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8 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I agree with you here too.

It also helps me get through all the ordinary things that I have to do in the course of a day, as well as some real and great spiritual moments. It's like being inside Christ and his Love as well as him in me sometimes. There's a real inner stillness that sometimes comes with this.

Can't say I know how to explain it real good

Few can, which is why it is rarely discussed here.  All we can do is share experiences.  
 

The only authors I feel have done an effective job of expressing this central aspect of Christianity are Thomas á Kempis and Meister Eckhart.  

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True but at times, hearing or reading the words of another (or interacting with another) can be a pleasant surprise or unsettling or even be experienced as a judgement (a mirror thrown up in front of

3 hours ago, Burl said:

Few can, which is why it is rarely discussed here.  All we can do is share experiences. 

Thanks, it's actually good to know that I'm not the only one that finds this to be a challenge. I find that even putting "experiences" into words to be a challenge, and that it's difficult to articulate what I'm really feeling or trying to say.

3 hours ago, Burl said:

 

The only authors I feel have done an effective job of expressing this central aspect of Christianity are Thomas á Kempis and Meister Eckhart.  

I was logged on when your comment first came in, but this forum's software only allows me so many comments in a 24 hr. period, so I went and looked up Thomas á Kempis. It's too soon for me to have many thoughts on his writings and ideas. One thing kinda did strike me however, the publication that he is mostly known for is called, 'The Imitation of Christ'. This may all be very sweet and good and all that, but it kind of made me step back a bit. I've never thought I could "imitate Christ" any more than I could "imitate" Pavarotti  singing on stage. It's not that I don't appreciate Christ or Pavarotti , it's just that ... let's be realistic here.

All I can do is be myself, (or my true self) in Christ. I don't actually get to be like Christ, and I don't know if I'd want to be considering all the trouble he seems to have had.

I did however find a few quotes of his that I do kind of like: 

"If thou wilt receive profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faith, and seek not at any time the fame of being learned."
"At the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done." — The Imitation of Christ, Book I, ch. 3

 

I haven't had time to really look up and research Meister Eckhart either. But thanks for the names and the references. They may well prove valuable  in the future. Thanks

 

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26 minutes ago, Elen1107 said:

Thanks, it's actually good to know that I'm not the only one that finds this to be a challenge. I find that even putting "experiences" into words to be a challenge, and that it's difficult to articulate what I'm really feeling or trying to say.

I was logged on when your comment first came in, but this forum's software only allows me so many comments in a 24 hr. period, so I went and looked up Thomas á Kempis. It's too soon for me to have many thoughts on his writings and ideas. One thing kinda did strike me however, the publication that he is mostly known for is called, 'The Imitation of Christ'. This may all be very sweet and good and all that, but it kind of made me step back a bit. I've never thought I could "imitate Christ" any more than I could "imitate" Pavarotti  singing on stage. It's not that I don't appreciate Christ or Pavarotti , it's just that ... let's be realistic here.

All I can do is be myself, (or my true self) in Christ. I don't actually get to be like Christ, and I don't know if I'd want to be considering all the trouble he seems to have had.

I did however find a few quotes of his that I do kind of like: 

"If thou wilt receive profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faith, and seek not at any time the fame of being learned."
"At the Day of Judgement we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done." — The Imitation of Christ, Book I, ch. 3

 

I haven't had time to really look up and research Meister Eckhart either. But thanks for the names and the references. They may well prove valuable  in the future. Thanks

 

Don’t get hung up on the title.  Both are old books.   Both are available for free on Apple and other public domain sites.  

Read like Proverbs or Psalms.  Just take a single thought and let it roll around in your head all day.

 

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6 hours ago, Burl said:

Don’t get hung up on the title.  Both are old books.   Both are available for free on Apple and other public domain sites.  

Read like Proverbs or Psalms.  Just take a single thought and let it roll around in your head all day.

 

I've saved links to both of them. The other challenge will be finding the time.

That's a good idea: "Just take a single thought and let it roll around in your head all day."

