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Yvonne

God's Will?

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So, for me, Jesus’ teachings are important, not because he is “Lord” and demands obedience, but because he was right about the way our world should be, about, as Borg puts it, God’s dream for the earth.

 

 

Bill, perhaps I am one of those atheist you refer to, however I still believe Jesus was right about the way our world should be - justice, compassion, empathy, community. Does it matter that he thought of God as a being Himself? Can Jesus be wrong, but still be so right? Would Jesus think less of God as a being and more as the ground of all being if Jesus was born in a more modern time - one that didn't believe in stratum levels of heaven, interventionist actions of God, the universe revolving around the earth, etc?

 

I don't claim to be a PC as I think that would be an insult to others here, however I do think I can strive for God's will being done on earth, for the Kingdom of Heaven, without actually believing in God and/or Heaven. Like you say, Jesus was right about the way the world should be. That seems enough for me.

 

It would be dissapointing to see you leave this forum if that is how you are feeling. I have really got something out of your posts and comments. You have helped me learn. Thankyou.

 

Cheers

Paul

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What is this "New Being?" Is it something definable, describable? What exactly is manifest in Jesus that was apparently not pre-existent in this world before him?

Since I am often saying that God becoming and Universe becoming are evolving together then, walking off the plank of my unknowing, I will say that Yes, there is in Jesus something new that did not pre-exist. On the spur of the moment I will suggest Jesus's kenotic, self-emptying, was the new thing. Jesus's teachings do rest on the best of the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures but was not his modelling of a self-emptying life style new, not as his special attribute, but as a model for us. I am just trying to love my neighbor and get connected with God but if we are Jesus's twin couldn't it be said that there is another challenge, the challenge to serve selflessly, not self-destructively, but selflessly.

 

Dutch

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I discovered a "new way" of being a Christian that was, in fact, an old way -- a way of simply loving God and loving others, of doing whatever I can to make our world a more just and compassionate place.

 

So.......what more do you want?

 

What if that's all there is?

 

Is that so bad?

 

Personally, that's all I care about.

 

I certainly don't see anything cathartic in the realization that all our striving for meaning, purpose and understanding is, well; .... meaningless.

 

NORM

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Oh, Wayseeker, I forgot to add: if you think ambiguity is a horror, don't ever convert to Judaism! Oy! You think Tillich is vague?? :wacko:

 

NORM

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So.......what more do you want? What if that's all there is? Is that so bad? Personally, that's all I care about.

 

NORM, if all there is is us simply loving God (as best as we understand God) and loving others, doing whatever we can to make our world a more just and compassionate place, THAT would certainly be enough, would it not?

 

I wrote elsewhere: If we, as humans, don't repent of our selfish ways and change how we treat one another and our world, we will likely destroy ourselves. We will see destruction. We shouldn't and can't wait for a deus ex machina to solve all of our problems. God calls us to be active participants in bringing the kingdom to manifestation here on the earth. Admittedly, this is endeavor seems to be, perhaps, overly optimistic, pie-in-the-sky utopian in nature. But what do we have to lose by becoming involved? I think Jesus' message was urgent to his generation. And I still think it is to our generation. It's not at all about warning people that they will go to hell if they don't believe a certain way. Rather, it's about asking, "Did Jesus give us some pretty good advice about how to keep from destroying ourselves and our world?" If not, fine, let us eat, drink, and be merry. Let us dance while the world goes to hell here on earth. But if Jesus was right, shouldn't we heed his advice and follow it?

 

Is my zeal misdirected? Is it much ado about nothing? I don't know. I guess time will tell. What I do know, for example, is that our country has ignored Jesus' teachings and we have entered into a "war on terror", fighting violence with violence, trying to overcome violence with violence instead of good, that doesn't appear to have any real goals or an end in sight. In 2000 years, despite Jesus' example and teaching, we have learned little about how to treat one another. According to the United Nations, about 25,000 people die every day from hunger. According to the World Water Council, about 3,900 children die every day from water-related diseases (2004 info). We could change some of this...if we wanted to. We could and should do better. Unless I have severely, grossly misinterpreted what Jesus says in Matthew 25, he wants us to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, be hospitable, heal the sick as we are able, visit prisoners, clothe the naked. As I've said before, without God, we cannot; without us, God will not.

 

Again, is my own zeal misdirected? Am I unwise or wasting my time in believing that we should pray and work for the kingdom? Time will tell. It always does.

 

Yours in Christ,

Bill

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Is my zeal misdirected?

