Jump to content

RubySera Martin

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About RubySera Martin

  • Rank
    Guest Member

Contact Methods

  • MSN
  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Theology and religious studies. Reading and writing. I'm a student. Online communication. Weather, climate, it's impact on humans and vegetation i.e. what can grow. Human nature, dogs--esp. dog-dogs like beagles (I had one for about ten years), labs, shepherds. Children. Nature, birds, photography of nature and animals and flowers. I have almost completed my first half century on this planet and look forward to the next.
  1. Soma, I'm trying to put together the things you are saying. Somewhere else you said something about ego, and ego-dominated world. Here you talk about material success and prosperity. I highlighted the terms above. This world is dominated by the search for material success and prosperity. So I guess material success and prosperity are pretty much equal with ego--both dominate this world. You put success and prosperity on the side of Good/Postive and ego on the side of Evil/Negative. I guess I just don't understand how all of this is supposed to fit together. Maybe you can enlighten me.
  2. I'm new here. Just read through this thread. Flatliner, I sent you a pm. I see there has been progress or change in the past month but I'd like to respond to a few themes for what it's worth. About certainty. It has occurred to me that feeling certain about things like God's existence, how the universe came into being, what happens when we die, etc. might be the lazy man's way. It requires faith not to know these things. Yet for me it's liberating. My aim is to find Truth. I found it very stressful evaluating all the arguments for and against creation and evolution. I came across the idea some years ago that the origin of the universe is not the preoccupation of all people. Some people (religions) just don't ask the question. I asked myself why it is so important to know the answer. I concluded that it's not important. Earlier this week I came across an essay of a Baptist preacher of a conservative congregation and he is an atheist. He feels his commitment is to preach the Word and he does so. He stays away from contraversial topics and when people ask him for advice or if he sees things happening regarding activating against some liberal goal he discourages it. On one level it looks hypocritical and he is aware of this. On the deeper level I think his integrity is intact. I find myself on the margins, too. I post on an ex-Christian forum and now I am also here. I have searched high and low for a spiritual identity that fits me. I explored a variety of beliefs very intentionally. I conclude that I don't fit into any specific religious system. I think I am simply spiritual and it seems I can apply any belief system to make sense of my life. Humanism is my system of first choice but Christianity is almost a tie. Yet Goldilocks and the Three Bears or Lion King, or pretty much any myth would work. I find myself in deep and serious discussion about the faith from the conservative Christian perspective and just as easily discussing life with ex-Christians or people who have never been religious. I don't know if this is a higher level of spirituality than fitting into a specific religion but sometimes I think it is. Other times I think I'm just unique and don't fit in anywhere and this is making the best of the situation. I guess what I'm trying to say is, relax. Don't worry too much about having it "right." I think it doesn't matter whether or not God exists, nor does it matter what happens when we die. Being true to who we are where we are in our time will allow us to live fully and joyfully. Not the-smiling-all-the-time joy, but a deeper joy that passes all understanding. It just is. Like the deep calm of the very deep ocean. They say far down the ocean is always calm. I don't know if it's true. Never been there. But I like the thought that no matter how violent the storm rages on life's surface, it is possible to be calm deep down. I don't always manage it but it's a metaphor I like.
