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Everything posted by JosephN

  1. Thanks everyone, these are some really great thoughts and a lot to ponder during the next liturgy. Burl, I think I have reread your thoughts a half-dozen times already. It is interesting how even years after leaving my childhood religion, the modes of thinking I learned there still have so much influence over me. I had always been taught that taking the sacrament (our word for Eucharist) was a renewal of baptismal covenants. You had to be worthy to do so, and a big part of worthiness was acceptance of the church's doctrines. Now it seems difficult to abandon that mindset. The Episcopal church I have been attending has been very welcoming and not pushed me in one direction or another, explicitly allowing me to find my own path. I have been happily accepting a blessing in lieu of the bread and wine since I started attending. One other interpretation I recently read that I liked simply referred to the taking of the bread and wine as a commonly shared experience, unifying all Christians, of many different backgrounds, beliefs and modes of thinking dating back to the last supper. I remember when living abroad, I watched a live television program, knowing that my family back home was watching the exact same program at the exact same time. This did help me to feel more connected to them, even halfway across the world. Regards, Joseph
  2. Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. Mormonism was itself an interesting journey for me and included serving a proselytizing mission (white shirt, tie, name tag) and attending BYU (church sponsored university). Being immersed that fully in doctrine and culture, questioning doctrine wasn't exactly heresy, it was unthinkable. Though I have had trouble accepting God all my life, the thought of leaving the church never occurred to me until I started grad school and began living without any "church supervision" for the first time. I was fortunate to be raised in a somewhat liberal family, and while my faith journey has been difficult for them, it has fortunately not strained our relationships past the breaking point. Thanks again everyone, Joseph
  3. I have considered myself an atheist for a number of years now, but recently began attending a local Episcopal church. The experience has been very enjoyable overall. The liturgy and music have been uplifting and the openness to different perspectives and interpretations of Christianity within the congregation have made me comfortable with seeking god on my own terms. Though I have been attending services for a few months, I still refrain from reciting the Nicean Creed and partaking the Eucharist. I feel that by accepting the Eucharist I am assenting theological propositions about atonement and the nature of god that still make no sense to me. So I am wondering what others here who don't necessarily accept a literal interpretation of the Jesus story but still attend services think about the Eucharist and what it means when you partake. Thanks in advance for your insights. Joseph
  4. I was raised in the Mormon church but left several years ago after coming to the conclusion that I didn't believe any single "true" church existed, let alone one so historically and socially problematic. Since then I have considered myself an atheist, but recently began to wonder if I gave up god and spirituality a little too quickly. Eventually I found myself attending a local Episcopal church and have generally found the experience very enjoyable; I was rather surprised how much I missed the music and ceremony. The community has also been very generous and welcoming. I am hoping I can find some understanding of god that makes sense to me and would allow me to regain some sense of spirituality. Looking forward to learning from the perspectives here. Joseph
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