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Lisa

Finding A Progressive Church

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>Its sad that people feel they have to choose between the narrow fundimentalist interpretation and rejecting Christ altogether.

 

I totally agree mzmolly. In their zeal to get people into heaven, they have often driven people away from Christ as effectively as if they had intended to.

 

For instance, take the C.S. Lewis quote which is used so often: "Jesus had to be God, a liar, or a madman. Those are the only choices."

 

For people that cannot at that point in time accept Jesus as God, or ever accept Jesus as the literal biological son of God or part of the Trinity etc. etc. they say "Ok. I think he was a liar." And that's it. They gave people the choice of "Agree with me or ignore Christ" and lo and behold, some people take them at their word.

 

~ Lib

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Hi all,

The only progressive Christian churches I've found to explore here in Vancouver, Canada are the Unitarian one on 49th and the United Church on 16th near Burrard. I have tried both once, and I am going to keep trying the second.

 

I posted a while ago asking if one could be a progressive Christian, which I have evolved into (and maybe always was) at the same time as being Roman Catholic. My recent conclusion is that for me, it was not possible to be both.

 

The amazing thing was how long it took me to come to terms with that. I have struggled to remain with the RC church for years out of loyalty to the good priests I have encountered.

 

 

Anyway, if anyone reads this (it's an old thread but I didn't think it worth starting a new topic) and feels like commenting, please do.

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I imagine that's a difficult concept to accept. Catholicism seems to be cultural as well as religious, perhaps more so than protestant churches.... ???

 

I keep wondering about thoughtful American Catholics and how long it will be before the Vatican excommunicates the American church altogether. It seems like a huge conflict is inevitable as they talk of tightening the requirements for the Eurcharist, etc..... I'd be very interested in your opinions.

 

Godspeed on your path. God is big- - - you can find Him in whatever way makes a thin spot for you - even if the church doesn't like cafeteria style worship :D

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Hi Cynthia,

Speaking of the American Catholic church, it does seem strange to me that the Pope(s) are so adamant when the north American church is being depopulated as 'thoughtful' followers are forced to leave or live a lie. This is, however, the way a top-down faith system works.

 

But the top is losing its legs.

 

As a tangible sign that the RC church here is losing touch, at my current RC church, the two priests are both quite old. In fact it is always surprising to meet a younger priest. I found this article in the Notre Dame Magazine with stats on American priests to support my observation that the clergy is a dying breed here.

http://www.nd.edu/~ndmag/au2002/priests.html

 

Surely these are signs for men of understanding... :rolleyes:

 

I waited for many years, hoping that Mother Church would heed the words of the progressive faithful, but as you identify, this does not seem to be the way that the Church is going.

 

Instead there will be a rift, perhaps a new schism, and even that schism will not likely be as progressive as I would want because there are many conservatives here who will only want small modifications.

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I tried to read the article, but it came up too small and I'm not sure how to change the font :blink:

 

For what it's worth, I've found that people who get caught up in finding the organization that they agree with 100% often miss out on the "spiritual growth" thang... it's a distraction. CS Lewis would love it!!!

 

Glad you're here - it's a good place to try out ideas, learn, and not get "the look"!!!

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I am from Orange County California (fourth most conservative in the country). I began my search at the United Church of Christ website:

 

http://www.ucc.org/index1.php

 

I found what I was looking for at the first church I visited and have been a member there for three years.

 

:D

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I have enjoyed reading everyones responses to my initial post.  To comment...

 

John Spong and Matt Fox, among others, have inspired me and instilled in me the desire to not accept the same old, same old, so to speak.  I can no longer try to fit myself (round peg) into a something that I no longer believe (square hole). 

 

I guess that I am searching for that round hole that I can fit into.

 

I have to say that, being around some very good 12 step programs have also contributed to my spiritual growth.  I have "come to believe" many things that are more about spirit and connection to a Higher Power than doctrine and theology.

