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Everything posted by thormas

  1. Heathens! 2

    Good one: very possible
  2. Heathens! 2

    Well, a girl has to pass the time some way - besides could be a rendering of the minister. I remember some like that.
  3. Heathens! 2

    This makes one wonder which breed would best represent each pope thru the ages.
  4. Heathens! 2

    this is either deeply sad or deeply scaring.....................
  5. Heathens! 2

    and I'm gone.............
  6. Living with Uncertainty

    I guess that is where I differ: I have to - or at least want to- know. Of course I recognize and accept that full knowledge will never come 'this side of the grave' still I think we can know (something) and it is a worthy endeavor. However I do think there is 'guess work' in faith also: you reason so far and then decide to go with it or not. I agree with your statement and much of the same applies to faith,
  7. Not sure how we even got here, but I'm totally comfortable saying God is not community. Although community is not possible without God/Love (which results in connectedness) and also, if God is Love, in some way he 'needs' (once there is creation) or at least desires community. As for creation, although I agree that God is Creator, I don't thing he is the immediate cause for magnetism, earth, moon and sun. But always thought, given the story of Genesis, that God was in relation with creation long before man came to be.
  8. Say what? Lions and tigers and bears...............and magnetism?? Anyway, the emphasis is on other not separate.
  9. I get the idea that God can be a symbol for community: a symbol points to and makes something present so God/Love as symbol (if taken seriously) makes community present. I do not agree that God is separate. Even theism, though it emphasizes the transcendence of God, also speaks to his immanence. However, panentheism does not hold that God is either separate or identified with creation. Rather God is always with/in creation, yet always 'more' - but never separate. And I do agree that the two great commandments are one. One figure in the history of Christianity (blank on who it was right now) said: "love......and do what you will." Once you love others (for who else does one love?) - all else is commentary. Spong talks about God as a verb and thus the commandment is not to love God, it is to love! If one loves, if one is doing love, they are doing what God is - there is no other worship worthy of the name. The commandments are one: you cannot love God if you do not love (not humanity but) individual men and women throughout your life. And if you love others, you are the embodiment of the commandment.
  10. Decline of Christianity in the West

    I don't disagree but the effort must be (and is being) made. Also, 'common sense meanings' might be totally off base and need adjustments. Not sure about the peasant revolution but theologians I have read (Baum, Hick, Macquarrie and others) are believers and take incredible pains to explain and provide insight. In a revolution, I'd probably leave the area but if I stayed, I'd lean toward the theologians because some of the peasants are just plain off the wall (I emphasize some).
  11. Decline of Christianity in the West

    Sometimes, as in the video, people just don't pay attention. However, there are times, like driving a car in England, when one must 'adapt to the new' circumstances; and, other times, like reading the signs while driving a car in Germany, when 'one needs a translator' to proceed and reach the destination.
  12. Decline of Christianity in the West

    Just to be clear, I don't mean thoughtlessly forgoing beliefs because of the mainstream culture but I do think it is imperative to be cognizant of and use that culture, its worldview and its philosophies as vehicles to explain Christianity - if not, most can't and don't hear it. This is what the early church did as it moved into the wider world, it is (and has been) time for an 'update.' I have tried to give examples of this with the Trinity, original sin and even how Jesus can be god and man.
  13. Decline of Christianity in the West

    I totally get the understandings listed above - and we were fed some of this too. For example, I loved being a little kid, confessing to the Monsignor that I had disobeyed my parents (not sure it was any real disobedience at that age) and he asked, 'don't you love your mommy and daddy?" He was, at least at that time, a bit of an ######. I also had the 'pleasure' of being a teacher and one of my childhood priests ( different one) was a teacher I had to evaluate as I was the Chairperson. I tried to gently explain his kids were bored, not paying attention and seemed to not care. A 'fun' discussion. Then there was yet another Monsignor who we went to in preparation for marriage and, my wife, being raise Protestant, was ignored. Well, I am Irish and I have a temper but I restrained myself, debated his theology and took my bride to be by the hand and walked out. So, I have been there with not only the beliefs but the actions/attitudes of some. I get what you said about the re-telling and I agree that it does not get down to those in the pews. I was educated in a Catholic seminary (not in preparations to be a priest - I didn't like to wear black and I liked girls, so that wasn't going to work as a career :+}) by some amazingly brilliant and open guys (mostly priests) but I saw fellow students and later some of these priests in schools and parishes back to business as usual. And the beat goes on..........
  14. Decline of Christianity in the West

