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Jack of Spades

Pc And Spiritual Gifts?

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What people, who identify as Progressive Christians, think about supernatural spiritual gifts? Such as healing, prophecy, tongues and stuff like that. Is there such thing as Charismatic Progressive Christians?

 

I'm asking because my views are somewhat liberal, but I also believe in experiencing active, supernatural stuff and it's key element of my own spirituality. In Christian communities I know of, it seems to me like I have to choose between being liberal and being charismatic (for lack of better word for a person who believes in or practices that kind of stuff). Those two just seem not to co-exist very often (at all?) in my experience, but I'm pretty sure if I found church/community which is both, I'd like to give it a try.

Edited by Jack of Spades
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Jack,

 

I'm am one of the few (as best i can recall) on here that identifies as PC and my experience attests to the existence of the spiritual gifts you mention. In my view, i don't think it would be prudent to create any additional labels as PC in general is not limited to OR by any individual doctrine or dogma or personal experience one might have. The 8 points are purposely void of such so that PC remains an individual journey for those who found an approach to God/the Sacred/ Oneness and Unity of all Life by following the path and teachings of Jesus. At least those teachings which through experience following have manifested fruit in the person such as peace, love, patience, kindness etc.

 

Joseph

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JosephM


I see. So, in your view, in PC, there is room for both views on supernatural/gifts of spirit?


I realize that apparently focusing on supernatural and/or spiritual gifts seems not to be the best path for everyone and I'm not trying to suggest it should be. It just happens to be the path for me, and I feel like I'm able to breath much more freely in communities in which supernatural is welcomed. If it's not welcomed, the conclusion in those peoples minds would be that because I experience such things, I must have some serious mental problems. Hanging around with people who are convinced that I'm nuts is not exactly the ideal state of things when trying to build a connection... :)


This has been one of my biggest and most painful dilemmas for me in trying to fit in in Christianity. Unfortunately for me, Christian communities which are openly welcoming to supernatural, usually have very different overall view on life generally than I do. In Neopagan and New-Age circles on the other hand, I've found a lot of people who have both positive view on supernatural stuff, and at the same time, rather liberal overall view on life. Last time when I did some spiritual gifts practices together with some other peoples, it was actually with some New Age - peoples.

Edited by Jack of Spades
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JosephM
I see. So, in your view, in PC, there is room for both views on supernatural/gifts of spirit?

Yes there definitely is room for both views. However, it is my experience here that we are in a minority among PC's with a view that attributes validity to the supernatural/gifts of the spirit.

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The jury is still out for me but I am pretty convinced as it stands that there is no such thing as the supernatural or spiritual gifts. However I do appreciate and understand that people like yourself and Joseph feel they have them or have experienced them, so I do respect your beliefs - it's just that I don't think I have experienced such and don't think I will. But one can never say never! :)

 

That said, I sometimes do feel as though we are all 'connected', but I think that's more my mind telling me that than any spiritual influence.

 

But I'm probably also down the low end of the PC scale! :)

 

Cheers

Paul

Edited by PaulS
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The jury is still out for me but I am pretty convinced as it stands that there is no such thing as the supernatural or spiritual gifts. However I do appreciate and understand that people like yourself and Joseph feel they have them or have experienced them, so I do respect your beliefs - it's just that I don't think I have experienced such and don't think I will. But one can never say never! :)

 

Yeah, there is no harm in keeping an open mind.

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I am explaining my point of view. Obviously or at least possibly it is very different from yours. If it offends you please let me know.

 

 

I'm not offended by atheists beliefs per se, but nevertheless I'm rather disinterested in trying to argue about supernatural with people who don't believe that there is such a thing.

 

The reason for that is, my beliefs and practices regarding supernatural are not really a question of having certain intellectual constructions. Rather it's a deeply personal and experiential journey, somewhat comparable to that of a love relationship with the opposite sex. Because of that nature, there is little to gain for me in discussing supernatural in strictly intellectual terms, without having the dimension of shared experience. For comparison, trying to talk about supernatural with someone who doesn't believe in it in first place is as productive as an attempt to discuss ideas of how to spend a romantic holiday with a woman I love, with a psychopath who doesn't believe there is such a thing as love. (It was the first example which came to my mind, no further comparison between psychopathy and atheism intended!).

