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Theologically liberal Christians

post #1 of 182
Thread Starter 
I know we have the "liberal Christians" thread, but I could never tell if it was for "politically liberal" or "theologically liberal"- it seemed more politcal. I consider myself both, actually, but wanted to chat with some theologically liberal folks.

I'm looking for some support, ideas, suggestions, etc. I've known for a little while that I don't believe everything that is taught at my church, specifically that someone "can't go to heaven unless they accept Jesus as their personal savior." There is so much about that statement that I don't go along with, but I'm realizing it is a huge and important part of my church. I'm also not in the least bit interested in "the end times." It didn't matter so much to me before, but now that I have a daughter, it is more important! Hugely important, actually.

I guess what I really need to do is look for another church! How do you do that? Call and talk to the pastor? Look on websites? Are there certain denominations that are more universal in their beliefs?
post #2 of 182
I am liberal in all things. I have yet to find a church that I totally agree with. I try to pick what I like and ignore the parts that I disagree with.
post #3 of 182
Have you thought about a UU congregation? I went to one for awhile, however if you looking for a congregation that is still centered around the Message of Jesus, Im not sure you'd be happy there. I'm in the same position your in. I follow the message of Jesus however, I don't believe in alot of the legend of Christ. I grew up as JW-so believe me I understand about the whole End-Times thing!
whats going to happen is going to happen.
1 John 4:18 (this verse keeps me sane, when I hear about End-Times)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

If your interested I would happy to fellowship with you here!
post #4 of 182
Count me in. After my father passed away and people from my church questioned his "salvation" I really questioned my church's teaching on eternal life and who can receive it. Their view is you must have Jesus as your personal savior to enter heaven. Now, my father was a liberal denomination minister and a very good man. Of course goodness doesn't matter in the minds of conservative Christians. However, I witnessed a peaceful passing and know something very spiritual happened.

I've been reading Marcus Borg - I really like what he has to say about the Bible. A book that really impacted me was Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus
Karen Armstrong's The Bible explored how the Bible was written.

At this point, I would say I am a follower of Jesus. He had a radical message and I think it works best with my worldview - care for the poor, justice, and environment, forgiveness, compassion, acceptance of all.

I just think some church denominations have really gotten off track, making a personal message of Jesus and Me their focus. I can understand why Ghandi chose not to become a Christian- He didn't see Christians following the teachings of Jesus.
post #5 of 182
count me in. One of my favorite writers is Bishop John Shelby Spong.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Shelby_Spong (And other members of the Jesus Seminar).

I particularly like the following books:

Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism,

This Hebrew Lord

Born of a Woman
post #6 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrsmom View Post
I know we have the "liberal Christians" thread, but I could never tell if it was for "politically liberal" or "theologically liberal"- it seemed more politcal. I consider myself both, actually, but wanted to chat with some theologically liberal folks.

I'm looking for some support, ideas, suggestions, etc. I've known for a little while that I don't believe everything that is taught at my church, specifically that someone "can't go to heaven unless they accept Jesus as their personal savior." There is so much about that statement that I don't go along with, but I'm realizing it is a huge and important part of my church. I'm also not in the least bit interested in "the end times." It didn't matter so much to me before, but now that I have a daughter, it is more important! Hugely important, actually.

I guess what I really need to do is look for another church! How do you do that? Call and talk to the pastor? Look on websites? Are there certain denominations that are more universal in their beliefs?
There are a wealth of options out there. It sounds like you are part of a fairly evangelical church. They do tend to really emphasize the "personal relationship with Jesus" thing, and the end-times.

Many of the major Christian denominations think those things are important, but that they can be over emphasized or misapplied, which seems to be what you are saying.

You could try the belief-o-matic quiz; it looks at what you believe now and shows you what groups reflect that. It can give a place to start, anyway.

http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainme...iefOMatic.aspx

The only problem I have with that approach is it kind of assumes that you have all the answers already, whereas there can really be value in trying to understand how a set of beliefs work together. But it is an interesting exercise.
post #7 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by notwonamesalike View Post
count me in. One of my favorite writers is Bishop John Shelby Spong.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Shelby_Spong (And other members of the Jesus Seminar).

I particularly like the following books:

Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism,

This Hebrew Lord

Born of a Woman
I read Spong's autobiography and found his life fascinating, especially how he came to his beliefs.
post #8 of 182
Thread Starter 
hkowell1- That would be so nice! Thank you for the kind offer! I'm looking forward to fellowshipping here! I have considered UU, but I'm not sure. I don't know if there is one around me anyway.

yogamama, I was ok ignoring certain things before. Even when I was pregnant, I thought I would just explain to my daughter what I believe and let her hear my views and those of my church. I'm just having trouble relating to people at my church now. Our sermon Sunday was on the exclusive claims of Jesus and how God can't have us in heaven unless we accept Jesus as our personal savior. He even used a vaccine analogy, which was even worse! I almost leaned over to the guy next to me and said "I'll just sign a waiver" but I didn't think he's get it. Everyone around me was knodding their heads and clucking their tongues, and I was just realizing that I was in the wrong place.

suzukimom and notwonamesalike- thanks for the book recommendations and the link. I read a beautiful book by Marcus Borg, I can't remember which one it was. If I remember correctly, he was saying that he doesen't believe the stories of Jesus' miracles actually happened. Then he gave the meaning of the a couple of them as he saw it, and his explanations were more beautiful to me than any I'd read by people who do believe they actually happened!

