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Curious - What is Progressive Christianity? - Page 6

post #101 of 194
Thread Starter 
The link I started this thread with might list some progressive churches in your area. I've also recently learned of a denomination called The Disciples of Christ, and they seem to be pretty widespread and very welcoming of all.

http://www.disciples.org/

I am hoping to check out one of their services this weekend when I visit my mom, and I'll let you all know how it goes.
post #102 of 194
I like both the denominations. I've been to a UCC church in my neighborhood and I would say it's a bit staid and boring. Kind of upper class elite and an aging congregation. This mom has an eyebrow piercing and a baby. I'm not sure they'd know what to do with her. I'll check out the website though. The big mega churches aren't boring and have lots of young people in them but I don't want her to get sucked into them.

She told me the church she attended was a Methodist church. Her family had been going there forever - at least that's what she said.

I'll check out the website. Thanks!
post #103 of 194
I am about halfway through Borg's The Heart of Christianity at the moment. I about to go back to it in a second. I am waiting on the one about the God we Need. I can't remember the title. It it blowing my mind. I can't even describe the incredible feelings of returning of release (I can't really come up with the right words) I am feeling as I learn all of this stuff. When I was 12 this all made so much sense to me. I didn't question because I really KNEW with my heart. I have spent many years thinking that the 12 year old me was just naive. Now I feel that it was the 20 year old me who was naive. I got so caught up in the creeds and the crusades and the rules. I was sure that that God was not my God but I lost that familiar channel to God. I have explored and enjoyed other channels and appreciate them all but I missed my childhood one more than I realized. Now I have it back. It is opening up and it feels amazing.

It is almost time for Lent. I find myself ready and eager for some reflection,meditation, and prayer. It has a much deeper meaning for me this year. I prepared to hear all of the stories and prayers with new ears. I am excited to explore the metaphorical myth of the whole Lent and Easter season.

Puff, I read that beautiful sermon you linked about Christmas Myth. Thanks for sharing it. I thought it was very interesting.

I'm off to read before my baby boy wakes up. I don't think I ever told you his age. He is 16 months.
post #104 of 194
Harmony- That's awesome!!!! Wow!! I've only read one book by Michael Borg. It was more liberal than I was at the time (emphasis on "at the time"!!) but I still really really liked it! I'll have to read more of his writing.

I was going to say that I have a little one who is about 16 months, but that was 6 months ago, she's 22 months! These months go by so fast!!!!
post #105 of 194
Thanks Kimberly! It is really the combination of all the websites and sermons and things. I feel kinda silly cause I thought I was the only one who thought like this but it turns out there is a whole movement.

I KNOW! It does go so fast. Just this week I am noticing that he looks much more like a toddler than that little baby he was.
post #106 of 194
I remember when my dd was "part baby, part little girl" and now she's all little girl! In appearance anyway. Actually, today at the park she told me she was a big girl. That surprised me a bit! There was an older girl swinging pretty fast on the swings, and I said "she's a big girl" and my dd said "Hannah big girl" I wasn't expecting that so soon!

I ordered The Heart of Christianity from my library. I'm eager to look it over!

Isn't cool that there is an entire movement of people who don't want to abandon Christianity, but also don't follow that the Bible is the literal word of God, Jesus is God born of a virgin, the Gospels are recorded historical narratives, etc. etc.? I would love to meet more Christians like that in my community! I'd even be happy going to a UU church (I'm pretty sure) but the closest one is 1/2 hour away. That's too far right now!
post #107 of 194
Hi ladies - as we get close to Ash Wednesday, I thought I'd post an article that I read a few years ago that has made me think entirely differently about Lent.

The article's author is Ched Myers, who is equal parts activist, teacher, Scripture scholar, and author, and is also someone I am proud to call a friend and mentor. The article is called “Led by the Spirit into the wilderness…”: Reflections on Lent, Jesus’ Temptations and Indigeneity. This was so valuable for me as I began rethinking my ways of celebrating the Lent/Easter experience, especially from a liberation perspective. I used the ideas in this article (and a few quotations, as you see below) to develop a daily Lenten reflection on the Lord's Prayer and the Temptations in the Desert (I used Luke 4:1-3) that goes something like this:


“Give us this day our daily bread”… the First Temptation
"Satan’s challenge to Jesus to turn stones into bread… invokes the old primal wilderness anxiety about sustenance, and ridicules the divine economy as foolishness. Why not exploit the land for profit? Surplus promises security. …Jesus stands firm against the seduction of idolatrous economics, thereby renewing the Dreaming. Can the Church do likewise today in a world under death sentence by the gulf between rich and poor?"
  • In what ways do we fail to trust in God for the basics of our daily bread?
  • How are we participating in the commodification of the gifts of the Lord's abundance?
  • How are we participating in the exploitation of land (and other gifts) for profit?
  • When do we find ourselves more concerned with our own security than with our calling towards healing, towards justice, towards God’s will?
  • When do we keep from sharing our surplus with those around us?

