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Please Start A New Forum - Good Works


TheMeekShall
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It's good to find a social justice forum where we can talk about it from a personal point of view. My previous home forum has become too much of a discussion on how "Bush ruined this...." I felt powerless.

 

The one problem I have here is that when there is a discussion of dealing with life issues such as the Doing Greater Things thread, stories about compassion get turned into theological quotes. Christianity is about the heart! I've done plenty of cruising on the net, and seen forums become more and more resticted in their point of view. It would be a pity to see good works disappear from tcpc over time. I strongly suggest the administrators set up a seperate forum for it.

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Count me in. I love the theological/philosophical discussions, but sometimes they stop short of the ethical considerations and actions that they were intended to support. I sometimes wonder if we as a society are slowly losing our passion for justice? Or perhaps the the word "enthusiam" (en + theos) is more appropriate than passion?

 

minsocal :D

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I'd love to share stories from my volunteer work, how the needy continue to be neglected in 2006, how this is something real about God compared to abstractions people like to talk about.

 

I don't see any insurmountable problem to using this forum for that. People just need to know that you want a thread to be about a particular type of discussion.

 

I was disappointed to read the economic justice section at christianalliance.org. It's just about increasing government spending for the poor. Even if I thought that might happen, I don't think it's enough. People are on their own in so many ways in our society unless they're willing to believe what some cult-like organization believes. I think social and economic justice would be an excellent thing to talk about.

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An Ethics or Social Justice or Good Works Forum might be fun. This very subject was something my husband and I were discussing last night.

 

Ethics are becoming divorced from spirituality as if they are two different things. It's not that you can't be ethical and NOT spiritual at the same, it's that I have a hard time as to how someone can be truely spiritual and not also be ethical.

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I wholeheartedly agree with all of the above. By all means, social justice issues are the core of Christian ethics, and this is defined by what is discussed in the Pope's new encyclical, Agape, or brotherly and sisterly love. The willingness to sacrifice some of our lives to help those in need.

 

As I mentioned on another thread after Katrina, we have been placed in the position of showing our concern for others by only writing checks and being satisfied with just that. For those who have the time and the motivation, there are many other and more important ways.

 

flow.... :)

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I have no understanding of what "spirituality" or "spiritual things" means so I'm not clear why it matters if good works are separated from "spiritual things."

 

If any one would care to try to explain to me what "spirituality" and "spiritual things" are I'd greatly appreciate it. This is a question that came up about a year ago and I still have no idea and haven't been able to find any explanations.

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I have no understanding of what "spirituality" or "spiritual things" means so I'm not clear why it matters if good works are separated from "spiritual things." 

 

If any one would care to try to explain to me what "spirituality" and "spiritual things" are I'd greatly appreciate it.  This is a question that came up about a year ago and I still have no idea and haven't been able to find any explanations.

 

My point is that threads on good works soon get offtopic with Biblical references. I think we all have a sense of what doing the right thing is without needing to turn to scriptures, and that focusing on the works in the thread will help us to brainstorm on how to do them better.

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I have no understanding of what "spirituality" or "spiritual things" means so I'm not clear why it matters if good works are separated from "spiritual things."  

 

If any one would care to try to explain to me what "spirituality" and "spiritual things" are I'd greatly appreciate it.  This is a question that came up about a year ago and I still have no idea and haven't been able to find any explanations.

 

My point is that threads on good works soon get offtopic with Biblical references. I think we all have a sense of what doing the right thing is without needing to turn to scriptures, and that focusing on the works in the thread will help us to brainstorm on how to do them better.

 

 

I was posting to Altheia's post, although she said "Ethics" not "good works." I was really just curious. Like I siad, it is a question I've been asking for about a year and haven't been able to find an answer to. Her post brought it up again and since I don't really understand what it means I was hoping to get some feedback.

 

I'm pretty sure spirituality doesn't have anything to do with the bible -- or at least isn't exclusive. I know people who've talked about being spiritual but not being religious and other similar comments that put it outside the realm of Christianity or even Judaism or any organized religion.