Things have changed for me since having my daughter. I am learning so much about acceptance- primarily accepting her for who she is and also accepting myself. People at church are trying to get in shape physically and spiritually, and I'm just sitting there thinking, "I'm ok how I am!" What a gift from God that is!!!

bluegoat- your post showed up as I was typing. Thanks for that link. Yeah, I kind of figured out a couple of years ago that I'm not "evangelical"- I kept thinking, "these people don't REALLY believe all this, how could they???" But they do! Oh well.

I look forward to hearing more.
post #9 of 182
I wish I knew you all IRL. I don't have anyone I know who thinks like I do theologically. Well, I do have a sister who has liberal beliefs but she lives across the country. I've been in a church for 13 years and my newfound beliefs would be considered heresy. For now we aren't attending an institutional church but have a spiritual discussion with my dh and dc on Sunday mornings instead.

Would anyone be interested in a forum book club where we read a book together and discuss it?
post #10 of 182
I'm in. I was raised Lutheran, went to private Lutheran school until 8th grade. In high school and college I stopped going to church. Recently, we've been going to the evangelical baptist church my husband was raised in and I really do not gel with it at all. I consider myself liberal both politically and theologically. I do consider myself a Christian.
post #11 of 182
Thread Starter 
Suzukimom- I'd love a forum book club! Sounds fun! re: a previous post of yours, that's sad that people questioned your father's "salvation". I know I have a friend who was really worried that a relative would give his heart to Jesus before he died. We already ARE his!!

I think another aspect of Jesus' teachings was that RELIGION is completely unneccessary and in fact the opposite of what God wants for us. However that manifests itself, be it typical religious rituals, emphasis on morality, dependence on money, success, fame, etc. I think that is what the scandal of the gospel is. It is pretty scandalous to say that God loves a dirty loser as much as he loves a clean successful religious guy.
post #12 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrsmom View Post
Suzukimom- I'd love a forum book club! Sounds fun! re: a previous post of yours, that's sad that people questioned your father's "salvation". I know I have a friend who was really worried that a relative would give his heart to Jesus before he died. We already ARE his!!

I think another aspect of Jesus' teachings was that RELIGION is completely unneccessary and in fact the opposite of what God wants for us. However that manifests itself, be it typical religious rituals, emphasis on morality, dependence on money, success, fame, etc. I think that is what the scandal of the gospel is. It is pretty scandalous to say that God loves a dirty loser as much as he loves a clean successful religious guy.
Exactly! Agreeing with you . I wonder what Jesus would say about what Christians have done in his name. We used him to create a new religion.

I have a pet peeve - all the Christian merchandizing. Our church has its own bookstore and food cafe.

Lets see if others are interested in a book club and then we can make some book suggestions. Even if its just you and me, I'd do it.
post #13 of 182
I am so IN. :
post #14 of 182
Thread Starter 
Sounds good!

re: the merchandizing, in one of the books I read the author said something like "let's just get rid of all the Jesus junk for a couple of years." You can appreciate that comment, I imagine! That's right in line with Christian entertainment, in my opinion.

What I think is neat is how the message of unconditional love can be found in "secular" movies and entertainment.

as for books, I'm open for suggestions. I'll think if there's one I'd really like to read together and suggest that.
post #15 of 182
while searching for books I came across this. I thought it was interesting and may be helpful in starting dialog. Its not a book. But it's PBS


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/
post #16 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by hkowell1 View Post
while searching for books I came across this. I thought it was interesting and may be helpful in starting dialog. Its not a book. But it's PBS


http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/
We've been watching this at home! I read about it somewhere on this forum and then while I was watching PBS one day they said they were rebroadcasting the program that afternoon. It's on my TIVO now but you can watch a segment online. We could watch a segment and then discuss it. I think there are even discussion questions on the website.

Maybe we should start a new thread to see if others would like to join in.
Are there any other thoughts or ideas?
post #17 of 182
Thread Starter 
This show seems like a good place to start! Why don't you start a thread about it and then when we're done with the segments we can pick something else? Would it be in this forum or under media? Just let us know where it is!!! Awesome!!!!
post #18 of 182
Do they have all of the segments online? I don't have cable but I'm interested!
post #19 of 182
the link says watch the full program...click
post #20 of 182
How about we watch what we can and then each come up with our own question/statement. We list them and take on one at time with a different thread?
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