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David last won the day on May 8 2012

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About David

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    Experienced Member
  • Birthday 07/14/1949

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    California Oct-April, Vancouver Island May-Sept
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    I live between worlds. Between the UU, the UCC, the Disciples, and the Episcopalians. Between working in the corporate world and being retired. Between holy hill in Berkeley and the holy wilderness of Vancouver Island. Between the San Francisco Bay Area and the foothills of Sacramento. Between the Church of the past and the Church yet to come. Between my children as babies and their babies. Between sin and salvation as only a progressive christian can understand. I am a member of Spong's church alumni association working to create a new Church that I am not sure Spong has yet visionalized. On the way I enjoy most all sports, hot tubs and the person I love, my wife Susan.
  1. Dutch, Your post added to mine without necessarily agreeing with all I said. Thank you. The kind of community that I am talking about is organic. From those types of communities we are helped in learning who we are. Bill, I continue to appreciate your struggle with all of this. To me it is obviously a struggle and it makes me hurt inside sometimes. One thing I think that needs to be done is to take TCPC off of its pedestal. I’m not sure that anyone at TCPC tried to get on this pedestal and perhaps the pedestal is not real for many folks. TCPC is a very small group that has been given a very important name. However folks like Borg, Spong and Funk do not include the eight points in any of their books or writings that I can see. So when it comes to trying to figure out what progressive Christianity may be I would suggest that we not give too much weight to TCPC and certainly less weight to this forum as I have tried to point out with this post. Although many churches are affiliates of TCPC I have not found evidence that many churches use the eight points in their mission statements or statements of belief (most often they seem to provide a link to the TCPC website on a list of favorite websites). So I think that some of your comments speak to that observation. As far as visions from those who are ultimately concerned about Christian context I again would suggest Funk. I did not explain who Funk was. Robert (Bob) Funk was the founder of the Jesus Seminar. Without Funk there would be no public Spong or public Borg. I think his book “Honest to Jesus” (not Honest to God) is helpful. I think that for progressive Christians we need to look to Funk, Borg, Spong, Armstrong and ? Bill, as you have noted we seem to be at a point of needing reconstruction and not deconstruction. I know you think that Borg is better at this. I am not so sure. I first met Borg when he was promoting his classic “Jesus, a New Vision”. I sat with him at lunch and asked him what difference his new vision of Jesus would make in how we would do Church. He replied that he had no idea. I think he is much better with Christian education versus worship. The real heroes in my mind for progressive Christianity are those pastors out there is a daily struggle in those organic communities trying to make a difference. The fact that none of those pastors post here speaks volumes to me.
  2. Paul, I am not sure there is anything that I could say that would change your opinion about what I intended to say, so I won't. Maybe I have helped you in some way to confirm what you think. This forum can do that. David
  3. George, I am sorry if my continued presence bothers you. Folks come and go as their spirit moves. I intend on coming back if Tillich again becomes a focus and I may see some specific thing I would like to talk about. But at present I do not intend on being active anymore. I had a teacher who said that most folks have a few things that they say in many different ways. I think that if you look at different folks you will see common themes that they talk about in several different ways. If you agree with those themes it may not seem to you that those folks are repeating themselves. David
  4. Paul, I would not want to try to persuade you that this is not the place for you or for anyone else for that matter who has found comfort in this place. If you have read that into my post please forgive any part that I played in that. Please also do not assume that I require “strict guidelines”. If you have not been a part of the kind of Christian community that I am talking about then you may not be able to understand. Please understand a main point of mine is that it is the communities that we are a part of that help shape who we are as individuals. We obviously disagree about the nature of Christian community if you feel that it can be held together based upon only the eight points or that it can come close to being contained within a forum environment such as this. What I would hope for within a forum such as this would be signs pointing towards the nature of Christian community that I am talking about. I do not see that. Others may be able to see more than I do. Peace to all. Cheers to you. David
  5. Funk's book is called "Honest to Jesus", not "Honest to God". John A. T. Robinson was the author of the classic "Honest to God". My apologies to both Funk and Robinson.