“Thy kingdom come”… The Second Temptation
"Jesus is offered power in “the kingdoms of the world.” He rejects the powers & principalities and the “state,” turning instead to the Old Testament wisdom that says “you shall not have a king.” God is “the liberator” – the one who frees us from slavery – it is up to us not to return to the place of enslavement by building a new Egypt."
  • Where have we pledged our allegiance?
  • To what sorts of power are we tempted?
  • There is power we are given through our very life circumstances. Do we use this power in the service of the Kingdom of God, or of the Kingdoms of the Earth?
  • In what ways are we working to make “Thy Kingdom Come” a reality?

“Hallowed be thy name”… The Third Temptation
“…it is not God who attends to our demands, but the inverse… The ‘I Am’ is no nation’s patron, but the animator of the only redemptive historical project: human liberation.” We must refuse to “domesticate God’s name” and therefore “resist our pathological imperial tendency to objectify everything else: nature, the works of our hands, and indeed our own humanity.”
  • How have we been guilty of using our own traditions and teachings to “tame God”?
  • Are we more dependent on our own institutions than we are on God?
  • What are we doing to change the model of “managing God”?



I love this reflection because it keeps me centered on what's most important about my own spiritual journey - the fact that it is also a journey towards justice, and a movement for the full thriving of all Earth's children.

post #108 of 194
Thank you for the link and your reflection based on the temptations of Jesus.

I just picked up A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren today at the bookstore. I have only read a bit (busy day), but I'm liking it already (especially since he's already mentioned Marcus Borg as an example of another author striving for this new kind of Christianity).
post #109 of 194
Thread Starter 
so far, i prefer Borg's "style" to Spong's, which is good to know. i just can't get into these books like the Borg books, even though they seem a bit more in-depth than Borg's. i read Borg's "The God We Never Knew" pretty quickly and while it did seem a bit superficial (sort of just like a summary), it was still good.

anyway, i had been planning on going to a disciples of christ church tomorrow, to check it out (i'm visiting my hometown right now), but my mom suggested i come with her to the catholic church she goes to, so i will. neither of us can take communion (she hasn't had communion in the catholic church since her divorce 30+ years ago and i was only baptized), but she would like me to see where she's been going. at 6:30am. yay!
post #110 of 194
I definitely like Marcus Borg more than Bishop Spong's. Spong helped me to see things differently than I ever had, which was a very good thing, but he's also much more radical, maybe not quite the right word, than I am - I am not willing to throw all the babies out with the bath water, if that makes sense. Marcus Borg just speaks to me so fully - he accesses my spirit through my logical brain, which is huge.

So far, Brian McLaren is showing himself to be on par with Marcus Borg. I read a chapter or so out loud to dh today (ds#1 was listening too and seeming to enjoy it). He was explaining how we all see the Biblical narrative through a Greco/Roman lens - but we are so entrenched in seeing all of life through a Greco/Roman lens that it's hard to even realize we see it that way. He talks about reading the Bible backward from theologians to Jesus rather than reading the Bible frontwards from Adam, through a Jewish lens. It's good stuff.

Puffnstuff, though 6:30am sounds extremely early, I'm very interested to hear how your visit to the Catholic mass goes. I am so very interested in attending a Mass. I have always been drawn to Catholicism (the expression of faith rather than the hierarchy of rulers). For us, it seems any church is out for the next few months - apparently my middle son's baseball team is having practice on Sundays at about 11:30. : Though I am not a "traditionalist" in many respects (though I guess in some, I probably appear to be), having Saturdays usurped by baseball games and then Sundays taken over by baseball practice is just a bit much. Even if we didn't go to church (which we don't always do on Sundays), I still feel that one day of the weekend should be left to families to decide how to spend it, not decided by outside commitments. Anyway, my little rant is over. I best come to terms with it, as this will go through mid-June, I think.
post #111 of 194
Hey Ladies,

Guess what we did this morning???? We made it to church! That is right. All three of us. I guess DH was feeling very guilty about not having any Valentine stuff for me because he even sang and said some prayers . It was a nice time. DH was there to take ds out when he got restless so I was able to focus on the spirit of the thing.

I am curious to hear how the Catholic Church was, Puff. I have always been irked by the communion discrimination at Catholic churches. The Episcopal service is almost exactly the same as the Catholic and the few times I have been to a Catholic service it seemed so unchristian for the people I was with to be like sorry you stay here and off we go. One thing I LOVE about the church we go to here is that they put in the bulletin and say before communion "All are welcome at God's table" and they mean it, all Faith traditions, anyone. I take ds up with me and they give him a piece of bread. I like this also. Why shouldn't children join in? It is that departure from all the rules and the embracing of the true meaning of loving eachother...that is what I like.

Thanks for those reflections, Comtessa. I am going to read the article you linked now.

Shalom
post #112 of 194
way way wait......did you say 6:30 A.M.??????
post #113 of 194
Thread Starter 
Hey All,

I ended up not going to the 6:30AM mass. My son (almost a year old now!) had an awful night and I couldn't stand the thought of waking him once he'd finally settled into a deeper sleep that morning. I have been to mass before, though.

