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Some Faith After All


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I can hardly believe it, that after 15 years of being an "Ex-Christian" I can actually have some faith but its starting to happen. I don't understand it, at all. A year ago it wasn't there, but I can see that I signed up on this site 5 years ago. I still wanted to have some form of Christianity.

 

I find myself want to go back to a church service. How committed will I be, will people like me? Will I find some friends? How much religion can I take before I just leave again? What demands will these people make of me if I stick around long enough?

 

These are the questions I have been asking myself. I have decided that it is a fact that I am irrevocably Christian, no matter how much I try to run. I have tried all my life to resolve the conflicts with limited success. I have tried running away, but discovered I can't do it over the long term. The church life is a difficult move for me. I like the services of the Anglican Catholic church, but I don't know if I can do the social thing at all. People's expectations...

 

I suppose Easter Sunday is the least threatening time to attend a church. Many people go at Easter that don't probably attend regularly. Maybe I won't be scrutinized and asked too many questions. At least I hope so.

 

I have been attending Buddhist ceremonies and practices for about the last 8 years.

 

I guess no matter how much I tried, I didn't feel like I was a Buddhist, or that it would ever "work" for me.

 

That's where I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Deva,

 

I think it's great that you have recovered your faith. Although, I would suggest that your faith has been there all along. Most people don't distinguish between "faith" and "belief", but I think they are two separate things. I think faith is what guides us to Truth, wherever that might be found, and that path is different for everyone.

 

It's difficult for a Western Christian to "convert" to Buddhism, or any Eastern tradition for that matter. There are so many cultural and linguistic differences. Like me, you are probably a "cultural" Christian, not a "cultural" Buddhist. Even the Dalai Lama suggests that a person should work within the framework of their own cultural traditions, rather than trying to sack it all and convert to something completely new.

 

Best of luck with your "new" faith.

 

Peace,

Steve

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Hi Deva,

 

I think it's great that you have recovered your faith. Although, I would suggest that your faith has been there all along. Most people don't distinguish between "faith" and "belief", but I think they are two separate things. I think faith is what guides us to Truth, wherever that might be found, and that path is different for everyone.

 

It's difficult for a Western Christian to "convert" to Buddhism, or any Eastern tradition for that matter. There are so many cultural and linguistic differences. Like me, you are probably a "cultural" Christian, not a "cultural" Buddhist. Even the Dalai Lama suggests that a person should work within the framework of their own cultural traditions, rather than trying to sack it all and convert to something completely new.

 

Best of luck with your "new" faith.

 

Peace,

Steve

Thanks Steve. Yes, I would say that from your definition of "faith" I suppose I never lost it.

 

I found many difficult things about Buddhism, even so, for a few years it served as a kind of spiritual focus and beauty when there wasn't anything else. I thought Tibetan Buddhism was very beautiful, but I never ceased believing in a God/Gods. Later I realized how I was Christianizing Buddhism despite reading probably a hundred books on Buddhism and trying my best to understand it. Certainly one ceremony does not make a Buddhist.

 

I was tired of overthinking the subject and obsessing about it - I think now that God is mostly a mystery and although we have scriptures, this sense of mystery is what may keep me being some form of Christian. It is there, in some forms of Christianity and where I can get this sense of beauty and mystery is where I will end up.

 

At least I know what isn't going to work for me. A purely intellectual approach or a "belief is everything" type of approach is sort of torture to me. It was what I was raised with in the Baptist Church. Then I would always be wondering how much belief is enough? There was never any kind of certaintly or security, although you were supposed to feel it. It just doesn't happen.

 

Ultimately I will return to some kind of church.

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Hi Deva,

 

Good to hear from you again. There are quite a few threads that try to reconcile Buddhism with tenants of Christian teachings. Myself, i find the language different but the similarity of deep teachings with much in common. Here is one such thread and another and Christianity and Taoism and a long study thread on Taoism as relates to Christianity.

 

I have found that studies of Buddhism and Taoism , Hinduism and other religions have served me well in helping me to grasp some deep common aspects of Christianity that are covered up by the Christian church system but revealed in contemplation of many Christian texts. People like Thomas Merton and other Christian mystics seem to me to come to the same conclusion.

 

I think your time in study of Buddhism will be of benefit to your Christian walk.

 

Joseph

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Joseph:

 

I don't honestly know what to make of my foray into Buddhism. Probably it was an attempt to resolve an internal conflict (which I won't get into here) and not really even anything relating to religion per se. It may have been an experiment that failed, I don't know. Sorry, that doesn't make much sense, I know.