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[i was posting to Altheia's post, although she said "Ethics" not "good works."    I was really just curious. Like I siad, it is a question I've been asking for about a year and haven't been able to find an answer to.  Her post brought it up again and since I don't really understand what it means I was hoping to get some feedback. 

 

I'm pretty sure spirituality doesn't have anything to do with the bible -- or at least isn't exclusive.  I know people who've talked about being spiritual but not being religious and other similar comments that put it outside the realm of Christianity or even Judaism or any organized religion.

 

I said that an "Ethics or Social Justice or Good Works Forum might be fun." In my mind they are all related.

 

I actually prefer the term "religious" over "spiritual" but decided to use the latter term because it's more popular and politically correct. :rolleyes:

 

And I didn't say that it mattered if good works are seperate from spirituality. Atheists are some of the most ethical people I know. What I said was that I don't understand how anyone can have a strong belief in God (and all that entails) and at the same time not be an ethical person (or a person concerned with good works or social justice).

 

As far as a definition of "spiritual," if you type "define: spiritual" (w/o the quotes) into google, you'll get loads of definitions. :)

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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And I didn't say that it mattered if good works are seperate from spirituality.

 

I understand, now.

 

Atheists are some of the most ethical people I know. What I said was that I don't understand how anyone can have a strong belief in God (and all that entails) and at the same time not be an ethical person (or a person concerned with good works or social justice).

 

I agree, I get what you are saying.

 

As far as a definition of "spiritual," if you type "define: spiritual" (w/o the quotes) into google, you'll get loads of definitions.  :)

 

 

That is more or less what I did but everything I found seemed more like they fit in the category of psychological needs rather than spiritual needs. I was hoping you had something I hadn't been able to find :) So, so far I understand spiritual to be an essentially religious term for psychological...

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I would go with Fred's oft cited take on spiritual matters here. Having been there from time to time, I would define it as having an emotion-driven "feeling" that the moments that one is experiencing and that often engenders some sort of action that is intended to benefit others, is an experience that "feels" as though one is part of a limitless wholeness that includes everyone and everything that is/was/and will be real. A positive and eternal ground or field of being, as it were.

 

It is not a part of maya or illusion. It is not false or untrue because your heart tells you that it is "real". The "feeling" of it assures you with certainty that what is being experienced and what that all may lead to are part of G-d's greater plan for intelligence in the cosmos. It is a "feeling" and state of being that can best be described as positive connectedness. I believe that all religion stems from such experiences, individual and collective.

 

flow.... :)

Edited by flowperson
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It is not a part of maya or illusion. It is not false or untrue because your heart tells you that it is "real". The "feeling" of it assures you with certainty that what is being experienced and what that all may lead to are part of G-d's greater plan for intelligence in the cosmos. It is a "feeling" and state of being that can best be described as positive connectedness. I believe that all religion stems from such experiences, individual and collective.

 

flow.... :)

 

That's a lot to read into a feeling, flow. I believe every feeling we have is a real feeling, but we mislabel our feelings all the time. I think this one could use some scrutiny. I don't mean to change the direction of this discussion, but if no one minds, maybe it is important to discuss why anyone wants to do good works.

 

I valued helping people before I saw it as a religious/spiritual activity. I was better at it than I was at research. Bad results from experiments and good feedback from people told me so. But as I was becoming more religious, helping people became a tangible focus for that. I was helped in that by Christian traditions such as the Prayer of St. Francis and Matthew 25: 31-46, at the same time being chhallenged by how hypocritical the church is about this. There was much to explore in this, such as what it means to give love and receive love.

 

Eventually I find that what I do is not part of some great plan ordained by God. There is no way that what I do individually will make any difference in the big picture at all. Even what it does for individual clients is limited. They are still on their own in their lives in so many ways. God tells me that if it were just up to Her, She doesn't need me to help people at all. She'd rather I spent even more time with Her.

 

But I need to stay connected, not to some great cosmic plan, but to the depressed young woman I saw yesterday who needed some one to tell her how to file for state disability, how to use the county's health care for the homeless program and to give her food from our pantry. Was this cosmic? Absolutely not. It was a little bit of love between us, something I know how to do, something a lot of people could do, but don't. Many people find excuses not to help others in their suffering. They have bigger priorities.