Thanks

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22 hours ago, Burl said:

 Just being still and with God is better than any intellectualization.

 

22 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I agree with you here too.

A thought: just as different kids, different people learn in different ways, so too, I suggest, people approach or find God in different ways, some in 'intellectualism.'

When I read, it is still and it is about discerning God with another's help (the author) and learning to use language to better understand and explain that which is too rich for words - but it is what we have. For me some authors are so good that the Word resounds powerfully in them and God is, if you will, revealed.

Just a thought I wanted to share.

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17 hours ago, thormas said:

 

A thought: just as different kids, different people learn in different ways, so too, I suggest, people approach or find God in different ways, some in 'intellectualism.'

When I read, it is still and it is about discerning God with another's help (the author) and learning to use language to better understand and explain that which is too rich for words - but it is what we have. For me some authors are so good that the Word resounds powerfully in them and God is, if you will, revealed.

Just a thought I wanted to share.

I agree with you. We approach God in different ways. Intellectualism, spiritualism, intuition, even through our emotions and feelings. These are all good and valid and also interconnected.

I'm really glad and happy that you have found some authors and books that have really spoken to you and inspired you. For myself this hasn't really been the case.

Sometimes I feel I learn more about God by watching documentaries on evolution or the cosmos or quantum physics. I don't see these things as separate from God or faith at all. Sometimes I see little pieces of God in these things or that God is really working through all of them .

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1 hour ago, Elen1107 said:

Sometimes I feel I learn more about God by watching documentaries 

I like some documentaries or lecture videos also. I saw the one you posted on Spong. I do miss his very active presence on the PC scene (although I didn't always agree with him).

 

thanks

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3 minutes ago, thormas said:

 

I like some documentaries or lecture videos also. I saw the one you posted on Spong. I do miss his very active presence on the PC scene (although I didn't always agree with him).

 

thanks

I don't always agree with him either. But he's given  me enough ideas and insights that I can really appreciate him. He's one of my more favored writers from inside the Christian faith, so much so that it makes me feel bad when I do disagree. But I don't think he would want us to be going blindly along with him anyways. 

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2 hours ago, Elen1107 said:

I don't always agree with him either. But he's given  me enough ideas and insights that I can really appreciate him. He's one of my more favored writers from inside the Christian faith, so much so that it makes me feel bad when I do disagree. But I don't think he would want us to be going blindly along with him anyways. 

Bold Emphasis added by me. I think that is very profound. It seems to me that doing so (blindly following) is what got us locked into what we now feel the need to be free from.

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15 minutes ago, JosephM said:

Bold Emphasis added by me. I think that is very profound. It seems to me that doing so (blindly following) is what got us locked into what we now feel the need to be free from.

I definitely agree. This time the bold is added by me.

Thing is I would just love there to be something, anything, or someone, that I could just go along with all the time, or at least most of the time, and then I wouldn't have to think so much. Some book, some person,  even some poet or musician. But it's not to be.

Of course there's JC, but with just a spiritual connection to him, I don't know if that's giving me the same kind of thing. (< I definitely don't know how to word that).

Speaking of thinking too much, there's been a number of things that you and other people have written about today that I would have just loved to have commented on. But the fact is, I'm just too tired. Maybe I'll find those posts again tomorrow. I think I'm almost out of "allowed" comments anyways. 

Laters 🙂 

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  • 1 month later...

Progressive Christianity as understood by Gretta Vosper - both an atheist and an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada (a mainline Protestant denomination):

 

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

Progressive Christianity as understood by Gretta Vosper - both an atheist and an ordained minister of the United Church of Canada (a mainline Protestant denomination):

I've always liked Gretta and I've read many posts by her. Don't always agree (and have presented my concerns or disagreements and also defended her against some who are a bit vicious) but I've always liked her.

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  • 8 months later...

Where I live is generally quite progressive, so the Christians are typically quite progressive. 

I don't really see such thing a "progressive Christianity", I just see groups of Christians who are progressive and groups of Christians who are conservative, and some are even fully regressive. 