 

I have turned a corner and I am going to go back to being some kind of Christian - probably with a mystical understanding of it. I may be able to find a church but there is a good bet that some things will be said or preached that I won't like and might set me off, but I need some ceremony and some ritual - I will probably go to an Anglican church for that reason.

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Deva, Salutations to the Divinity within you and your name. I think you are a great Christian and Buddhist as it seems you have the integrity to follow your spirit no matter where it takes you. I don't think it is an either or situation and feel both can assist you in the present and future. I found following Christ is great because I can have a relationship with the Absolute through Christ consciousness where with the abstract it becomes more difficult, but sometimes, almost everyday I need communion with the Inter Being, abstract Pure Consciousness to light my way. It is like a teacher erasing the board at the end of the day and getting a fresh start.



I am Happy for you and the Christians that are going to be enlightened by your presence. Jesus warned, "Don't cast your pearl before the swine." You have many pearls of wisdom to share, but be careful as many Christians are not where you are and may run them into the mud. Happy Easter and celebrate another one of your resurrections in consciousness.

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Thank you for that beautiful post, Soma.

 

I like what you said about communion. Yes, I feel the need for some kind of communion in some way. I want to feel like I am not just a solitary lonely entity - me against the world. And I know all my liife I didn't feel that way. I want connection with something greater. That is certainly a part of the reason I am going back.

 

Happy Easter to everyone here on this board!

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Deva, The word alone when broken up is all one............al-one. Running around on the surface from one piece of the puzzle to the next piece for me got tiring and confusing, but once I was alone, I had the chance to dive deep down and discover all the pieces fit together in a uni-verse, one-sound, one word, one unity of everything. The funny thing is it has, is and will always be a unified field so enjoy the puzzle and the pieces and don't get tired and confused like I did.

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So, I went to the Easter Sunday service at the Anglican Catholic church. Quite nice indeed! I enjoyed it, except the people next to me were all talking among themselves constantly, which was a bit distracting, since I was trying to follow the service.

 

I spoke with my mother on the phone and I told her I was attending an Anglican Church. I might as well have said I was Buddhist, the tone of disapproval was unmistakable - it was "Oh.." and not much more. Its quite painful, because I do love her very much, but she cannot see past the fundamentalist Baptist thing as being the only right way. Or the non-denominational megachurch entertainment scene would probably be more acceptable. I have completely given up being able to please her in this area. The dispensationalist, apocalyptic nonsense of what I was raised with I can never accept. Fortunately, I learned as an adult that this is not the only type of Christianity out there.

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It's interesting that the Anglican Catholic Church formed in response to the Episcopalians revising the Book of Common Prayer in 1977. I was 11 years old at that time, but apparently that is one of the reasons my family stopped going to church.

 

Here is something interesting you might not have heard about - Baptist Churches with Anglican liturgies :)

Sunday mornings at All Souls Charlottesville are fairly common for an Anglican congregation.

 

The Book of Common Prayer and the Revised Common Lectionary are standard, creeds are spoken together, the Eucharist is the central focus of the liturgy and the minister blesses the congregation before it scatters back into the world.

 

But the Charlottesville, Va., congregation isn’t an Episcopal church. It’s Baptist — in fact it’s a plant of the Baptist General Association of Virginia and is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2014.

http://baptistnews.com/ministry/congregations/item/28506-va-church-is-anglican-leaning-but-fully-baptist
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  • 11 months later...

I just wanted to revisit my thread and update it since April.

 

Last month I took a big step and decided to join a Church! Its not the Anglican Church I previously wrote about, but a different mainline Protestant one (Congregational). I know that I need to find and let more people into my life. I am in hopes that eventually this church will help with that eventually, but my expectations are not high. At least, nothing I have heard or seen there so far has made me want to run for the hills. The church reminds me of the Methodist Church my grandmother attended. In the meantime, I do enjoy singing some of the hymns.

 

I like the Pastor. He permits various ideas and ways of understanding the divine. That is one of the prime requirements that I had. The slogan seems to be "God is still speaking". I like that. I guess I could never accept that the Bible is the final word and all that God had to say. It took me years and years to discover enough about this to be able to formulate in my own mind why the religion I was raised with was so unsatisfactory.

 

Although I prefer some of the high church Anglican ceremony for aesthetic reasons, I cannot abide that Church's politics, which are very conservative. I am also not on board with the spiritual authority of priests. I know that this would eventually cause me to run. I think that is because, it is like the great philosopher Spinoza said "We feel and know that we are eternal." I feel this and I don't see how another person can speak for God when God resides in all. Just my thinking now on a subject that has confused me for a long time.

Edited by Deva
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