 

I'm sorry if my disinterest in arguing about the concept of supernatural offends you. I wish you well in whatever path you follow, and my intention is not to mock it. I'm just simply disinterested in arguing about meaningfulness of my path regarding supernatural. It is meaningful for me and I'm very interested in sharing thoughts about it with other people who find it meaningful to seek personal contact with the supernatural.

Edited by Jack of Spades
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You are quite right Jack,

 

This area of the forum should not be used to debate such an issue. I apologize for not speaking up sooner and preventing this issue and for allowing it to get off-topic. Our guidelines in this area read ..... "This is a "safe place" for serious personal discussions and a place where we can get to know each other better by sharing the story we attach to our-self, our personal issues, challenges and the like. It is not a debate area nor a place for preaching or casual water cooler type talk. Any member can start a topic to share their story but respondents because of the purpose of this section should only be those who have read the 8 points and are in general agreement with all of them. The general tone of discussion should always be supportive in nature."

 

 

JosephM (as Moderator)

 

PS. I have split of off topic appropriate posts from this individual forum and thread to debate and dialog HERE. i regret participating and not acting sooner.

Edited by JosephM
add PS - changed words
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I'm sorry if my disinterest in arguing about the concept of supernatural offends you. I wish you well in whatever path you follow, and my intention is not to mock it. I'm just simply disinterested in arguing about meaningfulness of my path regarding supernatural. It is meaningful for me and I'm very interested in sharing thoughts about it with other people who find it meaningful to seek personal contact with the supernatural.

 

Hello, Jack of Spades. I understand and relate well to the experience you're describing. I've been a member here on TCPC since late 2004. In the early years, it was possible to find for those who hold a combination of liberal views, open-minded theism, and spiritual/mystical experiences to find a sense of community here.

 

It's been increasingly difficult here to find a kind of safety or sense of inclusiveness for those of us who believe in God and seek to be in relationship with others who want to better understand how to live a life in full relationship with God.

 

In my own experience, having several times objected to the way in which God is treated on a site ostensibly dedicated to the teachings of Jesus (who believed in God and loved God with all his heart, all his mind, all his soul, and all his strength), and having been repeatedly rebuked -- even demeaned by certain posters who don't believe at all in God -- I do understand the pain of trying to fit into a mould that tries to force one to deny the very substance of one's faith and the very joy of living with an open heart AND an open mind in a world filled with mystery, wonder, awe, and divine love.

 

I encourage you to remain open to the loving presence of the Divine in your life. You're not alone in feeling the way you do, though I know it can be very difficult in our culture to be a person who lives by both heart and mind without rejecting the wisdom of either. (In neuroscientific terms, this means balancing and respecting both System 1 and System 2 thinking patterns within the human brain.)

 

God bless you on your journey.

 

 

Edited for clarity.

Edited by Realspiritik
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Hello, Jack of Spades. I understand and relate well to the experience you're describing. I've been a member here on TCPC since late 2004. In the early years, it was possible to find for those who hold a combination of liberal views, open-minded theism, and spiritual/mystical experiences to find a sense of community here.

 

It's been increasingly difficult here to find a kind of safety or sense of inclusiveness for those of us who believe in God and seek to be in relationship with others who want to better understand how to live a life in full relationship with God.

 

In my own experience, having several times objected to the way in which God is treated on a site ostensibly dedicated to the teachings of Jesus (who believed in God and loved God with all his heart, all his mind, all his soul, and all his strength), and having been repeatedly rebuked -- even demeaned by certain posters who don't believe at all in God -- I do understand the pain of trying to fit into a mould that tries to force one to deny the very substance of one's faith and the very joy of living with an open heart AND an open mind in a world filled with mystery, wonder, awe, and divine love.

 

I encourage you to remain open to the loving presence of the Divine in your life. You're not alone in feeling the way you do, though I know it can be very difficult in our culture to be a person who lives by both heart and mind without rejecting the wisdom of either. (In neuroscientific terms, this means balancing and respecting both System 1 and System 2 thinking patterns within the human brain.)

 

God bless you on your journey.

 

 

Edited for clarity.

