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Stages of Faith

 

http://ex-churchofchrist.com/StagesFaithCoC.htm

 

There was a day that was the beginning of the end of my religious naivety. I can’t remember the exact day but I do remember it was the day I first experienced doubt about my beliefs and traditions. I soon realized I could not sway that doubt. I didn’t loose my belief in God but I came to accept that I no longer accepted the beliefs and traditions of the religious group that I affiliated with. My doubt launched me on a new journey. That journey continues to this day.

 

Well into my journey I encountered a book written by James Fowler, a Christian behavioral psychologist. His book confirmed that many others had taken the same journey, which I found most comforting because I had began to wonder if I taken leave of my senses.

 

I discovered that my journey closely followed the established pattern. My self diagnosis tells me I am firmly in stage 4. Fowler reveals the numerous pot holes that the disillusioned traveler can expect to encounter. Many become casualties and leave the faith, those that manage to retain some semblance of their faith find it difficult, maybe nearly impossible, to find another compatible “tribe” that they can connect with. I find that I am now one of those. I want to part of a group, but I cannot find a group that appeals to me.

 

My journey has lead me to become a student of religious history and first century Jewish culture. That research has revealed that present day religion, and its accompanying teaching and beliefs, rarely reflect recorded historical actuality.

 

I find myself in a religious no mans land now. I am not attracted to either the fundamentalist or the liberals. I find much in both camps that turn me off. Fowler notes that many who travel this path are never able to blend into another group. They remain religious nomads. Unfortunately, it seems that I have become one of those.

 

Anyone else on this journey, or who has had a similar experience?

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javelin,

 

I can hear a few echoes coming to me when reading of your experience. I think each of us is unique. That being so I think we need to get beyond seeing groups "out there", whatever the label, "fundamentalists"/"liberals" or whatever. Each individual is a "nomad" in a sense, and we need to have empathy towards each as such. How will we ever conform to a group, or think we belong, when it is only ever as unique precious individuals that we can truly commune with each other?

 

"Like swans that leave the lake, we leave home after home behind". Yet there can be found a home which we never leave.

 

I don't really go much on self diagnosis, or plotting my path - least of all where I am on it.

 

"If we wish to be sure of the road we tread on we should close our eyes and walk in the dark" (St John of the Cross)

 

Yes, recorded history seems, as someone once said, merely the record of the "winners". Reading Sanders (E.P.?) on the Pharisees, they come across as very likeable in their own way, and not much like the "objects" depicted in the NT. And when we realise that it is at least arguable that some of the polemics engaged in there could have planted the seeds of the holocaust...........once again, it comes back to individuals, not groups, that we should seek to find, and know, and love.

 

All the best

Derek

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javelin,

 

I can hear a few echoes coming to me when reading of your experience. I think each of us is unique. That being so I think we need to get beyond seeing groups "out there", whatever the label, "fundamentalists"/"liberals" or whatever. Each individual is a "nomad" in a sense, and we need to have empathy towards each as such. How will we ever conform to a group, or think we belong, when it is only ever as unique precious individuals that we can truly commune with each other?

 

"Like swans that leave the lake, we leave home after home behind". Yet there can be found a home which we never leave.

 

I don't really go much on self diagnosis, or plotting my path - least of all where I am on it.

 

"If we wish to be sure of the road we tread on we should close our eyes and walk in the dark" (St John of the Cross)

 

Yes, recorded history seems, as someone once said, merely the record of the "winners". Reading Sanders (E.P.?) on the Pharisees, they come across as very likeable in their own way, and not much like the "objects" depicted in the NT. And when we realise that it is at least arguable that some of the polemics engaged in there could have planted the seeds of the holocaust...........once again, it comes back to individuals, not groups, that we should seek to find, and know, and love.

 

All the best

Derek

 

I’ve quite often found that the right path is rather easy to determine but often difficult to take. If one can become an emotionless reincarnation of Spock then logical and reason will form the primary basis for decision making. Unfortunately, human being are emotional creatures and their decision making if more often than not based more on emotion than logic and intellect.

