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It's taken quite a while. It's been 7 years since I left the JW's. I know they are not strictly fundamentalists, but they are pretty dang close.

 

I went through a period of atheism. I even studied the philosophy of religion so that I could rebut all the usual "God arguments." After that, I went back to God, but not as a Christian.

 

I think that leaving Christianity completely for a while allowed me to eventually come back and take a fresh look. I am able to see that the definitions applied to certain doctrines by fundamentalists are not how they have been historically understood.

 

I still have problems discussing things like "sin" (as an example) with conservative Christians. We come at the idea from completely different points of view. It can be difficult to discuss such ideas with progressive Christians too, often because they hear certain doctrines and still read it through a fundamentalist lense.

 

It's a pain in the ass, and you have my total empathy. Like I said in my other thread, I often wonder why I bother.

 

For me, though, if I can't find meaning in Christianity outside of its being a social gospel, I'll have to move on. I want (and need) my religious path to 'mediate the sacred' (to borrow Borg's words). I often feel like I've got two choices within Christianity: conservative literalism or a liberal socio-political Christianity. I've been desperately trying to find a third option for the past year. It's hard. :(

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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Yes. I have had this problem, and yes I have found a way to deal with it (or maybe it found me).

 

Because of the paradigm shift that I and so many others are experiencing, much of the old tradition of Christianity doesn't really make sense anymore. After all, that's why we're on this forum (paridigm shift or not). But God hasn't changed and neither has Christ.

 

At first, I had to come up with new language to describe the new way that I view and experience my relationship with God and Christ. This really freed me up to have a much deeper faith experience. I was free from the language that reminded me of old views and free to experience God

in
my own terms (not necessarily on my own terms, I'm not sure God understands limitation). So for the first time I was livingmy faith.

 

Then, a surprising thing began to occur. One by one, the symbols of Christianity began to take on meaning for me. Salvation, Atonement, Forgiveness, Submission, Born Again, Obedience, Trinity, Resurrection, The Cross, Grace, Evangelism. The concepts and experiences that seemed so new and powerful to me were really not new at all. They were authentic Christian faith born fresh in me. My mind had to break free of the Christian Tradition before I could truly experience Christian Faith.

 

Now that I own the symbols, I can more easily interface with more traditional Christians. The symbols (metaphors) are the common ground for Christians. We may view them differently, but the symbols are generally all pointing to the same exact thing.

 

October's Autumn, this may not help you at all, because you've just got be who you are and where you are. What I described above could only happen by living my life day to day, just as you are doing. My advice? Lean into it! It's all good.

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A quote that comes to mind is "Don't cast your pearls before the swine." They don't know the value of the spiritual gems you are throwing out there so they will just run it into the ground. Your being a spiritual Christian communicating with Christ consciousness is enough to move anyone without saying a word.

 

I really like the post about forming a new vocabulary. I relate to it and can not add anything it was said perfectly.

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Chad, there are a few terms that I think have been so damaged that I wouldn't touch them. "Savior" is one. It has been so mixed up in the idea of "personal savior" ie one who will make sure I don't burn in hell for all eternity (what a concept!), so I just can't touch it. I could think of some other things to associate with the term but it's too much trouble explaining myself. They've almost done this with Christian. Where the term Christian almost always means "born again" and fundamentalist. I think this is fairly recent. But if one says one is a Christian, one has to make sure that the other party doesn't think you mean born again fundamentalist.

 

 

 

--des

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Soma,

 

It is bizarre that you brought up the phrase "don't cast your pearls before swine", because I nearly wrote that phrase in my previous post but I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it. What made me think of it was the dog analogy. There is only so much a human can offer a dog without it being a waste (food, shelter, companionship, play). How much more will God offer us as our species evolves?

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Fatherman, You write what I am thinking also.

 

I like the word Christ Consciousness because it communicates to me everyday, teaching me the way of the cross, leading me to God the Father or the all encompassing pure consciousness of God.

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Fatherman,  You write what I am thinking also.

 

I like the word Christ Consciousness because it communicates to me everyday, teaching me the way of the cross, leading me to God the Father or the all encompassing pure consciousness of God.

 

 

As usual, Soma, we are of one accord here. The act of seeking Christ Consciousness has been my most precious and fruitful spiritual pursuit. In the flickers of time that I reach it, I am restored in body, mind, spirit, and wisdom. It gives me the sense of a personal encounter with Christ. It allows me to see with Christ eyes and hear with Christ ears while I wear it. For me, it is the path to the Father. "No one comes to the Father except through me."

 

Lord, give me thirst that can only be quenched by your Spirit and give me hunger that can only be sated by your by your Truth

Edited by fatherman
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Allie,

 

"I still have problems discussing things like "sin" (as an example) with conservative Christians. We come at the idea from completely different points of view. It can be difficult to discuss such ideas with progressive Christians too, often because they hear certain doctrines and still read it through a fundamentalist lense."