A progressive social group will focus on the aspects of their religion that support their progressive beliefs, and a regressive group will find content to support their beliefs. 

Personally, I think any group that promotes judgement of others is a psychologically unhealthy group that is also likely putting barriers up against spirituality. That's just my personal opinion, and I try not to have opinions about the spirituality of others. 

Note, that doesn't mean I don't have opinions about the religions of others. Religion is a human behaviour, spirituality is a divine experience. 

What does Christianity in general mean to me? Well, I came here through a lifelong journey of finding compassion and connection to all living people and all living things. 

Is that progressive? Maybe, maybe not. 

Are my values progressive? Yeah, but I was progressive when I was an atheist. 

Granted, I don't come from a place of having had an identity as any type of "Christian" that I'm now trying to redefine according to progressive values. I have always had progressive values, and have recently been inspired by Christ's teachings, on my own terms. 

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11 hours ago, Kellerman said:

I don't really see such thing a "progressive Christianity", I just see groups of Christians who are progressive and groups of Christians who are conservative, and some are even fully regressive. 

Personally, I think the term 'progressive' unfortunately does create judgement and may even be a little condescending to those who aren't considered 'progressive', but we humans do like labels and it is hard to characterize similar ways of thinking without identifying a label per se.  I think the term has probably come about because there are people who do want to identify with Christianity but whom do not want to be lumped in with a traditional Christian point of view.

Sometimes I think it might just be easier to say what one 'is not', rather than what one 'is'.  In comparison to traditional Christianity, 'Progressives' tend to identify as not being fundamentalists, not believing the Bible is the inerrant or infallible word of God, not agreeing that Creationism should replace the science of evolution in public schools, not believing that God disapproves of homosexuality, not believing that people of other faiths are going to hell unless they convert to Christianity, not denying the right of women to choose what happens to their bodies, and more, whilst simultaneously believing that Jesus and Christianity has much to offer, as a way of life.

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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

Personally, I think the term 'progressive' unfortunately does create judgement and may even be a little condescending to those who aren't considered 'progressive', but we humans do like labels and it is hard to characterize similar ways of thinking without identifying a label per se.  I think the term has probably come about because there are people who do want to identify with Christianity but whom do not want to be lumped in with a traditional Christian point of view.

Sometimes I think it might just be easier to say what one 'is not', rather than what one 'is'.  In comparison to traditional Christianity, 'Progressives' tend to identify as not being fundamentalists, not believing the Bible is the inerrant or infallible word of God, not agreeing that Creationism should replace the science of evolution in public schools, not believing that God disapproves of homosexuality, not believing that people of other faiths are going to hell unless they convert to Christianity, not denying the right of women to choose what happens to their bodies, and more, whilst simultaneously believing that Jesus and Christianity has much to offer, as a way of life.

In very simple terms, progressive generally means seeking change and conservative means maintaining things as they are. 

Change is difficult for many, and holding back change is difficult for many. 

It's always hard, and it's always a conflict. I personally look forward to the day that society finally progresses past my personal values and I can maybe join the conservative side of the spectrum. 

What it all means in terms of Christianity is socio-historic-context specific. Today's conservatives may have been yesteryear's progressives. Today's progressives could become tomorrow's conservatives. It all depends on the social circumstances of the era. 

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On 1/23/2021 at 10:41 PM, Kellerman said:

In very simple terms, progressive generally means seeking change and conservative means maintaining things as they are. 

Change is difficult for many, and holding back change is difficult for many. 

It's always hard, and it's always a conflict. I personally look forward to the day that society finally progresses past my personal values and I can maybe join the conservative side of the spectrum. 

What it all means in terms of Christianity is socio-historic-context specific. Today's conservatives may have been yesteryear's progressives. Today's progressives could become tomorrow's conservatives. It all depends on the social circumstances of the era. 

Indeed, today's conservatives may have been yesteryear's progressives.  I see the human species as continually refining and developing into the future.  Sometimes it may seem like a bit of a zig zag, but generally I think we're moving forward.