 

Therefore, at least for me at this time in my life, moving beyond the group is something it seems that I am unable to do. In time, hopefully, I will approach this issue more logically. At this point in my life it remains an emotional albatross.

 

History, as you correctly note, is often bias which makes it unreliable. Since that is true, that would seem to indicate that no standard of truth exist. If no standard of truth exist are anyone’s religious beliefs really relevant? The deeper I search for truth the more disturbing the outcome. Sometimes I find myself longing for prior times of ignorant bliss. I believed what the group told me to believe and all was well with the world.

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Stages of Faith

 

http://ex-churchofchrist.com/StagesFaithCoC.htm

 

There was a day that was the beginning of the end of my religious naivety. I can’t remember the exact day but I do remember it was the day I first experienced doubt about my beliefs and traditions. I soon realized I could not sway that doubt. I didn’t loose my belief in God but I came to accept that I no longer accepted the beliefs and traditions of the religious group that I affiliated with. My doubt launched me on a new journey. That journey continues to this day.

 

Well into my journey I encountered a book written by James Fowler, a Christian behavioral psychologist. His book confirmed that many others had taken the same journey, which I found most comforting because I had began to wonder if I taken leave of my senses.

 

I discovered that my journey closely followed the established pattern. My self diagnosis tells me I am firmly in stage 4. Fowler reveals the numerous pot holes that the disillusioned traveler can expect to encounter. Many become casualties and leave the faith, those that manage to retain some semblance of their faith find it difficult, maybe nearly impossible, to find another compatible “tribe” that they can connect with. I find that I am now one of those. I want to part of a group, but I cannot find a group that appeals to me.

 

My journey has lead me to become a student of religious history and first century Jewish culture. That research has revealed that present day religion, and its accompanying teaching and beliefs, rarely reflect recorded historical actuality.

 

I find myself in a religious no mans land now. I am not attracted to either the fundamentalist or the liberals. I find much in both camps that turn me off. Fowler notes that many who travel this path are never able to blend into another group. They remain religious nomads. Unfortunately, it seems that I have become one of those.

 

Anyone else on this journey, or who has had a similar experience?

 

I like the link you sent. I think I am in Stage 5, and if I didn't have a family right now, I would be in Stage 6. I was very happy to find progressive Christianity, because the ideas felt like home, and I always felt so alone, like I didn't fit into any established religion. Then I learned that there are so many within my own church that identify as progressive Christian. We are not 100%, so we haven't affiliated as a group, yet.

 

BTW, if you try that Methodist church where you live, I'd be interested in hearing what you find. Here in Colorado, in all 5 Methodist churches I've attended, we have a wide variety of theological beliefs, but we share a heart for what I think matters most: Love the Lord and Love your Neighbor as Yourself.

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.......BTW, if you try that Methodist church where you live, I'd be interested in hearing what you find. Here in Colorado, in all 5 Methodist churches I've attended, we have a wide variety of theological beliefs, but we share a heart for what I think matters most: Love the Lord and Love your Neighbor as Yourself.

 

I live in the deep south so I suspect the Methodist in this area are decidedly more conservative in their beliefs than Methodist in other parts of the country. I currently worship with a non-denominational congregation. I would classify them as modified fundamentalist. Their views are firmly based on Christian fundamentalism, but they are at least open minded enough to tolerate other views. Some members are more open minded than others, but that is to be expected in any group.

 

I have some other irons in the fire right now, but I do plan on attending that Methodist congregation at some point.

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I’ve quite often found that the right path is rather easy to determine but often difficult to take. If one can become an emotionless reincarnation of Spock then logical and reason will form the primary basis for decision making. Unfortunately, human being are emotional creatures and their decision making if more often than not based more on emotion than logic and intellect.

