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Attending Church Services?


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Hi,

 

I was previously a Catholic, then became an atheist and now I'm probably best described as an "amateur Buddhist with an interest in progressive Christianity". I've been reading some work by John Shelby Spong and also recently Don Cupitt, and find it really interesting and that I can relate to it. I've been thinking about attending Church services again, but I'm wondering about how other people, who don't accept literal belief in the core elements of traditional Christianity feel about attending Church services and what kind of Church services they attend.

 

Regards,

Stas82

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Hi Stas82,

 

Welcome to the community. Click HERE to view a previous thread where members share what church they attend.. Progressive churches seem to me to be growing in number. You can find a list of affiliated churches with PC in your state by clicking HERE and looking on the right hand side of the page for a box that says Find a church in your area and selecting your state and clicking FIND.

 

Again welcome and feel free to join in the discussions or post a new topic in the appropriate area,

Joseph

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I recently ceased attending a very progressive church after comments that I was a 'shill" for the church (the term being known as insulting). I was also labeled as being from the 'conservative branch', and so on. What can I say?

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I attend a contemporary church where there is a real mix. It gets interesting when we often break into small groups during a service to discuss points, then come back and a spokesperson from each small group summarises the group discussion to the Minister and the rest of the congregation.

 

Some are very much literalist and struggle with my perspective (even I struggle with my perspective!) but not so much as to halt proceedings. I've hardened to their sensitivities when the feathers get ruffled, and they have in turn tolerated and listened as I explore topics in my way. It has actually been quite good and healthy, now that I am getting used to having an opinion which I don't mind sharing in the church environment. They seem interested in how I find value in a non literalist approach to Christianity.

 

I think as long as we all give each other room to explore in our own way and maybe even listen to each other, it has to be a good thing.

 

To be fair, it has been as much about my attitude as it has been about others. I spent a long time in church being quiet and feeling like an imposter but since I have "come out" as it were, I feel much better about discussing things and just because I'm in the minority has not meant I have been made to feel like anything other than part of the congregation.

 

That is how it is for me at the moment anyway.

 

Paul

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Thanks for the welcome and the replies everybody! I omitted to mention that I'm in Australia - where there is still variety in terms of denominations of Churches to attend but probably not to the extent of the US! From what I've seen, The Uniting Church seems the most progressive in Australia.

 

I suppose the message I get from the replies is that you need to approach things with an open-mind, don't just expect to always find a church where you say something and everybody will nod their head in agreement. And you may still sometimes come across some views and approaches you don't agree with at times.

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Inthedark - what kind of church do you attend? I've never been part of a service that had group work. Sounds interesting! Are you talking about regular Sunday service, or something else?

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Inthedark - what kind of church do you attend? I've never been part of a service that had group work. Sounds interesting! Are you talking about regular Sunday service, or something else?

 

Yes just the regular Sunday service. Today was about love and what that means and again we broke up into groups of four or five half way through the sermon to discuss things, then back into it after 10 minutes or so, onward and upward so to speak. I enjoy the interaction and the differing views on topics.

 

I attend a Presbyterian church by the way.

 

Paul

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I meditate and do yoga daily, do workshops on Christian Mysticism and am contemplating approaching the Catholic High School here to see if they would be interested in classes on Christian Mysticism.

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we broke up into groups of four or five half way through the sermon to discuss things

I have experienced this once or twice but the pastor was too timid I think to make it a regular practice. I think it is a wonderful way to break up the traditional service.

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Hi,

 

I was previously a Catholic, then became an atheist and now I'm probably best described as an "amateur Buddhist with an interest in progressive Christianity". I've been reading some work by John Shelby Spong and also recently Don Cupitt, and find it really interesting and that I can relate to it. I've been thinking about attending Church services again, but I'm wondering about how other people, who don't accept literal belief in the core elements of traditional Christianity feel about attending Church services and what kind of Church services they attend.

 

Regards,

Stas82

 

Hello and welcome, Stas.

 

As a Christian, I felt it necessary to put faith into action. So, I would volunteer for the soup kitchen or some sort of outreach program. Invariably, I would be questioned about my beliefs (or, rather; in my case - lack thereof). The reactions were never very pretty. Eventually, I found that I had to lie in order to continue working side by side with other Christians.

 

Eventually, I converted to Judaism because it is not necessary to accept a theistic understanding of G-d in order to be accepted.

 

NORM

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You are going to have to do some "church hopping" because you can't get a feel for a church without attending at least one service and talking to people after the service. I can recommend progressive Episcopal churches for their liturgy which you would find familiar as a former Catholic and their wide range of people attending. A "true" progressive Episcopal church is much harder to find; I went to the list of progressive churches in my state(Georgia) and only found one listed for the entire state so many progressive churches have not signed up, I guess.

 

Good luck in your quest. Any Buddhist temples in your area? I am asking somewhat tongue in cheek because generally the spiritual traditions of our own culture are most helpful in finding our own spiritual path,but some times one must make spiritual detours to find an institution that meets our spiritual needs.

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Stas82,

 

As you would probably know, Googling Progressive Christianity Australia, and/or your state, will probably return several options.

 

I don't attend church myself, but if I did, I like the thought of attending one that already affiliates with and/or identifies itself as, PC.

 

From what I have researched the Uniting Church does seem quite PC, although I'm not sure all are.

 

I live in Oz myself, over here on the west coast.

 

Cheers

Paul

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I attend a Catholic Church in the next town over from me. The Catholic Church feels like home for me. I grew up attending Catholic Mass, so the liturgy and tradition is special to me. I moved away from religion at the age of sixteen, becoming an atheist agnostic, until I recently regained a belief in God. I disagree with much of Vatican/Magisterium since I am a progressive. Yet, I am not very concerned with the ontological validity of the religious propositions spoken in the liturgy. I believe the purpose of liturgy is to create a thin place, where we can feel the Sacred flow through us. And I am not sure any other service could do arouse quite the same emotions and bring me to that thin place than the Catholic Mass.

 

I have considered trying the Episcopalian Mass, as it is very similar to the Catholic Mass. If specific beliefs of the Church you attend are very important to you as a progressive, I recommend the Episcopalian Church.

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Yes just the regular Sunday service. Today was about love and what that means and again we broke up into groups of four or five half way through the sermon to discuss things, then back into it after 10 minutes or so, onward and upward so to speak. I enjoy the interaction and the differing views on topics.

 

I attend a Presbyterian church by the way.

 

Paul

 

That sounds like a lot of fun. As a teacher, I definitely support "active learning" as opposed to "receptive learning" - though I can't imagine doing that in church! Haha the little old ladies would lose their hats! :lol:

 

However, I think it's great to put people together and figure out not just what people believe, but WHY. That's such an important question. The more you talk, the more ideas and questions come out. Of course, that may be the opposite of what some churches/people want, but I can see how that could be really interesting.

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