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Seeking

Are There Any Ex-fundies Out There?

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I have always been a fundamentalist, but I have never found peace, tho I have tried, prayed, cried, asked questions, given up, given in, you name it.

 

I want God in my life! But I cannot any longer walk (or not walk anymore) this path. I am looking for some peace within myself. I am not sure that it is peace with God; I feel more like I am fighting myself! I realize that there is no ONE answer out there, but I would really like to hear from people that have come from this background and how they found their own place in God's family.

 

I have been reading thru the posts here and find them very interesting, but my old fundie thinking kicks in. I am not a Bible scholar or close to it, but have been exposed to it enough to keep comparing interpretations with the old slant.

 

I am from the south (which makes a huge impact), so I don't know any progressives.

 

I have many, many questions!!!!!!!!!!!! :huh:

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Hello Seeking,

 

I grew up a fundamentalist, where there was no grey, just black and white! And all the answers were clear as day and could be showed to you straight from the Bible.

 

I think one thing we have to realize, Seeking, is that we have been shaped by our fundamentalist upbringing. We have been shown very selection portions of the Bible to justify certain views or actions. We haven't been exposed to other things in the same Bible that might challenge these assumptions. We learned one interpretation and everything else must be wrong!

 

Its been a long struggle for me too. One thing that I had to recognize that much of what I felt was the "right way" wasn't actually from God, it was from biased human beings. I had to get to a point where I could look at the Bible a completely different way, and leave my own bagage at the door. I also had to start trusting my EXPERIENCES. Its easy to say that all non-Christians are going to hell.. but when you start meeting Hindus or Muslims or Jews, and realize that they are GOOD people that are doing what they feel is right.... and you actually start to LIKE these people, you realize that a God of love would not send them to Hell for being born into the "wrong" religion or place.

 

Also: read some books that challenge the views you've been filled with. I think a wonderful book to read is "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time" by Marcus Borg. He also writes a book called "Reading the Bible Again for the first time".

 

Also.. why not connect with liberal/progressive christians? If you are close to a large city (even in the south!) we could probably find a safe place for you, or someone to put you in touch with.

 

Blessings to You

Edited by KennethJ

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My spiritual path has been a bizarre one, but at one point I ended up in a fundamentalist phase. I was really engaging the Bible from a literalist view. Then Hans Kung sent me for a loop and the question arose: "How many horses did Ahaziah have?" Well in one place, the Bible says 4k, and in another 40k. That was not a matter of interpretation; it was a matter of distinct numerical difference that was incompatible. I could have ignored it, but not really. So my path went in a completely different direction. That was when I encountered Borg and Spong. Borg traumatized me (I was angry for a week). After I had reconciled myself with what he had to say, I ran into Spong who traumatized me again. Then, I moved in a very "liberal" direction. And that was the next leg of my journey.

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Hi Seeking,

 

Happy to have you here. My sister is a fundie, Campus Crusade and I was brought up as a Christian Scientist, very legalistic but hardly fundamentalist. I had a lot of those little kicks in, and I tended to think of everything in CS terms, including God.

 

Like Xian, I have had a lot of bizarre loops around in my spiritual path. Some demonations are more liberal than others, but they do have their more fundamentalist members and churches. Where do you live?

 

You can also talk to us, because many of us have had similar journeys.

One more book that I am enjoying is Stealing Jesus by Bauer. It talks about the God of Love, vs the God of Law. The Fundamentalist view is more of a God of law.

 

It is hard to leave the safe route where everything is explained.

One thing nice about the Progressives is we are, by definition, seekers like you.

If I knew all the answers, well I'd be God.

 

 

--des

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In answer to KJ, there are no large cities close to me. This really makes the search challenging.

 

So, if you have been there, I see no need to go into what fundies believe. The problem I have is losing the guilt that I incur from a new search. Like the ax will fall if should even entertain the thot! But, sigh, since I can find no peace there, I suppose I have no choice but to move on. It is hard to move after 40 years!