 

Broadly speaking, sin is whatever takes us away from God. Somewhere Paul (I think it is) says that sin is slavery. I think this is true--it's an addiction. As John says in a letter, our enemies are "the concupiscence of the eyes, the concupiscence of the flesh, and the pride of life." We are immersed in a sea of sin. Augustine wrote, "The I came to Carthage, where a cauldron of unholy loves sang about my ears." He might have written, "then I came into the world....."

 

Here's Cardinal Newman's evidence (not proof) for the doctrine of Original Sin:

 

"Starting then with the being of a God, (which, as I have said, is as certain to me as the certainty of my own existence, though when I try to put the grounds of that certainty into logical shape I find a difficulty in doing so in mood and figure to my satisfaction,) I look out of myself into the world of men, and there I see a sight which fills me with unspeakable distress. The world seems simply to give the lie to that great truth, of which my whole being is so full; and the effect upon me is, in consequence, as a matter of necessity, as confusing as if it denied that I am in existence myself. If I looked into a mirror, and did not see my face, I should have the sort of feeling which actually comes upon me, when I look into this living busy world, and see no reflexion of its Creator. This is, to me, one of those great difficulties of this absolute primary truth, to which I referred just now. Were it not for this voice, speaking so clearly in my conscience and my heart, I should be an atheist, or a pantheist, or a polytheist when I looked into the world. I am speaking for myself only; and I am far from denying the real force of the arguments in proof of a God, drawn from the general facts of human society and the course of history, but these do not warm me or enlighten me; they do not take away the winter of my desolation, or make the buds unfold and the leaves grow within me, and my moral being rejoice. The sight of the world is nothing else than the prophet's scroll, full of "lamentations, and mourning, and woe."

 

"To consider the world in its length and breadth, its various history, the many races of man, their starts, their fortunes, their mutual alienation, their conflicts; and then {242} their ways, habits, governments, forms of worship; their enterprises, their aimless courses, their random achievements and acquirements, the impotent conclusion of long-standing facts, the tokens so faint and broken of a superintending design, the blind evolution of what turn out to be great powers or truths, the progress of things, as if from unreasoning elements, not towards final causes, the greatness and littleness of man, his far-reaching aims, his short duration, the curtain hung over his futurity, the disappointments of life, the defeat of good, the success of evil, physical pain, mental anguish, the prevalence and intensity of sin, the pervading idolatries, the corruptions, the dreary hopeless irreligion, that condition of the whole race, so fearfully yet exactly described in the Apostle's words, "having no hope and without God in the world,"—all this is a vision to dizzy and appal; and inflicts upon the mind the sense of a profound mystery, which is absolutely beyond human solution.

 

"What shall be said to this heart-piercing, reason-bewildering fact? I can only answer, that either there is no Creator, or this living society of men is in a true sense discarded from His presence. Did I see a boy of good make and mind, with the tokens on him of a refined nature, cast upon the world without provision, unable to say whence he came, his birthplace or his family connexions, I should conclude that there was some mystery connected with his history, and that he was one, of whom, from one cause or other, his parents were ashamed. Thus only should I be able to account for the contrast between the promise and the condition of his being. And so I argue about the world;—if there be a God, since there is a God, the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity. It is out of joint with the purposes of its Creator. This is a fact, a fact as true as the fact of its existence; and thus the doctrine of what is theologically {243} called original sin becomes to me almost as certain as that the world exists, and as the existence of God."

 

OS is a "heart-piercing, reason-bewildering fact.... a terrible aboriginal calamity."" We are alienated from God, from each other, and even from ourselves.

Edited by Jeannot
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Does it bother you?  I have a tough time with the jargon of Christianity and have problems hearing the message.

 

Anyone else have this problem, how have you dealt with it?

It's too bad that many good words of the Christian tradition have been hijacked, basically, by the Right wing of the Church, given specific, loaded meanings which have made using the language hard for those who don't reject the tradition of Chrisitanity but have difficulty with some of the language.

 

The word, 'evangelical' is an example! Meaning 'good news', it has come to mean 'poliytical activist conservative Christian'--and much of what theyare about is hardly, in my estimation, good news! :(

 

It's hard, even, to talk about "God", "Sin", "Faith", "Providence" and more! It's almost necessary to recover the broader, more meaningful definitions and rescue the words from the trash heap of knee-jerk responses

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It's hard, even, to talk about "God", "Sin", "Faith", "Providence" and more! It's almost necessary to recover the broader, more meaningful definitions and rescue the words from the trash heap of knee-jerk responses

 

 

I've been able to do it with who Jesus was, but not much else. Some of it can be done with word study of Greek or Hebrew -- for example "born again" is actually "born from above."

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It's hard, even, to talk about "God", "Sin", "Faith", "Providence" and more! It's almost necessary to recover the broader, more meaningful definitions and rescue the words from the trash heap of knee-jerk responses

 

 

I've been able to do it with who Jesus was, but not much else. Some of it can be done with word study of Greek or Hebrew -- for example "born again" is actually "born from above."

It doesn't help either when, to folks in mainline traditions, 'born again' or 'born from above' refers to their sacramental death and rebirth in baptism, and they wouldn't typically speak fo their baptism in those terms.