  3. I'm not a parent, but I was a child at one time. My parents also had the perfect vision on how to raise me in the faith that was best for me. Unfortunately children are not always like their parents so that what parents plan for the children is not always what works best for the children. I guess I've seen a lot of this, esp. when I read testimonies of people in their twenties. I realize that the things they are rebelling against or struggling with to unlearn are the very things that back in the eighties were cutting-edge new ideas that could not fail because they were so good. I think the suggestion to listen and listen hard is very good. On the other hand, when my nephew was a very little boy I found that he asked questions for the sake of asking questions. He did not seem at all bothered when I directed his attention somewhere else. For myself, I also found that my parents' teachings far out-weighed anything teachers could say. Ruby
  4. It's a good thought. We all have it deep down if love can somehow connect to it. I think it was Jean Vanier (not sure of spelling or first name). I read about him setting up a batch of homes for developmentally challenged people. I also read a Reader's Digest story about him visiting a man on death row. Vanier believed like I do and perhaps everybody on here, that people are inherently good if only love can connect with this goodness. About this serial killer on deathrow. He told Reader's Digest that this man must have been hated in the womb. So many layers of defense did he sense around him. I meet so many people who don't believe in the inherent goodness of humans that this story really stuck. It made me feel like maybe it's not just a weird and unrealistic idea on my part that people are good. I apologize. My thoughts seem muddled. I just came out of an extremely disturbing situation. I came here in an attempt to settle myself a bit. I hope this is okay. It seems like a compassionate soothing place. Ruby
  5. Willard G. Oxtoby edited a two volume set called "World Religions." One volume is subtitled "Western Traditions," and the other is subtitled, "Eastern Traditions." He wrote one or two chapters and the introduction. There is a chapter for each religion he covers and most of them are written by individuals who practice the faith they write about. It's not the easiest book to read but it contains much information.
  6. Thanks everyone for the welcome. Ted, I immediately recognized Kaufman as an Amish/Mennonite name. There are many spellings of the name. But I don't know Gordon Kaufman. He probably belongs to what I call the modern Mennonites if he is a professor. “When questioning is banned, we are in the presence of idolatry.” Ted, how I love that line in your signature! My question would be idolotry of what? Church dogma? Maybe this belongs in another thread. I keep meaning to mention that dogs are my favourite animal. That's why I chose this avatar. I like larger dogs and this one looks like one of the best. I used to have a beagle. Didn't have too much room and beagles are smaller; take up less room in the house. Sparkie, my dog, was very special and important to me but I couldn't take her along to the city with me so we had to put her down. I really missed her for several years. But recently I realized that I don't miss her so much anymore. It might be because I am now living in a place where my computer is at the window and the neighbourhood cats and squirrels and even birds come visit. I can watch animal and bird life from my basement appartment window. It's been a really blessing. A few weeks ago a baby blue jay ended up in my window well. For two or three days I was entertained by the drama of bird family life. After a few days the little guy had enough wing feathers to flutter out of the well and I would guess he's on his own by now.
  7. Hi everybody! First of all let me thank AltheiaRivers for telling me about this place and for giving me the address. I also want to thank flowperson for encouraging me to actually post here. I'm finding myself in a difficult position regarding forums. I was on one for a year, then got kicked out without explanation or warning. It wasn't the best place for me because of the fundamentalists--both Christian and atheist fundies. After a long search I found Comparative Religions, where I met Alethia and flowperson. But I felt a need for more variety. This morning it occurred to me to follow up on flow's suggestion to post on this forum so here I am. I've read a few threads to get a bit of a feel for this place. It feels like home, a place where I might actually fit in without having to slice off this and that part of who I am. Rebels, heretics. Those are some of the sweet words I read on one of the threads. I don't have to check my beliefs at the door. Isn't that great! I was going to tell a bit about my life story and I probably should but, the way it looks, I won't have to justify my beliefs and life decisions. I was born into and lived the first forty-odd years of my life in an Old Order Mennonite community in Ontario. This is the kind of Mennonites who use horse-and-buggies for transportation, and speak Pennsylvania German. The culture, dress, and way of life is similar to that of the Amish, in case you know about them. In the thead on Spiritual Abuse (Progressive Christian room) I tell about my relationship with my family and the larger community. I have removed myself from the situation, but when compared with the way I get treated by the people around me these days, my family and former community did not treat me as a human. As is normal for abuse victims, I did not know I was experiencing abuse. All I knew was that I was desperately unhappy. Sometime after my fortieth birthday it hit me that I would never gain their approval; I'd tried long enough. I also realized around the same time that I would never get from their God what I needed. I mean, if you try something for two or three