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Is This For Me?


Ratel
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Hi, I was referred here from another board by a self described "Progressive Christian". I told him that I wasn't a Christian, but since I accepted the existence of a transcendant/immanent God I would be willing to take a second look at Christianity not from the perspective of mythic-literalist belief, but as a system of symbolic rites and archetypes that allows participants to commune both with each other and with the One.

 

So I thought perhaps this would be a good approach to investigate. Or not.

 

I've been lurking here and at other Christian boards over the past few days, been thinking, praying and meditating. I'm not against what you are trying to do here, but I realized that I have a lot of negative associations with Christianity.

 

I was raised in a very strict fundamentalist household and my childhood was a very negative experience. I attended Christian schools and went through all the degradations religious institutions are capable of inflicting on their charges, and my parents weren't really the best.

 

I lost my faith in my early twenties after reading piles of material both skeptical and apologetic, and have been fairly vehement against Christianity since then.

 

So now I have been trying to re-establish Jesus as "Gate to God" in my mindand have been trying to re-read the Bible not as a literal book of facts but as a book contain gems of profound wisdom. But somehow all the old fundamentalist training of perceiving everything as either objectively true or false keeps reasserting itself, and the exercise does nothing except bring up bad memories from the past. I don't know if I can ever divorce Christianity from my early experiences of it. I don't know if I can transcend the myth to partake of the underlying reality.

 

Anyone have any insights on this?

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Ratel, Greetings and welcome to our humble forum!

 

1. Most all of us on this board have travelled from the more conservative notions of God and the Christian faith that we were exposed to as children and have grown toward various new places where we still identify ourselves as Christians - but on our own terms - and in a more mature, nuanced, etc. way.

 

2. Most of us here take the Bible seriously, just not always literally.

 

3. Some books that I think might be very helpful to you as you move forward in your journey include:

 

The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith, by Marcus Borg

 

The Essense of Christianity, by Marcus Borg

 

Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Marcus Borg

 

Ten Things I Learned Wrongn From a Conservative Church, John Killinger

 

Open Christianity: Home by Another Road, Jim Burklo

 

The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, Peter Gomes

 

(Go to www.amazon.com to read reviews of these books)

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Ratel: I'm new here as well. I just signed my congregation up for membership in CPC. Brother Rog's reading suggestions are cogent, I'd add Merton's Seeds of Contemplation as well.

 

As BR points out, most of us take the Bible seriously, but not literally. I teach that the Bible is the History of Man's relatinship with God, not the History of the World. At its core my Rabbi, Jesus Christ, teaches a simple, purer faith. Love God, Love all of His creation. Because that is so very hard to do, we need the guidance of scripture and tradition.

 

Read Acts, and particularly the Pentecost passages: (Chapter 2). For now don't make this an intellectual struggle, let go of the pain and anger of the past - and let the Spirit of Love in. Pray, don't think.

 

Please know that I don't prescribe this as a religious life, we need to think- contemplate and understand all the time. The connection with God comes first, then the discernment of God's Grace. The Bible is not the revelation of God, it is the product of revelation - God dwelt amongst man (and still does), later some guys wrote it down as best they could. Know God, then Know the Book.

 

If you can't get there on your own, seek out CPC member churches - the mysteries as practiced may help. My EAC and the Church of Antioch employ the traditional, Catholic service because of the power of the Lord's Supper to unite people with the Spirit. That may help you, or not. There are many other faith communities and I am certain that one of the rights will resonate enough with you to help you attain the re-connection to God. She's waiting for you with infinate love and patience.

 

Blessings, in the Name of Christ

 

Rev. Mark Smith

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  • 2 weeks later...

Greetings Ratel,

 

I commend you for your spiritual courage. Many people have very bad memories of the church. Legions have been used and abused by Christian organizations or Christian's themselves. I do understand what you are saying, and perhaps I might have an answer for you. Then again, maybe I don't, but at least if you are truly searching you might want to consider my point of view.

 

Rather than me go into a lenghty post here please allow me to direct you to my website. Keep an open mind while you are there and just maybe you might find 'something to believe in'. I hope so.

 

 

God bless,

 

Rev. Steve Holder, D. Min.

Christian Wicca Ministries

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Greetings Ratel,

 

I commend you for your spiritual courage.  Many people have very bad memories of the church.  Legions have been used and abused by Christian organizations or Christian's themselves.   I do understand what you are saying, and perhaps I might have an answer for you.  Then again, maybe I don't, but at least if you are truly searching you might want to consider my point of view.

 

Rather than me go into a lenghty post here please allow me to direct you to my website.  Keep an open mind while you are there and just maybe you might find 'something to believe in'.  I hope so.

 

 

God bless,

 

Rev. Steve Holder, D. Min.

Christian Wicca Ministries

Rev Steve,

I have been exploring your website. It's awesome.

Thanks for sharing it with us. You give me much "food for thought."

 

Thank You!

Edited by DeborahDP
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