 

I too have attended many, many different Christian churches as well as UU.  I have not felt a connection in any of them as they all seem to have one foot in the literal interpretation of the Bible and doctrine and the other kind of just not to sure of where to step next...even those churches that had a "liberal" leader still lived in a world that I no longer belong too.

 

I believe that God is the Ground of all Being and that Ground is the creation from which all life and love springs forth...I believe that Jesus connected to this reality in a way that average people cannot or will not...I believe that there is no where to go but back to God...I believe that death is only a doorway into a new beginning...totally different from the reality that I am now experiencing.  I believe that most, if not all RELIGION is/was designed to relieve the "angst" of non-being (Spong) and that those in positions of power use and have used this "angst" to control us all - through politics, religion and economics.

 

Because I have come to believe these things, how can I (round peg) ever think that I could possibily squeeze myself, once again, into that square?  I need to grow - a round peg and a flexible round hole...

 

This is a spiritual dilema that my not have a one size fits all answer. 

 

Any thoughts? :)  :)

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I am from Orange County California (fourth most conservative in the country). I began my search at the United Church of Christ website:

 

http://www.ucc.org/index1.php

 

I found what I was looking for at the first church I visited and have been a member there for three years.

 

:D

 

I live in Canada and, after upbringing in the Roman Catholic Church, abandoned religion for many years until returning nearly five years ago. I knew from the get-go RC wasn't gonna work (boring services attended mostly by people who go out of guilt) and ended up going to a seeker-oriented new church for several years until switching to my new wife's Baptist (not southern) congregation. It's not really up my alley, but she's been a member there for 20 years and the relationships made there are important to her.

 

My point? I'm a progressive Christian and would rather attend a church where following Christ is actually meaningful in people's lives. I could attend a United church, which is much closer to my spiritual path, but find most liberal churches become social clubs attended by people who don't much care about their spiritual walk. Yuch. Lukewarm liberals are a major turnoff for me.

 

Can anyone tell me why so many liberal Christians become so lukewarm?

 

Frank King

Whitby, Ontario

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Despair???? Feelings of being forsaken???? Watching the world climb happily into a handbasket with a guide with visible horns and call him a Christian???? Just theories :P

 

" I'm a progressive Christian and would rather attend a church where following Christ is actually meaningful in people's lives."

 

Agreed - I'm in a theologically conservative church that is very socially active and sincere with a large membership that runs the gamut of theology. It works for us.

Edited by Cynthia

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The more and more I tried to find the "historical" Jesus, the more and more lukewarm, apathetic and depressed I got. My feelings were a major clue for me that I was missing the point.

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Good point AR! I found the same and changed my focus too - quite a relief, actually.

I finished (finally!) watching "Early Christianities" over the weekend. I did enjoy it and have moved on to Ehrman's next course: "From Jesus to Constantine," but in all honesty, I can't wait till I finish it, just to get it done.

 

There is a new set that Teaching Co has, though, that I want. The first lecture is entitled "Why NOT the historical Jesus?" The teacher's point is to move past the historical Jesus and to encounter the living Christ of faith found within the gospels. It sounds really good. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers

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cha ching!!! Is it on sale yet??? They promise that each course will go on sale ($35 vs $300 - for those of you not informed :P ) at least once per year. Thanks for the info!! If it's depressing, you may just want to let yourself put it down. There will be another season for it!

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Jesus and the Gospels - Luke Timothy Johnson

 

That is the one I was referring to. It examines the Gospels as literature. It is on sale right now.

