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A Matter Of Priority


minsocal
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Over time, I have encountered many views of what Progressive Christianity represents to the larger Christian community. The history of Progressive Christianity, in my opinion, has very deep roots. For a topic starter, I will offer the following:

 

1. Progressive Christianity is based, in part, on the notion of challenging the status quo. The prophets did it. Jesus did it. Progressive Christians recognize that the status quo can be oppressive and harmful. Progressives hope to remove institutionalized forms of harm from society.

 

2. The status quo is not limited to society, it has an individual component as well. Our own "status quo" often limits our personal development. Individual development, like the universe, should evolve and not stop at any arbitrary point.

 

3. Religious doctines are the status quo. They provide comfort and stabilty to some, and are much too rigid for others. Is it good to challenge the staus quo per se or is it better to deal with the consequences to some, bur not all, individuals?

 

OK, thats a start. Anyone have more to add?

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Over time, I have encountered many views of what Progressive Christianity represents to the larger Christian community. The history of Progressive Christianity, in my opinion, has very deep roots. For a topic starter, I will offer the following:

 

1. Progressive Christianity is based, in part, on the notion of challenging the status quo. The prophets did it. Jesus did it. Progressive Christians recognize that the status quo can be oppressive and harmful. Progressives hope to remove institutionalized forms of harm from society.

 

Speaking for myself, I don't think we are based on challenging the status quo but more on exiting from the status quo in which we felt stagnant and unable to share the things revealed to us by the spirit that were in opposition to orthodox church dogma and doctrine. Personally i have no such goal as to remove institutionalized forms of harm to society. It seems to me we should be looking at removing the beam from our own eyes more thoroughly so we can see more clearly to help others.

 

2. The status quo is not limited to society, it has an individual component as well. Our own "status quo" often limits our personal development. Individual development, like the universe, should evolve and not stop at any arbitrary point.
I don't claim as a progressive to know what should or shouldn't evolve but I am certain there is divine order in the universe regardless of what it looks like to the eyes. It seems to me evolving will take care of itself. It is enough to watch ones own doings and let ones life be ones testimony.

 

3. Religious doctines are the status quo. They provide comfort and stabilty to some, and are much too rigid for others. Is it good to challenge the staus quo per se or is it better to deal with the consequences to some, bur not all, individuals?

 

It seems to me that Theology may be comforting but only experience brings true peace. Again, perhaps there is no need to challenge others. It is enough and sufficient to face ones own challenges daily.

Just a view to consider concerning the post.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

 

PS It also seems good to me to not make a religion out of progressive Christianity. It may turn out to be the very thing that it came out from.

Edited by JosephM
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When it comes to the harm of others we should do what we can to stop that and expose the initial cause and root or beginnings.

 

Should it be that many who call themselves divine are actually walking deaf and blind, they will not speak? In many cities there are campaigns to stop the snitching, don't ask and don't tell, and yet people are dying it is becoming apparent that some of us do not want to see crime in our community, we don't want to see murder and chaos running rampant. You better not let me see your attacks upon the innocent, the new message is good. Don't let me see what you are doing or I will speak out and speak up.

 

I've been trying to speak out and speak up personally, but I've also been backed into a corner and forced to remain in a box that prevents me from being seen or heard, walls have been placed around me and I've been blocked from being able to get the message out.

 

It would be a change that the victim does get a chance to speak and be heard and is seen not as one cursed but one that has suffered at the hands of cruel people trying to control and harm others. To expose the corruption the sunlight will set you free and allow you to grow.

 

Go and grow in peace...

 

I'd love to talk more about the Universe and what we know, along with the Evolution of Religion where do we go from here? I know... It is a far better place that we go to than where we came from...

 

I'll be so surprised if this actually gets posted...

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I think that Point 7 of the 8 Points is important to many Progressive Christians. The ideals of egalitarianism and social justice do seem to be an important part of Progressive Christianity. These ideals are not limited to Christianity or any Protestant denomination. Nor do these ideals presuppose religion. I know many secular humanists who are as dedicated to these ideals as any branch of religion.

 

I propose that there are two (or more) basic worldviews that, by their very nature, often find themselves in opposition to each other. I further propose that this "opposition" is falsely construed by many who find themselves trapped in networks of dichotomies that end up being harmful in some way, either to themselves or those around them.

 

Abraham Maslow put it very well, "To dichotomize is to pathologize". I sometimes struggle with the possibilty that both views are natrural and, I think, this is what Maslow meant.

 

So, I pose this question: Have we outlived the need to define ourselves "in opposition" to another worldview?