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A quote that comes to mind is "Don't cast your pearls before the swine."  They don't know the value of the spiritual gems you are throwing out there so they will just run it into the ground. Your being a spiritual Christian communicating with Christ consciousness is enough to move anyone without saying a word.

 

I really like the post about forming a new vocabulary. I relate to it and can not add anything it was said perfectly.

As far as 'forming a new vocabulary' is concerned, I was pretty fed up with the conservative/fundamentalist Quaker sect in which I was raised and had a big problem with the traditional language, also. It didn't push any buttons; it just didn't speak to me or mean anything to me.

 

Then, in college, in a course on contemporary Protestant thought, I discovered Paul Tillich. Then Reihold Neibuhr, Rudolf Bultmann, Harvey Cox, Robert Funk (in his pre-Jesus seminar days) and others who did not use the traditional language at all, or, when they did, used it in a thoughtful, well-defined, manner so that the message of the Gospel spoke to me in language I could relate to.

 

It was a challenge, later, when I would step into the pulpit and try to convey my message without the traditional language (that pushed so many buttons for people and had such a variety of connotations and baggage) and without the theological language of seminary and theologians. How could I get the message of the text across without loaded language or theological jargon, but in simple, everyday language? It was great! It forced me to think! :)

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I thought the Quakers were liberal in a good sense. I like the way they commune with the silence, but I have only visited their service a few times.

There are, like a number of denominations, various historical splits within the Society of Friends. One of these occurred in the mid-19th centery, and one group maintained the old ways following the simplicity and activism for which Quakers are noted. Ironically, they are the more liberal theologically.

 

The other group in which I was raised, and which maintained the orthodox theology, became more modern in dress and manner, chose to have actual pastors rather than being a lay-led movement, and became much like, say, Nazarenes for example. This is the bunch in which I was brought up. If I 'd been raised as one of the other Quakers--who knows?--I might still be one. I'm definitely drawn to the silence and the contemplative manner of Quaker spirituality and to the social and political activism for which they have become identified.

 

Heck! There is a Friends meeting house in my home town that sponsors or hosts a Zen meditation group. Seems appropriate to me. :)

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Another phrase that is problematic for many Christians is " Christ will come again". It is found primarily in the Apostle's creed. I generally interpret The Second Coming as the coming of enlightenment to the individual.

 

I know that some Christians are hoping for a vengeful Christ, who is coming back to kick the behind, of those left behind.

 

Does anybody else have an interpretation of the second coming?

 

 

 

MOW

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Another phrase that is problematic for many Christians is " Christ will come again". It is found primarily in the Apostle's creed.  I generally interpret The Second Coming as the coming of enlightenment to the individual.

 

I know that some Christians are hoping for a vengeful Christ, who is coming back to kick the behind, of those left behind.

 

Does anybody else have an interpretation of the second coming?

 

 

 

MOW

 

 

I only understand it as the early church's belief that Jesus was physically returning. Paul eventually figured out it wasn't happening in his time. I just figure it is not happening and was a mistake of the 1st century church based on their needs at the time.

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Another phrase that is problematic for many Christians is " Christ will come again". It is found primarily in the Apostle's creed.  I generally interpret The Second Coming as the coming of enlightenment to the individual.

 

I know that some Christians are hoping for a vengeful Christ, who is coming back to kick the behind, of those left behind.

 

Does anybody else have an interpretation of the second coming?

 

 

 

MOW

The second coming is a theological doctrine that states Christ will return as soon as he realizes he forgot the keys to the kingdom. :rolleyes:

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Hmm, we had kind of an updated creed last week. I have never heard it before. Also the last church I went to wrote their own "creed". Of course all this is interesting as UCC does NOT have a creed or at least ask that you take any specific creed.

 

--des

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Hmm, we had kind of an updated creed last week. I have never heard it before. Also the last church I went to wrote their own "creed". Of course all this is interesting as UCC does NOT have a creed or at least ask that you take any specific creed.

 

--des

Hmmm...If you have either of them, I would be interested in reading them. I'm curious.

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Here's another word in"Christianese" that is problematic . That word is"Lord". Lord ,is actually an English word that refers to the Baron of a feudal manor. This creates the image of Jesus as a benevolent dictator.

 

In the synoptic gospels Jesus only refers to himself as "the son of man" which (I guess ) simply means " the human one".

 

 

MOW

Edited by MOW
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  • 3 weeks later...

post-642-1152471010_thumb.jpg

Here's another word in"Christianese" that is problematic . That word is"Lord". Lord ,is actually an English word that refers to the Baron of a feudal manor. This creates the image of Jesus as a benevolent dictator.

 

In the synoptic gospels Jesus only refers to himself as "the son of man" which (I guess ) simply means " the human one".

MOW

 

I think of Christianity in terms of important symbols. We are in an interval where we have to create symbols adequate for the problems we face. I think of religion more now in terms of domination and liberation. The theologian Paula Cooey has a new book coming in August that focuses on these matters. Gordon Kaufman writes about them as he has over a long and fruitful career.

 

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