or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Curious - What is Progressive Christianity?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Curious - What is Progressive Christianity? - Page 2

post #21 of 194
I've been reading some of Borg's blog posts on the Washington Post online - good stuff! Well, except for many of the comments which make me sad.
post #22 of 194
loving this! my toddler is a;; over me so can't write now but i wan to quote everybody here. fasdinating stuff exactly what i neeeded
post #23 of 194
okay so he is asleep (on me) now. There is so much I wanted to respond to and to say. I don't know how to do multiple quotes (lame I know) so I will just do my best.

Marcus Borg seems cool. I watched him on You Tube and looked at his books. I will have to get reading.

In regards to the "Jesus dying to save us" idea that Puff brought up, I would like to offer my own interpretation which is this........That he didn't die so much to "save our souls" but to prove a big fat point which would transform the way we viewed ourselves/life/God. His point being basically a version of Teilhard de Challidin's quote "You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience". He was trying to make the point that God lives in us and loves us and that there is so much more to us than the physical reality we find ourselves in. In essence he has saying "I am so certain of this...watch what I'm going to do".

So the way I see it, he didn't die to save us from burning in hell for all eternity. He just tried to liberate our thinking which in a way could "save" somebody. I hope that makes some sense. Just my interpretation. I like this discussion.
post #24 of 194
I don't know if any of you have seen this http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainme...iefOMatic.aspx. It is a quiz you take and they tell you how your beliefs match up to different religions. It sounds silly but I liked having to answer the questions and think about things I haven't thought about it. Makes you clarify a bit. Kinda fun. I've taken it twice. My tops were liberal Quaker, UU, neo pagan, reform Judaism, liberal protestant....kinda in that order.
post #25 of 194
Thread Starter 
Wow, I'd never thought of it like that. I have a lot, lot, lot of reading to do. I'm reading Abraham Heschel's "God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism" and will read his "Man is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion" next. And THEN, I have this Borg book coming and I also picked up "Reading the Bible Again for the first time." Add to this, I'm a grad student and I have a ton to read for class! All the while, I'm urging my husband to get his head OUT of the books he lives in and start living in the world for a bit! HA! But these books are, like, church to me or something. I wonder if I had a community for this, if I'd need to cleave to books and seek answers in them that I'll never find. I mean, I think reading is generally important, but we can't live in or through them - there are babies to tickle and lakes to swim in and stars to admire and so forth.

Anyway, yes...lots of books. And I'm kinda poor! Buying books isn't helping at all with that. But I was feeling quite lost and alone a few months ago and I do feel more connected to, I don't know, a web of belief and understanding or something, now, and some of that is thanks to my reading.
post #26 of 194
Thread Starter 
i got UU, liberal quaker, neo-pagan, baha'i, mahayana buddhism, hinduism, new age, new thought, reform judaism, and jainism as my top ten. i don't think UU is my gig at all, though. i usually get liberal quaker, neo-pagan, reform judaism, and UU right at the top. i wonder what i answered differently this time.
post #27 of 194
You sure are busy! I am a book lover. My spiritual journey in the past few years has led me through Eckhart Tolle, and Thich Nhat Hanh, among other things. I wonder too, of I felt fed by a community if I would need to read so much. I think yes, probably. I just love it too much, can't really explain. Reading is great for the mind and the spirit but you are right, it isn't a substitute for community and relationships etc.

I have been reading through TCFPC some more and thought I would paste some things that spoke to me in here.

"Jesus experienced God in a profoundly intimate way as the “Parent of all of creation.” As a result of this extraordinary relationship it seems that Jesus, like others who have had such experiences, had a clear vision about the interconnectedness of all life. As part of that reality, Jesus recognized every human being as a child of one God. For him, one’s identity began and ended by simply being God’s child. Any other identifying factor was secondary to this truth and likely a distraction (e.g., family, wealth, status, position)"
(This is like what I was trying to say was the point he was trying to prove in dying.)