decades, surely you've given it an honest try? That is how I felt. I had exhausted the community's idea on how to find happiness. Nothing worked. Finally, I threw caution to the wind and committed myself to finding happiness at all costs. I knew it could cost me my membership in the community and that it would drastically change the already dysfunctional relationships with my family (parents and siblings; I've never been married and have no kids). I don't know if, from a sociological perspective, the community can be called a cult. But the difficulty I experienced in getting out is very similar if not identical to that of getting out of what is normally called a cult. It was like jumping off the planet, not knowing if there was a place to land. In other words, it was extremely difficult and traumatic. I barely escaped with my life. I went through two suicidal episodes where all my energy was required simply to keep on breathing from minute to minute. Each episode of this intensity lasted on a day. And I survived. I just tell this to give some idea of how difficult it was. So many people think one can always change their beliefs and that moving to another church isn't the end of the world. However, the outsiders who know the culture and religion from which I come marvel at the strength it must have taken. Those who walked with me through those first horrible months know it was extremely difficult. For those people who don't know the first thing about Mennonites, here is a really good website. As you will see, there are many different branches of the Mennonite Church. In this immediate geographical area they can perhaps be divided into three main groups: the horse and buggy groups (there are two or three), the conservative car groups (quite a few; they drive cars but retain varying degrees of the distinctive Mennonite dress), and what I call the modern Mennonites because they have no dress code; they live and dress like the rest of society and the conservative groups tend to think of them as "not of us." The horse and buggy groups forbid education beyond Grade eight. The other conservative groups vary in levels of education permissible. The modern Mennonites put no limits on level of education; some of them are university professors. I believed that in order for me to be happy I needed training for a professional career. This meant university education. If I went for university education, I would probably have to leave the church (lose membership in the Old Order Mennonite [OOM] church). The thought of that turned my blood cold, but I had to go through with it as described. Eventually I moved from the farm to the city. I spread the transition over a number of years. I kept my education a secret for well over a year. When I "came out of the closet" I had to leave the church or live with extreme disapproval. I could not do that so I left. A few years later I was offered the opportunity to house-sit for several months in the city, within walking distance of the university. That allowed me to try city life without giving up my farm home. It was so much better for me to live in the city (away from all those critical, judgmental eyes), that I found myself a place to rent in the city. I have been here in the city for almost four years and just going back into the geographical area of the OOM brings cold black clouds of depression. Sometimes, it seems to me like darkness covers their land. Perhaps I should explain that leaving the community did not mean a physical or geographical move. It just meant that I officially went to another church. I chose a modern Mennonite church in the area because I wanted a church that did not have a dress code (I didn't want to change my dress in any way) and that supported higher education. When people go to another church, it is understood by the community that they have officially left the OOM church. Technically and theoretically it is possible to return. Emotionally, it is not. No one ever returns when they have officially left. My sister with whom I was sharing a home at the time saw that school made me much happier, so she supported me every step of the way. When it came to choosing between me and the rest of the family, she chose me. She remains an OOM in good standing but she understands and supports me. Today I am studying theology on the Masters level. I expect to have my degree in a year from now and I hope to be accepted for further studies by Sept. 2007. I aim for an academic career in systematic theology, and I will probably specialize in fundamentalism. On the religious level, I have not been to church in a long time. You can get some idea of my leanings here. As I said, I did not want to change my dress. I have made one major change; I stopped wearing the cap or head covering (prayer veil) about two years ago, and now wear my hair down. I did this because when I spoke at conferences and in other situations, people would not believe that I had really left the OOM community. I felt I was misrepresenting the community by appearing as an OOM person in academic circles (places the OOM would consider inappropriate to appear in). It is such a tiny thing but it does the trick. I don't drive automobiles because of my low vision. I travel by city bus. I sold the horse and buggy when I moved to the city. I could drive a horse and buggy because it's speed is much slower and because a horse has eyes and ears and a brain whereas a car does not. That extra set of eyes, ears, and the brain helped keep me safe. As is obvious, I make free use of high tech equipment today. So that is an overview of my journey from horse-and-buggy culture to a high-tech urban center, from raising farm produce and scrubbing floors to academia. Getting from where I was to where I am today seems impossible, yet I was able to make it happen one little step at a time. That is what I mean by my little line at the bottom of my posts. Don't give up just because the situation appears impossible.
