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New Things On The Horizon


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The new 8 Points discussion area is open for business below. This section will ultimately work together with the 8 Points area of TCPC's new website - which will be launching in a few weeks.

 

This is designed to encourage the flow between the website visitors and the discussion board. Each of the 8 Points will have its own page on the new site, with links to the newly revised study guide, related resources in the TCPC online library, and to the associated section on the message boards so that people can make comments on or discuss issues raised by each of the points.

 

The 8 Points, as you might know, comprise TCPC's general position statement, but they are CONSTANTLY being reviewed and revised and reworded and revamped. These discussions are part of the the process by which this happens. Once a critical mass of opinion emerges, the board and council begins the next revision.

 

More importantly, the points are designed to be more of a jumping off point than the final word, so the more they encourage people to try to find words for their own experience, or for their community's experience, the better. We hope the message boards will play a large role in that.

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  • 2 months later...

Been there. Looked around. Printed out the eight points discussion guides for future reference and reflection. Great stuff! This is all taking a lot of hard work, and, I'm sure, is deeply appreciated by those who have been around awhile. As a 'new kid' who can't really compare the new with the old, I'd say I'm still impressed! :P

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sometimes, living in any congregation resembles living in minefield. That happens whether the pervasive tone of the congregation is evangelical, fundamentalist, orthodox, liberal, or whatever. Code words and shibboleths define almost invisible barriers. I generally keep my mouth closed. That is one reason that I look so unpleasant in Sunday classes and prayer groups. It would be the same way but in a different form if I were taking part in groups at the Unitarian-Universalist Church.

 

The pervasive right-wing political ambience of our congregation is painful to endure, in part, because I am at base an old-fashioned Eastern Republican. The American flag, along with whatever that so-called Christian flag is, troubles me. I let that pass. Many denominations allow them. I suppose that we mean them to imply the subservience of the nations to God, but I suspect that they really say the opposite. The disdain for any open discussion of topics and theme in classes and groups does not really exclude conflict. It merely submerges discord.

 

I would that we could learn to be more pluralistic. Pluralism transcends tolerance; it promotes faithful acceptance that allows for irreconcilable differences.

 

I explore my own faith now in terms of materialist and rhetorical categories. I need companions in this journey.

Edited by Ted Michael Morgan
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And you have one here, Ted. I came close to leaving the United Methodist Church because of the exclusionary policies maintained by the church's bishops regarding gay clergy. This apparently is too much for them, but is another indication of the difficulty people have either as individuals or as an organization in overcoming their own prejudices by putting the teachings of Jesus into practice in daily life. This is what makes Christianity a put-up-or-shut-up faith: following the teachings of Jesus. Of course, we're not perfect in any sense of the word, but we all need to try and 'practice these principles in all of our affairs', to borrow a phrase from AA.

 

The denominational Christian churches are more of a reflection of the state of our society than charts and compasses to use in the navigation of today's complex world and the issues that are raised. We face questions that have never been posed before in history and instead of being a central moderator, the denominational Christian churches act as a conservative brake on exploration of faith, discussions concerning Jesus and the validity of early Christian writings, discussions over contradictions in the gospels, who Jesus was historically, etc. etc. They have 'Jesus is God' down pat, but fail terribly in spreading and practicing the words of Jesus the Teacher. If that were to be done, you would have all of the denominational Christian churches denouncing the war in Iraq and demanding the war money be used for feeding and housing the poor, providing medical care for the needy, etc. etc. That really doesn't square with supporters of the Politics of Empire who also want to use Christianity as an image-improver and political weapon. Can't serve God and money at the same time, folks, or claim to follow the Prince of Peace but feed and support the dogs of war, too. Can't have it both ways...put up or shut up.

 

I personally regard the Christian faith as being a faith for all people and want to see the US flag removed from the sanctuaries myself. God and Jesus are beyond our pathetic politics of inequity, deprivation, greed, corruption, and hypocracy.

 

At the same time, I understand that our faith is a human construction that interprets a Spiritual reality. The ceremonies, hymms, bowing, kneeling, praising, etc. are just empty, meaningless drama on the part of denominational Christian churches because they can't be open and compassionate to those who are seen as outcasts in our society. And where does Jesus say who can and can't be clergy? Again, there's the difference between the teachings of Jesus and the Christianity of human construction.

 

You are not alone, Ted. There is an entire group of Jesus scholars, New Testament researchers, etc. who are questioning the foundational writings of the early Christian church and re-thinking the life of Jesus and his teachings apart from the gospel writings. Some churches are allowing for this debate, others will head for the hills and get out the anti-heretic weapons. My position is to let the debate begin and out in the open...in every church and in every pew. It's time for a Reformation of the Reformation.

 

Russ

Edited by Russ
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