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#61 of 194 Old 02-03-2010, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hi kimberly! thanks for chiming in!

edit: are you in SLO, by chance? i love that area!

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#62 of 194 Old 02-03-2010, 08:27 PM
 
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Hi! I am in SLO county, I live in Paso Robles. (Grew up in SLO, though!!) Where are you?


I was going to say, that as my beliefs shift away from believing in "Jesus as God" I am amazed at what an incredible person Jesus must have been! I want to know more about what his message really was! Even when I believed that he "died for my sins" (I don't believe that any more) I wondered what his actual message was when he was teaching. It couldn't have been "I'm going to die for your sins"- it just couldn't have!!!!

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#63 of 194 Old 02-03-2010, 08:36 PM
 
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Hmm.... not seeing the edit button all of a sudden! So another post:

What do you all think Jesus' message was?

Kimberly, in love with Hannah Rose! (04/08) EC grad!
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#64 of 194 Old 02-03-2010, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm still just coming to the Jesus "stuff," but I associate him strongly with an overarching message of love - love for others and love of God, and God's love of us, too.

I wanted to thank whichever of you all posted the Chabad link. I have been browsing it today, and came across the following. Somebody asked something like, "Okay, I believe in God, now what do I do?" and this was the beginning of the answer given:

"Your next step is to become a better person. Develop greater faith in your soul, in your destiny, and in your Maker. Do more good, reach out to more people. Learn more wisdom, apply whatever you learn, and make life worth living."

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#65 of 194 Old 02-03-2010, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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kimberly - i'm in the sacramento area.

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#66 of 194 Old 02-03-2010, 11:03 PM
 
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I love that quote!!!

(I used to live in Sac- in the early-mid '90s)

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#67 of 194 Old 02-03-2010, 11:12 PM
 
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Hmm.... not seeing the edit button all of a sudden! So another post:

What do you all think Jesus' message was?
I am so glad you are joining us!!!!!

Love. I too think it was about love, being kind to each other, nonviolence. I think that is the main point but that there is a lot more. On another progressive Christianity site they talked about the sermon on the mount being a good sum up of his teachings. I googled and got this site http://www.lifeofchrist.com/teaching...nt/default.asp. It was interesting for me to revisit this with my newly opened eyes. Funny how believing Jesus is not God has brought me so much closer to him. I also loved the site Puff linked to awhile ago http://www.commonsensechristianity.org/. If you haven't checked it out yet definitely do so.

I like that quote too, Puff.

Shalom/Godspeed/Namaste

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#68 of 194 Old 02-04-2010, 04:16 AM
 
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I've been reading this thread tonight, and just have some randomness to throw out here that seems to apply to a few different things that've been discussed:

I attend a United Church of Christ congregation. It is not a be all/end all perfect match for me (I am a little more orthodox in my beliefs), but I'm discovering that there probably is no such perfect church for me. I do enjoy going there, and it is a very welcoming community (with incredible music variety and quality, we have two top-notch colleges in town that draw some very musically talented people). The denomination is very accepting, doubt and questioning is not frowned upon, social justice certainly is a big focus, and its motto is "God is still speaking." It is what we call "in full communion" with the Episcopal Church amongst others.

www.ucc.org

As to your marital issues of a spiritually divided household, the apostle Paul, in his first letter to the early church at Corinth, discusses spiritual/marital discord a bit. It hardly sounds like divorce is on the table for you, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to your lovely son, but I want to give the full verses here:

"To the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean but as it is they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace. Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife? Only, let everyone lead the life which the Lord has assigned to him, and in which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches." -- 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, verses 12-17

Also, a Psalm of King David, dealing somewhat with how a person's new faith in God can affect an otherwise non-believing family:

"Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me! Thou hast said, 'Seek ye my face.' My heart says to thee, 'Thy face, Lord, do I seek.' Hide not thy face from me. Turn not thy servant away in anger, thou who hast been my help. Cast me not off, forsake me not, O God of my salvation! For my mother and father have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up....I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!" --Psalms, chapter 27, verses 7-10;13

Jesus himself also said this to his apostles as he sent them out to preach:

For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - and a man's foes will be the members of his own household. --Matthew 10:35-36

The point is:
a. you have to follow Jesus fully
b. if you do, you may have to fight your own flesh and blood

I wish you the best of luck in finding a church home, a loving relationship with God, and peace in your family.
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#69 of 194 Old 02-04-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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Puff, thanks for the links to the churches. It looks like you've got some good choices in your area.