  8. I just joined. Still wet behind the ears. Did I see flowperson on this thread or was it on the other thread I posted--about Spiritual Abuse, maybe. It was flowperson who suggested I post here. And it was Alethia, whom I know is on this thread, who gave me this address. I want to thank both of you for the encouragement. Maybe I should say this in my own intro, which I plan to post in just a bit. Luth, reading your first post made me feel right at home. As did your subsequent posts. Computer illiterate--that's how I feel, too. I'm looking for your first post to respond more accurately to it but can't find it without hitting "back" and I'm afraid that would delete the post I'm writing. You said Paul Tillich is your favourite theologican. Mine, too, so far. And the others you mentioned are also in the "right" category. Made me feel like I've found people like me. And someone said "let heretics abound," and called this a "batch of rebels." Wow! does this ever feel good! The reason I chose this thread to read is your name luthitarian. I am studying theology in a Lutheran seminary. And one of my classmates (she's moving on and I'm still there so I guess it's a former classmate now but we sat next to each other for about two years) is training for ministry in the Unitarian Church. So I heard a lot about Unitarians. And I wondered if perhaps you somehow or other mixed and matched Lutheran and Unitarian. So it was no surprise to see you moved from Lutheran to Unitarian.
  9. I don't know where to start. This is my first post here, by the way. Two huge topics in this thread--spiritual abuse at the hands of fundamentalism and the fundy take-over of the US. Okay, that is perhaps somewhat exagerated. I am in Canada but the line that divides us from the Americans is thin and sometimes quite poros (sp? meaning full of pores or holes; things have a habit of moving north). Loveapple, you mentioned physical and sexual abuse going along with spiritual abuse. In my case it was severe emotional and psychological abuse along with spiritual abuse. Religion was used to justify and maintain abuse on many levels throughout my lifetime. I have now removed myself from the situation but at enormous cost. I don't think I can even sort all of what's what. Preaching that the hatred they practice is love. Telling me how much they love me while practicing hate. Scolding me severely for not loving the hatred they practice. Forcing one to choose between lying and being shunned from the community. Family love depending on acceptance by the community. Community acceptance depending on how family shaped me. Being forced by family and community to choose between lying about beliefs and being shunned by both family and community. Questions outside the box about the faith were forbidden. Had to accept things on faith or face condemnation. The Golden Rule. If I went out of my way to be nice and do to others what I would want if I were in their situation, I'd get severely scolded for not treating people decent. When I complained about something that others did to me I was severely scolded for causing the action. This was far more than simply spiritual abuse. Confusion reigned supreme in my whole being. In fact, it is only as I heal and get more distance between me and the things that they did that I can see how thoroughly confused I was. Mixed messages galore. Double standards--one for me and another for everybody else. Mom saying with such deep feeling it seemed sincere that she wanted her children to be able to trust her and to confide in her about their problems. But when I did I was severely scolded for having the problem. A few breakthroughs for me were: 1. when I realized through self-help books that my pain and life troubles were not all my fault, 2. when I found out that I had a right to feel hurt. A good eight years ago I entered university. That's a story all its own. But at the college I attended I experienced for the first time in my life what it is like to be accepted and respected for who I was. I was allowed to share my ideas. I was allowed to ask questions. The prof gave me more floor time than I knew what to do with because I had learned to say whatever I wanted to say with as few words as I possibly could, just to be able to get words in edge-wise. My first prof allowed me to think how I want to say, then he allowed me to say it, then he waited to see if I had more to say. That was a gift in and of itself. Many classmates and profs have over the years thanked me for my active class participation and for asking questions they wanted to know but did not have the courage to ask. The only response I can ever think of is to thank them for appreciating my input and for allowing me to share my ideas and ask my questions. They always think it's the religion. It was more than that. My family has hated me from day 1 but insists to the present day that they love me. I used to believe it was love that motivated people to treat me like they did but I am beginning to call it hate because it hurt so much. Plus, they made me feel guilty (put on guilt trips) for not appreciating their so-called love. Eight years of being treated as a human being with rights has allowed very much healing to take place. More than one person has told me that I am doing more than surviving; I am thriving. And I know they are right. But there is still much pain. I have never really had a chance to explore spiritual abuse. That is why the title of this thread attracted my attention.
  • Create New...