    Bill, I look upon the doctrines and dogmas that don't make sense a bit differently. I know about the battles and the political influence that affected some church councils but, on the whole, these were men, who 'believed' and tried to protect the faith and, at the same time, clarify Christian belief. Like all men, some were saints, some in it for themselves, some scared beyond their wits and on an on. Did some, then and later go too far? To me the answer is obvious on individual, group and country levels.Were mistakes made, were grave sins committed? Is the Pope Catholic? And, I believe it goes on today in various degrees. Some doctrines don't make much sense, but others, especially if updated hold true. Original sin: I do not accept a long lost paradise but the idea that we are born into a world of sin that can influence us, seems obvious. And it seems obvious that man chose self over love/God. Thus the need for salvation. In Christianity, man can't save himself and referring back to Baum and the way God is always incarnate in creation, it is this "other,' this 'more,' incarnate in others, that calls man to a new awareness and gives him the courage to be. I do not agree with substitutionary atonement but I get the ancient notion - although it wasn't the only rationale given for the 'why' of the death of Jesus. Rapture - I don't even know where that came from. Revelations?? Too many read it literally as a prophecy of what will come: don't think we Catholics believed in the Rapture?? Hell: I don't buy that it is eternal but that it is 'real;" if man need love, needs to be loving in order to be truly Human and if one decides agains love, there is no other way to be Human, there is nothing (hell). The Good News is that, as shown in the Prodigal Son, God waits for all time (even beyond death), calling, encouraging until each of his prodigal sons and daughters turns back. So, hell real but not eternal. Virgin birth: it has been accepted as literal, haven't thought on it much but would have to go back to see if scholars agree that it was intended to be 'history.' I do not dispute what some of us had to believe to become or stay Christians but I don't fully agree that all don't make sense - especially if explained 'better.' But this is the crux of the matter: Christianity must be re-told to speak to and be good news to every new generation. Rather than check your brains, there are other options but some probably mean saying No and going from there. Christians will always be believers - but some are believers with brains. I do agree that this retelling is not happening in the mainline churches and so members continue to check out. Just wanted to try to show that what the Churches profess is not all there is to Christianity.
  15. Decline of Christianity in the West

    I read Gregory Baum's 'Man Becoming' years ago and it was an amazing take on trinity which, for me, totally broadened the way to think and speak of God. The original idea of Trinity was meant to broaden the understanding of God, but once it became 'set doctrine' that was professed without understanding, it became a problem. Theologians, like Baum, opened it up again. I have to disagree (but see why you would say it) that it is polytheism and still supernatural theism. Baum writes about the Word that 'echoes' and calls through creation and, specifically, humanity to us: it calls, challenges, judges us and if heard leads to life. Examples, your mother yelling 'No' at the top of her lungs when you were a kid. Or 'eat your veggies,' 'don't hit your brother,' 'kiss your grandmother' and on and on. The word can also resonate in a book, a song, in conversation. His argument is that any of these occasions, take a book, can cause you to look at yourself in a new light, to reconsider something you had previously dismissed, to have a lightbulb go off (so to speak). You are judged, you are challenged, you 'hear' something - and you move forward, you become more. Or you ignore the possibility. The Word of God in the Bible presents a moment of chaos (think of Jesus and 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone."): listen and move one way, perhaps to reconsider, perhaps you become different from that point on - or ignore the Word, and lose yourself. Baum's argument is incarnational: the Word does not call from the sky, it is not divorced from humanity; the Word is ever-present, it is in, with and through creation/humanity calling us to be more, to Life. But imagine a conversation in which you are challenged to change, you can hear but to do something about it - takes courage. When you were corrected by your mother, when you were judged, told you were wrong when you did something as a kid, it was also your mother (representative of those people in your life) who hugged you and was 'with you' as you grew and faced life's challenges. The courage to respond to the Word, the courage to Be, to move forward, to own your life also is incarnational. Love empowers you, gives you the courage to respond - this is the Spirit (think about the 'stories' of the descend of the Spirit on the disciples and what they were able to do) ever- present 'in' creation. With Baum (and others) the modes or persons (old fashion term I really don't use much because it leads to confusion) of God are shown to be the furthest thing from theism: there is no god in the sky, God is in creation, the transcendent (simply More) in and through creation: creates, calls/challenges and encourages us to Live. I was so impressed by Baum when I first read him, I got the school to buy hundreds of his book as the text for seniors in a Catholic High School. High school kids reading what could have been used in an undergrad or even a grad level course. Some struggled to get their heads around it but others sat there, nodding their heads, saying, 'Of course, that makes sense." I would probably be excommunicated if I tried to do this today.
  16. Theism - What Would It Take?