I still keep to the belief that Jesus came to show us a better way. I have a real problem, tho, with the vengeful God of the OT and the loving Father portrayed in the NT. Also, how is it fair that people that have been so unfortunate (sarcastic) to have been born elsewhere on the globe should be condemned? I think I read on another post, "how could a [/i]loving God do this?

 

 

I have heard of Borg and Spong. These are not authors that I have read. I will have to find the books online, I suppose. We don't have a good library or a book store close to where I live. But tell me, Xian, what made you angry? Did you feel threatened? I am thinking tha I might be defensive as well and perhaps not allow myself to see another view of Christianity even tho I desperately want to! I definately will have to develop new thot patterns in my brain and lose some of the old ones.

 

tks for the replies.

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Hello Seeking and Welcome,

 

I have always been Southern Baptist. That is considered evangelical, and some would even call it Fundamental. If that's the case, I guess I am Fundamental. I don't get all caught up in these labels. I believe that as long as I follow Christ's two greatest commandments - to love Him with everthing within me, and to love my neighbor as myself - everything else will take care of itself.

 

In my current Church (still Southern Baptist), my politics disagree with the politics of most of the people there. I do not hide it. The amazing thing is, if you are dealing with true "Christians," they are not going to condemn you for it. They are going to love you and accept you anyway, because of those same commandments. Sometimes it gets uncomfortable, especially during recent election years, but I have just as much right to be there as anyone else.

 

I have looked into finding a more Mainstream Baptist Church in my area, but so far I have not visitied them. If and when I decide to make the move, it will be in God's time. Personally, I think He needs people like us inside the Church as a reminder to others - the sand in the oyster thing. I'm sure I make some of my fellow members and even my pastor uncomfortable sometimes, because I'm not a blind follower, but I consider that a good and necessary thing. God did not creat us to be blind, obedient followers who could not think for ourselvess.

 

I do not post here often, but I read here daily. I agree that there are some interesting perspectives going on here. I don't agree with most of them, but I enjoy reading and then responding when I feel I have a contribution.

 

God Bless,

TammyJo58

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Seeking,

 

I would recommend that you read the following books to help you with your issues.

 

1. Ten Things I Learned Wrong from a Conservative Church by John Killinger

&

2. Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity by Bruse Bawer

 

The first book was written by a former Southern Baptist pastor who is now a pastor of a different Baptist congregation. Very readable and insighful.

 

The second book is more strident in tone and a bit too brash for my likes, but the author does deliver some knock out punches to fundamentalism.

 

You can read reviews of these books by visiting http://www.amazon.com

 

but I always encourage people to purchase books from their local independent bookstores (or to obtain it from a library).

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Ah, BroRog, I love the recommendation to buy locally or use the library! I am into the Simple Living movement and find this very cool! I actually think that www.simpleliving.net was one of the things that spurred me to rethink my spirituality. One finds people from all walks of life there. I am pretty sure that I obtained this website from someone on that forum.

 

I also checked out Charismamag.net, but found it all to be well, too Charismatic!

 

Thanks for the book recommendations. Phew, there are many interesting ones that have been posted! I hope I can find them and get thru them. I am a slow reader and have a bit of trouble with concentration, but slowly I get there.

 

Just posting here has made me more hopeful. I may not change many of my views (or then, again, I may), but I have already read enough to have food for thot to chew on for a while!

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But tell me, Xian, what made you angry? Did you feel threatened? I am thinking tha I might be defensive as well and perhaps not allow myself to see another view of Christianity even tho I desperately want to! I definately will have to develop new thot patterns in my brain and lose some of the old ones.