About Jesus....I can't get my brain around him being God, so I'm just trying to concentrate on what he taught, which is what the PPs have already said. I'm also trying to keep everything he said in the context of what things were like when he was alive and the fact that he was a Jew. I'm still studying Judaism, too, and I'm finding it so interesting to study them both at the same time.

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It was interesting for me to revisit this with my newly opened eyes. Funny how believing Jesus is not God has brought me so much closer to him.
So true!
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#70 of 194 Old 02-04-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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If it helps any, I don't think that the writers of the Synoptic gospels thought Jesus was God either. Nor did Paul. They thought of Jesus as the Messiah, the anointed one from God. He was the one who was sent to bring a particular, decisive revelation from God and to announce the coming of the Kingdom. As far as we can tell, this is the way that Jesus described himself.

The notion of Jesus as one with God came later in Christian tradition, and developed because of the difficulty of translating Jewish theological ideas into the Greek language and culture. See, "anointed one" (in Hebrew, Messiah) has a very specific theological and political significance in Jewish tradition. Any king or priest or prophet, in the Old Testament tradition, could be considered a "messiah." Anyone who is particularly anointed for God's work is described as a messiah, including Saul, David, Solomon, etc. There is even a Persian king in the OT who is described as a messiah! When Jesus was described as a Messiah, the Jewish audience knew what that meant. It was a political and a religious term both. The Messiah was supposed to be a military leader, one who would restore the Jewish nation to its former sovereignty and glory. When Jesus didn't do that - when he spoke of God's Kingdom as being very different than the glory and wealth and power that the people were imagining - he turned the whole idea of Messiah on its head.

However, when Paul and his companions started preaching the Gospel of Jesus as the Unlikely Messiah, it didn't quite translate. Because "anointed one" (in Greek, Christos) doesn't have any theological or political connotations in Greek. It only means you've been smeared with oil - could just be the oil you rub on your skin after taking a bath. No religious meaning at all. However, the Greeks absolutely understood the idea of an important theological/political leader as "son of God" because the emperors were always described that way. Augustus Caesar was traditionally called "son of God." He was also called "Lord of All," "Savior," "Prince of Peace," etc. Paul deliberately drew upon these titles to describe Jesus in order to give it same theological/political weight as the word "Messiah" held for Jews.

And this is why the Christians got in so much trouble! Because when the Christians started describing a Galilean peasant (executed as a traitor, no less) from the backwaters of Nazareth, as the bearer of a decisive revelation of God, using the political language reserved for the emperor himself, you can imagine that some people in power got a little miffed.

It is only later in Christian tradition, as Christianity became a "mainstream" faith (and in so doing, sold out a lot of its most important principles) that the notion of Jesus-as-God was developed in order to make theological sense of Paul's assertion that Jesus was the "Son of God." This was not a central theological point for Paul! It was only used as a way to describe his importance to a Greek audience.

SO... if you have trouble wrapping your head around the idea that Jesus was God, you can join the club. However, Jesus himself never put that on the list of "hard statements you must believe to be true" in order to follow him. His criteria were a bit different: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, do good to those who persecute you and love your enemy. That is what makes a Christian... IMO, you can't be a Christian if you don't do those things, no matter how many improbable statements you claim to agree with.

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#71 of 194 Old 02-04-2010, 07:54 PM
 
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Harmony, thanks for the links! I like the "common sense Christianity"- I'm not a fan of the terms "progressive" or "liberal" but it definitely is a different flavor of Christianity and needs a name of some kind! I guess!!

Comtessa, I love that stuff! You explain things so well! Where did you study? I heard that the use of "there is no other name by which man can be saved" is something that was said of Caesar, and therefore said of Jesus when Paul, etc. were writing.