 

God has often told me to do what I know how to do. I do that well enough that I don't hear it so much any more. It's not about being noble. It's not that my clients are so wonderful. There are some I wouldn't turn my back on in a parking lot. If someone is looking for some great orgasmic union with God from doing good works, they will find reality is different than that. I learned about love from helping people, from relationships, from raising children, and from God. It was all useful, but only God's love accepts me just as I am. That's the love that is vital for me. Loving people actively helped me to understand that, both from the existential joys of loving people and the shortcomings of it. People always want to simplify a process like charity to a single thing. It is not that. It's just something I do, no matter how many reasons there are.

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DD

 

Everyone has differing ways of experiencing G-d. I was trying to define spiritualism and spiritual feelings at the request of October's Autumn, not define religious experience and good works as you seem to have done. Both are relevant, and both are true, but both are seen from differing experience perspectives.

 

I respect your perspective, and I believe that reciprocal action on your part would be to not try to deny me mine, or to try to talk me out of believing things that I have experienced.

 

flow.... <_<

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DD

 

Everyone has differing ways of experiencing G-d. I was trying to define spiritualism and spiritual feelings at the request of October's Autumn, not define religious experience and good works as you seem to have done. Both are relevant, and both are true, but both are seen from differing experience perspectives.

 

I respect your perspective, and I believe that reciprocal action on your part would be to not try to deny me mine, or to try to talk me out of believing things that I have experienced.

 

flow.... <_<

 

Flow, as I said, every feeling we have is a real feeling, but to say that this feeling is behind all of religion is a mistake. You don't have to believe me. You're entitled to believe what you believe, but so am I.

 

You didn't say it explicitly, but I have heard many people talk about helping people in terms of our connectedness to others. That ignores how many ways we are disconnected. As I was saying, the reality of helping others is much tougher than seeing the beauty in all people. All the traditional ways of seeing the problem of poverty and suffering have not fixed the problem. I don't write about that to slap at you. I write about that because I want to write about it. I would write much more about it. I'm sorry for whatever hurt you felt at what I wrote. Of course experience shapes one's perspective. It can even negate another's perspective. I don't see the virtue in keeping quiet about that, maybe if the subject were only which is the best restaurant in town, but not about how the needy are neglected.

 

My clients are suffering. It is a big deal. It is a big deal that many people find excuses to justify such suffering and make priorities that ensure further suffering. We have the intellectual, material and spiritual resources to end poverty and to end conflict, but we don't use them that way. I'm not sure how God sees that, but it's not good. It's worth talking about. If I discuss it with you again, I'll try harder to be clear that I'm not picking on you personally.

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DD

 

I'm sorry if I gave you the impression that your work is not worthwhile. On the contrary. I've given alot of hours to volunteer efforts over the years to help those who need help, including elderly neighbors who were homebound and couldn't get to the market. The problem is that there is such a large gap these days between those who have and those who have not, and the gap is getting greater each day the past few years with lots of help from politicians who say one thing and do the other, seemingly just to create more suffering by those who can least tolerate more of it. Real changes are needed and sooner than later. It is not a time for conservatism.

 

That being said, I guess that it would be difficult for someone who has not had a profound mystical experience to understand what I attempted to describe as spiritual. In my case it produced written materials that I simply composed and passed along to those who could make some difference by using them. Now, I believe that I saw positive changes take place because of that experience, and that was my only goal in entering into the process.

 

If I didn't feel that my experiences and resulting work was a worthwhile effort in the deepest part of my heart, I wouldn't have participated in the process as scary as it was, and as detrimental to my life it all was in the long run. The strangest part of it all was that I really didn't have a choice. In my judgement at that time it was simply the right thing to do. But then there is no real progress without suffering and sacrifice. These are the primary tenets of Christianity and Buddhism, so it must be true. I just guess that I'm really pissed about how out of balance our lives are becoming in this country, the current wellspring of democracy and unjust punishments.

 

flow .... :o

Edited by flowperson
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