 

Perhaps I don't really understand what your zeal is exactly. You seem to be agreeing with my contention that the entirety of "following Jesus" is simply loving and trying to bring peace to the planet.

 

Yet, you are implying that there is something more.

 

NORM

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NORM, simply put, my zeal (enthusiam) is for the message of Jesus, that we should love each other (actively embodying justice, mercy, and compassion), and seek what Jesus called the kingdom of God, which, imo, is not about going to heaven someday, but about bringing something of heaven to earth now. For further consideration of this, I recommend Brian McLaren's book "The Secret Message of Jesus." Or you could look up in the Bible the characteristics of the kingdom of God to see how the Jewish prophets and Jesus spoke about, as Marcus Borg puts it, "God's dream for the earth." Or read Matthew 25 to see, according to Matthew's Jesus, how Jesus saw the kingdom of God lived out. It isn't that complicated, but it is hard to do. ;) The "something more" is, imo, the "hows" of how we could be more effective as Christians in seeing "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

 

To all: I appreciate everyone listening to this, imo, important conversation. If anyone would like to discuss this with me further, I can be reached via the forum's PM service.

 

May you all continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

 

Yours in Christ,

Bill

Edited by Wayseeker

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simply put, my zeal (enthusiam) is for the message of Jesus, that we should love each other (actively embodying justice, mercy, and compassion), and seek what Jesus called the kingdom of God, which, imo, is not about going to heaven someday, but about bringing something of heaven to earth now.Bill

 

I would point out that it is not a necessary condition that one be a Christian in order to "actively embody justice, mercy and compassion."

 

George

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An ideal is just that, an ideal, a goal, the North star by which one may try to set course,and take bearings toward adjusting course, one may try to keep in sight as much as they can in dealing with reality, but can only be sound and functional as an ideal if we realize it is not and never can be fully realized in reality. Were it ever to become reality, it is no longer and ideal, but a reality. In any way we achieve that in some small and limited way, we can choose to simply abide there, or set a new ideal that beckons us further along.

 

One of the hardest things I think our human nature has to struggle with is the neediness for affirmation that we're doing it right, that we are 'good enough,' that we have or are actually accomplishing something. That if not 'better' or 'more advanced' or 'further along' than someone else, at least are so compared to what/where we were ourselves previously. That manifests as not only a social and emotional need, but in our efforts in our spiritual lives, as well. It is pride, and it can lead to such error as prosperity doctrine in it many, and often subtle forms. Even if we 'know' this, at some level, I don't think that as long as we live in this life we can ever fully have overcome it. Nor our tendency to try to judge ourselves and others by it.

 

I think this is why in so many matters of religion and even spirituality the nasty stroke of the back swing of what may sound and seem, or even really be, right and good on the forward swing can cut us down so easily and effectively. Ie..prosperity doctrine, if you do things right, things will go well with your life, if things are going well in your life, you must be doing things right, if things are not going so well in your life, then it must be your own fault because you aren't doing things right. Things are going better in my life than in yours, so obviously I'm doing things more right than you. I think the goal is to be more loving, I think I am more loving than you, so I must be further along than you and you must not be as far along as you think you are....which is actually quite an unloving thing to tell someone.

 

If I am driving from Houston to Kansas City, I get to Dallas. I'm further from where I started out, closer to where I hope to go, but I'm not better than I was when I left Houston. When I cross the Oklahoma line, I'm further along, but not better than I was when I passed through Dallas. Sometimes we don't read the map right and are driving along, all relaxed and then notice a road sign that informs us we've just crossed into Arkansas! Darn! So we have to stop, reorient, backtrack or set a new cross country route, to get us back on the right track. And this is happening with everyone of us as we journey.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB

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I think one of the things we so often miss, even when at some level we may know better. is falling into setting up some pre-concieved idea for how what is going on within our own or someone else's development along the journey "should" be expressed, manifested, in their outward lives, what we and others can observe in them, their behavior, their lives.

 

This is a nasty backswing of an ideal i've been cut by myself and seen many others cut by. Classic...someone in church confesses, professes, gets dunked, they and everyone else is all excited, all is supposed to now be new and right and, uh, perfect? Right? There are preconcieved notions of what is supposed to happen. They drop all their old bad habits. Are convicted against sin. Then, that person's life starts to fall apart. Marriage crumbles into divorce. (Sin!) Bad times hit, life gets tough. Lose their job. Can't pay their bills. Along with it goes their peaceful and serene demeanor. (Sin!) Their 'salvation' must not have been genuine, right?