 

 

Thank you Realspiritik.
The experience you describe is only too familiar for me. Couple of years ago I used to be a member of a somewhat open-minded online religious community (which is now closed) myself. Over time, the community got slowly overtaken by atheists and the "others" kept being met with ever-increasing barrage of hostile and belittling comments and eventually left.
It was very discouraging experience for my faith in functional, open-minded online communities, but it made me realize one thing: Hellfire-preaching fundamentalists are not the only ones relying on the usage of emotional rhetoric in trying to force their views on others. Whereas fundie Christians preach and judge others loudly, atheist version of the same missionary attitude is a bit more subtle; continuous usage of belittling and ridiculing remarks, like "Yeah of course you can believe in tooth fairies if that makes you feel good".
You speak of having an open mind and an open heart. My personal, somewhat similar thing is an idea of having 1) a heart (listening to my human feelings and experience), 2) a brain (using reason and study) and 3) a spirit (seeking personal spiritual guidance and experience). It might be that the idea is not really that different from yours, but same thing said in a different way?
TL;DR: I think I know what you mean!
Edited by Jack of Spades
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Thank you Realspiritik.
The experience you describe is only too familiar for me. Couple of years ago I used to be a member of a somewhat open-minded online religious community (which is now closed) myself. Over time, the community got slowly overtaken by atheists and the "others" kept being met with ever-increasing barrage of hostile and belittling comments and eventually left.
It was very discouraging experience for my faith in functional, open-minded online communities, but it made me realize one thing: Hellfire-preaching fundamentalists are not the only ones relying on the usage of emotional rhetoric in trying to force their views on others. Whereas fundie Christians preach and judge others loudly, atheist version of the same missionary attitude is a bit more subtle; continuous usage of belittling and ridiculing remarks, like "Yeah of course you can believe in tooth fairies if that makes you feel good".
You speak of having an open mind and an open heart. My personal, somewhat similar thing is an idea of having 1) a heart (listening to my human feelings and experience), 2) a brain (using reason and study) and 3) a spirit (seeking personal spiritual guidance and experience). It might be that the idea is not really that different from yours, but same thing said in a different way?
TL;DR: I think I know what you mean!

 

 

Hi Jack of Spades. Yes, your experience matches my own. There is a self-righteousness in avowedly atheist writers that's matched only by the self-righteousness of some fundamentalist and evangelical Christians.

 

I want to emphasize that I personally have no problem with anyone who isn't sure about God and is still asking questions and looking for new ways to approach faith. If someone is genuinely agnostic (unsure what he or she believes) -- maybe because of some really negative religious experiences in the past, which could put anyone off for a time -- I think it's really healthy to be asking new questions.

 

With regard to "open mind, open heart," I think it's likely you and I are saying the same thing in different ways. I decided years ago to learn more about neuroscience so I could better understand the science that lies behind concepts such as "heart," "spirit," "intuition," and so on. For a while I even thought it would be possible to have logical, science-based discussions with those who've made up their minds to reject anything to do with God, faith, or the soul. I now realize I was naive in my original belief. But I've had an absolutely wonderful time learning more about God and God's many scientific languages along the way. So I don't regret my neuroscientific research and continue to explore it with great enthusiasm.

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JosephM
I see. So, in your view, in PC, there is room for both views on supernatural/gifts of spirit?
I realize that apparently focusing on supernatural and/or spiritual gifts seems not to be the best path for everyone and I'm not trying to suggest it should be. It just happens to be the path for me, and I feel like I'm able to breath much more freely in communities in which supernatural is welcomed. If it's not welcomed, the conclusion in those peoples minds would be that because I experience such things, I must have some serious mental problems. Hanging around with people who are convinced that I'm nuts is not exactly the ideal state of things when trying to build a connection... :)
This has been one of my biggest and most painful dilemmas for me in trying to fit in in Christianity. Unfortunately for me, Christian communities which are openly welcoming to supernatural, usually have very different overall view on life generally than I do. In Neopagan and New-Age circles on the other hand, I've found a lot of people who have both positive view on supernatural stuff, and at the same time, rather liberal overall view on life. Last time when I did some spiritual gifts practices together with some other peoples, it was actually with some New Age - peoples.