 

Therefore, at least for me at this time in my life, moving beyond the group is something it seems that I am unable to do. In time, hopefully, I will approach this issue more logically. At this point in my life it remains an emotional albatross.

 

History, as you correctly note, is often bias which makes it unreliable. Since that is true, that would seem to indicate that no standard of truth exist. If no standard of truth exist are anyone’s religious beliefs really relevant? The deeper I search for truth the more disturbing the outcome. Sometimes I find myself longing for prior times of ignorant bliss. I believed what the group told me to believe and all was well with the world.

 

javelin,

 

 

I've found in my experincee that the path I "determine" and "figure out" never comes to much, and when looking back I give a great big sigh of relief! I think "other power" knows better. And I try not to look upon emotion, logic and intelect as three distinct things. Why look for trouble? And I don't think we need to strive to move beyond the group, we ARE beyond the group as we stand, unique. I just seek to open to grace/love and not think to much about it. I suppose that does require a faith of sorts, yet......

 

Faith does not arise

Within oneself

The entrusting heart is itself

Given by the Other Power. (Rennyo)

 

 

What room for "boasting"/"works" of any sort? Live in gratitude for the things we have been given. Approach it more "logically"? Good grief!!

 

"all histories are nothing but convenient fictions" (Voltaire) Including our own.......?

 

All the best

Derek

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Hi Javelin,

 

While I cannot think of anything that might resolve your questions and concerns, I at least can say that I understand where you're coming from. It seems only natural that, after coming to doubt long-held beliefs, there should be certain anxieties. I grew up a Baptist fundamentalist, and was initially very distressed simply upon learning that the King James version of the bible wasn't 'perfect' or 'God's preserved Word for the English speaking people'.

 

I feel since then that I've come a long way, but exactly to where I can't really say. If I had the choice I would never go back to that kind of faith, yet still, looking back, it did seem more secure, etc. Since leaving fundamentalism, I've seen very few things to be certain about, in fact one of the only things I'm certain about is the necessity in my life to live simply very directly with life, so as to be mindful of it as it actually is, and not what I want to make it out to be.

 

Studying various religious traditions has helped me greatly, but such does not replace the false certitude of the fundamentalists. Yet to me comparative studies has proved invaluable for the maturation of my worldview and personal spiritual life.

 

When it comes to fitting in with a group, I've chosen progressive Christianity because it best reflects where I'm at, I feel. That is, it is a group where I'm most likely to find individuals who are on a similar journey and who find similar themes to be central or important. But I don't always agree with what this or that individual says about theology, the church, politics, etc, etc. I'm currently a member of local Presbyterian church, which I joined almost a year ago (I would chance that if the Methodist church isn't to your liking that you might try a Presbyterian?). There is a very wide range of theological beliefs represented there, from the overtly eclectic to the more traditional/conservative. I certainly do not 'fit in' perfectly at the church, for at this point Eastern ideas have influenced my thinking as much as Christianity, but my church does allow for openness. Just like liberal or progressive thinking. And I think this openness is perhaps the most important feature in a world where we each truly are individuals who are, in a very real sense, alone. But if we are alone in one sense, thankfully we can be together in our aloneness. :D Even 'religious nomads' who self-identify as 'nomads' have grouped themselves, have they not?

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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Hi Javelin,

 

While I cannot think of anything that might resolve your questions and concerns, I at least can say that I understand where you're coming from. It seems only natural that, after coming to doubt long-held beliefs, there should be certain anxieties. I grew up a Baptist fundamentalist, and was initially very distressed simply upon learning that the King James version of the bible wasn't 'perfect' or 'God's preserved Word for the English speaking people'.

 

I feel since then that I've come a long way, but exactly to where I can't really say. If I had the choice I would never go back to that kind of faith, yet still, looking back, it did seem more secure, etc. Since leaving fundamentalism, I've seen very few things to be certain about, in fact one of the only things I'm certain about is the necessity in my life to live simply very directly with life, so as to be mindful of it as it actually is, and not what I want to make it out to be.

