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I would like to start off. not by making excuses for my words herein but by setting the stage applicable to any member sermon here by quoting a member...


"I think that what we take, if anything, to be authoritative is a personal matter. PC is a conversation, a disposition -- a way of doing religion -- not a self-contained system of religious thought in itself." -- Mike Scott


Having set that stage let me begin by sharing my own personal view and experience for consideration...



by JosephM


"Why?" is a question often asked here at Progressive Christianity's forum. "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?", "Why do we suffer?", "Why should we be inclusive to all?", "Why do we act as we do?", "Why Bother?", "Why are we here?" and a host of other "Why?" questions.


The answers to the question "Why?" seems to me to have a wide variety of answers because the answers come from a limited and wide variety of unique perspectives due to the unique experiences of its members. Often the answer or conclusion we may come to for ourself simply cannot be true because the question is flawed or based on an assumption we might make that is in error and therefor cannot be answered correctly without questioning some original assumption(s).


An analogy would be working out an answer to a long equation where the answer of one section is carried on and necessary to complete the next section of the equation. If the first portion of the equation is A=pi and pi is represented as .314xxx instead of 3.14xxx each subsequent section of the equation that depends on the first calculation will yield a susequent error in its conclusion.


In my view, before we can hope to answer the tough "why's" of understanding life or life's story, in our search for answers, we must have a firm foundation or knowledge of the most basic question(s) of life. That being "Who am i?", Who or what is it that is asking the question(s)? If the assumption here is incorrect, then perhaps both future questions and conclusions will be in error. So, Who is this "i" that is asking the question "Why?" The answer may not be as obvious as it seems. In my experience, it can be found in the morass of most religious teachings if one practices, seeks hard and long enough but it is often obscured by the abundance of conflicting definitions and words that point and cannot be truly understood until experienced.


Since this is a Christian forum i'll try and keep my language and references to Christian terms though that need not be a requirement. The Christian writings tell us in words that we are humankind and are part of creation, God's creation. While the writings tell us we are created in the 'image of God', there is no consensus about the meaning of the term except that it concludes that we are not the creator of this world/universe per se but rather says we are phenomenon within a creation we call the world created by this God. What this world really is, we can assume and make assumptions from our perceptions about it but those assumptions may not be true. But we do know that as created creatures we are temporal and subject to birth and death and are by our 5 senses immersed in it (the world). It seems solid and real enough but those are also assumptions on the part of the "i" that are now questioned by quantum physics and such so it seems to me best not to draw conclusions on what is real and what is not. It is enough to know that "i" am a God created phenomenon in a world that appears objective but shared experience reveals to each of us as highly subjective in nature depending on our position in viewing and a myriad of preconditioning. And as phenomenon, i experience through my senses a world that appears out there but i know from closing off my senses that its appearance to me is not 'out there' but rather within.


The second basic question is who or what created me and for what purpose? What is my mission? Each religion has it own name for the who or what but i, calling myself a Christian, have above chosen to call it God. Being given senses it seems obvious to me from experience that i am an experiencer of creation within all its diversities that i come in contact with which includes others of likeness that also identify as "i". It seems reasonable to me that i must be a necessary part of creation or otherwise i would not have been created to be here. It does me well to also know that that which created me is also sustaining me in this thing we call life and life's story. This implies 'connection' and leads me to believe that the God that is sustaining "me" and "you" is also experiencing that which i and you are experiencing or else there is no purpose or reason for us to be experiencing anything.


It seems to me that creation is evolving. Perhaps a little at a time. This "i", is experiencing and making choices from an infinite database of possibilities and in doing so is progressing in a direction. Not every "i" at the same time or at the same rate but each according to factors we can only surmise. If you are still curious and reading this or anything on this site, it seems obvious to me that you sense there is more to this story of life than meets the eyes and are not satisfied with the way things are in this story nor with the answers that you have been given by others. While their religious interpretations or opinions are often expressed as authoritative, you are not buying into it. Why? Because the answers of mankind and his abundance of religions and denominations are not going to provide you with the satisfactory answers to these questions of "why?". In my experience, only by looking at things differently will this world make sense.


Where do most all religions lead? Christianity in general to a transformation that leads to the death (not physical) of the "i" founded in self (ego) and to the emerging of something less limited, more infinite and greater with attributes similar to its creator. Perhaps that is what Christians see exemplified in Jesus. Perhaps that is why in Christian writings it is said that Jesus prayed "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" And Paul writes, "and be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." All of this telling us that something in the mind and our thinking we call "i" is to be changed that results for now not nessarily in a change of the world or that which happens by its design with all our perceived perceptions of its imperfection. But rather change in the way we see or experience the world and react to the world/creation as it is. Will this actually literally remove the things "i" might now consider undirsirable in the world? I think not necessarily so but our reactions does have the power and potential for change in alignment with the whole life story/picture. Perhaps one will find there is nothing wrong with the world and it is perfect for the purpose it was created and when one realizes "who am i?" and stops resisting reality, perhaps more joy and unspeakable peace can be had in the midst of that evolving story of life. .


Other religions might say it leads to no-self, enlightenment, realization, an awakening or beyond self or selflessness. Never-the-less there is a perceived death and a rebirth or return of sorts to a conscious connection with the source of that phenomenon that is more infinite in nature than was "i". Perhaps one will find things remain the same for the most part but life itself is satisfying as it is.


To Be continued -----

Edited by JosephM
Final Draft
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