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Doesn't It Feel Like We Are Always Qualifying?


Byrch
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I remember when I first found the website for the the Center for Progressive Christianity - after such a wide, varied and confusing journey it had felt like I had a spiritual home. Yes, there was the problem still that there were no PC churches in my area - but there was a community of people on the site sharing prayers, liturgy etc.

 

But then, to tell someone, "I'm Christian, but not THAT kind of Christian" - because otherwise it is assumed that I believe in an inerrant bible. That I believe Jesus died for my sins. That I accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.

 

When I then go on to share what the 8 Points are, I am met with - "Well, that isn't even Christianity"

 

Sometimes it feels like PC is a 'reclaiming' of what Jesus intended.

Other times it feels like PC should be called something else... Jesuism or something. I don't know. But it feels like it is so far from what 98% (no, I don't have facts for that figure, lol - its just a 'feels like' kind of number) of the Christian population believe that it is no longer even Christianity.

 

Marcus Borg in a talk he did, mentioned that he often felt he had more in common with Progressive Jews/Muslims than the more fundamental sects within his own faith. That makes me sad.

 

It also made me sad that after a lovely talk I watched that Marcus Borg gave on youtube, there were all these comments about what a wack job he was and how wrong he was with all of the points he made and it just broke my heart. I guess that's why I retreat from Christianity so often and seek out paths like Hinduism --- but then there, feel lost because once again.. still no community near me. Nor however is there anything online... So:

 

"I'm Christian but I don't believe this, I do believe that, I also believe this, but not as far as that" --- a religion with qualifiers.

 

 

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Byrch, Salutations to the Divinity within you and we welcome your ideas on Christianity, spirituality, science or anything that might interest you. The Christian path is infinitely wide as it is points to the infinite, but some Christians like the narrow path that they can understand and feel comfortable with. Marcus Borg is reaching out to give them a hand up and they slap it down, which I am sure does not affect Marcus as he is just calling it as he sees it.

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Thanks Soma :)

I appreciate the welcome. I think part of the Marcus Borg bit that makes me so sad is that he was so genuine and earnest in his words, and now as someone who has passed away - to see him be mocked bothers me more than I suppose if he was still with us.

But you're right - Im sure that was nothing he was unused to, being in the public eye and such.

The Christian Path is wide - I have to remember that - thank you.

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Welcome, Byrch :)

 

 

Sometimes it feels like PC is a 'reclaiming' of what Jesus intended.

Other times it feels like PC should be called something else... Jesuism or something. I don't know. But it feels like it is so far from what 98% (no, I don't have facts for that figure, lol - its just a 'feels like' kind of number) of the Christian population believe that it is no longer even Christianity.

 

 

 

 

I know it can feel just like this. Still, down in New Zealand at least, I feel that progressive christianity is closer to the outlook of the many non-religious people I know than the conservative Christian perspective.

 

I found an interesting article on Huffington Post which talks about a downwards trend in the US for religious conservatives (ie conservatism it is less popular for younger generations), and how media commentary by progressive Christian leaders is increasing.

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raushenbush/progressive-christianity_b_5437715.html

 

Annie

Edited by AnnieG
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AnnieG: I know it can feel just like this. Still, down in New Zealand at least, I feel that progressive christianity is closer to the outlook of the many non-religious people I know than the conservative Christian perspective.

Sometimes it does seem that way also.

I have a hard time finding an inbetween - intelligent, critical, religious people. People who can find beauty in the words and ritual of church act, but realize that the bible is not the literal inerrant word of God, and that there are many paths to the Divine etc.

It's so weird that the older I get, the more alone I feel. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be.

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Hi Byrch,

 

I think that a true path will eventually transcend religion, ritual, dogma, etc. I also think that the "aloneness" you are feeling is the path. That's not to say everyone will take your journey, and you may not be able to relate to them, but they are allowed their own freedom. Your path is unique to you.

 

Steve

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I feel alone, but not lonely when my mind is qualifying because to qualify our mind separates things into their separate categories, which is what the mind does so we can survive. and I think it is the path to unity, all one, al-one and that is beyond the mind, beyond categories beyond being separate because we reduce everything down to one. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." I and everything are one, united, not separate.

 

Our Christian way of life does not mean we have to leave our intellect or have a dogmatic grasp of truth that is disregarded and overlooked by the young and anyone with intelligence. We only need to integrate our Christian traditions with smart, scientific understanding, spiritual discernment and the all-inclusive, all-embracing Christian wisdom of the soul that begins to open us to new ways of thinking that directs us beyond the mind. We need to keep the simple Christian truth of the Divinity within, but allow it to emerge up and outward as individuals embody and represent it in a higher revelation instead of being loyal to rigid policies, rules and sets of law that hold us down. Forget about the promises and guarantees that humans make distracting us from our inner voice opening us to the Divinity within including the untold insights and piercing interpretations that steer us towards unity, freedom and the wings to fly. The silence of the soul speaks clearly about everything in a positive way that only the individual understands, but it depends on our ability to leave the mind to accept the present moment and the love that brings joy, peace and happiness.

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When I then go on to share what the 8 Points are, I am met with - "Well, that isn't even Christianity"

 

Sometimes it feels like PC is a 'reclaiming' of what Jesus intended.

Other times it feels like PC should be called something else... Jesuism or something. I don't know. But it feels like it is so far from what 98% (no, I don't have facts for that figure, lol - its just a 'feels like' kind of number) of the Christian population believe that it is no longer even Christianity.

