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Curious - What is Progressive Christianity? - Page 3

post #41 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by puffnstuff View Post
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.


Quote:
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!
Would you mind sharing your analogy? I agree with everything you just said.

I've found a progressive Christian church near me (Presbyterian) and have been reading the sermons they put online, ALL of which have resonated with me. I'd consider going to this church, but my DH is very anti-church and would not want me to take the kids, and I'd have to take them because he works on Sunday mornings and I don't have a babysitter. So going to church is out of the question for me (right now, anyway, since I do think that DH will soften his stance over time if this is something that I ultimately decide to pursue). For now I'm okay with studying on my own, but I would love to worship with other people someday.

Speaking of study, I get some daily emails from http://www.chabad.org/ that I love, and I've been using this site as a Bible study guide (it's put out by a Presbyterian minister).

Quote:
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 think I've reached the point where I believe the bolded part, too. The "emerging Christianity" that Comtessa described sounds wonderful to me, and I'm finding myself drawn to it because it's a way for me to reclaim my roots in a way that makes sense to me. Having grown up Christian and having almost all of my extended family as Christians, I would love to have this connection with my past and my family again.

Sorry for rambling on like that. Great thread!
post #42 of 194
puffnstuff, Harmony, Purple Sage, I can't tell you how delighted I am to read your posts. I actually pulled them up this morning and then put them on the "naptime to-do list" so that I could really concentrate and read them all through. (Only the really important stuff goes on the naptime list!!)

I grew up in a very progressive-minded, deeply Catholic household. Very few people put "progressive" and "Catholic" together (especially in the US), but for me, that connection has always made a lot of sense. Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin and Mother Teresa and Clare and Francis of Assisi saw something radical in this faith tradition, something with deep and lasting value - and I try to see the Church in the way that they did.

Though this perspective makes a lot of Catholics crazy (especially the neoconservative you're-not-Catholic-unless-you-toe-party-line members of the church), I consider myself a radical, not in spite of my church, but because of it.

There's a lot more to say about that, but it's too long for a forum post. The short version is, I found a Catholic Worker community as a young adult which has nurtured my faith and my radicalism and given me a context and a wholeness for both.

I read a book several years ago by Kathleen Norris, called Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's an easy read, it's just a series of essays so they're great for bedtime reading and reflection. Norris grew up Christian (Methodist maybe?) but left the church as a young adult and came back to her faith many years later because of a series of interactions she had with a Benedictine community at a local monastery. The book is a wonderful reflection about the experience of "coming home" to one's faith -- she points out (paraphrasing now) that most people in a faith community aren't there because the faith represents every one of their beliefs; they're there because it is their home and their family, and they're experiencing their spiritual journey in that context. I like this because it takes some of the pressure off finding the "right" church - it's not about the creeds (think about it as a statement of what "we" believe, not necessarily what "I" believe), it's about the community.

Ugh, naptime's over. I'll write more later...
post #43 of 194
Thread Starter 
My baby dude is Mr. Fuss this morning, so I don't know how much I can reply, but my quick description of my non-dual explanation was imagining a sheet or piece of fabric. In my head, it was yellow, but it doesn't need to be at all, of course. And it was the sort of material running shirts are made from, because that's nice and flexible. Anyway, I imagine the whole of creation as being that sheet, and that sheet is God. And things appear to have forms, like if you held up a doll or rock or balloon or something else against the fabric and it took that shape, but was still *entirely* just fabric/God. So you'd have all these shapes and outlines and imprints making the sheet appear to be comprised of objects and such, but it's always just sheet. Now, see the sheet with those forms, minus the objects, since I don't have the ability to make fabric hold it's shape in mid-air. And that's the universe. I usually think of refracted light or of masks when I try to grasp non-duality, but this way helps me understand the way it works when things end or die or whatnot. The fabric goes back to being unformed sheet, but it's still SHEET. We are all sheet, and there is no end to that!

The progressive church h2qqqq\

okay, baby taking over gotta go....
post #44 of 194
Thread Starter 
I wrote a second reply, but the Internet ate it.

Basically, I said that my husband is also quite anti-religion, anti-belief-in-silly-things, etc., despite loving fantasy movies and so forth. Anyway, he's so anti-, we can't even discuss these things, and he doesn't seem to want to *know* where I'm going. So, I'm just gonna go. And my son is still just a baby, so he goes where I go. I imagine, if I do find a religious community and my son and I attend for a while, my husband won't make my son *stop* going at some arbitrary age. So, I guess this communication barrier is good for something?