 

Studying various religious traditions has helped me greatly, but such does not replace the false certitude of the fundamentalists. Yet to me comparative studies has proved invaluable for the maturation of my worldview and personal spiritual life.

 

When it comes to fitting in with a group, I've chosen progressive Christianity because it best reflects where I'm at, I feel. That is, it is a group where I'm most likely to find individuals who are on a similar journey and who find similar themes to be central or important. But I don't always agree with what this or that individual says about theology, the church, politics, etc, etc. I'm currently a member of local Presbyterian church, which I joined almost a year ago (I would chance that if the Methodist church isn't to your liking that you might try a Presbyterian?). There is a very wide range of theological beliefs represented there, from the overtly eclectic to the more traditional/conservative. I certainly do not 'fit in' perfectly at the church, for at this point Eastern ideas have influenced my thinking as much as Christianity, but my church does allow for openness. Just like liberal or progressive thinking. And I think this openness is perhaps the most important feature in a world where we each truly are individuals who are, in a very real sense, alone. But if we are alone in one sense, thankfully we can be together in our aloneness. :D Even 'religious nomads' who self-identify as 'nomads' have grouped themselves, have they not?

 

Peace to you,

Mike

 

Theological ambiguity was not my objective when I began my journey, but that seems to be an unintended consequense. Thats a long way from the black and white certainty commonly associated with Christian fundamentalism as well as my religous background.

 

I think I’m mostly searching for a group that is open minded. I’m no longer comfortable with the rigid and uncompromising atmosphere commonly found in fundamentalism. I do not have any issues per se with Progressive Christianity. I’m not on board with all of the stated eight points, but there is nothing that I strongly disagree with either. Mostly, I guess I’m just not interested in wearing any particular tag right now. I’d rather, at least for the time being, just be an unlabeled Christ follower.

 

I think I could fit in with the Methodist, Presbyterian, or Christian Church. My wife and I currently worship with a non-denominational congregation that came out of the rigid fundamentalism that we were previously associated with. This congregation is far more grace oriented than their parent group, but they are still fundamentalist. They are also more open minded than the parent group, but that open mindedness has distinct boundaries. My wife has been deeply integrated into this congregation and would be extremely reluctant to terminate her relationship with them, and I feel no pressing need to push that issue. I’m not really unhappy there, but some of my views are not within their comfort zone, so that prevents me from being actively involved. Maybe keeping things in perspective should be my primary concern.

 

I appreciate you sharing your views and thoughts on this issue.

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Theological ambiguity was not my objective when I began my journey, but that seems to be an unintended consequense. Thats a long way from the black and white certainty commonly associated with Christian fundamentalism as well as my religous background.

 

I can relate to what you're saying. I began questioning my faith very reluctantly, hoping only to confirm what I had been brought up with. But I had just enough nagging honesty to continue prying a little deeper when things apparently weren't adding up. The boundaries of my doubt extended further and further until I was 'finally' questioning everything. I still do so, though I think much of the sharp anxiety I felt about it has for the most part passed. I went from having doubts about small in-house Baptist issues pertaining to bible versions and eschatology, to doubting the entirety of Christianity, and then to becoming occupied with general philosophical questions. Some things you just can't put a stop to once they are set in motion, it's like you've taken the red pill and now descending the rabbit hole.

 

I think I’m mostly searching for a group that is open minded. I’m no longer comfortable with the rigid and uncompromising atmosphere commonly found in fundamentalism. I do not have any issues per se with Progressive Christianity. I’m not on board with all of the stated eight points, but there is nothing that I strongly disagree with either. Mostly, I guess I’m just not interested in wearing any particular tag right now. I’d rather, at least for the time being, just be an unlabeled Christ follower.