 

It helps me to think of the metamorphasis of the catapillar into the butterfly. The new creation is a transformation, not just a prettying up and sticking wings onto the cataplillar. Within the cocoon, the catapillar/s body is totally broekn down, disintegrates into just a slimey blob, is entirely restructured and reformed before it emerges as the butterfly. In the meantime, what's going on inside just seems like a mess. Sometimes when we go through our most dramatic stages of transformation, we can be pretty much a mess in the process. Inside, and out.

 

Jenell

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Dear Bill and PC friends,

 

I would like to preface this post with a quote from the website of the Christian Universalist Association, to which Rev. William Roll recently introduced us in his profile. There we find the statement:

 

“…The Bible is a great repository of truth that remains relevant today, but it is not the only source of truth. Nor is there only one correct interpretation of the Bible. We study the Bible with an open mind and an open heart, and with an understanding of the cultural context in which its various books were written. And wherever else truth may be found, we are not afraid to explore and gain wisdom. We believe Jesus would want us to do this, because it is the spirit that matters rather than the religious label.” (em. mine)

 

For those willing to explore the wisdom from the Urantia Papers, I respectfully submit for consideration some words from Paper 4 – GOD’S RELATION TO THE UNIVERSE. This paper specifically addresses some important aspects of God’s will with a manner reflecting the authority of an alleged Trinity origin personality, a Divine Counselor.

 

“…God can thus modify the manifestations of his absoluteness because divine immutability does not imply immobility; God has will - - he is will. (em. mine)

 

God is the being of absolute self-determination; there are no limits to his universe reactions save those which are self-imposed, and his freewill acts are conditioned only by those divine qualities and perfect attributes which inherently characterize his eternal nature. Therefore is God related to the universe as the being of final goodness plus a free will of creative infinity.

 

In God the Father freewill performances are not ruled by power, nor are they guided by intellect alone; the divine personality is defined as consisting in spirit and manifesting himself to the universes as love. Therefore, in all his personal relations with the creature personalities of the universes, the First Source and Center is always and consistently a loving Father. God is a Father in the highest sense of the term. He is eternally motivated by the perfect idealism of divine love, and that tender nature finds its strongest expression and greatest satisfaction in loving and being loved. UP 4:4.2,3,6

 

Those who recognize wisdom in these words may enjoy exploring additional revelations found in Papers 1 thru 5, which I like to call the "Father" papers.

 

In loving service,

Brent

Edited by Brent

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NORM, simply put, my zeal (enthusiam) is for the message of Jesus, that we should love each other (actively embodying justice, mercy, and compassion), and seek what Jesus called the kingdom of God, which, imo, is not about going to heaven someday, but about bringing something of heaven to earth now.

 

OK, I think that's all any of us are saying. Some, like myself and others here, don't think it necessarily is limited to knowledge of Jesus' philosophy and teaching. As I've said before, there are many who profess atheism that embrace a loving attitude better than most.

 

Maybe it was me, but I was reading in your comments a frustration that there was some "special" understanding of Jesus' teaching that was the approved, or correct way of understanding that we all weren't "getting." That there is some ideal Christian perspective that one can logically embrace to the abandonment of all other POV on the matter.

 

Otherwise, we all strive to achieve the same goal: be more loving toward each other and seek peace in the world. A goal that leads the Atheist as well as the Archbishop.

 

NORM

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Some, like myself and others here, don't think it necessarily is limited to knowledge of Jesus' philosophy and teaching. As I've said before, there are many who profess atheism that embrace a loving attitude better than most.

 

I agree, NORM. In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus said that there are people who do God’s will (giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, i.e. doing acts of compassion) who don’t even recognize Jesus. They are simply being compassionate. This is why, to me, Christianity is a means to end, that being to transform ourselves into more compassionate people and our world into a more justice-oriented, peaceful, and compassionate place. Christianity is not, of course, the only means to that end, but it is the “Way” for those who choose to identify themselves as Christians.

 

Maybe it was me, but I was reading in your comments a frustration that there was some "special" understanding of Jesus' teaching that was the approved, or correct way of understanding that we all weren't "getting." That there is some ideal Christian perspective that one can logically embrace to the abandonment of all other POV on the matter.

 

No, I was not trying to point out some “secret teaching” or interpretation of Jesus that I’m privy to but that others just weren’t getting. I’m by no means a Gnostic. :) As Mark Twain said, “It’s not what I don’t understand about Jesus that bothers me; it’s what I do understand about him.”