My son has found a roll of wrapping paper, so he might let me write a bit more.

The progressive church I'm interested in attending here is also Presbyterian. I am listening to an online sermon and it's good - about Little Miss Sunshine. I love that movie.

I still feel a bit afraid to get involved with Christianity. There are so many negative associations with Christianity and fundamentalism. But I can't let those people, who would assume that just because I go to a Christian church (which has yet to even be determined), I am close-minded or judgmental, dictate my actions and experiences.

Random question - are any of you vegetarians?

Also, less random - PurpleSage, I sent Comtessa and Harmony08 the links to the churches I'm going to be visiting. Do you want me to send them to you, too? The Presbyterian one has sermons online you might like.
post #45 of 194
Thread Starter 
Comtessa,

You know, that's really interesting. My mom's family is mostly Catholic, and many of them are pretty liberal. And I've noticed a huge trend among my Facebook friends - a high correlation between Catholicism and being politically liberal (and not afraid to say it, either). I was baptized Catholic as a baby, but never did much more. I actually did attend those adult confirmation classes for a while in college, but didn't go through with the Easter ceremony that would have concluded it because my ex-boyfriend didn't want me to! Ay! Yes, I am...was that much of a pushover.

Edit: Of course, if I was that easily dissuaded, maybe it wasn't the right time for me, anyway. And if I had "become" Catholic at that point, I wouldn't be where I am today, so I suppose it worked out. But, yes...looking back, I did have good examples of religion meshing well with progressivism, I just didn't make the connection until I had already "tossed" religion aside. I know for a fact I am still "growing" and learning and maturing...see?
post #46 of 194
Thread Starter 
post #47 of 194
My little one's chewing on a power cord (don't worry, I unplugged it) so that's bought me a bit of time to respond this evening (mother of the year award, right this way).

It sounds to me, puffnstuff, like you definitely weren't at a place where you were ready to make that kind of faith commitment while in college. But if you're lucky enough to have a progressive Catholic community in your area, you might want to return to that and see if it feels like a good fit now. If you don't, though, I personally would recommend that you run screaming in the opposite direction before going to a conservative Catholic parish. But, that's just me.

If I get a chance to look at the links you sent earlier, I'll send a shout out to a network of progressive Catholic young people I'm in, to see if they know of anything in your area that might be a good fit for you (Catholic or not). They might have some suggestions.

I wouldn't worry too much about your husband at the moment. If you are genuinely feeling called to explore this part of your spirituality, you simply must do it. Not in a confrontational way, certainly, but with gentleness for his perspective and for your own. And if it is really a call from God, and you are really following it with full openness of spirit to both God and to your love for your spouse, then I would suspect you will find that the road ahead is smoothed for you, somehow. This is how it seems to work, IME, when people listen to God's unlikely suggestions and try to follow them with open hearts. I don't know how that might work out, of course, but experience has shown me that it does work out.

As far as Christianity and vegetarianism goes, I am a vegetarian because I choose to live out Jesus' nonviolence in everything that I do. (And DH is moving in the vegetarian direction, too, for the same reasons!! ) Lots of folks in our community have the same perspective. Fr. John Dear (a pretty radical Jesuit priest) has an interesting essay on that topic here, if you're interested.

Ok, the power cord isn't interesting anymore, so I'd better go nurse this poor baby.
post #48 of 194
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, Comtessa!

And as for the vegetarianism, I have felt increasingly drawn to stop eating meat, and all of this realizing that God is in everything and that God has created every living thing, and then thinking about the environment and so on and so forth...has just led me to think it is something I must eventually do. Also, it's a way of translating what I know and believe into *action*, you know? I only skimmed that site (it's long!), but will read it more closely when I have a chance.

This thread is opening up so much to me!
post #49 of 194
Oh my. This thread is awesome! There is way too much to say and not enough time to say it. Two things...

Okay so I was reading your sheet analogy, Puff, and realized i must stop everything and share this quote. Unfortunately I can't remember where I got it but i love it....

"God isn't in everything. Everything is in God."