 

I think I could fit in with the Methodist, Presbyterian, or Christian Church. My wife and I currently worship with a non-denominational congregation that came out of the rigid fundamentalism that we were previously associated with. This congregation is far more grace oriented than their parent group, but they are still fundamentalist. They are also more open minded than the parent group, but that open mindedness has distinct boundaries. My wife has been deeply integrated into this congregation and would be extremely reluctant to terminate her relationship with them, and I feel no pressing need to push that issue. I’m not really unhappy there, but some of my views are not within their comfort zone, so that prevents me from being actively involved. Maybe keeping things in perspective should be my primary concern.

 

It certainly is a hard call when one's spouse is involved. I think it is wise as you say not to push the issue or apply any pressure to change, as such things can be delicate. Then again, it is important not to neglect your own concerns if you desire a church that fits you better, as it is only healthy to be around people who can appreciate where you're coming from. Perhaps you may wind up trying different churches by yourself? Just an obvious thought and suggestion. It's probably not so important to find a label for oneself. I attend a Presbyterian church but I do not self-identify as a 'Presbyterian', but it is important to me to be able to be myself - whatever that may be.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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I can relate to what you're saying. I began questioning my faith very reluctantly, hoping only to confirm what I had been brought up with. But I had just enough nagging honesty to continue prying a little deeper when things apparently weren't adding up. The boundaries of my doubt extended further and further until I was 'finally' questioning everything. I still do so, though I think much of the sharp anxiety I felt about it has for the most part passed. I went from having doubts about small in-house Baptist issues pertaining to bible versions and eschatology, to doubting the entirety of Christianity, and then to becoming occupied with general philosophical questions. Some things you just can't put a stop to once they are set in motion, it's like you've taken the red pill and now descending the rabbit hole.

 

I can so relate to that. Our experiences have been virtually identical. I have often found myself wishing that I had not delved so deeply into the abyss. It's a journey that changes a person forever. You can never go back once you've journeyed into the abyss.

 

It certainly is a hard call when one's spouse is involved. I think it is wise as you say not to push the issue or apply any pressure to change, as such things can be delicate. Then again, it is important not to neglect your own concerns if you desire a church that fits you better, as it is only healthy to be around people who can appreciate where you're coming from. Perhaps you may wind up trying different churches by yourself? Just an obvious thought and suggestion. It's probably not so important to find a label for oneself. I attend a Presbyterian church but I do not self-identify as a 'Presbyterian', but it is important to me to be able to be myself - whatever that may be.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

 

We've been married more than 40 years and have never worshipped separately, so that isn't an option for me. The Methodist Church has an 8:30 worship service and our services begin at 10:30. That gives me the option of attending both services. I no longer attend Sunday morning bible class, because I don't agree with a lot of what's being taught, so that isn't a factor preventing me from attending two separate worship services.

 

I can't image that I will ever join another church or label myself again to be identified as some form of hyphenated Christian. I've very much enjoyed exchanging thoughts with you Mike. It’s comforting to find someone who has had similar experiences. I can relate to everything you’ve posted.

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those that manage to retain some semblance of their faith find it difficult, maybe nearly impossible, to find another compatible “tribe” that they can connect with. I find that I am now one of those. I want to part of a group, but I cannot find a group that appeals to me. Anyone else on this journey, or who has had a similar experience?

 

Definitively YES!! MUCH of what I was taught (preached at us) simply stopped ringing true and even began clanging false for me. So, like you, I seek and journey. At first, I felt lonely and lost, but with time, that is passing. The freedom from dogma has been intoxicating and liberating for me. My relationship with God is growing tremendously! I have beat my head against the wall seeking a gathering of similarly open minded people and found precious little (I have settled on a silent Quaker Meeting, which has been a nice environment within which to grow). After much thought and discussion, I am thinking that this path is the one that God would have me take now. Perhaps to find others who share my same beliefs would not challenge me at this opportune time. I now try to seek the lessons for myself within those beliefs that differ from mine.

 

 

"I guess I’m just not interested in wearing any particular tag right now. I’d rather, at least for the time being, just be an unlabeled Christ follower."

