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apexcone

My evolving journey

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Good morning, well it is here in Alberta. :D

I guess like most people my faith journey has been an evolving process. Started my journey 35 years ago as a staunch fundamentalist and litralist, spend several years wondering around not being sure what I believed and in the past 10 years have found my place in the body as a Progressive Post Modernist Believer. I guess many can identify that we learn most in the valleys. 

In the past 6 months I have spent many hours listening to John Spong, great teacher, incredible mind and real easy to listen to. In many ways Im saddened that so many of my network of friends are unable to hear his message, reminds me of how closed off and arrogant I was when trapped in litralism. 

I'm excite about my journey and thrilled to be back on this forum.

Shallom

Terry

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Welcome back apexcone

I have read only one Spong's books "Jesus for the Non-Religious", some nine years ago. I could not help thinking who was this book written for? at the time.  In that I was not and I still am not religious in the common use of the word today; this book did absolutely nothing for me.  To me it seemed like a whole bunch of sayings (some probably not by Jesus) interpreted in a more secular way and in my opinion a more sensible way. But still this book left me cold.

Not being overly embedded in Christian literature and non-religious, there was not a single (memorable) argument that I should use Jesus as a guide. So I suppose this brings us to Progressive Christianity, in that it recognizes there are other ways of getting to wherever we are going. So who was this book written for? The only conclusion I could come up was for Christians who had lost their faith (religion) and were looking for something familiar.

Nevertheless it was researching Spong that brought me to this forum. Go figure.

Edited by romansh

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As I look back fundamentalism provided a real rock for me when I came to faith, as the majority of my life was shifting sand. I never lost my faith just shifted it to a trust in God rather than a narrative which placed more emphasis on believing right rather than living right. 

Just finished writing a book called "Biblical Sexuality" which Im very excited about. 

Shalom 

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Welcome back Apexcone,

Having been down that fundy path and it’s abandonment myself, I can relate to how Spong can be very enlightening on a better understanding of christianity.

I think, like Rom suggests, Spong’s biggest audience are those who don’t feel comfortable with their traditional understanding of Christianity and God, but whom enjoy the familiarity Spong maintains without severing the connection to their past.

I hope you enjoy your refamiliarisation here.

Cheers

Paul

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On 3/27/2018 at 11:27 AM, romansh said:

...........Spong's books............ So who was this book written for? The only conclusion I could come up was for Christians who had lost their faith (religion) and were looking for something familiar.

Spong's writes for those who have lost faith and those who accept modern insights and have questions/concerns about Christian doctrines, dogma and Biblical analysis yet still believe there is something more to the human experience (i.e. divinity). So, those who don't feel comfortable or, better, are not satisfied with traditional understandings and are not simply tied to the familiar but to new takes or insights offered by Spong (and others).  

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1 hour ago, thormas said:

Spong's writes for those who have lost faith and those who accept modern insights and have questions/concerns about Christian doctrines, dogma and Biblical analysis yet still believe there is something more to the human experience (i.e. divinity). So, those who don't feel comfortable or, better, are not satisfied with traditional understandings and are not simply tied to the familiar but to new takes or insights offered by Spong (and others).  

Have you read Jesus for the non-religious thormas?  What was in that book for a non-religious person? What was in it that might persuade me that I (a non-religious me) should treat the concept of Jesus at all seriously?

Are you suggesting it was written for non-religious believers in Being, One, Love?

 

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12 hours ago, romansh said:

Have you read Jesus for the non-religious thormas?  What was in that book for a non-religious person? What was in it that might persuade me that I (a non-religious me) should treat the concept of Jesus at all seriously?

Are you suggesting it was written for non-religious believers in Being, One, Love?

 

I have and think it was solid but don't, at this point, remember the details - although at some point I can check as it is on my bookshelf. 

The 'traditional' religious Christian is a theist still influenced by or accepting, even in some vague way, a three tiered universe, or at least a God (male deity) who resides in his heaven. In addition, many traditional, theistic Christians accept the bible literally (completely or in parts) and many of the doctrines built on this view. Spong moves away from theism and from biblical literalism - both of which, once rejected, seem to many, to mean they are non-religious - as traditionally understood. It might not persuade you or every non-religious person but it has done so for many. 

Being, One, Love, as non-traditionally understood, are part of the language and understanding of many 'non-religious believers.'

 

Edited by thormas

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I'm in the process of reading Biblical Literalism, (A Gentile Heresy) by John Spong. Its a great book, as an ex fundamentalist this book confirms my rejection of literalism which started several years ago. Other great books Iv'e read in the past few years are:

Hand Me Another Brick                                    Charles Swindoll
Open Marriage                                                   George & Nina O’ Neil
Love Wins                                                           Rob Bell
Sexual Liberation                                               Raymond Lawrence
Leaving Christianity to Follow Jesus             James Jones
Why I’m an Atheist Who Believes in God       Frank Schaeffer
The Four Agreements                                       Don Miguel Ruiz
Battlefield of the Mind                                     Joyce Meyer
What is the Bible?                                             Rob Bell
Sex at Dawn                                                      Christopher Ryan & Cadida Jetha


All the above are highly recomended.

