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Content Concern?


Guest billmc
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Guest billmc

One of the things that I’m discovering in Progressive Christianity is what I might call “Content Concern.” I’m becoming content with who I am and with my journey, comfortable with the notion of becoming. I don’t know if this is a temporary stepping stone or plateau that I’ve reached until the next one comes along, or if it is simply part of what I hope is a maturing process. But I like where I am right now, spiritually, emotionally, and even mentally (okay, I’m never quite sure that I’m right mentally). There is a sense of peace in my life, not from the absence of problems and daily challenges, but just from the awareness that I get to experience this wonderful rollercoaster called life. So I’m kinda content with where and who I am.

 

At the same time, I also have this awareness that life, even my own, is not about me. Despite my sense of inner peace or the relative absence of cognitive dissonance, I know that my family, my friends, my church, my community, and my world have needs that are, to be honest, overwhelming. There is a lot of suffering in our world, a lot of issues that need to be addressed, a lot of things that could or should be fixed. I can’t browse Christian or humanist websites without noticing the call to be involved in helping others. And this, to me, is a true test of my faith, how do I treat others, especially those less fortunate than myself? How involved am I in issues that affect humanity? How concerned am I about the suffering in our world?

 

So I was wondering, how do you (the community here at TCPC) deal with “Content Concern”? Do you like where you are now, are you content? If so, how do you balance that with concern about our world? If you experience peace with yourself and what Is, how do you balance that with the lack of peace in our world?

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I am convinced that that's being a Christian. I too have become fairly comfortable with my view of the spiritual. I think one of Jesus's underlying messages is that we live a life of service. I was very fortunate to have been raised by parents instilled in me the need for balance and the need to be worthwhile to my surroundings.

 

I just finished reading "Have a Little Faith " by Mitch Albom. The book is about 2 people Mitch has met. One is his Rabbi from childhood the other is a minister of a church in the ghettos of Detroit. Both lived very different lives of service. There were many commonalities between the two one of which is that their effect on society has been good. I think thats our job here on earth ... To be worthwhile.

 

Our belief system is should be an aid, a path,and a boot in the ass at times. It should provide comfort, stability, education and encouragement. But the final goals should always be to make life better for all.

 

steve

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We all know Jesus said "love your neighbor as yourself." That can seriously be considered one half of his teaching on the scripture, the other half being "love God with all your heart."

 

"Love your neighbor as yourself" can be seen as an ethical command, but it also can be seen ontologically. "Love your neighbor as your self" - include your neighbor in your very own sense of identity. To me the latter has more force, it impels us to look beyond our usual notion of selfhood; "love" lifts us from the sole self, to use a phrase I have read elsewhere. I still find Karen Armstrong's insight inspiring when she says "in compassion, when we feel with the other, we dethrone ourselves from the center of our world and we put another person there. And once we get rid of ego, then we’re ready to see the Divine."

 

Perhaps then, being content and realizing that "it's not about me" are necessary for each other.

Edited by Mike
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Hi Bill,

 

Personally i do not make a conscious attempt to balance my contentness with the state of the world. It is not that i wish to appear cold or unconcerned but in my experience i find that if i concentrate on what is happening within myself and allow my transformation, then my actions come from a deeper part of my being.

 

Worry about such things such as am i doing enough or am i doing the right thing and what should i be doing clouds my inner vision brings doubt and does not yield peace in my mind to respond more appropriately in Christ. Therefor i do not allow the needs of the world to overwhelm me. In inner contentment i find peace and clarity to act appropriately. I am not saying that this is the right way or this is the way one should be. What i am saying is that this works for me.

 

I will not judge myself in what i do and i certainly do not want to judge others. I trust in the source of my Life, with my life, and in this i seem to remain reasonably worry free in spite of external happenings. When my heart is then not troubled, i find that my actions toward the needs of the world are wiser. That is how i personally balance my contentment wiith the happenings in the world. In a sense, I am in the world, and trusting divine guidance that what i am doing is in harmony with the source of Life while not allowing my attachment to results or my perceived state of the world.

 

Joseph

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