(MY sentiments exactly! Labels have a way of dividing and excluding. I have little need for such now.)

 

I sincerely wish you the best in your journey, fellow seeker.

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I seem to be pretty much in stage 5. I find that when I talk about baptisms or confirmations that I have attended or participated in my eyes often fill with tears. And this is even though I don't necessarily agree with the "doctrines" involved.

 

Zeeker, have you heard of Barbara Brown Taylor? She is an author of religiously oriented books, and a former Episcopal priest. I think she teaches at a college in northern Georgia somewhere. You might find her interesting.

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I think when we have become separated from any one tribe's beliefs we should consider playing. Make-believe. As if it were true.

 

A pastor who always read the Scripture from a feminist, deconstructionist view would say at Advent, "For the next 4 weeks I fully and completely believe in every part of the Christmas story."

 

If I am at a non-denominational church with great music I will stand and move in time to the music. I know what I believe and I can have a good time. I don't fit into Bible studies in such situations but the music's great.

 

 

Perhaps to find others who share my same beliefs would not challenge me at this opportune time. I now try to seek the lessons for myself within those beliefs that differ from mine.

 

Very true

Food for the journey

 

Dutch

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Hi Javelin,

 

We've been married more than 40 years and have never worshipped separately, so that isn't an option for me. The Methodist Church has an 8:30 worship service and our services begin at 10:30. That gives me the option of attending both services. I no longer attend Sunday morning bible class, because I don't agree with a lot of what's being taught, so that isn't a factor preventing me from attending two separate worship services.

 

I hope that works for you, as I understand that it can be important for one's relationship to worship together. Another suggestion, of course it depends on your area, but there may also be some opportunities to meet with others outside of Sunday services, discussion groups or study groups etc. Or if not, one always has the option of trying to start one. I've been considering starting a discussion group at a local Barnes and Noble bookstore, perhaps organizing and advertising it on meetup.com. You never know who you might meet and what opportunities can be opened up to you when you make new connections. These of course are only suggestions to consider.

 

I can't image that I will ever join another church or label myself again to be identified as some form of hyphenated Christian. I've very much enjoyed exchanging thoughts with you Mike. It’s comforting to find someone who has had similar experiences. I can relate to everything you’ve posted.

 

Thanks, it's been a pleasure. I think you'll find a lot of people on this forum who have had similar experiences with doubt, questioning, etc. Indeed it's always good to know that one is not altogether alone, that other people are going through or have gone through like situations.

Wish you all the best.

Peace to you,

Mike

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Definitively YES!! MUCH of what I was taught (preached at us) simply stopped ringing true and even began clanging false for me. So, like you, I seek and journey. At first, I felt lonely and lost, but with time, that is passing. The freedom from dogma has been intoxicating and liberating for me. My relationship with God is growing tremendously! I have beat my head against the wall seeking a gathering of similarly open minded people and found precious little (I have settled on a silent Quaker Meeting, which has been a nice environment within which to grow). After much thought and discussion, I am thinking that this path is the one that God would have me take now. Perhaps to find others who share my same beliefs would not challenge me at this opportune time. I now try to seek the lessons for myself within those beliefs that differ from mine.

 

 

 

(MY sentiments exactly! Labels have a way of dividing and excluding. I have little need for such now.)

 

I sincerely wish you the best in your journey, fellow seeker.

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences Zeeker. It is comforting to know that others are, and have been, on similar journeys.

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I wouldn't participate in church life with the goal of wearing a tag or label that says "I fit in here." Rather I think the purpose of participating in church life is that sometimes it calls me to be greater than I am. Churches organize learning and service opportunities, support groups, and encourage participants to keep their focus on God amidst distractions.

 

Church is not the only way to accomplish these spiritual things, but it can often be a good way.