Anyone here know about or want to tell me more about emergent Christianity?
post #114 of 194
Thread Starter 
Here is link to some talks by Philip Gulley, co-author of "If Grace is True, Why God Will Save Every Person"

http://www.philipgulley.org/GRACETALK.htm
post #115 of 194
Thread Starter 
bump!

I'm gonna do it...I'm gonna go to church this morning...I think.

Must...have...courage...
post #116 of 194
Okay Puff, we've gotta hear how it went. Did you make it to church???
post #117 of 194
Thread Starter 
I did! It was a nice place. I say that about every service I go to, huh? I was really struck by the diversity, and I liked that. Lots of different ages - babies, kids, young adults, older people. Single people, families, gay couples, multi-generational groups. Even ethnic diversity (which I bring with me wherever I go, personally), including a very friendly little boy from Kenya. I almost cried a couple of times, once during singing (because nothing affects me like music!) and prayer requests (because they were sad). I missed a bit of the message, partly because I was minding the baby and partly because I had a hard time relating to it. It was about Lent and the point was "sometimes, it's hard to be a Christian" and I don't really know what my aversion is to Jesus/Christianity. I have had nothing but positive experiences, personally, when it comes to Christianity, although I can't think of a time when I've ever prayed "to" Jesus. I guess I still wish I could find some "other" religion or group or something, where people who believe in God and want to learn and worship (and sing, please) can get together, and not get bogged down in rules and sin and saviors and so forth. I don't know why I feel like this. Maybe it (Christianity) seems too complicated. I want something simple...or whatever. Like, Judaism without the Hebrew, because I don't know Hebrew (or the rules, not because I am rule-averse, but because I don't know where I stand yet with the Bible, and because there's no possible way I could convert).

Still, I did like singing songs to/about God, especially with others. There was a beautiful pipe organ song, too.

I guess I don't know what I'm looking for.

I did have a realization, though, while reading a book called "If God is Grace: Why God Will Save Every Person." I thought to myself, I dedicate so much time and thought to "making God make sense," even though I have no personal qualms with the "logic of God." I have no problem reconciling God and science or anything else. But I live like the thought police are gonna jump out from around any random corner and force me to "justify" my belief. So, although I see "evidence" of God everywhere, in everything, I have to keep on "logicizing" God...maybe out of habit, maybe in anticipation of a theological showdown, I don't know. Anyway, so as I was reading, I was just struck by God's love and I thought also of Tillich's "Courage to Be" and Spong's "A New Christianity..." and how Tillich talks about the courage to be being predicated on the courage to accept that we are accepted (which made, like, NO sense to me when I first read it) and how the latter says the product of our knowing and loving and serving God should be Living, Loving, and Being (and I think the last term is open to interpretation) and it came together and I knew then that I haven't been accepting my *own* acceptance and that, for me, to Live is to live fully, to Love is to love God in the world and in everyone, and in my life, to Be is to BE, to live honestly and with my soul and my soul says, sings, shouts - "thank you!" all day long, to God, and I have so much love in my life, and although I am far from happy all the time, I *AM* happy to have this life, to live on this earth...at any rate, I get so caught up in this fear that my beliefs are going to be "challenged" that I am engaged in this constant inner dialogue, defending my belief in God, trying to be an existentialist and a believer at once, that I rarely stop and smell the roses that are God's love. And while I'm the first person to say that God loves everyone (else!) and loves the flowers and the hurricanes and the prions and the stones and the ducks and the rivers and anything else, I rarely admit that God also loves me. I don't know what that really means or what I should do about it, but it is something I need to remember. And, of course, share through my actions toward others.

Anyway...yeah. That's all I got.
post #118 of 194
I love Philip Gulley's fiction and non-fiction both!! He's definitely one of my faves! I got The Heart of Christianity at the library today and I'm looking forward to reading it! I have gotten more out of Spong's writings than the one or two books by Marcus Borg that I've read, so far anyway! I'm glad we have smart people writing about this stuff!

Comtessa, thank you for posting that devotion!
post #119 of 194
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I think Spong definitely packs more information and analysis into his work than Borg. I just felt like I was being scolded or something, for the shortcomings of contemporary Christianity and presumptive monotheism, and I'm not even a Christian! But I've always had that problem with reading, really. I get frustrated by it, even though I probably shouldn't. Borg seems "nicer," which I understand isn't always the best, especially when you're dealing with something as huge and pervasive as fundamentalism, but again, I might be the choir and not necessarily need "preaching to." I ended up leaving my two Spong books with my mom. I think I might take a break from my theology studies for a bit. It's been quite illuminating, but now I need to let it marinate.
post #120 of 194
I am loving The Heart of Christianity so far! I started it when my LO was taking a bath with my mom (thanks, Nana!!) and I started to secretly fantasize that someone would watch her until I finished the book! (It's been a rough couple of days!) I like a lot of what he says. Both he and Bishop Spong are wonderfully able to articulate what I've been thinking and wondering and observing. It's awesome!

I like how in the beginning Marcus Borg writes that the old style (does he use the word traditional? I forget already!) of Christianity has worked for some and brought healing and transformation and the Holy Spirit can and does work through that paradigm.

Ah, gotta go!
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