Edited by minsocal
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(snip)

So, I pose this question: Have we outlived the need to define ourselves "in opposition" to another worldview?

 

Minsocal,

 

Personally, I am not in opposition to anyones worldview. Why would one even think that it was necessary to oppose someone elses worldview? Everyone is entitled to their own worldview. What need have they of my agreement or disagreement in the first place?

 

Joseph

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Minsocal,

 

Personally, I am not in opposition to anyones worldview. Why would one even think that it was necessary to oppose someone elses worldview? Everyone is entitled to their own worldview. What need have they of my agreement or disagreement in the first place?

 

Joseph

 

Part of what I am trying to say agrees with you. Another part of me says that Jesus died because He deliberately challenged the social stautus quo. To be "released" from dogma is one thing, to be "released" from pain and suffering in the material world is quite another?

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Part of what I am trying to say agrees with you. Another part of me says that Jesus died because He deliberately challenged the social stautus quo. To be "released" from dogma is one thing, to be "released" from pain and suffering in the material world is quite another?

 

Minsocal,

 

Perhaps he merely spoke the truth. If that challenges the status quo than so be it. To 'deliberately' challenge the social status quo is more an act of agression. It seems to me he would have merely spoke the truth in love. Those who accept accept and those who reject reject. His death might have been a result of the fear those in power of the church system had in losing the control they held over the people because of his teachings which were different.

 

Joseph

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Minsocal,

 

Perhaps he merely spoke the truth. If that challenges the status quo than so be it. To 'deliberately' challenge the social status quo is more an act of agression. It seems to me he would have merely spoke the truth in love. Those who accept accept and those who reject reject. His death might have been a result of the fear those in power of the church system had in losing the control they held over the people because of his teachings which were different.

 

Joseph

 

Joseph,

 

Here is part of what drew me into my current line of thought (not yet fully worked out):

 

Genesis 1:2 “veharetz hayta tohu vavohu vekhoshekh al-pnei tehom veruach elohim merakhefet al-pnei hamayyim” (Wikipedia).

 

“the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters” (NSRV)

 

“That nocturnal solitude characterizes a mood of the tehom: “darkness was upon the face of the deep.” And intertextually it suggests as well a defiance of social expectations, a force of rebellion against any established order, and yet in this very clamor, in this darkness, a profoundly relational space. A space precisely characterized by ‘depths of peace’ -- the ultimately pacific, indicating the bliss of what Freud could not handle, the oceanic feeling he thought needed only to be outgrown; indicating the final experience of peace won only through tragedy, ... also this pacific shoreline suggests quite literally the edge of chaos, indicative in the contrast of clamor and peace of the complex order of turbulent processes expressed in oceanic currents and tides (Keller, 1999).”

 

The word I was looking for is "rebellion", which can be non-violent and motivated by love. In my opinion, love is an emotion linked with compassion i.e., "with passion".

 

Minsocal

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Joseph,

 

Here is part of what drew me into my current line of thought (not yet fully worked out):

The word I was looking for is "rebellion", which can be non-violent and motivated by love. In my opinion, love is an emotion linked with compassion i.e., "with passion".

 

Minsocal

 

Hi Minsocal,

 

It seems to me Love is NOT an emotion. The love that is emotion that we know is more of attachment and is of the carnal mind. It is conditional and therefor creates an opposite in mind called hate. It seems to me that there is no opposite to God's Love. God's love is essence (God is love) and it is neither motivated nor is it developed. It merely surfaces as unconditional acceptance as we walk in the spirit connected with God. Love is the nature of God and is complete already. When we are one with the Father, even as Jesus prayed we would be, Love presents itself without effort. Just a view for us to consider.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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I would say most often love is identified with an emotion. But to me love is a verb - action. Love isn't about how we feel about something or someone it is about how we behave toward someone or something.

 

Hate is not the opposite of love, Apathy is the opposite of love. Not original to me by any means but I believe it is true. Hate is a passion fueled by anger. Anger is an emotion often fueled by fear of abandonment or other "negative" emotions. A saying: There is a thin line between love and hate.

 

I was recently having a problem with a co-worker whom I respect and care about (love in the emotional sense). I was very angry with her and one could even say I was feeling hateful toward her. Now that the problems have been resolved I "love" her once again. The reason I had such a strong reaction to what was happening (my husband noted) was because I cared so much for her -- I was very hurt. Was I apathetic toward her I wouldn't have responded so strongly to what was going on.

Edited by October's Autumn
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I would say most often love is identified with an emotion. But to me love is a verb - action. Love isn't about how we feel about something or someone it is about how we behave toward someone or something.