My “frustration” is with the often-touted view by the leadership of this forum that there is nothing wrong with our world, which directly implies there is no real need for compassion or change. See post 35 under the topic of “Truly Living Like Jesus” where the Administrator of this forum says that “The world is not broken” or post 61 where the Admin says “I don't think judging ourselves by the reported life or our perceived teachings of Jesus is founded in wisdom.” The world is perfectly fine just as it is? Jesus’ life and teachings have no bearing or relevance for Christians? It’s not wise for Christians to weigh ourselves in attitudes and actions against the one we call Lord? For me, I simply cannot in any way reconcile those notions with either Jesus’ teachings themselves, with the best actions/attitudes of Christianity, or with the best humanitarian and ethical actions/attitudes of atheists, agnostics, or other religions who care about our world and want to see and work for change. If the stance of the leadership of this forum is that we already live in the best of all possible worlds and that Jesus’ teachings are “not applicable” to Christians, how can this stance in any way be concurrent with the Eight Points of Progressive Christianity?

 

Otherwise, we all strive to achieve the same goal: be more loving toward each other and seek peace in the world. A goal that leads the Atheist as well as the Archbishop.

 

Much agreed. Of course, this presupposes that we don’t all yet love one another and that our world is not yet a peaceful place. There is still work to do. Take care and best wishes in your work.

 

Bill

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My “frustration” is with the often-touted view by the leadership of this forum that there is nothing wrong with our world, which directly implies there is no real need for compassion or change. See post 35 under the topic of “Truly Living Like Jesus” where the Administrator of this forum says that “The world is not broken” or post 61 where the Admin says “I don't think judging ourselves by the reported life or our perceived teachings of Jesus is founded in wisdom.” The world is perfectly fine just as it is? Jesus’ life and teachings have no bearing or relevance for Christians? It’s not wise for Christians to weigh ourselves in attitudes and actions against the one we call Lord? For me, I simply cannot in any way reconcile those notions with either Jesus’ teachings themselves, with the best actions/attitudes of Christianity, or with the best humanitarian and ethical actions/attitudes of atheists, agnostics, or other religions who care about our world and want to see and work for change. If the stance of the leadership of this forum is that we already live in the best of all possible worlds and that Jesus’ teachings are “not applicable” to Christians, how can this stance in any way be concurrent with the Eight Points of Progressive Christianity?

Bill

 

Bill,

You certainly have the right to that "frustration" if that is what you choose. It seems to me, you have beat yourself to death repeatedly over this very thing on more than one occasion. First of all there is no leadership here speaking thusly as you have said above. Unless it says (as Admin), it is a member speaking who does not speak for PC but is as everyone else sharing his/her personal views just as you are. No one need agree with me or any other connected with any responsibility for maintaining this site. Your view is as welcome as mine. and whether or not others here agree with either of us, PC allows those expressions within the guidelines of this forum.

 

Secondly, in my view, you take the sentence from post #35 out of context. In context, the view expressed by me is saying the world is evolving as it is designed. In that sense it is not broken. This moment is such as it is but that does not preclude using ones actions and resources to bring about change. If you read the thread in its entirety you would understand that i as a member not only personally support orphans and the aged but even use an electric car to reduce pollution and dependency on gas and contribute to a host of other things to bring about what i perceive as positive social change in this world and in doing so i still do not consider the world broken.. Your conclusions from that one sentence are your right of expression here. However, i would as is my right disagree and point out that in my own view, all of your conclusions above of what you think i ( or any other member with leadership forum maintenance responsibilities) believe from words here and what i think i believe are in total disagreement. My question to you would be. "Who do you think speaks better for their own beliefs. the person speaking or the person listening? I ask this because we have had this same conversation multiple times before and i don't know what i can do to alleviate that "frustration" other than forfeit my right to post as a member and keep silent.

 

Joseph

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Joseph,

 

Based upon the rating I received in my response to NORM, probably the less I say now, the better. :)

 

We, you and I, simply see things...differently.