 

For my belief in the spiritual/supernatural I've been called both mentally ill and immature on this site. But I haven't seen any of those folks for quite awhile. This site is increasingly atheist or non-spiritual or non-theistic, but they are pretty awesome folks and can really help you better discern and define your beliefs through healthy discussion. I fall out pretty progressive but I don't fit neatly into any category. In some ways I'm pretty tradition, just not in the ways that hate people or exclude people them from the church. I spent a lot of time living a new age path and participating on neo-pagan discussion boards, but I found that the people appeared to feel invaded when they found out that I was also Christian. Wiccan folks in particular didn't like the Christian aspects of me...they weren't crazy about the masculine parts of me either! I tried a traditional Christian forum recently and I kept seeing topics like "Did we coexist with the dinosaurs?" Nope, can't do it. I used to do http://www.beliefnet.com/. That's a good place for spiritual progressives...or was. You are welcome here. People will respect you, especially if you respect them. I hope you hang around.

 

But there are very spiritual people here depending on how you define it.

Edited by fatherman
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I tried a traditional Christian forum recently and I kept seeing topics like "Did we coexist with the dinosaurs?"

 

:blink:

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I spent a lot of time living a new age path and participating on neo-pagan discussion boards, but I found that the people appeared to feel invaded when they found out that I was also Christian. Wiccan folks in particular didn't like the Christian aspects of me...they weren't crazy about the masculine parts of me either!

 

Our experience in Neopagan stuff appears to be a bit different, I never met much hostility towards my Christianity - influences. Since Neopaganism is so vague and individualistic, there are plenty of Pagans around who practice Christianity to some degree along with their Pagan practice. It might also be that I intentionally kept my Christian-side toned down a bit there after finding out that plenty of Pagans are ex-Christians.

 

About masculinity, I actually felt like my experience of having for a while to deal with feminist Pagans who saw men as spiritually inferior beings, was just a healthy reminder for me about the reality of attitudes and beliefs so many women have to live with in the world of conservative Christianity (and even more so in the world of Islam). I hope that short "role reversal - experience" gave me a tiny doze of understanding for struggles many women face in trying to distance themselves from that. For me, realizing that there are people who see me as spiritually inferior being only because of my sex, and treat me as such, was something of a micro-enlightenment.

 

Obviously, compared to the big scheme of things, my experience of spiritual gender-discrimination was ridiculously easygoing one, but nevertheless it was something I'm thankful of having experienced.

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Our experience in Neopagan stuff appears to be a bit different, I never met much hostility towards my Christianity - influences. Since Neopaganism is so vague and individualistic, there are plenty of Pagans around who practice Christianity to some degree along with their Pagan practice. It might also be that I intentionally kept my Christian-side toned down a bit there after finding out that plenty of Pagans are ex-Christians.

 

About masculinity, I actually felt like my experience of having for a while to deal with feminist Pagans who saw men as spiritually inferior beings, was just a healthy reminder for me about the reality of attitudes and beliefs so many women have to live with in the world of conservative Christianity (and even more so in the world of Islam). I hope that short "role reversal - experience" gave me a tiny doze of understanding for struggles many women face in trying to distance themselves from that. For me, realizing that there are people who see me as spiritually inferior being only because of my sex, and treat me as such, was something of a micro-enlightenment.

 

Obviously, compared to the big scheme of things, my experience of spiritual gender-discrimination was ridiculously easygoing one, but nevertheless it was something I'm thankful of having experienced.

I appreciate you point about the role reversal, and perhaps that's one of the appealing elements in feminine-centered spiritual paths. But I prefer a balance. Unfortunately, that does not exactly exist in Christianity either. The language of the faith is almost always masculine. I like Realspiritk's notion of the Father and Mother God's working together. As far as the Neopagans, yes we've had a different experience. I was viewed with suspicion at the very least, and I find it's not just with the pagans it's with anyone who has had a negative experience with Christians, which is a LOT of people. I know many of us on this forum who identify as Christians feel the need to come up with alternative words for Christian for that very reason. I stick with Christian because it's an opportunity to show someone that a Christian doesn't have to be bigoted, judgmental, condemning, and fanatical.

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