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Curious - What is Progressive Christianity? - Page 9

post #161 of 194
I wish I could spend a lot of time in this thread, but I can't (moving and finding schools in Minneapolis right now.) But, let me suggest you see a video from the Integral Institute called The Future of Christianity. You will love seeing Father Thomas Keating on there, what a really neat guy. He will tell you about Contemplative Christianity. And, the Integral Institute has put out a lot of great stuff and lots of resources are coming. My favorite is Craig Hamilton's free audio files on integralenlightenment.com

A crisis of faith can be a very good thing.
post #162 of 194
Puff- Upward spirals are so much nicer than downward spirals! Yay!!!

Suzukimom- I love the home Sunday schooling idea, too! I was not looking forward to having my dd go through the Sunday school system at my old church for many of the same reasons I will probably home school with her. (Then I figured out I don't have to go to that church anymore! Liberating!)

It's fun being facebook friends with you both, and with Phillip Gulley, too!


ETA- when I do get around to looking for another church, I'll be the one looking for churches who DON'T have a major huge popular super cool youth program!
post #163 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by hrsmom View Post
Puff- Upward spirals are so much nicer than downward spirals! Yay!!!

Suzukimom- I love the home Sunday schooling idea, too! I was not looking forward to having my dd go through the Sunday school system at my old church for many of the same reasons I will probably home school with her. (Then I figured out I don't have to go to that church anymore! Liberating!)

It's fun being facebook friends with you both, and with Phillip Gulley, too!


ETA- when I do get around to looking for another church, I'll be the one looking for churches who DON'T have a major huge popular super cool youth program!
Yes it is fun connecting on facebook!

I know there is not a perfect church but what would you want in your next church? Besides a dworky un-cool maybe even non-existent youth group? I'm trying to figure this out myself so maybe a discussion will help me.

I know I want a open and accepting church. I rather not sit in pews and look at the back of someone's head. Sitting around in someone's living room discussing spiritual things could be church for me but I realize I probably need to find an institutional church in order to find this kind of fellowship.
post #164 of 194
I'd love to be part of some kind of "home church" sort of thing! I usually participated in "home group" at the churches I attended, and I loved it! There were things about it I didn't care for, most likely because as it turns out I had different beliefs from everyone else there! But I did love the fellowship. I'd love to check out a liberal "regular" church. A place where other religions were respected and accepted and a place with liberal theology.

Oh yeah, and I loved the potlucks at church when I was a kid, too. I remember thinking the food was yucky, but what a great time it was.
post #165 of 194
I haven't been able to read this whole thread, but I'll jump in here. I am looking at the Quaker churches--there is some variety in programmed and unprogrammed and very broad (hmmm. theology??). One society of Friends' website that I looked at also rotates once per month at someone's home. I like the focus on direct, personal experience of God and the quiet, meditative approach of meetings. I will be trying some Quaker Meetings out after I move. Many people enjoy some version of a universalist church.
post #166 of 194
I found a box of books in the garage yesterday, and Marcus Borg's The Heart of Christianity was one of the books! I didn't even know I had that book, and I can't remember buying it. I do remember that I read one of his books in the past, but I think it was a different one. I must have gotten that one and gotten side tracked. Or he was too liberal for my taste at the time, perhaps! Who knows! I was quite surprised to see that I owned that book! (But not anymore, I swapped it on paper back swap!) I also had two books by Phillip Gulley in that box!
post #167 of 194
Nice discovery! I just finished reading Good without God which is written by the Humanist chaplain of Harvard University. It was interesting to read what Humanists believe- he's complimentary of progressive Christians such as Spong. It was an interesting read and I understood where he was coming from. Not ready to become a Humanist though.
post #168 of 194
Thread Starter 
hi all! i finished my gulley book (if grace is true) and will probably read another soon (if god is love). i also finished a book by robin myers (i think), called "saving jesus from the church" and i have to say, it's one of the best books i've read in this progressive christianity genre. i highly recommend it, even though it doesn't really get good until chapter 3 or so. right now, i'm reading a book on peace by john dear. it makes me want to practice meditation more seriously, but it's hard with a baby. ha. i have, however, greatly reduced my meat intake, so i feel that's a peaceful step.
post #169 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by puffnstuff View Post
hi all! i finished my gulley book (if grace is true) and will probably read another soon (if god is love). i also finished a book by robin myers (i think), called "saving jesus from the church" and i have to say, it's one of the best books i've read in this progressive christianity genre. i highly recommend it, even though it doesn't really get good until chapter 3 or so. right now, i'm reading a book on peace by john dear. it makes me want to practice meditation more seriously, but it's hard with a baby. ha. i have, however, greatly reduced my meat intake, so i feel that's a peaceful step.
How do you feel with the less meat diet? I'm readingi Gulley's latest book, "If the Church were Christian." It's an easy read and he expresses my feelings about the church very well. Sounds like "Saving Jesus from the Church" is probably similar.
Any plans for Easter Sunday anyone?
post #170 of 194
We're going over to my mom's for Easter. I've always enjoyed Easter! During church times and non-church times, religious times and non-religions times of life! When I was little, we used to go to an awesome Easter Sunrise service where we walked up a little mountain that was behind the house of one of the church members. (They lived on a ranch.) It was beautiful! Then we'd meet (in their barn is how I remember it but I'm not sure) and have Danishes and fresh strawberries dipped in powdered sugar. Then home to search for Easter eggs, then off to church. I've always gotten in to the secular side of the big holidays, too!! Fun!