 

Relating to this thread: The way I see it, Jesus’ message of God’s kingdom was that while God loves us and the world just as we are, things are not as they should be, and that we should work and pray for God’s kingdom to continue to “come on earth” as it is in heaven. Jesus’ message and life had a prophetic edge that stood against the religious and political powers of his day that, imo, ultimately got him killed. Many of the social and humanitarian improvements that we’ve seen in our world have come about because people have taken Jesus’ teachings on God’s kingdom seriously, as more than just a way to find personal enlightenment or as a way to gain heaven someday. They dared to take what Jesus taught as mandates to actually change things for the better, sometimes even paying with their lives for the sake of the dream. The way I see it, Progressive Christianity, at least the way it is portrayed on this forum, is big on about personal enlightenment (finding oneness with God), but has little prophetic edge (discovering what God might want us to do a response to that oneness). It seems we don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Scripturally, Jesus said very little about what we should believe, but he had plenty to say about how we should live in this world, about his “Way.” It seems to me that Christianity has “progressed” the most and helped our world to “progress” when Christians have embraced Jesus’ edginess towards compassion and justice. Liberals used to be the forerunners of this kind of “gospel” and conservatives derided them for it. It seems we’re losing that in favor of affirming a personal enlightenment that does not and will not communally address the issues that face us as human beings or as a world that God loves. Conservative Christianity believes that the world is so broken by evil that God has no choice but to ultimately destroy it. Some in Progressive Christianity believe that nothing is broken. If this means that the world is the way it is by God’s design (or God’s will or God’s intention), why bother doing anything? Who can go against God’s will? And if this view is correct, how is it any better than the conservative view? Either way, our world is left to go to hell in a hand basket. Is that God’s will? Is that what Jesus died for? I dare to say no. I dare to say that it's not God's will that any should perish and that if they do, it is probably because we are not being the body of Christ to our world.

 

Relating to your position: The way I see it (and perhaps I am the only one here that sees it this way), like it or not, you are the official spokesperson for PC here. Under your name is the red Admin title. Some Christians like “red-letter Bibles” because it is a symbol that Jesus has more authority than others in the Bible. You also wear the suit and tie that symbolizes official leadership. You also don’t allow others to rate your posts. So forgive me if I am skeptical of your claim that you are just “one of us”, despite your disclaimer. Again, I don’t see it that way.

 

To me, if anyone should stand up and say, "God has a will, and we should be doing it", it should be Christians.

 

I guess we just see things…differently. But since when is seeing things differently a new thing in Christianity? ;)

 

Bill

Edited by Wayseeker

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Bill,

 

I guess I'm not sure where your objections are supposed to take us. Since you insist, against their own words, that 'the leadership' and/or 'the admin' are official spokespersons and since you object to their purported views, what should be done? It seems that Joseph (and others?) must either recant their religious philosophies or resign. Assuming this is unlikely to occur, what do you suppose should be done?

 

Peace,

Mike

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Mike,

 

I'm in no way asking that Joseph (and others) recant or resign. That notion is ridiculous. And I'm certainly not advocating some type of Spanish Inquisition. :) I am just wondering why, if the question is asked about God's will, and being that this forum has "Christianity" in it's title, why Jesus' views of God's will seem so out of place here? So out-dated. So "something we need to transcend." It got to where I felt that I didn't want to say anything about what Jesus said because I knew someone would respond about Jesus' "perceived" sayings or "alledged" teachings or some other qualifier to remind us, I suppose, that we should throw our Bibles away as totally fabricated fictions. This is where PC is headed? I know the Bible has it's problems. I can prove that "if any two agree on earth, then it will be done" is not a "say the magic words and get your wish" reality. But I also think that helping build wells, feeding the poor, and working with Habitat for Humanity are good things that Christians can and do do that "prove themselves right" in Jesus' teachings. They bear good fruit. I just find it odd that I feel the odd-man-out for saying so on a Christian forum.

 

I'm not surprised that what I say is "just my opinion." I know that. But Christians of almost every kind have attested that they have somehow met or experienced something of God in Jesus. If this notion has any merit or truth to it, it seems that the "red letters" should at least be considered. Even in my extremely fallible opinion, that's what Point 1 seems to be pointing to.

 

Bill

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Just for the record Bill,

 

The rating in the post you mentioned was not from me but one of your peers.

That picture does favor me (actually i am not that good looking at 65 now in person :) ) but If it bothers you i would be happy to remove the suit and replace it with a more recent picture if that would solve the problem you are having.

As far as saying "God has a will and we should be doing it" Read my post 3 as a member in this thread in its entirety.

Now to the red letter ADMIN indicating my responsibility in maintaining this forum (not dictating what is PC and what is not) it is part of the system programming not mine but if that is your problem here, i will call IPB and willing have them change the color.

If you really want to rate my posts, and that will solve your problem, i can easily change that. I exempted myself for what i thought was a valid reason at the time and not out of fear of a bad rating but i am open to changing that if that is your problem. However, from your past and other complaints here, which to this day stand for all to read, i think your problem with those whose responsibility it is to maintain this forum voluntarily is bigger than these few things i can change. You have the right to be skeptical and see things differently from others here. In addition, i know you financially support TCPC as an affiliate, which i as Admin appreciate and i would like for you to be happy here in this community you help to support. But i frankly don't know the answer to your "frustration". I read your complaints but i can't seem to see where other identified as PC's here really differ from these statements of yours that are written to imply as if they do...