 

Hate is not the opposite of love, Apathy is the opposite of love. Not original to me by any means but I believe it is true. Hate is a passion fueled by anger. Anger is an emotion often fueled by fear of abandonment or other "negative" emotions. A saying: There is a thin line between love and hate.

 

I was recently having a problem with a co-worker whom I respect and care about (love in the emotional sense). I was very angry with her and one could even say I was feeling hateful toward her. Now that the problems have been resolved I "love" her once again. The reason I had such a strong reaction to what was happening (my husband noted) was because I cared so much for her -- I was very hurt. Was I apathetic toward her I wouldn't have responded so strongly to what was going on.

 

Hi OA,

 

I have also heard that said many times that the opposite of love is apathy. However, it seems to me to be an error and this is why. Opposites are something that are completely contrary in nature, like good and evil. Emotional Love is a positive emotion and emotional hate is a negative emotion. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum from a minds perspective. (Duality)

 

When emotional love is created, the potential for its opposite hate is also created. One cannot know emotional hate without emotional love. Apathy (or indifference) is the absence of feeling, and therefore is neutral rather than an opposite. Emotional Love and hate are two ends of a continuum with apathy being in the middle.

 

Concerning God's love which comes from the Spirit, there is no opposite because it is not of the mind but rather the Spirit. In God there is no darkness, only light. No opposites in the reality of God. Perhaps difficult but not impossible

to understand through subjective experience.

 

Just something to consider,

Love Joseph

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Hi OA,

 

I have also heard that said many times that the opposite of love is apathy. However, it seems to me to be an error and this is why. Opposites are something that are completely contrary in nature, like good and evil. Emotional Love is a positive emotion and emotional hate is a negative emotion. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum from a minds perspective. (Duality)

 

When emotional love is created, the potential for its opposite hate is also created. One cannot know emotional hate without emotional love. Apathy (or indifference) is the absence of feeling, and therefore is neutral rather than an opposite. Emotional Love and hate are two ends of a continuum with apathy being in the middle.

 

Concerning God's love which comes from the Spirit, there is no opposite because it is not of the mind but rather the Spirit. In God there is no darkness, only light. No opposites in the reality of God. Perhaps difficult but not impossible

to understand through subjective experience.

 

Just something to consider,

Love Joseph

 

Joseph,

 

To embrace the word "progressive" means to break down dualities, breaking down the status quo IS breaking down the "love" / "hate" duality and seeing that one could "love thine enemy" (BUT NOT THEIR ACTS ).

 

Minsocal

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Joseph,

 

To embrace the word "progressive" means to break down dualities, breaking down the status quo IS breaking down the "love" / "hate" duality and seeing that one could "love thine enemy" (BUT NOT THEIR ACTS ).

 

Minsocal

 

Minsocal,

 

I was not aware that to embrace the word "progressive" means to break down dualities but yes, that is the way one is able to love thine enemy. Perhaps, the act is irrelevant from that perspective.

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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Minsocal,

 

I was not aware that to embrace the word "progressive" means to break down dualities but yes, that is the way one is able to love thine enemy. Perhaps, the act is irrelevant from that perspective.

 

Joseph

 

Joseph,

 

I could have stated my point several different ways. The use and meaning of the word "progressive" carries with it a rather robust history. From time to time, issues concerning dualisms surface in this forum. In my church, discussions about various forms of dualism are fairly common. For example, Process Theology is a direct response to the old problem of mind-body dualism. From this perspective, emotion and other cognitive functions are integral and natural. Mind-body dualism is rejected, much in the sense that Spinoza did centuries prior. Emotion and reason cannot be divorced from each other.

 

Much of what I post comes from current research in cognitive science, with a liberal dose of C.G. Jung thrown in. Many of the words used in this forum entail different assumptions, depending on the user. For example, when Jen uses the word "soul", I think I know the intended meaning, but it took some time to piece it together.

 

Myron

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Joseph,

 

I could have stated my point several different ways. The use and meaning of the word "progressive" carries with it a rather robust history. From time to time, issues concerning dualisms surface in this forum. In my church, discussions about various forms of dualism are fairly common. For example, Process Theology is a direct response to the old problem of mind-body dualism. From this perspective, emotion and other cognitive functions are integral and natural. Mind-body dualism is rejected, much in the sense that Spinoza did centuries prior. Emotion and reason cannot be divorced from each other.

 

Much of what I post comes from current research in cognitive science, with a liberal dose of C.G. Jung thrown in. Many of the words used in this forum entail different assumptions, depending on the user. For example, when Jen uses the word "soul", I think I know the intended meaning, but it took some time to piece it together.

 

Myron

 

Thanks for the clarification Myron. Linguistics being highly subjective is always a possible conflict we have to work our way through.

