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Everything posted by AllInTheNameOfProgress

  1. Thanks JenellYB! "Sanctify This Love" would be perfect at a wedding. I like the words in these samples. Janet
  2. I just found a new "Progressive Christian" song. Enjoy! I just LOVE the lyric "Keep tryin' to find the balance of our love and our convictions.." Janet
  3. Boy, I hope the United Methodist Church follows suit soon!
  4. "I can wade through a multitude of superstition if there is a truly compassionate person underneath. " I totally agree with you, Norm! Thanks for the story about your grandmother. She is an inspiration! Janet
  5. Hi! It seems to be part of being human that we wish for things to be fair and to see justice done in the end. We are collectively bothered that life is not fair. It has been curious to see how that has played out in theology. George, I asked my 6th grade Sunday School teacher the very same question (except instead of Mother Teresa, I used my teacher as the good example). I remember this was something that very much bothered me about Christianity at the time. Thirty two years later I have completely shifted my focus toward trying to stop evil from happening and trying my best to love my enemies rather than debating what is going to happen to them after this life. I spend very little time thinking about heaven or hell. But... I will be very surprised if the awesome God I love has a place of eternal punishment for anyone (even Hitler!). At one point I read some books and found Scott Peck's "green room" in his book In Heaven As on Earth a "fair" solution - a place where the dead go to work out the issues that cause them to be unready for heaven. Similarly, I can see how reincarnation (trying again and again until our souls are right) has appeal to humans. However, I think that I can trust God to have created a better plan than any human could think of, if what I've seen so far in nature is any indication. If not, and there is no afterlife, I still will have experienced abundant life in this lifetime, trying my best to glorify God by loving others well. Janet
  6. Norm, Thanks for your replies! I agree with you that the complete goal of helping God's kingdom come on Earth will not probably happen in our lifetimes, but we can do our best to affect the part of the world we feel called to help. If many of us are working toward a common goal, and we teach our children that goal, it infuses much meaning to our humanity and how we live on this earth. I believe it truly does matter. I think human understanding of God has evolved and is evolving. I am encouraged my many of the social progress we have made. The Bible has been used on both sides of just about every social debate. There's a interesting book called The Bible Tells Me So that illustrates that point. Our conversation here has been quite apropos, as yesterday I was questioned whether I believe in the Harrowing of Hell and what its purpose was. My first response was, "It really isn't important to me." Janet
  7. I love your profile pic!

  8. "I celebrate the wonderfulness of humanity. I don't need to believe that it has some higher purpose, or some deity should get the credit." I just wanted to add that I DO believe humanity has some higher purpose. I think it is for each of us to try to help God's kingdom come on Earth. (make the world a better place for ALL).
  9. "So, when I say that I think we should only discard the dirty bath water, I mean that, within the Christian Church, the message of Jesus is diluted because the focus is on the miracle. Tell me I'm wrong about that! I've read many of your posts in here, and that is the impression I get" Thanks, Norm! I appreciate your thoughts. I don't think you have "a problem" that I'm trying to solve. I appreciate your honesty, and I want to assure you that my personal faith is not focused on the miracle, but rather the message I tried to state in my previous posts. It may be because I am part of a pretty "liberal" United Methodist congregation, but I think the majority of the old "Mainline" protestant denominations are moving in the same direction you are with their collective thinking. Anytime any part of Christianity is used as a justification for hatred, it is VERY dirty bathwater!! Janet
  10. I hope you enjoy this video. It was posted on my facebook wall by a friend and came at just the right time, since in another thread I was asked which of the traditional Christian doctrine I take more metaphorically, as a mystery to be grappled with. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiG-nlDVvYM&feature=youtu.be
  11. Norm, I want to say how sorry I am to hear of your mother's suffering!! I agree that the Christians who held out hope your mother's life would be spared through answered prayer and assured you her death was for a "greater purpose" meant well, but I understand how that contributed to your belief that God was either cruel or distant. Have you ever read the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner? The premise is that God does not suspend the laws of physics to keep someone from having a car wreck and does not intervene at the microbiological level to heal disease. The author concluded this because of the death of his son and many, many other instances where good people suffered, and if a loving God were indeed pulling the strings in our universe, He surely would have intervened. BUT, I believe the way God is with us (and not distant) is in the spiritual realm. We can't control the things that happen to us, but we can control how we respond. And God is a great resource in helping us to respond in love, trying to better ourselves, help others, and make the world a better place. Is this at ALL helpful, Norm? I don't know if someone else on this board may be more able to help. I haven't been through the death of a parent yet. Janet