    If theism was/is not the dominant form in the West - what is? And what theism does not have a focus on the supernatural? Can you explain your 2nd sentence? Even with the example of prayer - prayer is to the supernatural Being. Those who pray and don't get the answer they want, will often say that is God's answer or he will answer in his good time and those that engage in self-therapy (not sure I've heard of this one) are still praying, it seems. Even when I was a theist we prayed to God, we worshipped in Church, we sought forgiveness and we tried to be his image but even our Mass ended with - go out into the world and do it, "Go Love and Serve the Lord" in the only place we could - the world. We didn't pursue the supernatural, we paid homage, we sought guidance but, if anything, we pursued or did God's work in our world. So not sure about your distinction. You make a good point to begin the second paragraph but just not sure what "pursuit for supernatural" means or looks like. You have a point about the snake handlers and others - I always thought it was something they were into, not a dilemma?? But interesting.
  17. Decline of Christianity in the West

    Nicely done. These are the 3 ways or modes by which God acts in creation and is 'experienced' by those who believe. An analogy (don't all attack at once): I am One but I am experienced in the world in different ways by different people with whom I interact: my ways (modes, 'masks') are son, brother, friend, student, husband, father, teacher, coach and on and on. I am one but experienced in different ways by those in my life. So, too, God is one yet acts and is 'experienced' in different ways. I agree with what Burl has written but that language is not ours anymore so I use the language of eternal modes or ways of God to get a handle on Trinity.
  18. Decline of Christianity in the West

    Think there is more to it than cited above. There were various modes or ways of God written about in the OT. God is shown as experienced in different ways, i.e. modes by his people: King, Ruler, Creator; word that creates, word that speaks in a bush and that calls through angels and men; wind, breath, spirit that moves across creation. Jewish Christians knew this and given their belief that they encountered God in the man Jesus in a unique way, they were driven to grapple with this experience in light of their beliefs and broaden their understanding of God. This continued as there was debate (if I remember correctly) about Jesus being God but not the Father in Heaven and then we have the influence of Greek philosophy as a means to further talk about this experience, this belief and try to say something definitive for the 'universal' Church. The didn't split God,they tried, given Jesus, to broaden how they thought and spoke about God. Having said this, there is no denial that things got crazy and damage was done down to today.
  19. Decline of Christianity in the West

    To be saved is to be healed of sin and ..........made whole. Although it can be said that Jesus saves, he shows the Way (to be saved) and it must be actualized - when one does this they are being healed from the selfishness that damages them. It works, it is valid and it does not violated the belief - actually it explains how it works. Please explain the nice fit - theTrinity seems be something people profess but very, very few can explain it or fit it nicely into anything. Although it may be correct that Christianity is declining and also that some in the West look to verify the truth of Christian claims, there is a difference between listing claims that are taken literally and easily dismissed and looking more deeply at the meaning of those claims. And the deeper meanings are not mere modern constructs but could go back to the historical Jesus. 1. If Jesus (and I think he did given the popularity of this belief during his lifetime which he seems to accept) believed in the literal establishment of the Kingdom by God in the lifetime of some of his followers, he was wrong. Not really an issue since he was a man of his time, and, like all of us, capable of mistakes. 2. this is taken too literally and too physically: if one believes (follows his way) they will not 'die' but live fully in God (shown in the belief in his resurrection). Similar language is found in the sacrament of baptism; the death to sin (symbolized by being dunked in the water) and rising (being pulled from the water) into the life of Christ. 3. There are more of us, covering more of the earth and its people and also time has not ended: too soon to judge. Plus I always took this as a message of hope and encouragement that his followers would do this (but Christianity also believes in free choice). 4. Again, never a problem with this one: Jesus is the Way - it is this Way or the Way of Jesus (or Jesus) who is always 'here' - available to be incarnated by those who follow. He was fallible and could err if he was a man like other men (supernatural theism sometimes/ most times overlooked this); his experience of and obedience to God did not make him perfect (error free), it made himTruly Human, i.e. the perfect human being - image and son of God.
  20. Theism - What Would It Take?

