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Too Many Choices


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I like the attitude and perspective displayed by Catholics such as Dorothy Day, Fr. Thomas Keating, Fr. Bede Griffiths, Fr. Thomas Mertion, etc, but I have a lot reservations about the culture of Roman Catholic Church and many of its official teachings and requirements.

 

I like the originality and insight displayed by Episcopalians such as Marcus Borg and Bishop Spong, but I am wary of the divisive debate over homosexuality and I am unsure whether I would be any more acceptable to the Anglicans than to the Catholics.

 

I like the "firsts" of the UCC and its forerunners in terms of ordaining women, minorities, etc and their message that "God is still speaking...", but I am not really looking to go back to even a more enlightened form of American Protestantism.

 

I like the interfaith nature of the UUA, but I don't dig the widespread denial or under-valuing of their Christian heritage or the SC ("spiritually correct") movement to sterilize religion for those who have been wounded by fundamentalism.

 

So...

 

...rats.

 

What's a picky person to do? :P

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You may have to do what I do. Find a congregation that you feel you can grow in. I don't agree with a lot of the theology around me in the official liturgy etc. but I feel I can grow in my own way and there are a lot of us who "remain silent" for parts of the liturgy. That was key for me because there was no way I was going to find a congregation where I agreed with "most" of the official theology.

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TT - thorny issues indeed - and I had to smile when I read your post - I am in much the same position.

 

I have elected to go with Tradition - well, at least for the moment. I find I can now accommodate outdated Creeds and other hinderances and enjoy the security of the received wisdom of the Church.

 

I think Autumn has exposed the kernal of our collective problem - there may be so much to chose from because we have reached a stage of maturity that provides us the freedom to consider those choices. Perhaps this is an aspect of PC when have not considered - the flexibility to roll with the dogma and doctrine while charting our own path.

Edited by Wayseer
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  • 4 weeks later...
TT - thorny issues indeed - and I had to smile when I read your post - I am in much the same position.

 

I have elected to go with Tradition - well, at least for the moment. I find I can now accommodate outdated Creeds and other hinderances and enjoy the security of the received wisdom of the Church.

If you have read (or get a chance to read) Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers Hanh does a good job of offering a liberating appreciation of the concept of faith and the Holy Spirit as well as an interesting interpretation of the first several lines of a Apostle's Creed which comes from his own insights as well as his lifelong friendships and dialogues with Christian (often Catholic) priests and laypersons. I am sure there are Christian theologians who offer similar ways of appreciating such statements as a matter of trust and fidelity. Still, there is the question of honesty (see below).

 

 

I think Autumn has exposed the kernal of our collective problem - there may be so much to chose from because we have reached a stage of maturity that provides us the freedom to consider those choices. Perhaps this is an aspect of PC when have not considered - the flexibility to roll with the dogma and doctrine while charting our own path.

Which again brings up the questions of (dis)honesty. Let's say I am all egotistical and I think "Ahh, I have moved beyond one level of belief and appreciation to another, so while I am saying the same words they have a different/deeper meaning for me than for those of a more legalist/literalist mentality." If the Church doesn't make a big deal about such nuances, that is one thing, but if I am in a situation where such a practice could be misleading then don't I need to clarify "I affirm X, Y, and Z but this is what it means to me..."? Especially if it became clear people were attributing views to me that I not only may not hold but may actually oppose? I am all for the flexibility to be sure, and I appreciate where you are coming from, but is it really possible to be accepted when going for Tradition without a little bit of deception by omission? That is something I have been concerned about, especially as I will be moving to an area that will tend to be more conservative, not less.

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I am all for the flexibility to be sure, and I appreciate where you are coming from, but is it really possible to be accepted when going for Tradition without a little bit of deception by omission?

 

If I was truly honest I would not go anywhere.

 

I think it is a matter of balance - I still have to live in this garbage heap - after all, I have some problems with PC. I might find the ideal church/congregation but there would only be one person in it - me.

 

The question is about 'too many choices'. Perhaps there are 'too many' which would imply that we have to make some consessions - and I'm not ready to live a dog's life.