  12. Norm, thank you for challenging me. I know my post imperfectly expressed my thoughts. I'd ask you to consider why the "glory" of a sunrise still stirs awe within you, even though you know the scientific reasons for its presence? I don't personally attribute each individual sunrise to a supernatural being manifesting it that way on a given day, but I do experience the complexity and beauty of natural world to be miraculous. The effect of beauty (or music) on the soul is (to me)also miraculous. In the same way I consider hope in desperate times to be miraculous. It is fine with me if you do not like the word I use. You have touched upon the same feeling (I think) when you say awe. What things would you consider dirty bath water that you'd like to throw out? Is it possible for you to do that yourself with regard to your personal faith, rather than requiring it of others as well? Norm, I have friends who consider me a heretic, and I no longer hold that against them I think they are more uncomfortable with that label than I am. I think of the trinity as one way of seeing God, but not THE ONLY way of seeing God. I think the resurrection is a mystery - something happened that profoundly impacted those scared disciples AND I can sense that Jesus is not dead, but I don't know exactly what happened on resurrection day. I do not believe it is necessary to embrace mythology in order to follow Jesus. But, here I am on a progressive Christian website rather than on an evangelical one, so I may not be the person you need the answer from. Janet
  13. I'd like to reply to the original post and say that you are not the only person who has difficulties with these teachings of Jesus. As I have read in search of how I could follow Jesus when some of his teaching do not make sense to me, I have come across several different themes. Jesus was a product of his time, speaking to people of his time (regarding slavery, masturbation, divorce, etc. For example, masturbation when you wanted to grow the numbers of your race is counter-productive, but we don't need to do that anymore). Jesus spoke a lot in hyperbole to emphasize a point (he didn't really mean we should blind ourselves, but rather he was making a point about how our eyes can lead us down the wrong path). In the case of masturbation, the question would be whether it is in someway harming my relationship with another who could be benefitting from physical intimacy. Jesus wasn't providing a model for each of us about how to relate to our family --rather he was fulfilling His purpose in life, which did not include the same importance of his earthly family as I have. I have heard other things regarding Jesus' "righteous" anger at the fig tree. But the point is... these are parts of the Bible that many struggle with and some make (IMO) lame attempts to explain away. The fact is that the person of Jesus would probably offended me at times if he were alive today, and I would need to look at the parts of His teaching that offended me and see if it was an issue I needed to work on, or something that didn't relate to me at this point in my life. I find it admirable that the Bible did not just whitewash these stories of Jesus that are puzzling. It gives those of us who need one an intellectual challenge to our faith. Jesus was obviously "larger than life" and we only have what was "officially" recorded about him. In my heart I know Jesus wants us to focus on the ideas that Glorifying God should be of greater importance than pleasing people. Even if the world rejects you, God will always love you. You are worthy of love. When you feel alone, God is with you, and there is hope. If you feel you need to be forgiven, but people won't give you grace, God will Treat others the way you want to be treated, even when that's difficult Be intentional in your actions, through prayer and heart-felt consideration Try to resolve problems between yourself and others Sometimes great learning comes from struggle Work diligently to make the world a better place and help those who need it. LOVE is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to God but through LOVE. Enough, already! Sorry for the tome... Janet
  14. Hi, I wanted to give my two cents. Norm, many of the acts of "magic" on your list are things I take in more of a methaphorical way in my personal faith. However, I do see real power in faith that creates a feeling of magic at times. This spring a group of young people at church and their adult sponsors created a "magical" dinner theater experience that exceeded all expectations because of their faith and hope and desire to have money to go on a mission trip and change the world. When a baby develops and is born, it is a scientific process, but it still "magical" in its complexity and beauty. The "magic" events on your list are mysteries - challenges to see how they are true in one's own life and relationship to God. You don't have to throw out the baby (loving one another, loving one's enemies, helping those who have no other resources, treating others the way we want to be treated, reconciling with those who anger us, accepting that we are worthy of love even when we make mistakes or when the world beats us down) with the bathwater (difficulty in believing in a literal parting of the Red Sea, for example). I have been in a similar place to you, Norm. At one time I was not sure what the purpose of religion was, since I didn't believe God would see it necessary for Jesus to die for me to be "saved." The incongruities of a system where pure evil + professed belief could be a ticket to heaven, while others with doubt were denied heaven were objections I also held. I now firmly believe that there are "truths" in the Jesus story and teachings that cause us to have life abundantly, even if I don't believe Mary was a virgin. Grappling with how to apply the stories to one's own life can result in huge interpersonal and spiritual growth. Thanks everyone, for your thoughts! A good read this morning! Janet
