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lani

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Hello my name is Lani, i was raised a Baptist church that spent a lot of time talking about hell. This caused a lot of anxiety in me as a child and teenager. I left the church at 14 years old. I am now 30 and going thru quite profound change and existential crisis. I am a social worker/psychologist and mother of 2 little boys. I am searching and looking for a community this fits. I stumbled across this webpage and the 8 points of progressive Christianity really resonate with me. I look forward to touching base with everyone and learning about this emerging faith.

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Hi Iani, welcome. I think the faith of each of us is forever "emerging". Reality is infinite. 

"The culmination of knowledge is love" 

 

:)

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Welcome Lani,

I grew up in a fundamental church in Australia (Churches of Christ) which was very much like the Baptists.  Around 18/19 I was leaving that sort of Christianity but came back for a brief 6-9 months to a Baptist church (before I finally decided that I was right in leaving Christianity behind in the first place :) ).  So I am very familiar with those teachings of Hell.

When I was 40 (9 years ago) I too suffered a bit of an existential crisis when as a result of suffering anxiety (caused by financial matters and probably aggravated by career and young family pressures) my friend told me it was Jesus trying to call me back.  This brought back all my childhood teachings about Hell and the requirement to 'believe in Jesus'.  I had a very hard time of it for nearly a year.

But I found this forum and some other progressive christian authors and scholars who helped me learn more about the history of Christianity, including what we can say for certain and what we can't.

Why I like this forum is it has shown me that I didn't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  There are some positive things about progressive Christianity that I find value in (which incidentally I think can also be found elsewhere too, but Christianity is the religion I am most familiar with).  But for me, condemning unbelievers to an eternal punishment is certainly not one of them and this place has helped me understand what I consider a better picture of Christianity, based on better biblical scholarship and interpretation than what I had been indoctrinated with.

I hope you enjoy participating here.  There is also a lot of information in previous threads that you will find throughout the archives.

Cheers

Paul

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Thanks Paul. Excellent point about babies and bathwater. I think sometimes as old ways are felt inadequate they are totally thrown away. As you suggest, there can be a degree of natural evolution, a deepening. At the moment I am reading once again the Journals of Saichi, the Pure Land myokonin ( saint ) Truly, a very fundamentalist Baptist would empathise with virtually all of Saichi's cries, exclamations and insights. Yet after my own journey through Mahayana Buddhism, zen, Pure Land thought and practice, the Protestant Fundamentalist beliefs of eternal hell, election, damnation are just not found within my own heart, my own life, my own experience, in my own reading and contemplation of the texts. I realise that what is eternal, what is real, what is true, is the heart of faith, not the beliefs and assertions of a particular historically conditioned creed. What remains is Love, a process that holds us all. No one is excluded. It is the Journey itself. We just have to learn not to cling, not to seek for justification by "belief" no matter how venerated by any tradition.

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That babies and bath water saying is favourite of mine in relation to Christianity and the bible!

I too have been on a journey of evolving faith that included an existential crisis, and I have struggled to find a community that fits with what I thought was a pretty radical view of Christianity  - 'the heart of faith', as tariki so beautifully put it.

I haven't been here long, but I really like it here. Turns out my view isn't so radical. That's nice to know.

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