Yes, I did feel threatened. The introduction to the historical-critical method and its implications effectively disassembled how I saw not just the Bible but the world around me. Encountering Borg was an odd thing. On the one hand, I was angry because of what he offered. (How could be be Christian if he didn't believe the Bible?) On the other, I was undeniably intrigued. Luckilly, I was not going to a church at this time, so the normative influence of a "like-minded" faith community wasn't there to prevent me from pursuing this new thing. Faith communities can be double-edged swords: they strengthen and the stifle at the same time. I had hit a point at which my world had outgrown my previous faith and I needed space to wrestle with it.

 

I don't know that my story in this is all that unique. I think that many go through similar things. It sounds like you are going through similar things right now. I seem to remember such questions as "is it 'safe' to follow up on all this?", "what am I supposed to believe?", and (perhaps the hardest) "how do I deal with the embarassment of recanting what I have already said, especially given that others who are dear to me hold to it?" Once the isolation is intruded upon and other ways of understanding Christianity are encountered, there seems no going back.

 

For me, my sense of security in going forward was found the conviction that God wanted me to seek, and God would remain faithful even if I were in error.

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I was raised JW and in it, just like within fundamenal Protestants churches, I was deeply ingrained to believe in extreme black verses white thinking...That there was ONE TRUTH faith and all others were going to hell..or in this case, Armageddon..in a handbasket. Even after a person begins to think progressive..I think it takes a good 5 years, at least to shake all the fears that 'maybe the my fundi church was right...-"...type thinking.

 

These books that everyone is suggesting DO help! I can not stress this enough. One of the best helps for me to get over this transition period was a book called "When God Becomes A Drug," By Leo Booth. Now, don;t let the title fool you. This book is NOT anti-God. Rather, it explains how to replace former UNhealthy ridgid views on God with new healthy views. It is written by a guy who used to be a fundamental Catholic priest and now is Progressive.

 

" Ten Things I Learned Wrong from a Conservative Church by John Killinger."

 

Hey Bro R, can you tell us some details about this book? Cause I just saw it on Amazon.com and it was interested in it! Thanks!:) Like what basically are the ten things in the book the author covers?

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Here is the review of that book that I posted at amazon.com:

 

Authored by a former prominent Southern Baptist pastor and professor who was once deemed a "rising star" in that denomination, this book provides the wisdom, insights and learnings of a veteran pastor who is now able to reflect back upon the experiences of his truly dynamic career.

This work offers the general public insights into our nation's largest Protestant denomination that only a well positioned insider could possibly have discerned. I read Killinger's book over the course of only two days. It is very well written and truly compelling - you can't wait to read what he has to say next!

 

The work is somewhat similar to that of Bruce Bawer's "Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity" as well as to the popular "Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism" by John Shelby Spong, but is more balanced, less dense, and much less strident in tone than the others.

 

I am tempted to assert that Killinger, in a few places, may have "overstated" or "overly generalized" in his remarks about the ways and practices of the Southern Baptist Convention, but it could well be that he isn't. If not, then this work shines a truly needed exposing light upon the denomination that is most represented in our current U.S. Congress - and that currently has "the keys to the kingdom" of current U.S. foreign and domestic policy.

 

In this United Methodist pastor's opinion, this work ought to be required reading in all mainline seminaries and I highly recommend it for adult Sunday School or church book club discussions.

 

Other books of a similar nature include: "Theological Crossfire: An Evangelical/Liberal Dialogue" by Clark Pinnock and Delwin Brown; "Liberals & Other Born-Again Christians: Many Minds, One Heart," by Sally Geis; "The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind," by Peter Gomes.

 

For those who are currently reconsidering their theological commitments, I recommend exploring: "Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God," Dennis Linn; "The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Contemporary Faith," Marcus Borg; "God of the Possible: A Biblical Introduction to the Open View of God," Gregory Boyd; "Most Moved Mover: A Theology of God's Opneness," Clark Pinnock; "The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium," Walter Wink; and "Grace & Responsibility: A Wesleyan Theology for Today," John Cobb, Jr.