I have to run but I thought I would leave you all with my favorite prayer from the Episcopalian prayer book. It is called the prayer for quiet confidence....

~O God of peace who has shown us that in rest and returning we shall be saved, in quiet and confidence shall be our strength, lift us by the might of thy spirit to thy presence where we may be still and know that thou are God
post #50 of 194
awesome thread! I have been looking for a spiritual home as well, all I have around me is Southern Baptist. I live my life based on the teachings of Jesus. I belonged to a UU congregation before and feel I need more a more focused community-I checked the website-this is the path I am on as well-thanks
post #51 of 194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comtessa View Post
I wouldn't worry too much about your husband at the moment. If you are genuinely feeling called to explore this part of your spirituality, you simply must do it. Not in a confrontational way, certainly, but with gentleness for his perspective and for your own. And if it is really a call from God, and you are really following it with full openness of spirit to both God and to your love for your spouse, then I would suspect you will find that the road ahead is smoothed for you, somehow. This is how it seems to work, IME, when people listen to God's unlikely suggestions and try to follow them with open hearts. I don't know how that might work out, of course, but experience has shown me that it does work out.
Thank you for this!

As I've said before, I spent the past several years sort of denying my soul, denying God (and yet not). I told myself, "okay, so what if there is a God?" and thought it didn't matter. And one night, I was holding my son, looking into his eyes and realized how little I had to do with that. I was literally looking at his eyeball, how amazing it is that he has grown and developed and that we as a species have these incredibly intricate parts and senses and it just hit me - bam! - God made this. And at the same time, I was teaching a class on plants and I became really fascinated by plants, how incredible they are, and how they have evolved in so many ways and the role of things like bees in pollination and I just got blown away again, with the co-evolution of so many species and how wonderful and awesome life is, the Earth, the universe...everything. And I remembered that I had a way to connect to all of this, and to God, and that my soul had been there all along, and that it is good. But I was worried and sort of sad, because it was also at that point that I realized that my husband doesn't believe in the soul, and I worried so much about how I would "teach" my son about God and all of the above and I felt so torn up about it. And I prayed and asked for peace or *something*...and it came. I realized one night, as I was trying to "center down" (to quote the Quakers), that I had learned about God and life and love and goodness and wonder from my mom, but she never sat me down and said "this is what God is," or "this is what goodness means." You just cannot define those things for others. But instead, my mom truly lives her beliefs, even without discussing them often (but she will, when necessary), and the most important thing she "taught" me was to be open to love and to wonder, and to let my soul sing. I haven't always followed that, but it is the best way I can think of to share God with my son. So that's what guides me now - I'm trying to let my soul breathe and I'm seeing God everywhere and trying to honor that through love and loving actions. So, somehow, I think that parallels what you said about my husband. All I can do is live my own life. And I don't mean that in a "resigned" sense, at all. It's good to live.
post #52 of 194
The sheet analogy is good! There was something I read on a website (of course I can't find it now) that really helped me get a grasp on the concept of God, and your sheet analogy is very close to what I read. What I had learned about God when I was a kid was that God created (past tense) everything and is now just basically watching what's going on, intervening on occasion. What I've learned recently is that God not only created everything but is constantly creating everything each and every second. That small(?) distinction has made a world of difference for me.
ETA: Found it. God in a Nutshell

Quote:
~O God of peace who has shown us that in rest and returning we shall be saved, in quiet and confidence shall be our strength, lift us by the might of thy spirit to thy presence where we may be still and know that thou are God
I love this.
post #53 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by puffnstuff View Post
Thank you for this!