Puff-I have begun meditating while nursing. It's almost the only time I can find right now!
post #171 of 194
Thread Starter 
Happy Easter to you all! I've also always loved Easter, through all the years.

That's a good idea - meditation nursing. I'm going to read more about contemplative prayer, too.

Hope everyone is having a great day!!!
post #172 of 194
So we went to church yesterday. I saw an ad in our paper which said: Awesome Music, Sacred Beauty, Preaching for the Mind. Visit us - Where Depth, Mystery & Intelligence are Not Mutually Exclusive.

It was an Episcopalian Church which was a bit different for me. I'm not wild about communion with a common cup but fortunatley there was a note in the bulletin saying is the common cup was problematic, to just take the bread. They even offered gluten free bread upon request.

The bulletin was interesting because in the margins were notes about the reading or hymn or sermon and why it was included in the service and some background infomation. I enjoyed seeing children participating in the service - they walked up the aisle waving flags and streamers at the beginning of the service. At the end of the service, a bubble machine blew bubbles from the organ loft out over the congregation.

The sermon was good - not a typical Easter sermon which I appreciated.
I think we might give the church another try. Only thing that may have bothered me was the lack of diversity. Everyone looked pretty white/ upper middle class.
post #173 of 194
Hope you all had a Happy Easter.
post #174 of 194
Suzukimom, I loved reading your description of Easter at the Episcopalian church!!! I laughed out loud, because that's just so exactly what our local Episcopalian communities are like. Bubbles and streamers and all!!! And I think you really put your finger on the biggest problem I experience with the mainline liberal Protestant congregations. It's this tension between accessibility and diversity, on the one hand, and thoughtful, intellectually sound worship on the other. (Kathleen Norris writes about this a bit in her book Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. I may be paraphrasing her ideas here.)

Here's the tension as I see it. Those who plan the worship want to ensure that it is theologically appropriate and intellectually grounded, and they want to ensure that the people in the pews have that grounding as much as possible. So they work very hard to make the readings and sermon and music all fit together, and they include wordy margin notes in the worship guide to explain what they're doing. And, they're always "tweaking" the forms of worship to make all those pieces fit together. In order to make all this happen and still have people participate in worship, the entire worship experience has to be written down on paper and distributed in the form of worship guides or bulletins.

Worship "by the book" (or "by the worship guide" or whatever) is only appealing to a particular small demographic of people. As you mentioned in your post, this demographic tends to be white, middle-class, and educated. This style of worship also effectively excludes people who cannot read well enough to keep up, people who do not speak the dominant language of the church well enough to understand what's happening, people who are blind and cannot read the worship guide. Et cetera. Not to mention all the folks who struggle to stay afloat in the intellectually challenging worship environment. I've been to some services where I start wondering how many people can really be expected to grasp the language and concepts in the service, since I have an MA in religion and I'm struggling to get through it.

