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fatherman last won the day on December 17 2017

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About fatherman

  • Birthday 01/14/1973

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  1. I have a topic in mind for the near future, Spiritual Health, which I would love to unpack with you and the rest.
  2. Ok. I just reread my post up there about this site and issues I've encountered and it sounded super harsh. Not my intention. This site is a wonderful place, but like any place it has its issues and so do I. No harm intended. This site "should" be whatever it happens to be and whatever people need it to be.
  3. FYI, I took your dad's advice today. Plenty of water! Soma, thanks for sharing part of your story. Helpful to me. For me, coming to terms with death has freed me up to live more peacefully. A while back, my son attempted suicide and I suffered tremendously with the thoughts and images of what could have happened. I remember I was hiding out under the trees by the side of my house sneaking a cigarette, hoping to find some sort of comfort. It was the only day in my life where I believed that I was living in a godless world. He was awfully silent. But I remembered something a former pastor said once. "Sometimes you have to lean into the pain in order to overcome it". I accepted my son's death with serenity in that moment. I accepted that I had no control of his living or dying. Peace dawned on me and has stuck with me through many more trials. It was a hard-earned peace, but it taught me the importance of acceptance in all of the livings and dyings of our lives.
  4. I guess I'm somewhere in between on this one. If we're talking about Christianity as defined by tradition, then yes the divinity of Christ is important in the sense that his actions as a divine being had tremendous spiritual impact on the world...as tradition dictates...and much of the scripture. It's a matter of how much of Jesus story has to be true in order to compel you to identify as a Christian. For some the Beatitudes, love, forgiveness, and social justice message is enough. For others, he has to be the son of God, redeemer of the world, and personal savior or he's nothing worth mentioning. For me, Jesus is a bit of a mystery. I don't always agree with his recorded words. I often wonder if his disciples/gospel writers even understood who is was or what he was teaching. In my prayer conversations with Jesus, I ask who he is in relationship to me and why did he choose to die the way he did. More mysteries. I'm comfortable with mysteries at this point in my life. I don't have to know what truly happened, what it means entirely, how it works. What matters to me about Jesus is that he moves me in ways that no other person has. I can't explain why, but it makes me want to be a disciple. His extra dimension to me is that his presence transcends time and place to be made manifest in my life here and now. I don't know if that's divinity or not.
  5. To reiterate for clarity's sake, I don't perceive anyone here as being a troll at all. I think the non-theistic view here is critical in helping people feel like "hey, it's ok for me to question even the very existence of a god in the traditional sense"...which I have at important points in my life. All of this with the caveat that a person who does find meaning in the notion of a God in the traditional sense feels validated and welcomed here.
  6. This is a very interesting development and a very interesting thread. I think it is critical that we come to a God of our own understanding in order to leave behind the baggage of a God forced upon us that just isn't helping us along our paths. I think this is the notion that God is with us, not only in the form of Jesus, but in the form of our own understanding. Our understanding doesn't change God, but it does change the way we experience God (the Sacred) in our lives and I think it matters. Also, let's say that when we talk about God or the Sacred, we don't always mean the same thing. If God is some thing, then our words may point to some other thing than the next person. This is critical in understanding each other...that we not compare apples to oranges. In AA, we talk about a God of our understanding or a higher power. I think that the common core of our understandings of God stems from the concept that there can be something greater than the individual to relate to. Community, creator, inner divinity or spirit, or something nameless that we relate to that we can derive some support from. Whatever it is, it seems important that we don't make our selves the greater thing or make our egos our God. And perhaps that even works for some people. Who am I to judge?
  7. I feel Jen's frustration here. This site isn't really what it should be. But when I started posting in the early 2000s (a little before Jen did), I don't recall it being any different. I was a Christian humanist (or whatever you want to call it). I believed in a non-personal God if at all. I spent most of my energy trying to debunk essential components of Christianity. And so I fit right in. This, and people who felt beaten up by traditional Christianity, were the target audience and that hasn't changed. I changed though. I had a spiritual awakening that put me at odds with the spirit of this site. There was a small group of us who raised up issues of spirituality (Jen, myself, Alethia Rivers, and Soma.) There were many good discussions, but we were always the minority. Also, there has also almost always been a more traditional Christian who gets treated like a troll here. Nothing new here. I've attended an all progressive church which at one time posted the eight points on the wall by the sanctuary. And many of the members share the same atheistic tendencies. But many were also very spiritual and participated in prayer and meditation groups. Everybody gets along there for the most part. No one runs the show really. I think the frustration for people like me and Jen is that atheists are running the show at a Christian site. From an outside perspective, it looks like trolls have long since taken over this site. I know from the inside that that's not a fair characterization, but you have to admit that that's a reasonable conclusion. I've seen members bully on the basis of science and intellect (me included) those who's faith it spiritually, faith-based. I've been called immature for taking a spiritual approach to faith, and it has been suggested that when I "grow up", I'll see that science is the only answer. I've been accused of being mentally ill for having spiritual experiences. This is not in any way in accord with the 8 Points, and it is most certainly keeping spiritual-minded progressive Christians away from what could be a valuable experience within an accepting community. But like I said, it's not like this is new, and there's really no point in fighting it at this point. I accept that that's who were are here, and I do my best to find meaning here among you. I hope to be a participant here for many years to come.
  8. I'm not as orthodox as that, Burl, so I don't feel the need to debate on the subject. My belief is not dependent on scripture. I'll call it a personal belief. It's something I believe because of something that happened to a member of my family.
  9. I'm open to there being an afterlife. There was an uncanny occurrence in my family that was compelling enough to make me wonder. But I don't really hope for it or yearn for it. It will be just a nice surprise if there is. Christians have made it into this complicated thing with rules, qualifications, and expectations. I'm ok with closing my eyes and never opening them again. Like you said, I'll never be conscious to mourn the lack of after life.
  10. It's a hard balance to strike at tcpc and it always has been. You're either too Christian, too un-christian, too trollish, too superstitious, too atheist, too crazy, not intellectual enough, not educated enough, too spiritual. And we tend to let a small handful of participants set the agenda. That's just who we are and have always been. But this place has always been there for me when I needed to work stuff out and romansh has long been a part of that experience here. To be honest, I wish it were a little more friendly to theism, but I have no lack of support elsewhere for that. I don't know what spurred this thread, but I will offer up two thoughts: this place is precious to a handful of us square pegs. Our ideas are often rejected elsewhere. Let's be kind to each other and respect each others' differing paths. And every Christian should have a pain-in-the@ss atheist friend to keep them honest. Romansh is pretty good at that.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Jen, As you know, I'm as much of a witness as I am a philosopher. I know that we like to talk the hypothetical to death here, but it means little to me without "generous sharing of the ups and downs" as it applies to our discussion. :-) Revelation is a dangerous tool, I agree. I have experienced revelation, but my belief is that it is primarily for me. I'm very reluctant to take on the role of prophet in the world. Those guys tend to become martyrs. ;-) David
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