As I've said before, I spent the past several years sort of denying my soul, denying God (and yet not). I told myself, "okay, so what if there is a God?" and thought it didn't matter. And one night, I was holding my son, looking into his eyes and realized how little I had to do with that. I was literally looking at his eyeball, how amazing it is that he has grown and developed and that we as a species have these incredibly intricate parts and senses and it just hit me - bam! - God made this. And at the same time, I was teaching a class on plants and I became really fascinated by plants, how incredible they are, and how they have evolved in so many ways and the role of things like bees in pollination and I just got blown away again, with the co-evolution of so many species and how wonderful and awesome life is, the Earth, the universe...everything. And I remembered that I had a way to connect to all of this, and to God, and that my soul had been there all along, and that it is good. But I was worried and sort of sad, because it was also at that point that I realized that my husband doesn't believe in the soul, and I worried so much about how I would "teach" my son about God and all of the above and I felt so torn up about it. And I prayed and asked for peace or *something*...and it came. I realized one night, as I was trying to "center down" (to quote the Quakers), that I had learned about God and life and love and goodness and wonder from my mom, but she never sat me down and said "this is what God is," or "this is what goodness means." You just cannot define those things for others. But instead, my mom truly lives her beliefs, even without discussing them often (but she will, when necessary), and the most important thing she "taught" me was to be open to love and to wonder, and to let my soul sing. I haven't always followed that, but it is the best way I can think of to share God with my son. So that's what guides me now - I'm trying to let my soul breathe and I'm seeing God everywhere and trying to honor that through love and loving actions. So, somehow, I think that parallels what you said about my husband. All I can do is live my own life. And I don't mean that in a "resigned" sense, at all. It's good to live.
this is beautiful! this is what i always remind myself when i stress about how to raise my son the spiritual way i hope to. it is really all about me and what i do and who i am. okay so I know I am like quote girl here but another great one by Thomas Armstrong is "What you do is more important than what you say, who you are is more important than what you do" he was saying this in regards to working with young children. I have had a long standing love fest with his work. I saw him speak in person at the impressionable age of 18. For the purposes of this discussion I highly recommend one of his early books The Radiant Child This is the quick description on his website "A guide to the "higher realms of human nature" in childhood. Includes descriptions of peak experiences, archetypal dreams, and other transpersonal experiences of children and a look at the implications for educators, parents, and mental health practitioners". I haven't read it for a long time but it was astounding to me.

Okay so I also wanted to direct you to the Virtue Parenting thread from the GD forum http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=931824

There is a book called the Family Virtues Guide but I don't have it. Anyway, I just thought it was an interesting way to work in a moral and spiritual education without actually saying "God".

Oh and no I haven't been to a UU service. Like I said, we never really get to any service because my son sleeps until 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. What can I say? It is his schedule.

I wish you all a weekend full of family, love, and joy!
post #54 of 194
Thread Starter 
that torah.org page is great! reading...
post #55 of 194
Good stuff!

Quote:
Also, less random - PurpleSage, I sent Comtessa and Harmony08 the links to the churches I'm going to be visiting. Do you want me to send them to you, too? The Presbyterian one has sermons online you might like.
I must have missed this before...Yes, I'd love these links. Thanks!
post #56 of 194
Thread Starter 
Well, I missed the Episcopal service! Baby boy had an awful night, squirming and whimpering pretty much the whole time. Poor baby, I don't know what's wrong. He's sleeping well now, though. Figures, huh?

PurpleSage, I'll send you the links. I'm going to read a bit more of that torah.org page (it's really good!) and then study for a midterm I have coming up this week. Hope everyone is having a great day!
post #57 of 194
I wish I had gotten to this thread earlier. You might like to look at the work of Joel S. Goldsmith. Practicing the Presence is an awesome book!
post #58 of 194
Thread Starter 
hi eastkygal! hopefully, this thread will keep on going, so welcome and feel free to join in!
post #59 of 194
Puffnstuff, the awesome folks in my young adults' network totally came through with some suggestions for some church communities/events/prayer groups for you to check out, if you're interested.

Maybe the best way to start getting involved in a community, rather than fighting your LO's sleep schedule to get out the door on Sunday morning, is to go to an evening event or meeting during the week. Less pressure, you know?

Anyway, I'm going to PM you with a few links - hope they're helpful!
post #60 of 194
Hi Everyone! I saw this thread when it first went up, and have been reading, and finally have a minute to post! (Maybe a whole minute, not sure!!) I would fit into a "progressive Christian" church if there were such a one in my community. I wish there were! I was attending a theologically conservative but otherwise somewhat liberal church before my baby was born. Once she was born, I knew that wasn't the place for us. I was OK not agreeing with everything (even sitting through sermons on the exclusivity of Christianity!) but I don't want to bring up my daughter around those beliefs.

I lean towards being a vegetarian, and healthy eating in general, as a result of my beliefs.

OK, gotta go! I'm going to check out those links! I hope!

I also highly recommend the writings of Bishop John Shelby Spong. Great insight into how the Bible came into being.
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