I also think that helping build wells, feeding the poor, and working with Habitat for Humanity are good things that Christians can and do do that "prove themselves right" in Jesus' teachings. They bear good fruit. I just find it odd that I feel the odd-man-out for saying so on a Christian forum
But Christians of almost every kind have attested that they have somehow met or experienced something of God in Jesus. If this notion has any merit or truth to it, it seems that the "red letters" should at least be considered. Even in my extremely fallible opinion, that's what Point 1 seems to be pointing to.

 

If it is me as Admin, i hope you are able to get beyond that

 

I would second Mike's post above mine and ask the same question. Assuming we are all not going to recant our personal views or resign, Bill, What do you suppose should be done?

 

JosephM (as Admin)

Edited by JosephM

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In addition, i know you financially support TCPC as an affiliate, which i as Admin appreciate and i would like for you to be happy here in this community you help to support.

 

Yes, I do and will continue to do so as I do follow the activity of the Center and believe it has a focus and a purpose, which, imo, helps people like me that are in recovery from bad religion. :lol: I also think it does what it can to further my understanding of the kingdom of God.

 

What should be done?

 

What I think doesn't really matter, does it, Joseph? I mean, if one holds to the philosophy that things are just as they should be, could be no different, and that all simply is, what could I possibly say to that? We've gone around and around on this either Buddhist or hyper-Calvinist determism topic before and, frankly, I'm weary of it.

 

It is analogous to you and I entering a room and upon seeing a broken chair in the middle of the room, I say, "Hey, Joseph, why don't we work together to fix this chair so that we can take turns sitting down?" And you reply that it isn't broken but is simply part of the design of the way things are. Or you may say that I can fix it if fixing it "works for me", wish me well in doing so, but that such is not your path. We may be looking at the same thing, but we interpret it differently. You may see me as obsessed with the physical which, I agree, is not permanent. But I still think matter matters, or God wouldn't have created it.

 

So the most we can do is to admit that we see things differently and wish each other well. And I do.

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My “frustration” is with the often-touted view by the leadership of this forum that there is nothing wrong with our world, which directly implies there is no real need for compassion or change. See post 35 under the topic of “Truly Living Like Jesus” where the Administrator of this forum says that “The world is not broken” or post 61 where the Admin says “I don't think judging ourselves by the reported life or our perceived teachings of Jesus is founded in wisdom.” The world is perfectly fine just as it is? Jesus’ life and teachings have no bearing or relevance for Christians? It’s not wise for Christians to weigh ourselves in attitudes and actions against the one we call Lord? For me, I simply cannot in any way reconcile those notions with either Jesus’ teachings themselves, with the best actions/attitudes of Christianity, or with the best humanitarian and ethical actions/attitudes of atheists, agnostics, or other religions who care about our world and want to see and work for change. If the stance of the leadership of this forum is that we already live in the best of all possible worlds and that Jesus’ teachings are “not applicable” to Christians, how can this stance in any way be concurrent with the Eight Points of Progressive Christianity?

 

OK, I think I see the disconnect here.

 

When one who does not hold to the creation-fall-redemption paradigm, one does not believe that the planet is "broken (cursed)."

 

I don't think the moderator is saying that there is nothing amiss in the world. I think that the moderator is suggesting that the world is intact in its existence - warts and all. There is no "hex" on the planet that requires a blood-debt payment.

 

There is really no other way to describe it: ###### happens. Earthquakes and tsunamis are not G-d's judgment. They are just what happens when the earth's crust shifts.

 

I think that those of us in this forum would suggest that when ###### happens, the message of Jesus is one human philosophy, among many, that seeks to ameliorate the consequences.

 

 

 

There is still work to do. Take care and best wishes in your work.

 

Yes, indeed, and; ditto.

 

NORM

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Bill,

 

What I think doesn't really matter, does it, Joseph? I mean, if one holds to the philosophy that things are just as they should be, could be no different, and that all simply is, what could I possibly say to that? We've gone around and around on this either Buddhist or hyper-Calvinist determism topic before and, frankly, I'm weary of it.

 

Does this not evade the question? I agree that there is a recurring pattern of contention here -- which, more often than not, ends with an accusation that the forum is being overrun with "Buddhism" however arbitrarily defined. The reason why I put the question as I did to you was because, though this issue is raised again and again, there never seems to be any resolution. If one reaches an impasse with another member on a particular issue, what is constructive about perpetually focusing on it?