 

Early Christianity: The Experience of the Divine - Luke Timothy Johnson

 

This is the one I REALLY want, but it's not on sale yet. I have my eye on it. ;)

 

St. Augustine's "Confessions"

 

Oh, and that one (above) too. :D

Edited by AletheiaRivers

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I have Early Christianity - it was perfect to come out of the historical phase of my journey!!! It basically discusses, as we do, that the basis of christianity is Experience over the course of 2 thousand years and thousands (+) of people - it's not the dogma that keeps people interested, it's the experience that so many have. Hope it goes on sale soon! I'll look at the other - their website is hard for me to get in a reasonable font... it looks like about a 6 point and I don't know how to fix it!!! :angry:

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If you have a "wheel" on top of your mouse, try holding down your control key on your keyboard and scroll the wheel at the same time. Does it increase the font size on the webpage?

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You're a genius! Thank you!!!! That's been driving me crazy lately!!! Your mitvah for the day! :)

 

Here's a quote from the description of Jesus and the Gospels: "Professor Johnson asserts that the portrait of Jesus addressed by such an approach, legitimate and compelling though such an approach may be, leads to questions that are virtually "impossible to answer satisfactorily" through proper historical methods. "

 

Sounds pretty interesting!

 

www.teach12.com I like to get the audio CD or tapes to listen to as I do mundane tasks - painting (rooms), laundry, cleaning, etc.

Edited by Cynthia

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You are very welcome! :lol:

 

There are so many lectures that I want: a couple on Augustine, a couple on quantum physics, a couple on philosophy, one on St. Francis, one on Dante's Divine Comedy, one on the Middle Ages ... :rolleyes:

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Hilarious - you should see my cabinets... they're not really storage friendly!!! Perhaps we should share... I have Augustine - really enjoyed that one too!

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Sharing would be cool ... only ... it would be more like you'd be sending me yours because I only have the two lectures. :lol: But when I got more, I'd share, I swear I would!

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Just wanted to post something about my frustration with finding a progressive/liberal Christian church. 

Any advice or ideas on what to do? 

 

There is a website http://selectsmart.com/RELIGION/ where you can sort out what makes up your belief complexion. It describes itself thusly:

 

BELIEF SYSTEM SELECTOR...an exploration of world religions By SelectSmart.com Staff

With just 20 questions, our goal is to provide a fun and informative activity to explore world religions and belief systems.

 

If you are surprised to find you might be drawn to Quakers, you could then go to www.quakerfinder.org and see if there are any near you.

 

If you are still curious, try http://beliefnet.com/features/quiz/index.html for more quizzes.

Some descriptions are listed on http://www.godulike.co.uk/faiths.php?chapt...4&subject=intro

"Everything You Wanted To Know About The Faith Business But Were Too Confused To Ask"

Finally, www.religioustolerance.org is a great resource for sifting through the options to find a progressive faith tradition.

 

Hope that helps.

Ian G

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I am from Orange County California (fourth most conservative in the country). I began my search at the United Church of Christ website:

 

http://www.ucc.org/index1.php

 

I found what I was looking for at the first church I visited and have been a member there for three years.

 

:D

 

I live in Canada and, after upbringing in the Roman Catholic Church, abandoned religion for many years until returning nearly five years ago. I knew from the get-go RC wasn't gonna work (boring services attended mostly by people who go out of guilt) and ended up going to a seeker-oriented new church for several years until switching to my new wife's Baptist (not southern) congregation. It's not really up my alley, but she's been a member there for 20 years and the relationships made there are important to her.

 

My point? I'm a progressive Christian and would rather attend a church where following Christ is actually meaningful in people's lives. I could attend a United church, which is much closer to my spiritual path, but find most liberal churches become social clubs attended by people who don't much care about their spiritual walk. Yuch. Lukewarm liberals are a major turnoff for me.

 

Can anyone tell me why so many liberal Christians become so lukewarm?

 

Frank King

Whitby, Ontario

 

I quess I should say that the UCC church I found happened to be led by Pastor Fred Plummer who recently retired and will become president of TCPC in January ... not quite the average UCC. :blink:

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Gee, what's an "average" UCC church  anyways???

:-)

 

--des

 

Agreed. That was my point. It seems that there is a wide range of perspectives within denominations and that finding a good fit can indeed be frustrating.

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