 

 

"I'm Christian but I don't believe this, I do believe that, I also believe this, but not as far as that" --- a religion with qualifiers.

 

Welcome Byrch,

 

It seems to me that no qualifiers are really needed. Labels seem to me to try and box one in as if a single word can describe a relationship. To me, Progressive Christianity is not about dogmas or a belief system. It is more as a fellow member Mike one said " a path that embraces pluralism and gets away from systematized, exclusive absolutes, and where intellectual honesty is much more likely to be valued."

 

If people want to define Christianity by dogma, laws, rituals and the like, it seems to me they only limit their own journey by obstacles they have allowed to cloud their vision. Sometimes it is even a necessary path. How can truth surface without one first removing that which is false and how will one recognize that which is false unless one has come to its dead end whether by reason or experience?

 

Anyway, Good to have you here and sharing ,

Joseph

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Welcome Byrch,

 

It seems to me that no qualifiers are really needed. Labels seem to me to try and box one in as if a single word can describe a relationship. To me, Progressive Christianity is not about dogmas or a belief system. It is more as a fellow member Mike one said " a path that embraces pluralism and gets away from systematized, exclusive absolutes, and where intellectual honesty is much more likely to be valued."

 

 

 

I guess for me I do feel the need for qualifiers because most people I know are very anti-christian. So if I were to say "I'm a Christian" they would think suddenly I had 'left my brain at the door' . So for me, a label that fits is something I guess I've craved as a way to express what I understand spiritually so that I can connect with others that feel the same way. If I say I am Christian, to most that means I have declared Jesus as my personal savior (which I haven't) and that I believe he died for my sins (I don't believe that either) . Those are two basic understandings to the majority of people as to what 'makes' a Christian. It's like suddenly one's intelligence is discounted. So instead it becomes 'Oh I'm Christian but not THAT kind of Christian' - I guess I could say I'm a Progressive Christian and that might suffice. It was actually far easier to tell Christian people that I was a pagan than it was to tell my pagan friends that I was Christian. Might just be the area I live in but Christianity is not a well received or accepted path of faith.

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Byrch,

 

Thanks for your clarification. It seems to me each person is entitled to their own view on the issue of qualifiers. I am certainly not against one whose path dictates tightly held labels especially the 2 basic ones you mention even though i can also say as you, i do not share those literal beliefs as commonly understood by many. Of course, here in Progressive Christianity at least on this forum, we, (as i think you would also agree) do not feel it is appropriate behavior to allow others to call others non-Christian based upon any individual understanding whether basic or otherwise based on dogma or doctrine .

 

If one has found an approach to God through the teachings of Jesus we do not oppose them self- labeling themselves Christian, Progressive Christian or otherwise nor do we take any stance that attempts to strip them of their right to call themselves as they wish. I think you will find PC'ers being on a path, whereby it does not seem we are endowed at this time with full knowledge of what beliefs or dogma should actually defines a follower of Jesus, do not claim any exclusive absolutes. Some feel comfortable with that and others have a problem with our loose definitions outlined in the 8 points of PC. We feel that the way a person behaves toward another is the fullest expression of what they really believe and prefer not to judge labels or define them so tightly as to exclude them. I personally acknowledge that labels do serve a purpose for many during communications but to me the more important issue is allowing people to freely share their views without others judging them for it.

 

Joseph

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I just tell people I admire Jesus, and ask them how they feel about him. Muslims, neo-pagans, just about everyone likes Jesus and has something nice or at least neutral to say.

 

If you say Christian the first thing they think of is that crazy German bbq'ing Qu'rans on his Weber kettle.

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I just tell people I admire Jesus, and ask them how they feel about him. Muslims, neo-pagans, just about everyone likes Jesus and has something nice or at least neutral to say.

 

If you say Christian the first thing they think of is that crazy German bbq'ing Qu'rans on his Weber kettle.

I think that's a fantastic angle :) And yes --- here it's the same thing, except perhaps they think I'm one of the people walking through the park, passing out free chips, free cans of pop and pamphlets about why Jesus doesn't like immigrants.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Sometimes it does seem that way also.

I have a hard time finding an inbetween - intelligent, critical, religious people. People who can find beauty in the words and ritual of church act, but realize that the bible is not the literal inerrant word of God, and that there are many paths to the Divine etc.

It's so weird that the older I get, the more alone I feel. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be.

 

Hi Byrch. I've been reading your posts and I definitely relate to them. It's very difficult in today's world to be a person of faith, a person of intelligence, a person of creativity, and a person of toughness all at the same time. So yes -- sometimes it's damned lonely.

 

I found it a bit easier to find like-minded people when I lived in a smaller community, but now that I live in the gigantic city of Toronto -- where I can't even expect to find respectful drivers much of the time, let alone respectful people of faith -- it's harder. And lonelier. (I moved here for family reasons, but, in terms of spiritual communities, it's not my first choice.)

 

I do the best I can each day to listen to what God is saying, to what Jesus has told me (though Jesus is only an amazing teacher and friend for me, not my saviour), and to what my own soul is saying (or sometimes shouting when I'm really not paying attention to what's going on around me :blink: ). It's a pretty good way to go through life, even if it's sometimes lonely. I wouldn't trade it for the life of smug certainty I used to have.

 

All the best to you,

Jen

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