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On the odd occasion it has been questioned why I am here and I have gotten the sense of the question why is my presence even tolerated? is being asked. Is my lack of belief so threatening?

 

Karen Armstrong said in her book The Case for God

“Religion was a matter of doing rather than thinking”

​And somewhere in the same book it she goes on to suggest Christians focus too much their beliefs rather than what they do.

 

I volunteer at the local community chest, community living, Rotary and other organizations. Is that not Christian enough?

 

I am surprised by that at times a Christian (especially a progressive one) might baulk at contact on this forum with those that don't have the same beliefs. I would have thought it is this contact that is the "doing" that is of value rather than the "thinking".

 

 

 

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Greetings Rom,

 

The people or person(s) who question your presence here or that may find you threatening certainly do not speak for Progressive Christianity as defined by ProgressiveChristianity .org or this site. The current 8 points speak for this site and as you know Point 3 seems to me to include you

By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean we are Christians who…

1. Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;

2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;

3. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:

  • Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
  • Believers and agnostics,
  • Women and men,
  • Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
  • Those of all classes and abilities;

4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;

5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;

6. Strive for peace and justice among all people; 7. Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth; 8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

 

Also as Paul pointed out in another thread and Bishop Spong , who is an honorary adviser here at progressiveChristianity.org says in one of his thesis "Theism is dead" says "Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. God can no longer be understood with credibility as a Being, supernatural in power, dwelling above the sky and prepared to invade human history periodically to enforce the divine will. So, most theological God-talk today is meaningless unless we find a new way to speak of God." and "Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. "

 

Now we certainly do not require or ask people here to believe either way or even agree with Bishop Spong but we do ask all to feel free to share their views and welcome them as long as they keep any attacks or arguments pointed towards views rather than an individual. Personally i do not find your views threatening or unwelcome here. Perhaps not all feel that way but that is the problem not of this site but rather of those who may feel that way. Perhaps they might answer your questions in this thread?

 

Joseph

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"We are Christians", in heavy bold, is the overarching requirement.

 

One must self-identify as Christian but they may retain their own definition of Christian.

Edited by Burl

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Perhaps the thing is to try to remember there is some times a fine line between expressing one's view and another taking it as a personal attack on beliefs that are central to who they are as a person. This doesn't mean that one should not be free to express their beliefs, disagree with others and explain their opinions. This gets a bit hazardous on this site because it seems that some were Christians, have 'survived' and moved away from it and have strong opinions about that religion, while others are still Christian, and range from progressive to conventional, to armchair to fundamentalist and all points in between.

 

As for Spong's thesis that theism is dead - that is also an opinion that is not shared by all. I am not a theist and haven't been since well before I discovered Spong but many Christians (and those of other faiths), including some here, would disagree with him. Plus he does seem to have a tendency to make it personal at times in some of his comments about Fundamentalists. Even the statement used above, if from Spong, states a certain view to be nonsensical and it is not far from there to suggest or assume that one who accepts that view is both wrong and nonsensical. Where I come from (NJ) those are fighting words :+} .... and on this site, they seem to cross a line.

 

I personally don't care if one is or is not a Christian or what kind of Christian they are and I don't find anybody's views threatening but I think more care could be given to the the dismissal of the views of the more traditional Christians.

Edited by thormas

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Rom, for what it's worth, I value your presence here. You make many worthwhile contributions and I think very relevant points to challenge our thinking and beliefs. I'd go further than Ms Armstrong and say that 'life' is about doing and we are lucky to have people like you in our communities who contribute to helping less fortunate people. My own services have been restricted by work to volunteering on a suicide help line but as I am moving to a roster soon I am looking at other ways to contribute to our community in my spare time.

 

Thormas, yes it is a fine line and one which is worsened by all that is wrong with email, posts and anonymity - rather than the benefits of seeing another's face and body language, in addition to their emotions and gestures. Yes, we should all take care not to deliberately abuse or insult others. Taking offence cannot necessarily be helped unless we remain silent, but by having meaningful, adult conversations hopefully we can minimise the offence. It is worth reminding ourselves that NONE of us have all the answers, no matter how sure we actually think we may be.