Is it any surprise, from this perspective, that people with less education/ability, and those who struggle with language, and others, might seek out a worship that's less wordy and intellectual and more simplified? Not to mention those who simply want more emotion, movement, music, and sensuality in their worship (and less words). But this is also a danger! Because we also know that if you simplify church too much, you simplify yourself right into some serious theological (and political and social) nightmare situations. The dumbing down of Christianity has some seriously dangerous ramifications, we've seen plenty of the results of that in this day and age.

So... how do you get a worship experience that's sensually stimulating, spiritually uplifting, AND has intellectual and theological integrity... while at the same time doesn't exclude people by being too dense, too wordy, or requiring a high level of education and ability just to participate? I don't have an answer to this question... but I think it's important to voice the question so we're aware of what's happening around us.

ETA: Happy Easter! Who's for starting a thread about "what does the Resurrection mean, really?!"
post #175 of 194
Thread Starter 
comtessa! i've missed you here. and yes, please start that thread, i'd love to discuss that.
post #176 of 194
Comtessa, - great post! I guess it's impossible to have it all. Like attracts like although Jesus attracted all kinds of different people - those who weren't at all like him.

I appreciated that the church we visited were serving at a soup kitchen, making sandwiches for the homeless shelter, and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

I read an interesting book called Compassion and Justice in the Christian Life
http://www.amazon.com/Compassion-Jus...0518515&sr=8-1
This book got me thinking about being intentional in serving the poor. Although I don't necessarily agree theologically with the author, he makes some good points.

I think a discussion about the resurrection would be great. We could even have the discussion in this thread instead of starting a new one. It's up to you.
post #177 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzukimom View Post
The sermon was good - not a typical Easter sermon which I appreciated.
I think we might give the church another try. Only thing that may have bothered me was the lack of diversity. Everyone looked pretty white/ upper middle class.
Isn't this pretty typical of the Episcopal church? I went to an Episcopal high school and am making my way back to that church after many years. I visited several churches during the Lenten season, and they were all pretty white, upper/middle class. But only at one of them (and I am Af-American) did I feel as though people were looking at me like "what are you doing here? Are you sure you are in the right place?" Not in a mean way...just...a little weird and uncomfortable. It was a beautiful service, but more conservative, traditional. At the other churches I visited, things were looser, there were female clergy, I noticed a definite gay/lesbian presence, and people were much friendlier and appeared less...monied (is that a word? lol). I've decided that even though most Episcopal churches around here are lacking in certain types of diversity, when a church feels truly welcoming, it makes up for it a bit
post #178 of 194
naismama, It's nice to get your perspective. I did feel the church was friendly and welcoming. We did not go unnoticed but not it a pushy way. I man in a robe, church staff person did greet us warmly. What may be a lack of racial/socioeconomic diversity is probably countered in sexual diversity. I didnt see female clergy but I know there have been in the past at this church.

I felt an energy in the congregation. During the passing of the peace, people were all over the place greeting one another. People were connecting and conversing after the service. I used the term "monied" or is it "moneyed" when analyzing the service afterwards with my husband and daughter. You're right though - a welcoming atmosphere is probably more important.
post #179 of 194
Hello everyone! I haven't been able to log in for awhile but I have figured it out. I am still following the thread. I'm glad Comtessa is back! We had a great Easter. I can't type too much but I just wanted to add to the Episcopalian discussion. The church I attend is in an urban university setting and is REALLY diverse in every way. We also have a gay rector and a strong gay presence. What I love is the large amount of young adults there along with the older people and the families. Now I grew up in suburb and my childhood church had no diversity at all.
post #180 of 194

Praying and talking to God

What do you do???? I am asking because I am noticing that just "talking" to God doesn't come very easily to me. It is much easier for me to lose myself in the poetic language of a known prayer but I'm not so good at making my own. Usually my mind just wanders off. I am trying to be better at that.

Anyone want to discuss?
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