  15. Neon - I think you're right on about God Help the Outcasts! Rivanna, I listened to a bunch of Bruce Cockburn today. "The Gift" is awesome! Thanks! Janet
  16. I think the controversy is that he still believes he is "evangelical". I agree that the ideas are not revolutionary, but I'm glad to know how far back they go, Karen! Janet
  17. Thanks, Karen, for posting this. It is a gem and makes me see why the book has become so popular (and also so hated). It calls us to be more than we are! Janet
  18. Thanks! Okay, so if the septuagint differs from the Torah, what do you think would be the emphasis of Paul's textbook if it had been more faithfully converted to Greek? From an ealier post by Kayatl "Paul was some scholars feel as important as Jesus as creating what is now one of the biggest international religions. Jesus was into apocalyptic endings, helping the poor (primarily if they were Jewish), and viewing the extensive orthodox Jewish laws in a more practical light.It was Paul who interjected love as an overriding theme in Christianity especially love of all people regardless of ethnicity. why did this change occur!Because of Paul's overriding ambition and the multiple ethnic groups which were part of Roman society an emphasis on brotherly love across all ethnicities became part of the Christian theme." Do you think God/Jesus would not approve of this new emphasis? Janet
  19. Juanster, So do you think that Paul's early church went back to the "legalistic"/Pharasee/Talmudic-type religion that Jesus hated? Janet
  20. I can't listen right now because I don't have headphones and everyone in my house is sleeping, but you are right that people need to feel connected to people. When I'm feeling situationally depressed it helps to know God is with me, even if the world isn't, but sometimes I can't even feel His presence. I know I'm not alone in that, since the Bible has Jesus asking, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Sometimes it takes a friend to remind me that God IS with me. What a shock to have the thing where an aquaintence ended her life just after seeing you. I'm sorry you went through that and sorrier she felt she had no other good options. I can't wait to hear the song. Thanks for reaching out. Janet
  21. Thanks for your reply, Nick! Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I'm definitely identifying more than ever with that author at this point in life. I've involuntarily evoked Psalm 23 before when stressed. I have been thinking that modern day devotional guides are sometimes written in the format where there is a situation that might be troubling the reader with a scripture and a blurb about how it applies to the situation. So maybe Antirhetticos isn't so unique after all.
  22. "So here are the questions with how I responded - feel free to tell me if you think I fell off the tracks or better points to make:" I think you did a GREAT job, and I'm glad you posted this! It is good for each of us to have answers to questions about why we believe what we do, and I think it is awesome that the students come to you for clarification and are willing to ask questions! I liked the language you used, too. Very well thought out! I particularly like the question about the difference between superstition and religion, and I'll be thinking more about that while I am driving around this afternoon. Janet
  23. So, are you asserting that Jesus would have been unhappy that Paul was a founder of the Christian church? How would Christianity be different if it didn't follow the Talmudic tradition but the Torah instead? Sometimes I'm slow and need things broken down for me. Thanks! Janet
  24. Two more ideas: "The Motions" by Matthew West and "The One Thing" by Paul Coleman. "The One Thing" starts with "Here I am in a river of questions. Can I pour my heart out to a listening ear?" and says "the one thing I don't question is You. You really love me like you say you do." Perfect for TCPC! "The Motions" is a call to feel God's passion to help us fight through the nothingness of life, which is why so many are seeking here. Feeling like there's something more... Let's keep sharing! Janet
  25. In another thread on this forum, I was introduced to Evagrius' Antirrheticus, a manual with 500 thoughts and circumstances a person might encounter where meditating on Bible verses might help them. I usually pray, rather than meditate on scripture when I am facing trouble, and I wanted to know if anyone on this forum has found scripture meditation useful. and if you could give me examples. I have been having small talks with my teenage son about anger, so I thought I would look up English translation of Antirrheticus to see what Bible verses were suggested for vaious anger-provoking situations. However, this translation I found http://www.ldysinger.com/evagrius/07_Antirrhet/00a_start.htm did not have an active link for Anger. Following other links I found another translation of the anger part that basically said for anger one should sing the psalms. I know there have been attempts in the past to set psalms to more modern music, but I haven't been wild about any of them. I am not sure there is any particular magic about the music being psalms anyway, but rather music that speaks to God. Does anyone have any suggestions or comments about that idea? I think a modern-day version of Antirrheticus would be awesome but I don't feel inspired to write it. Anyone? Janet
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