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#72 of 194 Old 02-05-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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SO... if you have trouble wrapping your head around the idea that Jesus was God, you can join the club. However, Jesus himself never put that on the list of "hard statements you must believe to be true" in order to follow him. His criteria were a bit different: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, do good to those who persecute you and love your enemy. That is what makes a Christian... IMO, you can't be a Christian if you don't do those things, no matter how many improbable statements you claim to agree with.
Great post! Thanks!
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#73 of 194 Old 02-05-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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That is super interesting, Comtessa. Thanks for sharing that.

I have boys! My first baby boy was born 10/08 and my second baby boy was born 7/12

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#74 of 194 Old 02-05-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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Comtessa, I love that stuff! You explain things so well! Where did you study? I heard that the use of "there is no other name by which man can be saved" is something that was said of Caesar, and therefore said of Jesus when Paul, etc. were writing.
I have an MA in religious studies from a Jesuit university. I did the degree just so that I could wrap my head around this stuff myself!

John Dominick Crossan has done some good work about the historical context of Jesus (and to a lesser degree, of Paul). His work is pretty accessible. But, there are more and more scholars out there who are studying the interplay between early Christianity and its inescapable context in the midst of the Roman empire. IMO, you can't really understand the Gospel, or particularly the letters of Paul, until you really understand that they were written by an oppressed, marginalized people living under the rule of the greatest military empire in the world.

I think American Christians really struggle to make sense of the New Testament because we are located in the middle of the world's greatest empire, and many of us benefit from its oppressive behavior. So it's hard for us to read the text and realize that it was never intended to be used to legitimate the ruling empire, but indeed to undermine it. I believe that we are called to do the same - but that goes against the grain of "mainstream" Christian thinking (which is based on many centuries of adjusting the Gospel to accommodate the needs of the ruling class).

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#75 of 194 Old 02-05-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan wrote an amazing book that really helped me see the interplay between the Roman Imperial rule at the time and the writing of the Paul's (legitimate) letters. The book is The First Paul, and in my opinion is much more accessible than John Dominic Crossan's solo projects (I find him more academic and Marcus Borg more conversational yet scholarly if that makes sense ). That book shed so much light for me. I was already progressive/liberal (I read a lot of Spong and Borg before I found that one), but it just made it all make so much sense. I plan on reading it again (and rereading the Borg books I have too) to really cement it.

Comtessa, a MA in religious studies from a Jesuit university so sounds right up my alley! (Oh, and I got your PM and will respond. ) I marvel when people say they don't need to know the context of the Bible to understand it; the context - historical, sociological, economical, etc. - all make what they wrote and believed make so much more sense. Then again, I feel it's important to learn history from the beginning and study period literature at the same time (it is how we homeschool) so that it all falls into place.

And sorry for barging in on the thread. I had been following it, but had not yet responded. I am just now comfortable reclaiming the label Christian, and yet feel I need to asterisk it when I use it. I am not a typical American Evangelical Christian, even though when we do go to church, we attend our former evangelical church. For a while our church was flirting with the Emergent scene, but they seem to have pulled back a bit from that (politics). The music is what keeps me there.

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#76 of 194 Old 02-05-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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Hi MLW! I'm going to check out that book!

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#77 of 194 Old 02-05-2010, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love to study religion formally, too! Maybe someday...

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#78 of 194 Old 02-06-2010, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm almost done with Borg's "Reading the Bible Again for the first time" and I like it, for the most part. I'm warming up to it, I guess. It's really interesting to think about all of this historically, especially the early Jesus movement. I have "The God We Never Knew" (I think that's the title, anyway) on-hand to read next. Heschel is still my favorite theologian. Ha. But it's good.

I have a race tomorrow, so no church, and I'm going out of town the following weekend, but when I get back, I want to check out the progressive church here (the Presbyterian one). I hope I don't chicken out. I was thinking something the other day, with regard to finding a good community for my son to learn about these things. Oh, yes. There is a very fundamentalist church in our town. They have a huge building and a huge youth program and I know my husband is rather opposed to church, but these mega-churches are popping up all over the place, and I think finding a progressive church and learning about what Jesus and the Bible are about in that context before he is inevitably invited to one of those by a friend someday, is something he might eventually get behind for my son, given the growth of fundamentalism these days. In the end, I do want him to find God and make decisions for himself, but I want him also to know that there are options beyond fundamentalism. I wish I had known that myself!