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3 hours ago, PaulS said:

Indeed, today's conservatives may have been yesteryear's progressives.  I see the human species as continually refining and developing into the future.  Sometimes it may seem like a bit of a zig zag, but generally I think we're moving forward.

Lol, well, we're always moving somewhere. 

The wealthiest in society tend to see us as making positive progress, because within the very, very wealthiest of social environments, such as middle class North America, measurable progress in terms of equality and safety have been achieved. 

The bulk of the world doesn't really have that benefit though. People who talk about how much progress has been made aren't speaking for the bulk of the world's people who are experiencing unspeakable atrocities daily. 

That tenuous "peace" and security among the wealthy is also obtained at the expense of all of those other people in the world. Wealthy societies are 100% dependent on the atrocities in other countries continuing. We're totally complicit. 

So how valuable is our supposed "progress" when it's won at the expense of helpless people suffering just far enough away that we don't think about them or even know about them?

When I look at the day to day realities across the world, which are in many ways worse than in years past, I question the position that we have come a long way, overall, as humans. 

Where *I* live, yes, we have come a LONG way in terms of dignity for far more groups of people, not all, but some are able to live relatively safely out in public now. That's a great thing. 

Is that indicative of an overall positive growth of human kind though? No, not at all. It's a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the ongoing absolute horrors of what humans willingly do to one another and to the planet. 

Not to be a downer about it, but I do think it's very important not to generalize local progress with global progress. It's too easy to get distracted by our own realities and lose awareness of the vast humanity outside our peripheral vision, but that's exactly how atrocities and inhumanity continues, by not being looked at by those with the power to do something. 

It's also critical never to rest on our laurels and pat ourselves on the back for being so much better than in the past, when reality, on the whole, we aren't. 

We can't be like "yay, women got the vote a hundred years ago" and feel like the world is more respectful of women overall when there are millions of women in the world still being literally bought and sold as property. Frequently by and TO Americans!

As I said previously, progress really just means change. Progressives support change, conservatives resist it, regressives want to reverse it. Who is right and who is wrong? That's really, really hard to say, especially when examining it with a much, much broader, global lense. 

I think Christ is found in any position that comes from a place of love and respect for ALL life. Evil is found in any position that promotes hate. 

Of course, that sounds simple, but obviously isn't, since for a lot of people, their twisted version of love, especially in defense of a group of people, can look a lot like hate for another group, and feel totally righteous. 

People feeling righteous in hate is one of the most dangerous powers in the world, and it's been the language of politics and a lot of religion for a very, very long time. 

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

Indeed, today's conservatives may have been yesteryear's progressives.  I see the human species as continually refining and developing into the future.  Sometimes it may seem like a bit of a zig zag, but generally I think we're moving forward.

I'm less optimistic. Fewer wars, sure. But it only takes one wrong finger on the button....apparently we were minutes away from war in the Cuban missile crisis, which would have given a quite different historical outlook on life expectancy in the 20th c etc...

And climate change is the big one. I can't see that we're doing remotely enough to avoid it, and the big tech solutions will not arrive in time.

6 hours ago, Kellerman said:

very wealthiest of social environments, such as middle class North America, measurable progress in terms of equality and safety have been achieved. 

Actually, I'm not sure that even that is the case, in terms of the middle class - I'm under the impression that median incomes have been declining or static for decades, and the rewards have gone to the top 1%. And that the decline of the middle class and the middle ground has led to the rise of populism. (Talking mostly about the USA here).

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Christianity is not a static situation, a set of rules governing behavior.  That is the Old Covenant.  Jesus said that He would send us the Holy Spirit who would guide us into all truth.  There is no time limit on this.  

We are living in times and situations that would have been unimaginable thousands of years ago.  Christianity (which is timeless) must progress as time passes, so that the Holy Spirit will continue to teach us how to live according to God's will.

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19 hours ago, Kellerman said:

Is that indicative of an overall positive growth of human kind though? No, not at all. It's a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the ongoing absolute horrors of what humans willingly do to one another and to the planet. 