 

 

"We are Christians", in heavy bold, is the overarching requirement.

One must self-identify as Christian but they may retain their own definition of Christian.

 

Although I didn't write the rules, I do think it would be most unfortunate if we said you cannot participate here unless you identify as a Christian (whatever that may mean exactly). The rest of PC welcomes agnostics, atheists and non-Christians so I think it would be odd if this site went against that. But as mentioned above, we should remind ourselves that we are not all on the same path and that others hold certain beliefs, rightly or wrongly, and we need to be tolerant of other's views (unless they are harmful).

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Thormas ... I dismiss the view that the Earth is flat, how can I do this more carefully?

 

I 'dismiss' the God's of my heritage ... I treat them as ancient explanations that have fallen by the wayside. There might be interesting personal interpretations of the metaphors the myths contain ... but that is it.

 

I 'dismiss' global floods and six thousand year old creation stories. I 'dismiss' trying to interpret the Bible literally.

 

How can I do this more carefully other than not saying anything or not questioning?

 

Joseph suggested we should not 'attack' people and keep them pointed to views. And here I agree, but there is a problem here; a deeply held view and the person are one. But I suppose one draws a line somewhere.

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I see all division as damaging and harmful. It remains to be said that there is mileage in C S Lewis's contention that "hell is locked from the inside". Thus if we wish to divide then so be it.

 

Of course, here I am a guest of sorts to Joseph's discretion, not subscribing to the 8 points of Progressive Christianity as such.

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Rom, for what it's worth, I value your presence here. You make many worthwhile contributions and I think very relevant points to challenge our thinking and beliefs. I'd go further than Ms Armstrong and say that 'life' is about doing and we are lucky to have people like you in our communities who contribute to helping less fortunate people. My own services have been restricted by work to volunteering on a suicide help line but as I am moving to a roster soon I am looking at other ways to contribute to our community in my spare time.

 

Thormas, yes it is a fine line and one which is worsened by all that is wrong with email, posts and anonymity - rather than the benefits of seeing another's face and body language, in addition to their emotions and gestures. Yes, we should all take care not to deliberately abuse or insult others. Taking offence cannot necessarily be helped unless we remain silent, but by having meaningful, adult conversations hopefully we can minimise the offence. It is worth reminding ourselves that NONE of us have all the answers, no matter how sure we actually think we may be.

 

 

 

 

Although I didn't write the rules, I do think it would be most unfortunate if we said you cannot participate here unless you identify as a Christian (whatever that may mean exactly). The rest of PC welcomes agnostics, atheists and non-Christians so I think it would be odd if this site went against that. But as mentioned above, we should remind ourselves that we are not all on the same path and that others hold certain beliefs, rightly or wrongly, and we need to be tolerant of other's views (unless they are harmful).

Paul, you are a moderator so you are expected to observe and enforce the restriction that posting in this section is reserved for those who at a minimum self-identify as Christian. This was just pointed out in very large letters by the administrator. Non-Christians are welcome to read but not to participate. There are plenty of other areas for non-Christians on this board.

 

There are other areas where everyone is welcome to post but the administrator specifically moved my post out of one of those open areas and into this area restricted to those who subscribe to the 8 points of the Progressive Christian creed. It wasn't my idea.

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Burl, I think Joseph sees me as harmless.

 

(Laughing face)

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Thormas ... I dismiss the view that the Earth is flat, how can I do this more carefully?

 

I 'dismiss' the God's of my heritage ... I treat them as ancient explanations that have fallen by the wayside. There might be interesting personal interpretations of the metaphors the myths contain ... but that is it.

 

I 'dismiss' global floods and six thousand year old creation stories. I 'dismiss' trying to interpret the Bible literally.

 

How can I do this more carefully other than not saying anything or not questioning?

 

Joseph suggested we should not 'attack' people and keep them pointed to views. And here I agree, but there is a problem here; a deeply held view and the person are one. But I suppose one draws a line somewhere.

