progression in their perception of God, than that it says about God changing. And I think that progression is beautiful, it highlights our humanity and our ability to change our thinking, a precious gift and ability, in my mind. So does God change his/her thinking? A difficult concept to get my head (and heart) around, which again perhaps says more about my limited view than about God. What are your thoughts on that? And Hi Joseph, yes, awakening is a painfull process. I think for me the pain was foremost in losing my identity. My identity was so wrapped up in what I believed. Shedding an identity is perhaps even more frightening than changing one's views. For me they were connected, intertwined even. Knowing that pain, I wouldn't want to push it on anyone else. It was life's circumstances that started the shift in me, I certainly did not choose it (at least not consciously)! So yes, I agree with you, when the student is ready the teacher appears. And thank you Bill for your input on this. And I think you are right, that kind of thinking (asleep vs awake etc) just causes an us vs them mentality, something that I personally find hard to move away from, but want to grow in. Not believing in a hell of eternal conscious torment certainly helps and takes a lot of the aggression out of the tone, it does help in allowing everyone to be where they are at. A much more gracious and beautiful approach! Much more Christ-like if you ask me, and again, something I want to grow in. And the other thing is, fundamental beliefs work for some people. They are quite happy there...who am I to take that away from them? The only reason I left fundamentalism is because it wasn't working for me anymore. Perhaps that says more about me than about them...? And thank you Soma for your insights. I like it how you see the mind as a tool and not something I have to try to negate in my spiritual quest. As I wrote in one of my posts in the "square peg" thread, my intellectual study has helped loosen me from past prisons of thought. But lately it has been causing me more anxiety than freedom and I think its because I was looking for another belief system to adhere to, so that it could give me my new identity. The stress of having to choose which belief system is the 'right' one for me, caused the anxiety I think. The loss of identity has been so painful for me that I've been looking for an alternative. But as I was working this out with 'fatherman', I discovered that I was looking in the 'wrong' places...I can better discover my identity within my deeper self and within my connection with the Divine (how I experience it), where I feel no fear...discovering the essence of me and letting that define me...after all, beliefs constantly change and therefore shouldn't be defining. Being able to change one's mind is, in itself, something to be celebrated, not something to be afraid of. These are new insights for me and I still need to process them, but I am glad for them. Because you are right, I am already experiencing the spiritual. Sometimes my mind gets in the way, I need to see it more as a tool, not as defining...then the fear dissipates and I can let the s/Spirit lead me on the deeper levels of my being.
  10. Thank you by the way for taking the time to respond the first time, it literally helped me move forward again! You are well nuanced and gracious! Thanks again!
  11. Thank you for your honest, realistic (and gracious) response! Reading your response gives me a sense which I'm having trouble putting my finger on. (I'm thinking and processing aloud here...I hope you don't mind, because I'm focusing on my own quest right now...I am interested in yours too .) I'm comparing your approach to mine and am trying to word what you do differently, because I see how relaxed you are about having differing views and how you stay true to who you are despite sometimes feeling like a square peg (at least, that's the sense I get reading your post, please correct me if I'm wrong). I think for me my views still define me a tad too much. My beliefs used to be my identity. My views shifted causing my identity to unravel, and I can feel myself looking for a new identity. Perhaps I shouldn't be looking for a new belief system to define me. Sure my views are a part of me, but they are not the sum of me, actually they are relatively a small part of who I am (I realize now). So perhaps I should be looking at the rest of my person, my essence and let that define me, my views only being a part of that, after all, views change all the time. The essence of who I am doesn't. The fact that I can change my mind is a beautiful thing and something I want to celebrate as a part of being me, being human, being alive. This is a profound, new thought to me...something I need to process a little more. Losing my identity was and still is painful, perhaps I've been looking in the wrong places to soothe that pain. This new thought would also be the key to getting me out of my head and more into the deeper places, where faith is and where I sense God the strongest. You're right, intellectual study won't do that for me. I think intellectual study has helped loosen me from past prisons of thought, but lately study has caused me more anxiety than freedom and I think I understand why now. "But my personal beliefs don't seem so significant there. I think that what they really care about is me." That's what I mean. That's what I want to give myself too. Not make my beliefs so significant and just learn to be me. "Perhaps that's the kind of church that would work for you?" For sure! That's exactly what I'm looking for! How did you find it? But then I do wonder, seeing we are (also) intellectual individuals, do you get enough stimuli in that area in your church, or do you all stay away from those kinds of discussions because of the vast array of different views (not wanting to upset anyone)? I think I'd still enjoy conversation...I just want to learn to stay close to my inner sense while talking about matters of belief (and be able to stay relaxed about it, not letting it determine my identity). Is there conversation about beliefs in your church? And if not, do you miss it? I guess you could always split it...go to church looking for one thing, and come to forums like these to get the intellectual side? Is that how you do it?
  12. I can feel my brain creaking A lot of it makes sense to me, but everything is so connected...So if you change one thing as central as the deity of Christ, the rest also needs to be examined. So for instance, would I be assuming correctly that you also dismiss things like the virgin birth and the reassurection?
  13. I like it. Is this where this term 'fully human' comes from?
  14. Hi Joseph, You are very gracious, I want to learn from that. I fully get what you are saying. I also am very grateful that God has taken me on this journey...it surely was a gift, and not of my own doing...actually I spent the first few years struggling against it. Yet despite my stubbornness, here I am and glad for it! On difficult days though I'm tempted to get back into the boat where everything was clear cut...but I just don't feel at home there anymore. No use going back. I do have a heart for our fundamentalist brethren though, perhaps that is why it bothers me so much... Do you think it is a useless effort to try and wake others up? I only ever talk about these things when they come up in a conversation and if there is interest coming from the other person. Most often than not the subject does not surface and if it does people often zone out. It's their perogative and I let it be. Are you still in touch with fundamentalists? How do you deal with that? Do you feel a desire to wake others up? You've written a book on the subject so you are familiar with the backlash...has that made you stop trying?
  15. FIrst regarding your earlier post about the nature of God's heart towards us and the nature of hell...I resonate with what you wrote on all of it. Feels nice to find another individual who is pretty much on the same page regarding those themes (not that that's a requirement for interesting conversation). But funny how I've missed that. So thanks for having taken the time. And thank you for sharing your personal experiences with me, I managed to 'step into your shoes'. They moved me to tears. I can imagine how they would have felt to you. I know how weird it is to put mystical experiences into words. I recognize the sensation and always struggle to put my own experiences into words...words seem like paper-mache trying to convey reality. It's when I reconnect with the sensation of my experiences with God that my mind stops churning and I feel completely ok, with no fear. Perhaps its a useless endeavor, but I'd like to get my brain to catch up to my heart and spirit. I guess that's why theology and spirituality is so intriguing to me. Did you manage to find a theology and world-view that closed the gap between your mystical experience and your mind?
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