  6. Just to recap: I embrace the teaching of Jesus because of its intrinsic philosophical value; particularly as expressed in the Sermon on the Mount / Plain. I often seek to emulate that philosophy in my own life. I do not, however, believe in propitiation for sin, resurrection, virgin birth, miracles, etc. Is I am or is I ain't - a Christian? NORM You have gotten to the heart of the matter Norm. I see that you saw that I said goodbye and asked me a question in my absence. Let me not leave without further speaking to your question. I have suggested that people look to the history of UU and learn. There you will find a Christian history, which became a rejection of Christianity. However the organization retained Christian names. Imagine what we may have had today if this had not happened. We may have been able to develop Unitarian and Universalist groups that would provide a response to what I consider the greatest threats to Christianity: the Atonement and Selective Salvation. If this had happened I would argue that we would not even need what has become called Progressive Christianity. We would need an organization to fulfill the function now performed by UU. We would need a place for people to go who are spiritual but not religious. We would need places for those folks, humanists and all others to meet in an common space. What is happening now I think is that the spiritual but not religious folks (and others) are taking progressive Christianity down the same well worn path taken by UU. I don’t see why that is necessary since we have UU doing a much better job performing that function. Why duplicate what UU is doing especially since TCPC organizationally is just not prepared to compete with UU? So what if you wanted to know whether you were a Unitarian or a Universalist? You would not get very far going to a UU group. The people who control the names are no longer interested in the question. They think that they have “progressed” beyond any need to be involved with the question of what Unitarian or Universalists may be. Their mission is now is for the spiritual but not religious folks as well as to humanists and many other self-identifications. I have suggested that self-identification is a complex process that involves the society/community and the individual self. When you are talking about self-identification as a Christian that means that you are talking about a self who is working that out within a community that calls itself Christian and ultimately cares about Christian context. So who within progressive Christianity ultimately cares about Christian context? Probably the best suggestion that I have is that you read Funk’s chapter “Jesus for a new age” in his book “Honest to God” where he states “Contrary to some popular expectations, Jesus for a new age does not mean Jesus for crystals and channeling, for auras and chakras, meditation and yoga, astrology and harmonic convergences, or even holistic medicine, although Jesus may have some significance for some or all of those things. What I have in mind by a ‘new age’ is something quite different, though not entirely unrelated”. Funk then goes on to provide a vision for Christian context/community based upon the best of Biblical scholarship and progressive Christian theology. If you agree with Funk then I think there is a good indication that you would like to self-identify as a Christian but you really need a community to help you do that. There are some communities who are trying to live out such a vision. For them the Christian context is a reflection of ultimate caring about what it means to be Christian. But for many and for most who post here there is either a lack of such concern or there are folks who live “in exile” as Spong puts it or there are those who reject the need for community. Those who reject the need for community I think are the least likely persons to be able to answer your question. I am suggesting that your question about your self-identity as a Christian can only be answered within the context of a community who ultimately cares about the Christian context. The problem of course is that there is not now an abundance of that community trying to live out Funk/Spong/Borg’s vision. That is why it seems to me that so many people feel they have to answer your question on their own but I just don’t see that working real well. I am suggesting that perhaps you have come to the wrong place to ask your question. So bottom line here is my response to your question. Without community I cannot really answer your question. I don’t find that community here and so I cannot answer your question here. To me it is like asking you what it means to be a Jew outside your Jewish community. We have ecumenical spaces to attempt that but it seems to me those chairs at the table are occupied by communities and not individuals. Of course we can all meet at your pub and have great discussions also. Those however usually don't last beyond a wonderful evening. David This thread was moved unchanged from Debate and Dialog area by JosephM( as Moderator) 5-13-2012
  7. George, Just a minor point which believe me is minor for me. The rule here was going off topic and I think Norm was the one that brought us off topic and we all followed. I was the one however that was chastised. You prove my major point. The community/society has an important and essential stake in the process. That process has a lot to do with inclusion/exclusion Who are you going to include and who are you going to exclude. Having a strong sense of mission is the best way to do that. Having “ground rules” as you say is another way to include/exclude and I have no quarrel with that. Keep working on this process of inclusion/exclusion. It is hard and you folks who accept the moderator function should be patted on the back more often than you are. Peace and best wishes to you all. David