 

Well, that's a great example: a flat earth. But ok, not sure if anyone on the site holds to that but, if they did, I would first, simply suggest they look for pictures of planet earth from a spacecraft (not aliens but human astronauts). And then ask if it looked flat. I would also suggest a "round' trip flight to test their belief. So I haven't 'dismissed' them or their belief but I don't buy it either.

 

The second one could suggest that the 'explanations' of God make no sense to many people with a 21st C worldview but the 'insight' that God is with them or they with him is accepted as timeless by many, even today. So, we have a starting point to explore.

 

As for the 3rd, one could trot out some fossils after, gently, suggesting a viewing of Jurraic Park to give pause about the 6k years but we could probably discuss the floods - perhaps not global unless they were talking about a time longer than 6k years ago when there was a lot more water covering the earth. Then we could talk about God's supposed role in the flood and that begins to trip up many people: defending God's role in the deaths of all the people of the earth save for 1 family.

 

As for literal interpretation of the Bible, one could, gently, point out the contradictions inherent in this method and/or show how a non-literal interpretation might speak to them more powerfully.

 

So, I have said the same thing as you, a bit more carefully, and I am both questioning and saying a good deal.

 

And Joseph's point was my point also.

Edited by thormas

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I'm not really a rules kind of guy but I vote for tariki, not because he is harmless but because I like his gentleness, wisdom and wit and he has provided insights that for me, speak of God in man.

 

I would miss him in the debate sections and am really not comfortable, in the time of the Donald, with walling some of us off from others, regardless of the 'restrictions.'

 

Let us instead just be careful that people break easily sometimes.

 

Besides how many people without looking can recite the 8 points?

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You have been here a while, Thormas. Were you attracted by the name "Progressive Christianity"? Would you have been attracted if the forum was named "Progressive Spirituality"?

 

I have been posting here for maybe a year or so. In that time, you are one of perhaps two members who joined and stayed. Dozens have come and left very quickly. Almost all explicitly Christian who evidently feel this forum has very little to offer the thinking Christian.

 

And they are right. We are a half-dozen or so big, fat, self-righteous frogs sitting on our lilly pads who fight over the occasional fly.

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Burl,

 

Much too harsh a judgment for me.

 

I knew about this site from Spong's and thought I'd see what it had to offer. It seems that many here struggled or were even wounded by an older version of Christianity and are looking for and finding ways to what is of value to them. If one questions his/her former (or the older version of their) religion, that is fine as long as there is an openness, that just as they find answers in other faiths/philosophies/beliefs, that others can find answers in a more panentheistic (or theistic) understanding of Christianity. I have no problem writing about, explaining or debating my understanding with others, be it PC or PS.

 

But just as I feel compelled to suggest that more care has to be taken on this site when discussing a more traditional Christianity, so too I would expect the same from the conventional, progressive or fundamentalist Christians toward others.

 

I would like to hear more from the thinking Christians but they, like all of us, should expect to be pressed on their views. Even on Spong's new site (Spong no longer being active) I find too often that there is a depth missing to many of the essays and the dialogue/exchange of ideas is all but dead on what seems a mostly Progressive Christian site.

 

I do like a Christianity that is able to explain itself in modern language and engage in dialogue with/in the modern world. If it came to the point that none would engage in a healthy dialogue with any definition of Christianity, then I would move on because I would be bored.

Edited by thormas

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Paul, you are a moderator so you are expected to observe and enforce the restriction that posting in this section is reserved for those who at a minimum self-identify as Christian. This was just pointed out in very large letters by the administrator. Non-Christians are welcome to read but not to participate. There are plenty of other areas for non-Christians on this board.

There are other areas where everyone is welcome to post but the administrator specifically moved my post out of one of those open areas and into this area restricted to those who subscribe to the 8 points of the Progressive Christian creed. It wasn't my idea.

Burl, I was referring to the broader forum. I was saying that although the 8 points define us as Christian, it would be a shame if the forum decided to adhere stringently to the 8 points and said non-Christian were not allowed to participate. I didn't realise some were thinking more specifically about the PC chapter within the whole PC forum.