"When we begin to live our lives as a child of God; when we practice living, breathing, modeling and teaching compassion in a community that does that out of a love for life, God and each other, something changes in us. Sometimes when we begin to live a life of compassion we too may have a profound experience the interconnectedness of life. We may even begin to feel with the compassion of a mother for her child."
(This makes me think of Mother Teresa)

"The disciple of Jesus then would be someone who perceived and identified himself or herself as a child of God and related to others with that perspective."
post #28 of 194
Thread Starter 
i'm also finishing a book by a rabbi titled "the sacred art of loving-kindness" and your "mother teresa" quote really echoes that approach (chesed/agape).
post #29 of 194
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking about going to an Episcopal service this Sunday morning. I'm actually interested in their contemporary choir. As in...joining it. I love and miss spiritual music. There is also an "alternative" evening worship service offered through an off-shoot of another church, and really interested in that, too.

baby needs me - will write more thoughts (on judaism) later.
post #30 of 194
I'm so loving this thread. I've spent the last two years as a full-time grad student in religious studies precisely so that I could have the solid academic grounding to defend both my faith and my radicalism (and my radical faith ).

Marcus Borg is a really excellent, accessible writer and really "gets" the theological reasons for the divisions in contemporary American Christianity. My MIL went to hear him speak recently and brought back a handout for me in which he outlines "an emerging form of Christianity today." I think it really highlights the most important elements of "emerging Christianity". Here's the gist:
  • Contemporary American Christianity is actually "a tale of two Christianities," a theological and political split characterized by desire for change on one side, and resistance to change on the other.
  • A new form of Christianity is emerging in our time - particularly in mainline denominations and in one stream of evangelicalism. (That emergent "stream" of evangelicals includes people like Jim Wallis and Shane Claiborne - some call themselves the Red Letter Christians.)
  • There are five common threads to this 'emerging Christianity':
    • 1) It focuses more on transformation in this life and less on the afterlife. This is not a denial of the afterlife; it is simply a change in focus. (This also embraces the biblical emphasis on this life and this world.)
    • 2) Intentional rather than conventional: people are starting to be part of a Christian community because they wish to be intentional in the way they live the Gospel, rather than because it is simply culturally assumed that most people will be part of a church.
    • 3) Progressive theologically: increasingly historical/metaphorical interpretations of theology and the Bible, rather than the problematic literalism and absolutism that has characterized more recent Christian theology and biblical studies.
    • 4) Socially and politically progressive, especially around issues such as women's leadership and the full participation of gay & lesbian church members. Politically progressive in the spirit of the biblical concern for the poor and oppressed - expressing "God's passion for a different kind of world."
    • 5) Recovering the pre-modern Christian meanings of "faith" and "believing" - emphasis on action and motivation rather than rigid orthodoxy. Prior to the 17th century, "to believe" meant "to belove" and the verb always had a person as its direct object. In a Christian context, the direct object was God and/or Jesus. "To Believe" in God is to "belove" God - and to love what God loves. The post-Enlightenment understanding of "belief," on the other hand, is "believing a set of statements to be true." According to Borg, this "suggests that what God most wants from us is to believe difficult statements to be true." Progressive Christians believe that God asks more of us than this!
post #31 of 194
Thread Starter 
UGGGHHH! I wrote out a whole long reply and then lost it! I'm really upset about that. I'll have to write it out again later, as now the baby is a-fussin'!

Thanks, though, Comtessa - I really enjoyed your post.
post #32 of 194
Thanks Contessa! I loved that. I especially like the last point...

"According to Borg, this "suggests that what God most wants from us is to believe difficult statements to be true." Progressive Christians believe that God asks more of us than this!"
post #33 of 194
Thread Starter 
I feel like a dork, but I'm getting excited. I am going to check out the Episcopal church here on Sunday, because I'm interested in their contemporary worship choir, but a few weeks from now, I'm also going to check out a local church that is self-described as being quite progressive. There is also an evening group that meets for worship and is affiliated with another church and it was actually "founded" by some grads and post-grads here (I'm in a college town) who wanted a worship group and who also wanted a place where it was okay to "wonder" and question and such. They even have a weekly "Beer & Theology" (or something like that) meeting. I won't be attending that, but I like the idea of it! I want very badly to find a community. I feel so isolated in my belief and at the same time, I am extremely thankful for my life, for my son, my husband, my family, for everything. For being able to live where I do, for nature all around us! Anyway, I am tired of "hiding" my love and my thankfulness, and I really, really hope I can find some place where I can grow and love and worship and pray with others.

I do still feel very drawn to Judaism, but I don't know where to go from there. It doesn't really matter what *religion* I get "mixed up" with - I truly believe (in all senses of the word!) in the underlying truth that we seek and that God is in all of us.