-----------------------

Here are the 10 chapter titles (the ten "wrong teachings"):

1. The Bible is the Literal, Inerrant Word of God

2. God is a Great Moral Judge, and Therefor Jesus Had to Die for our Sins

3. Jesus is the Only Way to God

4. There is No Salvation Outside the (Conservative) Church

5. Worship is Proclamation before it is Anything Else

6. Spiritual People Don't Drink, Dance, or Come out of the Closet

7. Religion is a Man's Business

8. Faith is Always Truer than Science

9. When Bad Things Happen to Good People, There is Always a Reason

10. Conservatives Want Everybody to be Free

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Thanks for this info,BrotherRog!:)

 

On the 31st of this month I have jury duty and so I have ordered that book, "Then Things I Learned Wrong From A Conservative Church," and I also ordered a book written by a Catholic intiteld, "Rapture: The End Times Error That Leaves The Bible Behind." By David Curre. I think I will really love this first and I am 'hoping' that this second one about saying no to the rapture will also be Progressive. I will let you know. I might end up doing some book reviews on these and recommending them on my Progressive XJW site.:)

 

There is also a book I heard of that shows cause for the Conditionalist view rather than fundamental. It's called, "The Fire That Consumes: A Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment." By Edward Fudge. Bit this book is $28.95...so I may have to wait to get that one later..but if anyone can get a book review on their opoinion on it in the mean time that would be great:)

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To Seeking - welcome to the progressives in the South club... there are more of us than you will realize for a while - even in churches where the pulpit is much more conservative. Take heart.

 

A couple of ideas that made a difference to me:

 

Grace with conditions (even belief) is not grace; it is earned.

 

Most conservatives will tell you that Jesus came to replace the law with grace, and then tell you about the laws to obtain grace - - - stick with the first part.

 

Consider the difference (if you can find any) between the God-loving, well-intentioned, fearful pharises and the conservatives/fundamentalists you know.

 

Much of the difference between fundamentalism and progressives is based on fear - if the answers are clear then I don't have to deal with the angst of figuring it out. Just belong to the right group. I don't think that people purposefully take that way out, you just hear it over and over and never think your way out of your comfort zone.

 

Then, gather information, read, question.... and along the way, most importantly, do what you have been taught - pray for comfort, pray for guidance, make a decision based on your experience of God. He'll talk to your gut.

 

Marcus Borg makes a good point - don't condemn the fundamentalists either... make your own peace with God. We all walk this walk alone in the end anyway.

 

Godspeed!

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Hi Seeking! Great to have you here. :D

 

Boy the board has acquired many new people in the past few days! Way too cool!

 

Like Beach, I was a Jehovah's Witness. I wasn't raised as one though. I was baptized when I was 21 and left when when I was 31.

 

Looking back I'd describe Jehovah's Witnesses as "Fundementalists." This is ironic because most fundamentalists wouldn't even consider JW's Christian because they are not trinitarian.

 

JW's take the Bible literally and plainly (meaning they read the text and try to understand the "obvious" meaning). If the story is (to them) obviously a parable then they take it as a parable.

 

Anyway... ;)

 

After I left JW's, over the course of about a year, I went from being a believer pretty much to being an atheist.

 

But God kept "calling" and so I investigated Deism as a view of God's involvment in the universe.

 

That led to Buddhism and Hinduism, but not seriously. Just dabbling.

 

I investigated neo-paganism and found relating to God as "female" very wonderful. However, there is no adult or mature pagan community here and I'm deeply interested in community.

 

During all of my investigations into all these faiths, I picked up various books on "alternative" Christianities including many already mentioned:

 

The God We Never Knew by Marcus Borg

Coming of the Cosmic Christ by Matt Fox

God at 2000 edited by Marcus Borg

Original Blessing by Matt Fox

There is a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Wayne Dyer

Thou Art That by Joseph Campbell

The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg

New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

 

All good books. I'd recommend "The God We Never Knew" first.