 

Joseph

 

PS You really had us going on that other mispost. lol :rolleyes:

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I believe Progressive Christians believe in Spiritual Progress and Social Change. The call is from the inside. Some might be leaning to the social change side and then decide to concentrate on their spiritual progress. It all balances out eventually. May we all find the voice and have the strength to follow it.

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I believe Progressive Christians believe in Spiritual Progress and Social Change. The call is from the inside. Some might be leaning to the social change side and then decide to concentrate on their spiritual progress. It all balances out eventually. May we all find the voice and have the strength to follow it.

 

 

Well said.

 

Joseph

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3. Religious doctines are the status quo. They provide comfort and stabilty to some, and are much too rigid for others. Is it good to challenge the staus quo per se or is it better to deal with the consequences to some, bur not all, individuals?

 

I begin by asking - what do we mean by the 'status quo'.

 

It seems to me this is a bit like wrestling with a column of smoke - now you have it, now you don't - it's a slippery sort of customer at best.

 

So, do religious doctrines construct a status quo? Maybe, perhaps. They may indeed provide 'stability' but stability denies change - and change is everywhere.

 

I think what may be under discussion is - how much change is good change? How far can one go and not be labelled 'rebel'?

 

I've been away over recent months on another 'Christian' forum. It has been an interesting time. There is much debate, much of misinformed and has more to do with promoting one's beliefs than in coming to some understand. Be that as it may, what intrigues me is the 'reaction' by individuals, and groups of individuals (Christian), to any 'challenge' to accepted ways of thinking (I'm nor in favour of using the term 'status quo' you might note).

 

I've been reading Crossan, again. He has much to say which is interest here for he, Crossan, is about the only author I have read that adopts an anthropological approach to theology.

 

Let's take an example of what I'm trying to articulate - which may be some relevance to the thread.

 

John the Baptist gets a brief appearance in the Gospels. Yet his position is rather more central than at first imagined. The River Jordan lay between the wilderness, where Jesus spent his 40 days and night, and Jerusalem. Wilderness resonates with the work of Moses and it was to the wilderness east of Jordan that many Jews visited, perhaps capturing something of that time earlier. Returned they had to cross the Jordan on return to the Holy Land. This journey reeks with Jewish symbolism and it perhaps little wonder that John chose that particular point to call the passing pilgrims to repent and be baptised, figurative journey through the parted sea on the way to the Promised Land. The Jordan was not just 'water' it represented something far greater in Jewish history. It is therefore no accident that Jesus travelled this same route.

 

This is hardly 'Progressive' - in fact the journey reeks of all that is Jewish.

 

The problems arose as the symbolic nature of what it means to be Judaism clashed with that which was decidedly unJewish - the politics of First Century Palestine.

 

I suggest something similar is happening today. The current 'politics' of the Church is compromised by the ruling elites as it was 2000 years ago. There are many 'wilderness' experiences now available - not the sand, desert and water type - but a readiness to leave the political arena to find a more authentic, or ethereal, experience somewhere else - another type of church perhaps.

 

This is hardly 'challenging the status quo'. If fact, it may argued that the status quo is a more authentic, or real, experience of God. It is this element that has been the greatest motivator of all those Saints who articulated this experience of God delivered down to us through the ages. Which is the reason I am loathe to throw out Tradition. There are lesson yet to be learnt from the past. Is it any wonder perhaps that these greats in Christendom found those words while invariably living in solitude.

Edited by Wayseer
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As I use the term, "status quo" relates primarily to hierarchical social systems that tend to sustain poverty and oppression i.e., inequality. Progressive views tend to be egaitatrian, at least that is my own experience.

 

In a more general sense:

 

“The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order. Life refuses to be embalmed alive. The more prolonged the halt in some unrelieved system of order, the greater the crash of the dead society (Whitehead, 1929/ 1978, p. 339).”
If there is something substantive to this view, we should hints of it in other cultures:

 

The universe is Tao (an interplay of the receptive Yin and the assertive Yang), plus chance and human choice . Yin and Yang are elementary processes. Tao is the “non rational third” (DiSanto & Steele, 1990).

 

The Greek system had two activating principles, love (uniting) and strife (sundering) ... they prevail in turn as the circle comes round ... Heraclitus reaches this conclusion: “We must know that War is common to all, and Strife is Justice, and that all things come into being by Strife (quoted in Campbell, 1974, p. 166.)"
Different cultural and conceptual systems are all trying to say something “true” about reality (Searle, 1992). Truth is enhanced when these systems converge and are shared (Searle, 1995).

 

Myron

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