I can't even express how good it feels to admit that. Yes...
post #34 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by puffnstuff View Post
I feel like a dork, but I'm getting excited. I am going to check out the Episcopal church here on Sunday, because I'm interested in their contemporary worship choir, but a few weeks from now, I'm also going to check out a local church that is self-described as being quite progressive. There is also an evening group that meets for worship and is affiliated with another church and it was actually "founded" by some grads and post-grads here (I'm in a college town) who wanted a worship group and who also wanted a place where it was okay to "wonder" and question and such. They even have a weekly "Beer & Theology" (or something like that) meeting. I won't be attending that, but I like the idea of it! I want very badly to find a community. I feel so isolated in my belief and at the same time, I am extremely thankful for my life, for my son, my husband, my family, for everything. For being able to live where I do, for nature all around us! Anyway, I am tired of "hiding" my love and my thankfulness, and I really, really hope I can find some place where I can grow and love and worship and pray with others.

I do still feel very drawn to Judaism, but I don't know where to go from there. It doesn't really matter what *religion* I get "mixed up" with - I truly believe (in all senses of the word!) in the underlying truth that we seek and that God is in all of us.

I can't even express how good it feels to admit that. Yes...
yes, Yes, YES!!!!!

me too, Me Too, ME TOO!!!!!
post #35 of 194
Thread Starter 
I wanted to say, I am going to check out the alternative worship group, just not the Beer & Theology aspect of it, since it doesn't fit into my schedule.

Sort of an aside, as grateful as I am for my life and my family, I lately have been finding myself wishing I'd known more about "outside the box" religion before, and I realize I would've likely made some very, very different life choices if I had. My husband is an atheist and while we have quite divergent philosophical/religious standpoints, we have very similar political leanings, the same sort of vision for childrearing, etc. I admit that I didn't know that one could be both "religious" and "liberal" until pretty recently, and if I had, I wouldn't have thought I had to choose one or the other. I find myself sort of "longing" for a religious home and family. Like, I want to be able to share my belief with my son, and I agonize over how I will, when we can't even mention God here. I do think he'll be coming to whichever church/temple/whatnot I end up attending, but I just worry about this daily. I don't like the feeling of such a fragmented life. I know it's mostly me, but it's not that I am ashamed of my belief (I know my husband tends to think people who believe in God are "duped," but he *knows* I am "smart" and I don't think he understands enough about what God means to dismiss believers as he does...it's hard to explain, so I guess I am a *bit* "ashamed" not because I think it's embarrassing to believe in God, but because I know *my husband* has all these notions of what believers believe), but because I don't want to accept the coldness, the "shutting down" that will occur if I bring it up. I really don't like this disconnect. I wish he could "know" this aspect of who I am...love all of me. So I keep thinking of some alternate reality where I'd followed some other path and found my way into a more "faithful" household/relationship and could share all of this unabashedly. I know people who have this and it just seems...nice. But then, I look at my son and I look at my husband and I try to figure out why and how things are this way. I am not one who believes in fate or "meant to be" or so forth, but maybe I will be a light in my husband's life and while I'm giving up any hope that he'll believe in God or even his own soul (and I am *not* going to push either of those at all), I try to see the bright side...even though I don't know what that is.

At any rate, I'm going to stop hiding my explorations. Eventually. I keep all of my books hidden away. I can't bring myself not to quite yet. He knows I've been to the synagogue and to the Quaker meeting, although it's clear that I can't really discuss either experience (but I would love to). I'm not going to keep apprising him of my weekly plans, I'll just get up and go, but I don't need to "warn" him about them, either. We are married, but I also have to live my life. It's tough. But, I mean...religious freedom (and freedom from religion included) are so fundamental, I wouldn't deny them to anyone. Why am I denying them to myself?
post #36 of 194
I get you about Judaism. My own personal religion is such an everchanging, fluid, fruit salad of pieces from Quakerism, Zen, Judaism, Rilke, Jesus, yoga, Anthroposophy etc. I know I will never find a large community that shares all of my beliefs. I want a community and will try them on until one feels right but for me it is kind like that old advice you get about your spouse....you can't expect to get everything you need from one person. You still need your mom and your best girl friends and your sister etc. I will never be happy with just one religion. I need to grow and think and explore and discover all over the place. It feels wierd to say that I belong to one religion when I really feel like everyone belongs to all of them. This is why I thought I might like UU.

Do you want to talk about what moves you about Judaism. pieces of Judaism that I think of almost every day or at least every week are...

