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Saoirse
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Hi. This is my first post. I haven't read much of Bishop Spong's writings - only A New Christianity for a New World and various articles/interviews over the years. I am not a Christian per se because I do not believe the orthodox Christian doctrine and because I have long failed to be persuaded that Jesus's teachings were intended to give power only to a small cabal of people as is represented by those who developed and perpetuate that doctrine.

 

I was raised in the Lutheran church and I had a straight-up classic revelation when I was 5. Though I would have had difficulty discussing at that time what it was I experienced and how it was possible (through an expanded awareness made possible because I had a priori knowledge of it, which is what faith actually is, i.e., a practice - not a "belief"), because, as a child, my linguistic skills were poor (and they haven't much improved, apparently), my understanding of religious philosophic terms was nil, and simply because my experience, at its heart was ineffable and the ineffable is, well, ineffable, I nevertheless wished for someone, or some people, with whom I could alike because we embraced this aspect of our human nature, the 'spiritual.' You'd think that would be the church, but not so.

 

When Jesus instructed people to 'love' G_d with all one's heart, mind and strength, he obviously believed (1) each of us is capable of having a personal experience of G_d, and (2) that this experience isn't solely, or even primarily, a cognitive experience. That has always made sense to me, since I first read - and began pondering the opacity of - Moses' testimonial in Exodus 3:13-14. You have to bring the right tool to the job, and a cognitive pedagogy isn't going to get it done, if your aim is knowledge of G_d. That requires a mystical pedagogy, and it seems to me that Jesus demonstrated that amply, which makes me even more dubious of the church, since their entire pedagogy has been cognitive or behavioral conditioning. I think this is going to be the biggest hurdle for the church to overcome - embracing the immediacy of G_d that all people are capable of and giving up the very obstructive tendency to marginalize, or excommunicate, the experience of mysticism and those who have them. It is the only way it will be able to regain its legitimacy (if it ever had any).

 

In my heart I believe Jesus gave us the tools to live fully in our human spiritual way, aware of and mindful when we can be of G_d, gracefully and humbly knowing our limitations of time/space entity-ness prevent a 24/7 experience and require effort and cherishing our human experience, but I find it distressing the community that claims to be the most ardent of his students are so thoroughly devoted to worshipping him like an idol, and incapable of truly promoting knowledge of G_d and respect for humanity.

 

It matters because terribly destructive things are being done today all over the world, including here, and the church seems to have adopted either an impotent or complicit stance toward them.

 

Am I in the right place to discuss those things, and a possible alternative response to the vacuum that currently exists to them?

 

www.dontfearyourfreedom.blogspot.com

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Am I in the right place to discuss those things, and a possible alternative response to the vacuum that currently exists to them?

 

 

Saoirse,

 

I'd say you are as in good a place as anywhere to openly discuss your views and have others express their views, whether contrary or not, with love and respect shared by all.

 

Welcome.

 

Cheers

Paul

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