 

Janet

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I wouldn't participate in church life with the goal of wearing a tag or label that says "I fit in here." Rather I think the purpose of participating in church life is that sometimes it calls me to be greater than I am. Churches organize learning and service opportunities, support groups, and encourage participants to keep their focus on God amidst distractions.

 

Church is not the only way to accomplish these spiritual things, but it can often be a good way.

 

Janet

 

I used to think like you do now Janet. I would very much like to return to those days of spiritual innocence. I envy your spirituality and the joy your faith gives you. I once had that too, but lost it when I became entrapped in a maze of religious legalism.

 

Extricating myself from that environment was enormously difficult and getting all that junk out of my mind has proved to be virtually impossible. I want to let go of all the religious garbage cluttering my mind and turn it over to God. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

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Javelin,

 

Do you want to start another thread called "religious garbage" and talk about some of the stuff cluttering your mind?

 

I think your exodus from that environment was brave, and your path is unfolding as it should.

 

I promise you, my faith/spirituality is not as simplistic as presented here. I'll bet we could have a good conversation.

 

Janet

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Javelin,

 

Do you want to start another thread called "religious garbage" and talk about some of the stuff cluttering your mind?

 

I think your exodus from that environment was brave, and your path is unfolding as it should.

 

I promise you, my faith/spirituality is not as simplistic as presented here. I'll bet we could have a good conversation.

 

Janet

 

I don't know that dumping my garbage on others would be a good thing to do. I doubt that my story is all that much different from others who have experienced religious extremism first hand.

 

My exodus wasn't an act of bravery it was the only way I could keep my sanity. I have enjoyed our conversation Janet. You have been most encouraging and I appreciate that.

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Hi Javelin,

 

I don't think talking to others about such things would be 'dumping'. I would think that communication, support, dialogue, and not merely debate and overtly theoretical discussion, should be the highest goal of a forum like this. It is of course up to you, but you are welcome to share your concerns and thoughts. If a matter is important to you, after all, it may very well be important to others as well.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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(snip)

Extricating myself from that environment was enormously difficult and getting all that junk out of my mind has proved to be virtually impossible. I want to let go of all the religious garbage cluttering my mind and turn it over to God. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

 

Hi Javelin,

 

I am often accused of oversimplifying things but at the risk of doing so I would suggest that when the desire to get all that religious clutter out of your mind outweighs the desire to experience ownership of the same then it will take no more effort than it does to get up in the morning. It seems to me there is no secret to turning it over to God. It is simply let go when it is truly determined by you to no longer be of any real value to hold onto.

 

Just one frank view to consider,

Joseph

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  • 1 month later...

I'm a huge fan of Fowler. Because hisunderstanding of faith is essentially that of Tillich (it's the bondof trust that ties us to and orients our energies around our UltimateConcern), and because Tillich's Ultimate Concerns does not have to beGod (indeed, it could be secular notions of the state, freedom,music, World of Warcraft, etc.), I believe Fowler's understanding canbe applied outside the sphere of "religious" concerns. Forexample, I've seen people be "fundamentalists" (distinctlyMythic-Literal Stage 2) about what kind of music is best, thenlighten up as time passes, until finally they are appreciate otherforms of music. In this sense, he helps us to understand more of our world than just the arena of "faith."

 

The key that opens up Fowler is theconnection between developmental growth and an ever expanding ability to identifywith the "other." The more of life we encounter, the lessrigid/literal/egocentric we become, as we are transformed slowly intomore flowing/principled/relational beings. I resonate with that strongly, and I believe that's largely the point of the biblical faith journey.

 

Oh, and something to note about Stage 6(Universalizing Faith) that the wonderful blog doesn't mention(thanks for posting that, btw). Fowler isn't entirely convinced thatthe stage exists as a unique stage (according to his book Stages ofFaith, which has been out for a while so he may have changed hisstance). Instead, it may only be a radicalized extreme of otherstages. Personally, I suspect it does exist, but the radicalizedelements of other stages can be mistaken for it.

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