 

I don't feel that Christianity is foreign to this forum. Yet whatever the views expressed here must inevitably come from each individual participant. PC by nature definitely attracts non-traditional views of God and reality, with a strong sense religious pluralism.

 

Peace,

Mike

Edited by Mike

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In answer to asking "what should be done?

What I think doesn't really matter, does it, Joseph? I mean, if one holds to the philosophy that things are just as they should be, could be no different, and that all simply is, what could I possibly say to that? We've gone around and around on this either Buddhist or hyper-Calvinist determism topic before and, frankly, I'm weary of it.

 

Of course it matters what you think Bill or i wouldn't give you the time and consideration i have, You suggested the Stories and Journeys section, i listened and implemented. you thought we should have a quips and quote section and we implemented it etc,. You posted and people were impressed and your peer ratings are excellent with all of your user-names near the highest on this board because others valued your insights..I responded to all your complaints. What more can i say or do to say what you think/say matters. Am i required to agree with everything you say for it to matter?

 

JosephM (as Admin)

 

Bill sometimes i wonder if you are really reading my entire posts as a member or are just looking for words that seem to oppose your own because of some perceived authority you believe i have in my views that even i don't myself count as such..

Joseph (as member)

Edited by JosephM

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NORM,

 

When one who does not hold to the creation-fall-redemption paradigm, one does not believe that the planet is "broken (cursed).

 

I think that’s true. And many Christians would say that this paradigm, as you have stated it, is the over-arching story of the Bible – that God created us and our world perfectly, that we fell and plunged all of creation into a curse along with our fall, and that God’s desire or will is to restore us to perfection. This paradigm is, imo, still the predominant one in conservative Christianity.

 

My own paradigm is somewhat different. I don’t take either Genesis or Revelation literally. I haven’t really named my paradigm yet so I’d just describe it as our journey from selfish creatures to compassionate ones. I think (or hope) that we are evolving out of the normal, selfish “survival of the fittest” stance to a more mature understanding that we have all got to work together in order for our species, other species, and our world to survive. Along the way, I think that we live lives of woundedness and disconnection but that we can find a good measure of healing (salvation) in our relationship with God and with each other.

 

I don't think the moderator is saying that there is nothing amiss in the world. I think that the moderator is suggesting that the world is intact in its existence - warts and all. There is no "hex" on the planet that requires a blood-debt payment.

 

I agree. I don’t think we live in a fallen or cursed or evil creation. But I do think we live wounded lives in a wounded world.

 

There is really no other way to describe it: ###### happens. Earthquakes and tsunamis are not G-d's judgment. They are just what happens when the earth's crust shifts.

 

Again, I agree. ###### happens. And it seems to me that when it does, we can have four basic responses to it.

  1. Deny the suffering. Say it is all an illusion. This seems to be the Eastern approach to it.
  2. Acknowledge that it is there, but remain in our immature, selfish state and do nothing about it. This is the hedonistic, me-generation approach.
  3. See the one suffering as part of one’s self (or vice versa) and have com-passion (with-feeling) to personally, individually do what we can to alleviate it.
  4. Join with others who want to alleviate suffering in order to do the most good for the most people.

The other variant response, although it sometimes includes 3 and 4 above, is to believe that God will intervene in human affairs, through Jesus’ return, in order to clean up all the ######.

 

I think that those of us in this forum would suggest that when ###### happens, the message of Jesus is one human philosophy, among many, that seeks to ameliorate the consequences.

 

Yes, NORM, this mirrors what I’ve been trying to say. My theology is incarnational in that I believe if God does something about the ###### we have here, God does it through us, not by sending Jesus back to create more ###### to clean up. In my view, we become the hands and feet and heart of God or the Divine to address the suffering in our world. If we don’t, it doesn’t get addressed. And we remain in our wounded lives of selfish immaturity. This is why I believe it's God's will that we do what we can to alleviate suffering and find healing from our woundedness through compassionate relationships.

 

Thanks for listening. Best wishes.

 

Bill

Edited by Wayseeker

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As to the administrator/moderator and posting line of thing...

I like their participation on the board. Without them, the board would get pretty dead at times. For the most part, they (and I'm including but not limiting to Joseph) do it seems to me a good job moderating their 'human side', personal opinions and positions, against the need to remain a moderating force, keeping this board civil and open to varying other opinions and positions. I haven't personally experienced them 'using' their position to suppress or oppress others in their expression.