 

My route has been all over the place to get where I am now and I feel like I'm finally home. In so many ways I've come full circle. I wouldn't trade the insight I've gained for anything. It's opened my eyes to other beliefs and most importantly, it's been a lot of fun!

 

I think religion and spirituality should always make you THINK and maybe make you just the slightest bit uncomfortable with new ideas.

 

Aletheia

Edited by AletheiaRivers

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Wouldn't it be cool if all our Progressive stories could be published into a progressive christianity book? Then maybe others can see what a diversed background Progressive Christians come from.:)

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I am from the south (which makes a huge impact), so I don't know any progressives.

 

Do you mind me asking where abouts you are? There's a slim chance we might be able to point you in the direction of a group in your area.

 

Also, a book you might be interested in: John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism. It might be a difficult read, but it might also be inspiring if you stick with it.

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That's a cool idea. I can write or edit, but I don't have any money.

 

--des

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Xian, I live in NE AR about 30 mins from the MO bootheel.

 

I am appreciating these posts. I have been thinking alot. I copied the book recommendations, but I am sure that my little library will not have them. I may be able to find them on half.com? Money is a problem around my house. But I will definately look for the ones that are most highly recommended.

 

tks, seek

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Seeking

 

As much as I hate giving my money to the huge book conglomerates, I equally hate giving my money to buy NEW books to any bookstore because it requires that more trees be chopped down.

 

So, I compromise. I buy USED books (usually for 50-75% off) THRU amazon.com.

 

I've sold many books, DVD's and CD's through them. I wasn't useing the books anymore, and someone else got a really good deal.

 

What I can't sell, I donate to the library.

 

Aletheia

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Most any independent book store can special order books for customers.

They may not carry the books that you're looking for, but they can order them and this way you still help out your local economy.

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I highly recommend overstock.com.

 

Borg's Reading the Bible Again for the First Time is just over $10 after shipping.

 

Seeking: Another suggestion would be Brian McLaren's, A New Kind of Christian. This is his fictional telling of his own story and his transition from a conservative evangelical worldview to where he is now.

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Thanks guys, I am making a running list of all of these books. I and not thot of overstock.com! duh.

 

What do any of you think of the DaVinci Code? I happened to catch the History channel last nite and a there was a "documentary" (i use the term loosely) . This was actually called beyond the DaVinci code. I thot it was interesting.

 

 

Sorry I didn't introduce myself before jumping in with the posting. I didn't see a "newbie forum" or anything. Looks like I need to practice my quote feature and such.

 

Seeking

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Well I thought that the Davinci Code documentary *was* a documentary. They stated that the book the DaVinci Code was fiction, they used direct sources (rather than texts or articles), etc. I thought it was very well done-- for tv that is.

CNN did one on the two Marys that I thought was not near as well done. Also Discovery did a very good one on Mary M. awhile ago.

 

--des

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What do any of you think of the DaVinci Code?

I've not read it. The Learning Company (www.teach12.com) gave me a free 2-session download by biblical scholar Bart Ehrman on the topic. Basically, its fiction in the "make-believe" sense. It really isn't based on biblical scholarship.

 

BTW: :MAJOR plug for The Teaching Company here on my part. Great biblical scholarship for sale there.

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The DaVinci Code was an awesome book. I gave it to my dad for fathers day when it came out. He hated it, so I inherited it. I read it and loved it. I loaned it out and it is still out making the rounds.

 

Just enough innuendo and mystery to make things seem plausible. But I would have to agree it's fiction.

 

I am, however, getting a kick out of the knee-jerk reaction from a lot of conservative Christian writers. I can't believe how many books there are out there just to "prove" that the whole thing is a lie.

 

And since the market is so glutted with "DaVinci disprovers", the writers are now writing books to disprove an earlier Dan Brown book called "Angels and Demons". It's not as good as DaVinci, but it's still fun.

 

Maybe they'll try to disprove his other books next.

 

LOL! :D

 

Aletheia

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