I think that it may well be only a drop in the bucket, but it's a drop that wasn't there a few thousand year ago, so, progression.  I definitely agree that it is a bit of a 1st World view, but the fact that anyone can even have a 1st world view indicates some progression as a species to me.  But I'm not just talking in a material way - many people genuinely do want to help and do contribute to their fellow humans climbing out of the cesspool of poverty, hunger, filth etc.  But yes, we can't sugarcoat our development - there's a lot of people who get trodden on and conveniently 'ignored'.  There is still a long, long way to go.

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13 hours ago, John Hunt said:

I'm less optimistic. Fewer wars, sure. But it only takes one wrong finger on the button....apparently we were minutes away from war in the Cuban missile crisis, which would have given a quite different historical outlook on life expectancy in the 20th c etc...

Indeed, but then again, it didn't happen, so maybe we can take some faith in that?  

13 hours ago, John Hunt said:

And climate change is the big one. I can't see that we're doing remotely enough to avoid it, and the big tech solutions will not arrive in time.

Definitely!

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

I think that it may well be only a drop in the bucket, but it's a drop that wasn't there a few thousand year ago, so, progression.  I definitely agree that it is a bit of a 1st World view, but the fact that anyone can even have a 1st world view indicates some progression as a species to me.  But I'm not just talking in a material way - many people genuinely do want to help and do contribute to their fellow humans climbing out of the cesspool of poverty, hunger, filth etc.  But yes, we can't sugarcoat our development - there's a lot of people who get trodden on and conveniently 'ignored'.  There is still a long, long way to go.

But what about the fact that the state of the first world being "progressed" depends on the continued oppression suffering of people in other parts of the world?

It's not like everyone is on the same path and we are just lucky to have gotten here first. The amount of people who suffer to keep us as comfortable as we are is profound. 

Just by living in this "progressed" society we contribute more to keeping people oppressed than we ever could to lifting them out of oppression, even if that's what we want. 

That's a fact we like to stay ignorant of, but it remains an ugly truth of our very existence. And a difficult one to reconcile. 

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14 hours ago, John Hunt said:

I'm less optimistic. Fewer wars, sure. But it only takes one wrong finger on the button....apparently we were minutes away from war in the Cuban missile crisis, which would have given a quite different historical outlook on life expectancy in the 20th c etc...

And climate change is the big one. I can't see that we're doing remotely enough to avoid it, and the big tech solutions will not arrive in time.

Actually, I'm not sure that even that is the case, in terms of the middle class - I'm under the impression that median incomes have been declining or static for decades, and the rewards have gone to the top 1%. And that the decline of the middle class and the middle ground has led to the rise of populism. (Talking mostly about the USA here).

I don't disagree with you at all on that front. 

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17 hours ago, Kellerman said:

But what about the fact that the state of the first world being "progressed" depends on the continued oppression suffering of people in other parts of the world?

I don't agree that progression 'depends' on oppression, but I acknowledge there's lots of it.

17 hours ago, Kellerman said:

It's not like everyone is on the same path and we are just lucky to have gotten here first. The amount of people who suffer to keep us as comfortable as we are is profound. 

Indeed, and we are immensely priveleged to be here regarding other people's suffering.  I can do some things to help, but I can't do everything.  

17 hours ago, Kellerman said:

Just by living in this "progressed" society we contribute more to keeping people oppressed than we ever could to lifting them out of oppression, even if that's what we want. 

I'm not sure that is accurate.  I think oppression is lessening in the world, but there is still too much of it.

 

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9 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't agree that progression 'depends' on oppression, but I acknowledge there's lots of it.

Indeed, and we are immensely priveleged to be here regarding other people's suffering.  I can do some things to help, but I can't do everything.  

I'm not sure that is accurate.  I think oppression is lessening in the world, but there is still too much of it.

 

Well, I don't want to get into a geopolitical debate or analysis of global economic interdependent systems and human rights issues, especially as they relate to supply chains to first world countries, as I am not a subject matter expert on it. I live with one, but I am not one myself. 

I will just have to agree to disagree. 

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