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#79 of 194 Old 02-07-2010, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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here is a link to a sermon i just read. i was a bit resistant to the concept of "Christmas myths," but it actually almost brought me to tears:

http://www.firstchurchlb.org/Sermon/...24_Stinson.pdf

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#80 of 194 Old 02-07-2010, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really can't afford it (well, I can, but I can't) - I ordered three more books:

-"Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus"
Robin R. Meyers

-"Living Peace: A Spirituality of Contemplation and Action"
John Dear

-"What Does a Progressive Christian Believe?: A Guide for the Searching, the Open, and the Curious"
Delwin Brown

and I really don't know when I'll read them, but I know I will. Darn school, keeping me from learning. Ha! I'm probably going to share some of these with my mom after I read them. She has been heard to say "it's like they've kidnapped Jesus" with regard to some of the things people do in Jesus' name.

Okay, fussy baby. Adiós .

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#81 of 194 Old 02-08-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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I just stumbled onto this thread and it's right up my alley. We haven't been attending church regularly for a year and a half now because we just don't know. I've read several Borg and Spong books. Another author,( not that you all need anymore books to read ) is Bart Ehrman. I read Jesus Interuppted this past fall. Ehrman has an interesting journey from Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College and Princeton Seminary. He's now an agnostic but doesn't promote his beliefs in this book.


I'm a bit leary of the institutional church. I know there are some valuable aspects of church - community and sharing. I have a hard time with all the money "raised" by churches which go to support buildings and staff, especially megastar pastors which cater to an audience in order to make them feel good and then give money. Those with the money, get to make the decisions. The book Pagan Christianity describes how our rituals and celebrations came to be. Much was modeled on the Roman culture.

I think Progressive Christianity best describes me. I'm not into "Jesus is my Savior and my best friend" theology. I also think that religions arise from culture - there's much to learn and understand and accept from other religions.

BTW, I'm pretty much a vegetarian - I call myself a flexitarian because occassionally I'll eat meat when I'm a guest at someone's table. I will cook chicken and salmon that have been raised organically or wild to satisgy my teenagers and husband.
Nice to find other like minded moms!
Hi Kimberly, nice to see you again. I bet your baby isn't much of a baby anymore.
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#82 of 194 Old 02-08-2010, 12:56 PM
 
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Hi Carol! I wanted to say hi to "hkowell" too, I think I saw your name in here, too! And no, no babies around here! Just a 22-month old who surprises the heck out of me every day with her vocabulary!

puffnstuff, those books sound fascinating! Have you read Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible through Jewish Eyes? I love that book! And others by him! Not that you need another book to add to your list!

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#83 of 194 Old 02-08-2010, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I really ought to read some Spong!

edit: nak. okay, as you all as my witness, i'm saying it here - no more book-buying until i finish (or at least try) the books i already have!!! i bought two spong books this afternoon. one on saving the bible from fundamentalism, the other on a new christianity.

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#84 of 194 Old 02-09-2010, 10:38 AM
 
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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.
.
Can you expand a little on this, please? Or at least point me in the right direction to learn more about 'radical' and/or 'progressive' Catholicism. The CC is something I know next to nothing about (except for having gone to mass a few times with a friend when I was in middle school). I'm very intrigued!
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#85 of 194 Old 02-09-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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Puffnstuff, too funny!!!! I'd love to hear what you think of the Spong books. I can't remember if I've read the one about a New Christianity. I'm going to, if I haven't!

Are you familiar with Paperback swap? You can list books you don't want anymore, and order books that you are interested in. All you pay is the postage to send your books to other people. I posted a ton of books from what seems like a previous lifetime. I swap them for different books, and also for DVD's for my dd at their sister site. Just thought I'd mention it, in case you have books you don't want anymore!