-celebration, sanctification, moderation.... just love it, apply it to everything
- the holiest place is not the temple, but the home. the holiest table is not the altar but your kitchen table.
- God made that eclair so if you are feeling guilty about eating it and not enjoying it, you are not pleasing God. CSM!
-Family, family, famiy!
-I heard that some orthdox jews say thank you to God 100 times a day beginning when they open their eyes in the morning.

I think all of these things can be incorporated into a "christian" lifestyle. I mean Jesus was a jew after all
post #37 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by puffnstuff View Post
I wanted to say, I am going to check out the alternative worship group, just not the Beer & Theology aspect of it, since it doesn't fit into my schedule.

Sort of an aside, as grateful as I am for my life and my family, I lately have been finding myself wishing I'd known more about "outside the box" religion before, and I realize I would've likely made some very, very different life choices if I had. My husband is an atheist and while we have quite divergent philosophical/religious standpoints, we have very similar political leanings, the same sort of vision for childrearing, etc. I admit that I didn't know that one could be both "religious" and "liberal" until pretty recently, and if I had, I wouldn't have thought I had to choose one or the other. I find myself sort of "longing" for a religious home and family. Like, I want to be able to share my belief with my son, and I agonize over how I will, when we can't even mention God here. I do think he'll be coming to whichever church/temple/whatnot I end up attending, but I just worry about this daily. I don't like the feeling of such a fragmented life. I know it's mostly me, but it's not that I am ashamed of my belief (I know my husband tends to think people who believe in God are "duped," but he *knows* I am "smart" and I don't think he understands enough about what God means to dismiss believers as he does...it's hard to explain, so I guess I am a *bit* "ashamed" not because I think it's embarrassing to believe in God, but because I know *my husband* has all these notions of what believers believe), but because I don't want to accept the coldness, the "shutting down" that will occur if I bring it up. I really don't like this disconnect. I wish he could "know" this aspect of who I am...love all of me. So I keep thinking of some alternate reality where I'd followed some other path and found my way into a more "faithful" household/relationship and could share all of this unabashedly. I know people who have this and it just seems...nice. But then, I look at my son and I look at my husband and I try to figure out why and how things are this way. I am not one who believes in fate or "meant to be" or so forth, but maybe I will be a light in my husband's life and while I'm giving up any hope that he'll believe in God or even his own soul (and I am *not* going to push either of those at all), I try to see the bright side...even though I don't know what that is.

At any rate, I'm going to stop hiding my explorations. Eventually. I keep all of my books hidden away. I can't bring myself not to quite yet. He knows I've been to the synagogue and to the Quaker meeting, although it's clear that I can't really discuss either experience (but I would love to). I'm not going to keep apprising him of my weekly plans, I'll just get up and go, but I don't need to "warn" him about them, either. We are married, but I also have to live my life. It's tough. But, I mean...religious freedom (and freedom from religion included) are so fundamental, I wouldn't deny them to anyone. Why am I denying them to myself?

Okay so I am not saying the following to brag about how spiritual my husband is, I am just sharing my recent experience and some other thoughts.

I felt very much like this until recently. I thought my husband thought that people who believe in God are "duped" and irrational and just afraid of their own mortality...opiate of the masses and all that. I felt silly for having my prayer book out or for saying "we are thankful for this food and our health and our family" before meals. I like to sing hymns while I do the dishes (When true simplicity is gained...) and I felt sorta silly. The other night when I was all jazzed about your website and the fact that I could open myself back up to the faith of my youth on my own terms, I told him all about it.

I explained how all I know for sure is that there is some force greater than what we know and see and that most people feel better in life when they are connected to that force. people connect all different ways..being christian, doing yoga, painting, working with children, being in love with a spouse, meditating, hiking, music, reiki etc..the point being that even people who say they don't believe in God probably enjoy having this connection to that great something in some way. I told him that for me, probably because of the way I was raised, Episcopal/christian prayer and music and ritual sometimes really connects me to that Creator Truth. He asked what exactly Jesus's teachings are (he didn't even know!!!) so we talked some love and some golden rule, some nonviolence etc. He said it sounded cool but he just wasn't moved by it. I said I totally understand. That was that for that night but it made me happy.

I had been going along on the belief that somewhere in there he believed something....He has called us soulmates...i know he believes in our love...when our son was born we were staring at him and I said that it just didn't make any sense for there not to be a God and he agreed. I believe that he has his own kind of connection to the ultimate. I long to "help" him develop more of a spiritual center. I wish we had a more obviously spiritual bond. I wish I could talk to him about our relationship in spiritual terms. I know I can't push him. It has to be him. Now that said... I do push for uninterrupted family time, meals at the table, a hug at least in the morning and at night...all of these things are spiritual to me. He may not see them directly as such but they connect him to us and "God" whether he defines it like that or not.

