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Wanting To Do More...


Yvonne
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Friends,

 

As some of you are aware, I am working toward my MDiv and ordination in October. I have been reading and studying and learning 'til my heart and mind are full! Three books, especially, have touched me deeply: A Monk in the World, by Wayne Teasdale, The Underground Church by Robin Meyers, and The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg.

 

In these books, i have learned what makes a Christian. It isn't about doctrine, it isn't about us vs. them. It's about radical inclusiveness and taking only what we need so others have enough. It's about turning the other cheek and seeking the way of nonviolence. It's about proclaiming Jesus is Lord (as opposed to Ceasar). It's about standing against the empire in favor of the poor and disenfranchised.

 

I see the way Christians act, and it seems to me many have forgotten the injunction "love your neighbor as yourself". I'm not saying there aren't good Christians doing acts of mercy and compassion. There good people reaching out, I know that.

 

I believe that as Christians, it isn't so much what we profess to believe, but in the way we conduct our lives that counts. The early Christians were subversive in that they took care of one another, refused to worshop Ceasar, wouldn't bow down to the empire. I want to conduct my life like that. And yet, because I am practically home-bound (due to a disability, among other things), because I have no influence or power or money, I feel there is little I can do to influence others. I think that's why this forum, and my new spirituality forum, are so important to me. At least I can write. And pray. But, sometimes, that just isn't enough.

 

Thanks for letting me share.

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Yvonne,

 

Thanks for sharing...

 

When i think about what you say, "wanting to do more to influence others", i find the people who influenced me most in life were people like my wife of 44 years who never speaks of religion or even God but exemplified patience and thoughtfulness for others in the little things. People like my first real employer who said one sentence at the right time that changed my outlook and life because i believed him. A man born with no legs or arms who rose above his disability who stopped in my store one day while waiting for his car to be fixed. An old man who was part of an organization i worked with who always sent out small notes and cards to members expressing his appreciation for their participation. The words of a song. My grandfather who failed in business many times but kept trying until he finally succeeded. A high school teacher my last year who took a personal interest in my career. A father without even a high school education who realized his dreams and self educated himself. A friend who told me that everything i needed to know was right there in my grasp and stood with me when i was no longer invited to minister in traditional Christian churches.

 

When i reflect, the people that influenced me the most probably never thought they were influential to anyone. They were just living out that which was put inside them. Some i never knew but just seeing them with a genuine smile and joy for life moved me to find such a thing. Some i saw were peaceful with problems all around them and it moved me deeper to seek what was this great thing that could make one glad even in sorrow or pain. And then there were the words..... "You'll never know that its true til it happens to you." That's what i wanted. Not theology or to become a preacher or writer, not that there is anything wrong with that as they were in my path also but to find and live within that happening in which is peace and love and all the influence needed to fulfill my individual role in the whole. To be there for that other whether with a smile, a word, one sentence, one action or part or whatever to do our part in the whole of things. Whatever it is... to make that small difference for oneself and the other for which we are here.

 

Joseph

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Friends,

 

As some of you are aware, I am working toward my MDiv and ordination in October. I have been reading and studying and learning 'til my heart and mind are full! Three books, especially, have touched me deeply: A Monk in the World, by Wayne Teasdale, The Underground Church by Robin Meyers, and The Heart of Christianity, by Marcus Borg.

 

In these books, i have learned what makes a Christian. It isn't about doctrine, it isn't about us vs. them. It's about radical inclusiveness and taking only what we need so others have enough. It's about turning the other cheek and seeking the way of nonviolence. It's about proclaiming Jesus is Lord (as opposed to Ceasar). It's about standing against the empire in favor of the poor and disenfranchised.

 

I see the way Christians act, and it seems to me many have forgotten the injunction "love your neighbor as yourself". I'm not saying there aren't good Christians doing acts of mercy and compassion. There good people reaching out, I know that.

 

I believe that as Christians, it isn't so much what we profess to believe, but in the way we conduct our lives that counts. The early Christians were subversive in that they took care of one another, refused to worshop Ceasar, wouldn't bow down to the empire. I want to conduct my life like that. And yet, because I am practically home-bound (due to a disability, among other things), because I have no influence or power or money, I feel there is little I can do to influence others. I think that's why this forum, and my new spirituality forum, are so important to me. At least I can write. And pray. But, sometimes, that just isn't enough.

 

Thanks for letting me share.

 

To want, to desire indicates a lot about who we are. It tells me a lot about who you are. And, that helps keep me going.

Edited by minsocal
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Joseph,

 

Thanks so much for putting things in perspective. And you're absolutely right. My mother, who had a 6th grade education was my hero. She was the strongest person I knew, and gently cared for a huge family, foster children, and the elderly. I get that, I truly do.

 

But here's what bothers me. The far right (ie fundamentalists) are extremely vocal about what they believe. I think it is appropriate for progressives to be a little more visible in what we do. Not to say we should go around bragging, absolutely not. Still, I never heard of Progressive Christianity until I stumbled onto this sight when looking for, what I now know to be, liberal authors. Its nobody's fault, and I'm not blaming anybody. I just wish somebody had told me some of this stuff when I was younger so I could have done more to make a difference.

 

Ah, now I'm rambling. You get my drift, though, right?

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Yvonne,

 

Yes. I understand. I had thought it would have been great if only i had been introduced to progressive Christianity before I was in my 50's. It would have saved a lot of grief and unnecessary turns. But you know, the reality is, it wasn't and what i went through was needed for me to come to this very moment. As you, i can't change the past. And you know, not everyone is ready to hear the progressive message. and if they are, they will find forums, people like Spong, Borg, Armstrong and a host of others when they are. Life to me seems to have a way of presenting things in our life when we are ready.

 

I am personally pleased that PC is not shoved on people like fundamental Christianity is nor that PC itself is not an established religion. Because i believe as you said... " it isn't so much what we profess to believe, but in the way we conduct our lives that counts." . The message is out there and all around us even without words or labels. Its common sense not a doctrine or dogma. I believe in synchronicity. When the pupil is truly ready, the teacher appears. We may not recognize it at the time but nevertheless, life is always our teacher.

 

Joseph

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Changing people is a hard thing to do if those people aren't open to change. I think the best we can hope for is to be an example in what we do and how we do it and hope that people choose to emulate that when they are ready.

 

Regards

 

Paul

Edited by Inthedark
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Friends, thank you so much for your touching comments. And, yes, I agree that it is in the way we live our lives that people come to understand what it means to be Christian. And yet...

 

From my local Tibetan Buddhist temple. "Each to their own capacity ... whether rational, emotional or intutive."

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Yvonne congratulations on completing your cycle. I feel to be a good Christian one just has to be a good Christian. I don't think being good is making others do what we think is right. I even feel being a good Christian sometimes involves making a Buddhist a good Buddhist and a Muslim and good Muslim. A good Christian moves to know the self and God as the two are connected. I feel Christian Mythology and symbols are great to accomplish this task of the soul. Love ....................................and Love some more. I feel the best Christians don't even tell others they are Christian. If they are good Christdians it can be felt. To become a good Chrisian maybe you have to do all the soap box stuff, but to be a good Christian just involves being a good Christian.

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