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What One Thing?


JosephM
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Good question! I think the one thing I learned that has been most helpful on my journey is that it is ok to question and doubt. Before, I always felt I had to believe everything the church taught (implicitly or explicitly) and was not allowed to question. Once I was free of that limiting belief in "The Church" and the church's authority, I began to grow. Sometimes the growth was painful, and sometimes I didn't like the answers to my questions, but rather that than stagnate.

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Thanks for the response Yvonne. For me it was forgiveness for others, which was later facilitated by an understanding that within me (the flesh) was the potential for all the things which i once found in need of forgiveness in others..

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I would have to say that letting go of my reliance on belief in an afterlife in order to give this life meaning is the most liberating thing in my journey thus far.

 

Previously, I was mainly concerned with getting the specifics of my faith correct in order to secure my position in the afterlife. There is an old cliche that aptly describes my former attitude: so heavenly minded that [i was] no earthly good.

 

By gleaning from Christian, Talmudic and Buddhist teaching, I've embraced the moment and dwell in the here and now. My focus is on meeting the challenges and joys of this life.

 

NORM

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It's not so much a thing I have learned but rather a thing that I have come to accept - that none of us really have any idea if God really does exist or if so, in what form. That's the truth of the matter, and if my eternal soul's wellbeing rested on a particular correct belief as opposed to the cazillion other correct beliefs out there, then there is something seriously wrong with the system! This acceptance has allowed me to move on and investigate, to read widely and consider other people's views, and to not fear learning new truths.

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One thing I would say is meditation, sitting and listening to the silence. It clears my mind and if I need to do something that I am resisting and it keeps comming into my mind like the magic eight ball I have to complete the lesson to get back to the silence. There usually is a lesson to be learned.

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I would say the thing that has pushed me forward is listening to things that don't make sense to me. I have been going to a fundamentalist church for 18 because I believe family unity is important. My wife is a firm believer and I respect that (she may not say the same thing ;) ) and don't want to cause too much confusion in the family over religion. I tell my kids what I believe but let them know their path is theirs. But going to her church has caused me to define (or try to define) what I believe. Over the years I have done a lot of reading and thinking. I am new to this site and when poking around I have seen a number of books mentioned. That is wonderful because I am always looking for different perspectives.

 

What is interesting is the minister to her church is one of my best friends. He and I talk about religion all the time. He is a very knowledgeable and open minded guy and is more interested in what I think than trying to “save” me.

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For me, there is no "one thing," but rather a few small, or small-ish things, rolled together. Things like:

- I don't have to convince anyone of anything

- No one has to convince me of anything

- No one gets to define my faith for me or put labels on what I believe (or don't)

- I don't have to associate with people if I find their views repugnant. Two people using the term "Christian" does not imply having things in common.

- There's more to learn than I probably ever could, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try

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  • 1 month later...

For me, it was the idea that God is, finally, unknowable, which made it okay for me to stop trying to fathom God and enjoy being known by God. This opened the door to a much larger world than I had experienced up to that point. It led me to the conclusion that my spiritual well-being had nothing to do with theological accuracy. I began to realize that religious truth-claims were joyfully and gloriously subjective, and therefore liberated from any responsibility to be absolutely right. I found that I could be unsure, but still be secure; I could embrace my own tradition, recognizing it as a tradition, but one of many traditions as different people seek to describe their subjective and personal religious experiences. It's been fun.

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I would agree with Soma—the one needful thing is meditation, maintaining a connection to our innermost selves, finding even a few minutes in the day to quiet the mind and listen or pray in silence-- 'creating room for God.' Maybe progress isn't the word so much as renewal.

Edited by rivanna
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  • 4 months later...

My sense of wonder. I have been asking "why" since I can remember. My sense of wonder has always made me feel like I'm in a dream. I feel like I'm in this world but not of this world. The phrase, "We are not human beings having spiritual experiences, but spiritual beings having human experiences" should be my epitaph. My need to make sense of things has led me on this quest. But what I have discovered to this point, is I no longer need to hold on to that need. I embrace the chaos now. And I practice everyday to let go and let God.

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  • 3 weeks later...

getting a degree in Theology, as it gave time and focus to sorting out all the cognitive dissonance between the brand of God / Bible / Chrisianity I was rasied to believe and the brand of God / Bible / Chrisianity I begain to belive was more likely. Many people live many years of quiet desperation trying to harmonize these types of things and I feel the degree helped fast track that.

 

Shalom.

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