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(snip)

 

Which again brings up the questions of (dis)honesty. Let's say I am all egotistical and I think "Ahh, I have moved beyond one level of belief and appreciation to another, so while I am saying the same words they have a different/deeper meaning for me than for those of a more legalist/literalist mentality." If the Church doesn't make a big deal about such nuances, that is one thing, but if I am in a situation where such a practice could be misleading then don't I need to clarify "I affirm X, Y, and Z but this is what it means to me..."? Especially if it became clear people were attributing views to me that I not only may not hold but may actually oppose? I am all for the flexibility to be sure, and I appreciate where you are coming from, but is it really possible to be accepted when going for Tradition without a little bit of deception by omission? That is something I have been concerned about, especially as I will be moving to an area that will tend to be more conservative, not less.

 

 

Hi All,

 

It seems to me that if one cannot fully share their understanding without reprisals or uncomfortableness of sort then another church such as UU would be more appropriate where love and nurture is more important than dogma. Of course, one may not expect to find a church that is even close to 100% agreement with your beliefs yet to be heard and be accepted while on your journey seems to me to be most important. Perhaps that is more important than to continue searching for 'a more perfect fit'. It seems to me repression of our views within a congregation because of differing beliefs has little benefit for ourselves or others. Growth seems to take place as we are allowed to empty ourselves by sharing freely what has been revealed to us personally. Just something to consider as relates to the subject. Of course one needs to be uncritical of the beliefs of others also to benefit and co-exist peacefully from the encounter in such a church.

 

Love,

Joseph

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi All,

 

It seems to me that if one cannot fully share their understanding without reprisals or uncomfortableness of sort then another church such as UU would be more appropriate ...

I agree with what you wrote, but it wouldn't so much be uncomfortableness on my part so much as not wanting to give a false impression. As for the specific suggestion, it is appreciated, but I just don't feel UUA is expressing its principles and its potential in a way that would adequately challenge and support me at present. I will quickly add that this is just true for me. I don't presume that is true for anyone else. And I am not living up to my principles and potential either, so I am not putting myself above anyone. And I haven't been to the UU church in my new town either, so they could surprise me (though from the sermon titles online I am not holding my breadth).

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Greetings Tinythinker,

 

It seems to me that if one is looking for agreement in their beliefs or to be challenged then yes, UU would not necessarily be a wise choice. Perhaps they focus more on tolerance and friendship and encouragagement to continue on ones search for truth and meaning than to support any particular belief system. From my experience, (my brother is a UU) it doesn't seem that they are concerned about impressions. They are baseically creedless and non-dogmatic. All belief systems are accepted as long as they are supportative of all persons. Perhaps this is because they believe all persons and creatures are related to God or the divine and will be reconciled to God.

 

I am sure you will find what you are looking for and wish you well in your quest.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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What's a picky person to do?

 

Follow your heart. There will never be a perfect fit between yourself and a Faith community, but you should not compromise your moral values, either. I left the UMC after years of membership and being a layspeaker for my congregation because of the issue over gay clergy. I feel most at home as a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), but even here I have my differences over the divine nature of Jesus. Keep in mind that Faith flows from the inside out and that you're True Faith is not learned, read about, preached about, lectured about, or brought in from the outside. Your Faith comes from that which is Within...from there, let your heart guide you to others with whom you can be at peace and prayer.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest wayfarer2k
What's a picky person to do? :P

 

Start your OWN denomination!!! Hey, it's the American way! ;)

 

Seriously, though, I am in much the same predicament. My wife and I were raised Baptist (her Southern and me Independant) and I now consider myself a progressive or liberal Christian. She knows it and she doesn't mind. We do have some interesting conversations. But we attend an evangelical UMC church because that is as far "liberal" as she could move. :lol:

 

The truth of the matter, for me at least, is that my beliefs since leaving fundamentalism have changed (and continue to change) so much that any place that I might call home due to doctrinal similarities between myself and the church or pastor would need to change about every 6 months. :rolleyes:

 

Our current church is somewhat conservative in their theology but liberal in their practices. So I sometimes feel very out-of-place when the creed is recited or an altar call is given. At the same time, I feel quite at home when I see what our church is doing in our community to help the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the prisons, the children, etc. So I can overlook or ignor some of the theology as long as the church focuses on doing what I think Jesus said we should do.

 

Perhaps like Autumn, I don't participate in some things in the church because I don't agree with them on a theological basis. But I've found that most people really don't care what I think because they are too busy focusing on themselves.

 

PS - I don't know of any "progressive" churches in my area. Being in Texas, even the Episcopalians preach hellfire and brimstone. I hate to say it, but when it comes to being a progressive Christian, I'm pretty much alone and probably won't find a church that feels like home. Not feeling "at home" in institutional Christianity is what lead me to PC anyway. I go to church almost solely for the social aspect.

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