 

This board is rather unique among forums that offer discussion opportunity on Christian/religous topics both in that it is unique in that, doesn't force only a rigid and narrow ideology or theology, and for the effective quality moderating that keeps it civil. Both of those are things most of us probalby don't have a lot of previous experience with, lol. Both are rare. Because of the openness, that I can talk freely about my postions and views on many things that differ from prevailing popular positions, I try to respect and honor others' same freedom to do so as well.

The close moderating of behavior toward others posting here surely pinches most of us at times, we are all human, these are topics that tend to strong opinions and feelings, and I've come to feel what may feel at times 'over-vigorous' moderating in that respect has really very effective 'nipping it in the bud' value. Might admin/moderators on occasion be overly sensitve and reactive to that? They are human, the rest of us are human. Sometimes it might happen, sometimes it really is us and we don't want to see that. Natural.

 

I've actually a good many admin/moderator PM's in my own box pertaining to that. Most I think are fair. Some I may not have at first but came to upon more thought and experience. Experience...that's been a positive thing for me here in this regard...it has helped me learn to be more careful, monitor and moderate myself, in some of what I say and how I say it. Sometimes I wasn't seeing how what I said might offend another. Sometimes my emotions let some nasty slip in that I was missing myself, or just plain self-justifying. This forum has and continues to help me watch that better. And I hope, will be something I can carry out into other interactions in my life.

 

In order to effectively perform that function, I can see how there is a huge advantage to admin/moderators also being actively engaged participants. To have to read every and all posts in all discussions would have to be awfully boring and hard if one can't get engaged in them. And probably hard to stay on top of what is really being said, going on, where there may be a problem.

 

As for how this board is run and operated and maintained, I think it is only right and most effective if consistent with the purpose and intents of tcpc, and as it serves the intended purpose of open discussion and expression of varying ideas, and the people drawn to participate. Since I have been participating here, I'm aware there have been a few objections from individuals about some of how this board operates, including the participation of admin/moderators. The format of this board makes it clear admin/moderators are NOT "leadership" here in any sense of doctrinal positions, particular ideology, etc. there have been some object to such admin matters as limiting number of posting withhin time sets and variation on that according to time and experience here, You can't ever make everyone happy. I think any changes must be both in accord to tcpc purposes and intent for this board, and a majority consensus of active participants.

 

I know this is a long post. I know that about me has bothered some, and it pointed out to me, I realized it was a valid complaint, and again, something I need to work on, learn to do better. I accept that as part of reality that if I have something to say, that I'd like others to consider, I need to try to say it in ways others might care to read, not just spend a lot of time talking to myself. And I really to want to hear and consider the views of others, even that may be coming from a different perspective from my own. But i really do want to say what I think about some of these issues that, btw, Bill, you are not the first or only to raise. We really do all have the choice to accept the condtions here, both those we like and those we don't, or not. I have now more than once regreted that someone I liked here decided they would rather not, felt we lost something of value when they left. But it has to be each persons choice.

 

And btw, Joseph, I thought you were really cute in your cowboy picture!

 

Jenell

  • Upvote 1

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btw, one more point I think signficant...this matter of question..what is Christian? What does it mean to be Christian?

 

I think these are questions everyone in Christendom is stuggling with right now....it is happening because it is TIME for it to happen...I also believe it is a POSITIVE event, for out of it will come something new and better. Even the extemism toward fundamentalism in some quarters in part of it, as some react with uncertainty and fear and trying to run backward to something that feels more familiar, more comfortable, more secure. I believe, a burning of the tares, a collapse of the unsound structures of belief and world view, a shaking of foundations, so that what is left to stand is stronger, sounder, better. I think this 'turning' is being accomplished both by those pulling toward the future with postive new options and those pushing from behind by making some of the old ways that need to die ever more offensive and objectionable, driving more and more away from it.

Even beyond that in Christendom, I believe we are seeing the same thing happening around the world througout many cultures and religions. For those that do place any credence in what may be found in the bible, that might be considered prophecy, go, consider, that what is happening may just be what may be revealed there as to come, a time of great shaking, sifting and sorting, on a worldwide scale as never before.

For myself in that, I'm just trying to find my own sweet spot on the wave and ride it as well as I might...and accept everybody else can only do the same, and I've enough challenge worrying about keeping my own balance, riding that wave, and that worrying myself about how someone else is trying to find their place to ride it out, that they aren't riding it out quite the same way I am, is a good way to lose my own balance and focus...

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB

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