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Hello Again


Javelin
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I found this site probably a year or more ago. I opted to limit my participation to reading and contemplating for some time after that. I identified with Christian fundamentalism for forty plus years until sometime in the mid to late 90's when I finally mustered up the courage to admit to myself that the bible was filled with inconsistent and contradictory teaching that was sometimes even incoherent.

 

I continued to affiliate with fundamentalists until 2005 when my ever increasing unorthodox views became a problem for the congregation that I worshipped with. I was serving in a leadership position at the time and that only exacerbated the problem. Eventually I was asked to resign and I did.

 

I accepted all that unpleasantness as an opportunity to seek out more grace focused believers. My wife wasn’t where I was theologically so we ended up in another fundamentalist church that was only slightly less legalistic that what we had formerly experienced.

 

I was able to make that situation work for a couple of years but my theological views eventually became a problem there too. It was about then that I discovered something called Progressive Christianity through this site. I eventually logged on and participated on a limited basis.

 

I found myself in agreement with most of the ideas and thoughts being expressed here but for some reason, that I didn’t understand, I wasn’t particularly comfortable with them either. That was a very confusing time for me. In retrospect it seems that my head and my heart were not in the same place. I ended up returning to an ultra conservative web site that I’d been participating on since 2005 even though I fundamentally disagreed with just about every thought being expressed there. Needless to say my continuing participation there wasn’t particularly appreciated.

 

During this period I read numerous books written by Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Gary Wills, Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman, and other historians who hold similar views. The more I read the more comfortable I became with my theological understanding of scripture and Christianity.

 

Out of blue I decided today to drop by here and read a few post. This time I found the thoughts being expressed here quite reassuring. It was genuinely comforting to find others who understand and interpret the bible as I do now. It seems my heart and my head have reunited and are compatible again. I don’t have any knowledge or insight that would elevate the conversation or enlighten anyone, but I would like to hang around for awhile and absorb some of the considerable wisdom and insightfulness others have so graciously shared.

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Out of blue I decided today to drop by here and read a few post. This time I found the thoughts being expressed here quite reassuring. It was genuinely comforting to find others who understand and interpret the bible as I do now. It seems my heart and my head have reunited and are compatible again. I don’t have any knowledge or insight that would elevate the conversation or enlighten anyone, but I would like to hang around for awhile and absorb some of the considerable wisdom and insightfulness others have so graciously shared.

Javelin,

 

Welcome back, although I wasn't around when you were first here. However, don't be reticent to join in the discussions. I am living proof that trivia, platitude and banality are acceptable here.

 

George

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Hi Javelin,

 

A hearty welcome back to you. It's really great to see you participating again.

 

I'm happy that your heart and head are united once more. When I found myself being pulled away from fundamentalism and in a state of disillusionment it was a pretty awful, anxious, sinking feeling - which I imagine to be a common experience shared by ex-fundamentalists.

 

I don’t have any knowledge or insight that would elevate the conversation or enlighten anyone, but I would like to hang around for awhile and absorb some of the considerable wisdom and insightfulness others have so graciously shared.

 

On the contrary, I feel elevated after seeing you back with us and reading about your experiences. I hope you continue sharing on the board.

 

Thanks,

Mike

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Thanks for the kind words. I’ve spent my available time reading post to catch up and also to contemplate some of the thoughts I’ve encountered. The intellectual waters run deep here and are probably over my head in many places. My understanding of the Divine has been vicariously obtained from a variety of religious historians but primarily from Marcus Borg. My contextual understanding of the bible has come mostly from Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels, but I read a variety of religious historians and all of them have contributed in some way to my present understanding of God, Jesus, the bible, and religion in general.

 

I wasn’t mentally ready for my first experience on this board. I had come to the conclusion that the bible certainly wasn’t inerrant or verbally inspired directly from God, but I was still undecided about what I believed to be true about God, Jesus, and Paul. There was a little bit too much agnosticism here for my comfort when I first checked out this site. I was struggling with my faith at that time and I didn’t need exposed to any more religious ambivalence. I needed more time to research and explore other possibilities so I could get a better fix on where I stood theologically.

 

After reading a number of other books and authors I was able to formulate a hypothesis that seemed plausible and would allow me to retain my aspiration for the existence of a Divine Presence. Agnosticism doesn’t bother me now because I tend to be a little skeptical now and then too. Again, thanks for the welcome back.

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