    Did you mean pan or panentheistically? Paul not only said "God was in Christ" he also said (as you referred to earlier) that we live, move and have our being 'in' God. This is the same panentheistic statement - good catch on Paul's monotheistic belief.
  21. Theism - What Would It Take?

    No, I think leprechauns are the equivalent of angels :+} Although Bill's interpretation makes sense also since they are now 'heavenly delicious.' Calvin, thought he was a predestination guy but have never studied him, seems scary. But I do agree within God but not gods.
  22. Decline of Christianity in the West

    Of course, this is all a human attempt to say something about the belief that God was encountered in Christ - which required a 'new understanding' of God. Also, salvation is also healing which is also, therefore, making one whole? And sin (self-centeredness) is that which prevents man from being whole, the image of God - and that from which we must be saved/healed. The truly 'moral' man is not selfish, therefore he is freed/healed of (saved from) sin. I like the idea of modes of God: the way that man experiences God's action in life is as creating, calling and empowering (Father, Word/Son, Spirit): one is not followed by another, all are experiences of the eternal modes of the one God. Still the One who creates, is the One who calls, is the One who gives the courage to be.
  23. Decline of Christianity in the West

    Spong did start off this way, yet anyone who listens to Spong knows he is far from an atheist - but, agreed, that is all some hear. Growing up, I never gave it much thought, it was my upbringing. However, the Catholics seemed less bound to the 'book' that the Protestants - we were all about the sacraments. Later, the more I learned, the more my horizons were broadened, I was open to new approaches and the timing was good because I was taught by professors and priests who were open and presenting new insights (some later frowned upon by the Church). We are indoctrinated (but there are also competing secular beliefs into which we are indoctrinated) but some to a lesser degree. Agreed, some have less of a desire or need for faith, and some still remain interested but I have found many are hungry for a new approach in line with their modern insights/education.
  24. Theism - What Would It Take?

    Also, without looking at a dictionary, I think theism also suggests that the god or gods are external to us. What you have called supernatural theism is how I always understood it. So agreed on the miracles as demonstrations or assistance and the prophets and priests who speak for the god/gods. Never defined pantheism this way (variations on a theme), rather understood it as 'from the beginning' god and the world were the same and/or that the world is the self-expression of god as he seeks to know and fulfill himself. But generally, agreed. I don't define deism as pantheism: there is a god who is external and at a distance but has no involvement with man or the natural world. Like the clock maker, he just set all in motion and took off for places unknown. Agree on panentheism, not sure if I would defined as consciousness (although I think Spong moves to this) but not opposed. I have always define the god of panentheism as Being which is Love. But again, agreed. As to who is right: it is belief, so it is choice (and a construct). However, I think each tells a story and panentheism's story resonates with me and is a piece with the Christian Story. I think if Christianity moves its 'setting,' as it must, from the ancient 3 tiered world view, and, acknowledging a modern worldview (that is how we, generally, understand ourselves and the universe), retells its story, it moves to a panentheistic presentation of god and man. I think such a retelling helps people to see and hear, sometimes for the first time. And, of course, although I can't imagine it, if in the future, another world view becomes dominant, Christianity must retell its story again for the people of a new age. I don't think denim, pantheism or supernatural theism do justice to or are ultimately compatible with the Christian story. Panentheism is its most hopeful language.