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#86 of 194 Old 02-09-2010, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Guys, I am reading Borg's "The God We Never Knew," and loving it! I only started it last night, but I wish I could finish it today. I have class, though. Boo! Anyway, it seems to be all about panentheism, which I love. It really captures my feelings, and brings new stuff into it. I actually see it complementing a lot of the Jewish theology I've read and he even draws from Heschel often. I wish my husband would read this book, and understand that when I think about, talk about (yeah, right), feel, apprehend God, it is not as "the man in the sky," but as Everything and More. God is here, we are God, trees are God, love is God, sadness is God, it's all God. And God has no limit, physically or otherwise. God has no time, no place...Nothing. From Paul Tillich to the Kabbalah - God does NOT exist, God is NOT a being...God IS BEING, BEYOND BEING. The ground, the essence, the substance, the becoming. Everything and No-thing.

God. That's the best sentence I can come up with to even try to describe God. There is no verb, no adjective, no metaphor that can approach God. But I'll read anyway.

Okay, baby's up. Have a great day!

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and his rainbow1284.gif baby brother (7/2011)
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#87 of 194 Old 02-09-2010, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nak

because i am a dork, i'm going to share with you my current facebook quotes.

"We have fallen into the place
where everything is music."

"Behind every atom of this world
hides an infinite universe."
-Rumi

*****

"Confined in our own study rooms, we may entertain any idea that comes to our minds. Under such circumstances it is even plausible to say that the world is worthless and all meaning a dream or fiction. And yet, no one can sneer at the stars, mock the dawn, ridicule the outburst of the spring, or scoff at the totality of being. Away from the immense, cloistered in our own concepts, we may scorn and revile everything. But standing between heaven and earth, we are silenced."

"To find an approximate cause of a phenomenon is no answer to his ultimate wonder. He knows that there are laws that regulate the course of natural processes; he is aware of the regularity and pattern of things. However, such knowledge fails to mitigate his sense of perpetual surprise at the fact that there are facts at all."
-A.J. Heschel

SAH dissertating mama femalesling.GIF to my sweet little boy (2/2009)
and his rainbow1284.gif baby brother (7/2011)
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#88 of 194 Old 02-09-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by puffnstuff View Post
Guys, I am reading Borg's "The God We Never Knew," and loving it! I only started it last night, but I wish I could finish it today. I have class, though. Boo! Anyway, it seems to be all about panentheism, which I love. It really captures my feelings, and brings new stuff into it. I actually see it complementing a lot of the Jewish theology I've read and he even draws from Heschel often. I wish my husband would read this book, and understand that when I think about, talk about (yeah, right), feel, apprehend God, it is not as "the man in the sky," but as Everything and More. God is here, we are God, trees are God, love is God, sadness is God, it's all God. And God has no limit, physically or otherwise. God has no time, no place...Nothing. From Paul Tillich to the Kabbalah - God does NOT exist, God is NOT a being...God IS BEING, BEYOND BEING. The ground, the essence, the substance, the becoming. Everything and No-thing.

God. That's the best sentence I can come up with to even try to describe God. There is no verb, no adjective, no metaphor that can approach God. But I'll read anyway.

Okay, baby's up. Have a great day!
That book was an eye opener for me too. Marcus Borg really resonates with me. I see God a bit differently, but panentheism is probably the best way for me to describe it. It's interesting because that view of God is totally consistent with the Scriptures. To me, the way that speaks closest to me is breath/air. God is the air around us, God is the breath within us. God is within everything and without everything. God is not only above all (the air in the upper atmosphere, for instance), but intimately connected to us (the air in our lungs).

 Me + dh = heartbeat.gif ds (7/01), ds (11/03), ds (6/06)
and dd born 11/21/10 - our T21 SuperBaby ribbluyel.gif heartbeat.gif
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#89 of 194 Old 02-09-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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Well hello Hrsmom! Its been awhile
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#90 of 194 Old 02-09-2010, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mylittlewonders - That's a great way of putting it, and I think it echoes descriptions of the soul as Qi or [insert Hindu term here] that align our being and the force that gives us life as "breath." I am, I think, trying to reconcile a non-dual perspective with all of this, hence my exclamations above, but yes...I agree with you.

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and his rainbow1284.gif baby brother (7/2011)
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