 

Rest assured, I understand that that section of the forum is for supportive discussion about progressive Christianity and is reserved for those who consider themselves in general agreement with the 8 points. I have no issue with that.

Edited by PaulS

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I have been posting here for maybe a year or so. In that time, you are one of perhaps two members who joined and stayed. Dozens have come and left very quickly. Almost all explicitly Christian who evidently feel this forum has very little to offer the thinking Christian.

 

 

Well then, we should be thankful for retaining the non-thinking ones at least. Congrats on being here for almost a year, Burl! :)

Edited by PaulS

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Well then, we should be thankfully for retaining the non-thinking ones at least. Congrats on being here for almost a year, Burl! :)

Excellent, Paul! Hoisted on my own petard! Actually laughed out loud!

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Well, that's a great example: a flat earth. ...

 

Well I am sure people who believe in a flat Earth, global floods, young Earth etc have seen the fossils, pictures and had the science explained to them.

 

Nevertheless, I dismiss these concepts; how can I dismiss them more carefully? The advice you gave thormas just seems to be saying the reasons I dismiss. I am not sure it is more careful.

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Paradoxically, when there is no division, the unique individuality if each and every person, and each and every thing, is uncovered and known.

 

I am revealed as a big fat self righteous frog, others come and go, telling their stories and moving on, others remain and tell more of their own particular experience.

 

Each unique in each moment.

 

As far as "thinking Christians", more a divisive group definition, where all individuality is lost in discrimination and judgement.

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As far as "thinking Christians", more a divisive group definition, where all individuality is lost in discrimination and judgement.

 

depends on the group and the individual............

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Well I am sure people who believe in a flat Earth, global floods, young Earth etc have seen the fossils, pictures and had the science explained to them.

 

Nevertheless, I dismiss these concepts; how can I dismiss them more carefully? The advice you gave thormas just seems to be saying the reasons I dismiss. I am not sure it is more careful.

 

Then again........................

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Then again........................

 

Not sure what you mean.

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Paul, you are a moderator so you are expected to observe and enforce the restriction that posting in this section is reserved for those who at a minimum self-identify as Christian. This was just pointed out in very large letters by the administrator. Non-Christians are welcome to read but not to participate. There are plenty of other areas for non-Christians on this board.

 

There are other areas where everyone is welcome to post but the administrator specifically moved my post out of one of those open areas and into this area restricted to those who subscribe to the 8 points of the Progressive Christian creed. It wasn't my idea.

 

Burl,

 

Perhaps the best idea is to, as before, begin a thread in the 'safe zone' of Progressive Christianity but, this time, request that it not be moved to the Dialogue & Debate section. If you want a thread in the 'safe zone' that should be respected.

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Well I am sure people who believe in a flat Earth, global floods, young Earth etc have seen the fossils, pictures and had the science explained to them.

 

Nevertheless, I dismiss these concepts; how can I dismiss them more carefully? The advice you gave thormas just seems to be saying the reasons I dismiss. I am not sure it is more careful.

Why contend with the beliefs of others when you can simply walk away? In Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples not to cast pearls before swine. Good advice, IMHO.

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Burl,

 

Perhaps the best idea is to, as before, begin a thread in the 'safe zone' of Progressive Christianity but, this time, request that it not be moved to the Dialogue & Debate section. If you want a thread in the 'safe zone' that should be respected.

Admins can do what they wish. I put my thread OUT of the PC area deliberately.

 

Traditionally, the PC area has been the exact opposite of a safe zone. In my experience, it has only misused as a "gotcha" to bully Christians who are not liberal enough and heretically cross the 8 points of PC dogma.

 

Typically that has not really been a bad thing, but it would be nice to see the board grow instead of chasing off all the new members.

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Why contend with the beliefs of others when you can simply walk away? In Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples not to cast pearls before swine. Good advice, IMHO.

 

So why do you cast your pearls Burl (Burl's Pearls)?

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