  8. I keep running up against Joseph the moderator. Best if I just return to silence.
  9. George, Thank you for allowing me some slack here to get to where we can both agree that self definition is a complicated mix of society and individual self. Obviously the next step is to ask how that applies to Christianity and self definition of being a Christian. That is a complicated mix of society and individual self. On the society side we have a whole complex of things to consider and the same goes for on the individual side. It just seems to me that within the progressive "community" there is a tendency to deny any part for the community. Particular values such as acceptance are both derived and practiced within a complex mixture of society and individuals trying to define themselves within that society or community. Liberals have a tendency to overlook how the community/society is essential to the process of course unless you are that island that I talked about. David
  10. Thank you George. That was like pulling teeth. My point obviously is that self definition is a complicated mix of society and individual self. If we can agree on that then we can discuss what may be less absurd and preposterous.
  11. Let me take one question at a time. If I claim to be the President what is the difference between saying that I am not the President and saying I don't meet the definition of being President?
  12. Dutch, If I claim to be the President what is the difference between saying I am not the President and saying I don’t meet the definition of being President? If I say I am not a criminal because I shot someone does not society have the right to say my self definition is wrong? Once we agree on some standard where society is more important than the individual then we can also talk about where the individual does have an absolute right that can not be touched by society. David
  13. Hi Norm, You are setting me up, right? Read above: if I say you are not a Christian I get banned (but what is gained/what is lost since I will be returning to silence). But I guess I am glad that a Jew asked this question because I can say you are not a Jew and not get banned. If you are in the arena of self definition you will soon learn that self definition is not entirely up to the self. If I define myself as the President of the US I soon learn that they do not let me in the White House. If I define myself as a charmed Elf that is ok as long as I do not want to get into the society of charmed Elfs. If I define myself as a Jew that is ok as long as I don’t want to attend that orthodox temple. But you want to be a Christian and of course that is where it gets real sensitive around here. Here you obviously can say that a divine stanger gave you a divine revelation and you are Christian by right of that revelation. You come here and declare that you are Christian and that same divine revelation told you that you had no problem with the eight points but you were here to tell us what those eight points really meant. You would be accepted of course unless you broke rules that were more important than the eight points which include not saying that I am not a Christian or repeating over and over and over and over that you thought that you were right and I was wrong. You see self definition can be up to the self only if you live on your own private island and control every little aspect of yourself. But once you realize that you are part of a community you will find that self definition is not entirely up to the self and even though that self wants everyone else to accept you at face value that society of charmed Elfs is not necessarily going to agree with you. If you have no concern for that society and are only using the Elf name because it pleases your selfdom then you may coexist to the extent that the society lets you. Apply that to being a Jew and then come back and let’s talk again. David
  14. George, If you can not explain it then it seems to me that it is not a guideline that is generally understood within our society. Raven, DavidK was a certainly not a progressive. He was however one of the more civil fundamentalists that I have come across. If you are publicly progressive then you are going to draw the attention of the fundamentalists. Rather than kicking them off of a forum that is sensitive to progressives I would suggest that we learn how to respond to them in civil conversation. That is going to involve a theological position that fundamentalists take and that is that progressives can not be Christians. To make a difference between whether that is a general comment or associated with one person makes little difference to me. But obviously I am wrong according to this forum David
  15. As I understand the guideline is that you can say generally that progressives can not be Christian as long as you phrase it in such a way that it is a general assertion as to what a religion encompasses. But you cannot say to an individual progressive who self identifies as a progressive that he/she is not a Christian. Is that correct?
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