Terry

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2 hours ago, thormas said:

I have and think it was solid but don't, at this point, remember the details - although at some point I can check as it is on my bookshelf. 

I still have it on my bookshelf too. I never got a sense from the book as to why I should follow Jesus in non-religious way.

2 hours ago, thormas said:

The 'traditional' religious Christian is a theist still influenced by or accepting, even in some vague way, a three tiered universe, or at least a God (male deity) who resides in his heaven. In addition, many traditional, theistic Christians accept the bible literally (completely or in parts) and many of the doctrines built on this view. Spong moves away from theism and from biblical literalism - both of which, once rejected, seem to many, to mean they are non-religious - as traditionally understood. It might not persuade you or every non-religious person but it has done so for many. 

This may well be - but I suspect pretty much irrelevant for the majority of non-religious people.

2 hours ago, thormas said:

Being, One, Love, as non-traditionally understood, are part of the language and understanding of many 'non-religious believers.'

Again this may well be; but, did not really answer my question.

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1 hour ago, romansh said:

I still have it on my bookshelf too. I never got a sense from the book as to why I should follow Jesus in non-religious way.

This may well be - but I suspect pretty much irrelevant for the majority of non-religious people.

Again this may well be; but, did not really answer my question.

I think Spong's major audience are Christians (traditionalist to Progressive) and ex-Christians. But not sure it is following Jesus in a non religious way - rather a presentation of Jesus for the (newly) non-religious (again, see above). So not irrelevant for most of his audience or those drawn to such books.

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1 minute ago, thormas said:

think Spong's major audience are Christians (traditionalist to Progressive) and ex-Christians. But not sure it is following Jesus in a non religious way - rather a presentation of Jesus for the (newly) non-religious (again, see above). So not irrelevant for most of his audience or those drawn to such books.

So essentially you are agreeing with me

On ‎2018‎-‎03‎-‎27 at 8:27 AM, romansh said:

The only conclusion I could come up was for Christians who had lost their faith (religion) and were looking for something familiar.

 

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1 hour ago, romansh said:

So essentially you are agreeing with me

No,  whereas you said, "...it was for Christians who had lost their faith (religion) and were looking for something familiar" I said it was also for Christians who moved from the traditional religious understanding and thus were made to feel or felt as if they were 'non-religious.'  So their faith wasn't lost and they weren't seeking the familiar - they were open to a new approach even if, unfamiliar, as much of Spong was when it was written.

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20 hours ago, thormas said:

No,  whereas you said, "...it was for Christians who had lost their faith (religion) and were looking for something familiar" I said it was also for Christians who moved from the traditional religious understanding and thus were made to feel or felt as if they were 'non-religious.'  So their faith wasn't lost and they weren't seeking the familiar - they were open to a new approach even if, unfamiliar, as much of Spong was when it was written.

OK fair enough ... it is for Christians who feel non-religious ... Are we agreed the title Jesus for the Non-Religious is misleading?

 

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I'm not sure. I guess one of the questions we need to ask is, why did the early disciples follow Jesus? From what I've read none of them sounded very religious other than Paul. I think they were attracted to the power He had in His life. Today its very hard to consider Jesus without dialling up the Bible, Church or religion. 

For me the issue that makes people religious is: dogmatism. I was on a "Christian Forum" and the 1st time you mentioned anything that people didn't agree with, meaning there didn't understand you got send a page of scriptures to back up there position. My response to that is: "Get a Life"

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48 minutes ago, romansh said:

OK fair enough ... it is for Christians who feel non-religious ... Are we agreed the title Jesus for the Non-Religious is misleading?

Titles are often at the direction of the publishing houses so they sell. But first they have to catch your attention - seem this one did and does that for many (even you bought the book)..

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13 minutes ago, apexcone said:

I'm not sure. I guess one of the questions we need to ask is, why did the early disciples follow Jesus? From what I've read none of them sounded very religious other than Paul. I think they were attracted to the power He had in His life. Today its very hard to consider Jesus without dialling up the Bible, Church or religion. 

For me the issue that makes people religious is: dogmatism. I was on a "Christian Forum" and the 1st time you mentioned anything that people didn't agree with, meaning there didn't understand you got send a page of scriptures to back up there position. My response to that is: "Get a Life"

My question is why go the progressive Christian route, why not progressive Tao, progressive Hindu, progressive Buddhist? Of course the PC answer is by all means do so. Another question why not go from the latest data? Of course we won't get it right, but then that is OK. PC seems to point to everything being divine ... that's all good, but then it washes out the meaning of divine.