Okay so I am long winded...my point just being...God is Love. Where there is Love there is God. He may not believe in "God" but I bet he believes in the Love he has for you and your son. He has a connection to the divine but he may never acknowledge it as such. Maybe he will someday.

I am sorry that you feel like you are hiding it. I think it is great that you are "coming out". Maybe it will spark a shift in the energy in the house.
post #38 of 194
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that! I totally cried while I was reading that. Ha!

It is really hard - I want to be myself. I don't think I've *ever* been myself in a relationship before, and I'm tired of that. I want to be an example of letting my soul live and sing for my son. I want him to live and learn and wonder and love and never hold back.

You are so right about Love. It wasn't until a few months ago that I started thinking about spirituality again (after a looooong period of sort of "existential agnosticism," nevermind that I never stopped praying!), but when I was pregnant (which was a hard, isolating time in itself), I was taking a shower oneday and a PSALTY song came into my head. Do you know who Psalty is? He's this BIG BLUE SINGING BIBLE character. Ha!!! I'm 30 years old and I haven't attended a Christian church with any real "conviction" since I was half my age, but it really just came to me and dawned on me that God as Love is a huge part of my life, of my husband, and definitely of my son's life. I know it's a bible verse, but I always hear it to the tune I learned it with - "...for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God..." and it was like a light turned on and I knew things would be "okay."

I'm in class now and the professor has begun talking so I must go, but I really want to address the first part of your post. I, too, will never find a church or temple or religion that entirely "matches" my beliefs. But I do *need* a community. Badly. I imagine I'll end up meshing a few sources together. Like, a weekly worship music experience on Wednesdays and a Sunday Quaker meeting in silence.

I also need to write more about Judaism. Everything you touched upon is the way I feel as well. And the long tradition (mitzvah, even) of study and inquiry. That there is room for doubt. I am in love with the concept of Shabbat. The service I went to was so thankful and worshipful and I love that sort of prayer (rather than the imploring sort, which has its place, but that I think many "outside" and even "inside" of religions associate with prayer in general). And I've also been drawn to it just as a matter of (distant) heritage - my dad's dad was Jewish. I know I'm not at all Jewish by virtue of him, but I've always felt connected somehow. And yes, yes, yes to everything you said about it.
post #39 of 194
Thread Starter 
Have you been to a UU service? I went and my hopes were much too high. It was a very, very good, nice place, but it just was not for me. I really appreciate them and what they stand for and am so glad they are there, but I felt like we were all pussyfooting around the word "God" and I need something more explicit in my life right now. I feel so overwhelmed by the blessings in my life, and I need to recognize that, big time. I am trying to practice loving-kindness as much as I can, but I must find a place where I can sing songs to and for God. I hope you like it, though! I don't know why music and singing are such a big deal to me, maybe it is sentimental, but I need it like water or something!

I want to PM you the link to the three churches I'm looking into - the Episcopal, the "progressive Christian" (which is technically Presbyterian), and the emergent church (the night-time worship service) - because I am really excited about them and want to talk about them more specifically, but I don't want to tell the whole Internet where I live. =P Is this okay?
post #40 of 194
Thread Starter 
Oh, two more things I love about the Judaism readings I've done - the focus on the here and now, rather than the afterlife; and the belief that the world and people are GOOD.

I also read a book called "God is Everything: the Radial Path of Nondual Judaism," and I really learned a lot reading it, and it put a lot into words that I'd struggled with. I consider myself a panentheist, but I don't think I am fully non-dual at all. But I do believe everything is God. And that God is everything and nothing (because even when you take everything away...well, that's God, too). But I think God is also transcendent and personal as well as immanent. I came up with a really good non-dual analogy last night, but it requires a visual. Ha! Anyway, it was interesting. I've been reading a ton. That book, Paul Tillich (Christian existentialism), Abraham Heschel (Jewish theology), various books on "God without religion" (some good, others blah), the Borg book I just began, a book on Quaker education (really boring, even having had a Quaker education), kabbalah, stuff on consciousness...I'm really neglecting my school work this quarter (as evidenced by the fact that I'm still typing this in class, although, to be fair, the professor is writing on the board and the room is DARK?)!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Spirituality
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Curious - What is Progressive Christianity?