The universe just is ... it cannot be any other way. So in this sense I understand your attachment to aspects of Christianity. By all means reinterpret ancient metaphors. But how do we check that we have minimized the errors in our interpretations? 

Edited by romansh

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4 minutes ago, apexcone said:

I'm not sure. I guess one of the questions we need to ask is, why did the early disciples follow Jesus? From what I've read none of them sounded very religious other than Paul. I think they were attracted to the power He had in His life. Today its very hard to consider Jesus without dialling up the Bible, Church or religion. 

For me the issue that makes people religious is: dogmatism. I was on a "Christian Forum" and the 1st time you mentioned anything that people didn't agree with, meaning there didn't understand you got send a page of scriptures to back up there position. My response to that is: "Get a Life"

I don't think it was power especially if we consider that the miracles might be mirroring 'miraculous' events of the prophets in the OT and therefore question their historicity. So seems one can wonder if Jesus had (miraculous) power. I think they followed because he seems to have been a charismatic teacher and an apocalyptic prophet - the latter spoke to the hopes and expectations of many people in his day. 

Not sure what you mean by dialing up - if it were not for the Bible or what became the canon, no one would have known about him. And the Church, although I think they made and continue to make many mistakes, was the vehicle, early on, by which the canon, the stories were made known. 

For some it is probably dogmatism but not for all - including one suspects most PCs.

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7 minutes ago, thormas said:

Titles are often at the direction of the publishing houses so they sell. But first they have to catch your attention - seem this one did and does that for many (even you bought the book)..

So are we agreed the title is misleading - irrespective of who conjured up the title?

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9 minutes ago, romansh said:

My question is why go the progressive Christian route, why not progressive Tao, progressive Hindu, progressive Buddhist? Of course the PC answer is by all means do so. My question why not go from the latest data? Of course we won't get it right, but then that is OK. PC seems to point to everything being divine ... that's all good, but then it washes out the meaning of divine.

The universe just is ... it cannot be any other way. So in this sense I understand your attachment to aspects of Christianity. By all means reinterpret ancient metaphors. But how do we check that we have minimized the errors in our interpretations? 

Some believe there is not just one person who (you could have met and) could be a great spouse or partner. However, many people make a choice, putting all their energies into and building a life with one (among the many). Could there be another? Sure, I allow for that. But the one we choose (and who chooses us, if we are lucky) is 'the one' who, if we are smart and do the work, can help us to have a good life and be a good, perhaps even a better person: our best self.

So too, many (including me) believe there are different faiths (including no religious faith) that could offer great insights and guidance in life. So, indeed, why not progressive Tao, Buddhism and others; could there be another faith expression for many of us? Sure, I allow for that. So why (progressive) Christianity? For me, it is the one I first met, the one I got to know and even struggle with; it is the one I decided to put my energy into and build a life with. 

In both cases, my choice of one (over the others) can be right just as another's choice of a different partner and a different faith expression can be right for them. 

I can appreciate the beauty and wisdom of others but I made a choice (it resonates and enriches) and that is where my energy and my life are to be found.

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36 minutes ago, romansh said:

So are we agreed the title is misleading - irrespective of who conjured up the title?

I didn't and don't find it misleading. It is a presentation of Jesus for the non-religious or the post-religious (among others). 

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2 minutes ago, thormas said:

I didn't and don't find it misleading. It is a presentation of Jesus for the non-religious or the post-religious (among others). 

It is not a presentation to me being non-religious! And I am agnostically inclined. In what way will this be in anyway edifying to full blown atheists?

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On 29/03/2018 at 5:11 PM, thormas said:

Spong's writes for those who have lost faith and those who accept modern insights and have questions/concerns about Christian doctrines, dogma and Biblical analysis yet still believe there is something more to the human experience (i.e. divinity). So, those who don't feel comfortable or, better, are not satisfied with traditional understandings and are not simply tied to the familiar but to new takes or insights offered by Spong (and others).  

I'm not sure that Spong's book is for those who've lost their faith, I think its for those that have a strong faith but have rejected literalism. I for one have not lost my faith but I have certainly walked away from literal fundamentalism. I find his books insightful and faith inspiring. It's not about the doctrine its about the story and what speaks to your heart.

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21 minutes ago, apexcone said:

I'm not sure that Spong's book is for those who've lost their faith

My original point way it was for those who have lost their faith (religion) - ie no longer Anglican, CoE, Evangelical, fundamental whatever.

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I guess if you've got your faith in any of the above systems you mentioned  you're in trouble already. 

Edited by apexcone

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1 hour ago, apexcone said:

I guess if you've got your faith in any of the above systems you mentioned  you're in trouble already. 

You mistaken faith for faith in a 'system' and then you disrespect someone's (everyone's religious) faith when you have no knowledge of the individuals and no grasp of their understanding for their faith??  

Interesting evolving(?) journey!

 

Edited by thormas

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