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#181 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 07:27 AM
 
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BTW, PurpleSage, I keep meaning to tell you that the Orthodox church has intrigued me for some time. Thanks for sharing so much of your experience with it. My husband and I looked into it a bit and thought about attending the church in Palm Springs (I believe it is...) but we're just so Mormon in our belief about the nature of God and His children. If only we could push that aside. Honestly, we've expressed that to each other time and time again! If only we didn't believe life would be so much flipping easier! lol.gif


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#182 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I guess to me your definition of heretic sounds like apostate. Both conjure up images of someone being burned at stake. Both I just can no longer imagine any human or institution having the right to call someone else. Most people don't wake up and decide to be an apostate out of sheer rebellion. It is out of my love for God, my growing experiences with the Holy Spirit, my seeking the Kingdom of God...that my ideas of what those things are have expanded.

 

Historically it seems like heretic has been applied to anyone who didn't agree with the established doctrine, not just apostates. Quakers were persecuted and killed right here in the USofA by other Christians. Of course, they again were the mystics that had the audacity to believe that Christ the Inner Light indwells everyone so there is no need for an intermediary (clergy).

 

Also the organized church (here I lump together Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) makes it seem like our doctrines and scriptures have always been. Since studying gnosticism I have recently learned that it is estimated that 85% of early Christian writings are lost, and these are the ones we know about. The Gospel of Mary was an utter surprise. Add to that that most Christian tradition was passed around orally, so there is no record whatsoever of those interactions. It gives us a vivid view into the fact that early Christians were not united by doctrine, creed, scripture or even a unanimous view as to who Christ was. Christianity existed before "the essentials" the Nicene Creed, the New Testament and the apostle Paul. The sects duked it out until history was written by the winners. So what we now know as gnosticism and heresy was simply the many early Christians interpreted Christ.

 

And again, it is man and the church who adopted those terms and draw lines in the sand to exclude or excommunicate others. The only litmus test Jesus gave was "love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself" and "they will know you are My disciples by your love for one another" not "by your diligence in protecting the faith from heresies".

 

So again, I don't mean to debate and I knew you didn't either, you were just sharing your understanding of the definition since I asked the question =). For me, 3 months ago I would have agreed. But as I study history now and the actual gnostic ideas I am in utter shock. I am not throwing out the canon, the creeds or the church....I just hope they don't one day throw me out. As you put it Maggie, I am a bit anxious that some day I will hit that glass ceiling, or rather that others will throw or push me up against it hehe. Speaking of Maggie, I just looked up the UU church in Rancho Mirage and it looks pretty interesting, they are very involved in social justice. I was thrilled that they have CASA come speak on a regular basis while most churches here are oblivious to the foster system (personal rant). While they may not delve into the depths of Mormonism for you, they'd be open to it and you may find former LDS there. Just saying =).

 

Bluebirdmama, for me since I do still attend an evangelical fellowship as you know I have kept most of my mystic and Universalist ideas to myself, except to share 100% with 1 girl and about 70% with another hehe. I have been posting all my ideas now on facebook, so some of them may be reading some of it, but most of them spent very little time on facebook, haven't studied theology so may not know what I am talking about at all, and also I know the girl that kind of leads our group is not on facebook. So I'm like halfways out. So far I don't really use any mystic tools personally (cards, etc) and am not sure if that will ever be part of my path, my mysticism just involved questioning everything now and reading all sacred texts of all faiths.

 

It does seem if you want to be part of a more mainstream church you'd have to simply not share everything with everyone. Even Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-6 after He said to not judge others, He warned to not throw your pearls before swine. Not calling other people swine, but in context His point was the pearls you have be careful not to just throw them out there lest they be trampled. Some things are to be shared, some things are part of your personal relationship with God. Which is how I function, a nice evangelical girl on the surface but there are deep mysteries in there. Hope that helps, I could only imagine the longing for community so I pray something works out soon for you sister!


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#183 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 09:04 AM
 
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Very generally speaking a lot of official teachings are limited. Or at least I am guessing a lot of us here feel they are limited. So where is it heresy and where is it searching? Where is it heresy and where is it a deeper spiritual realization? A religious organization can say it believes in God but God is greater than a simple profession of faith. If someone chooses to seek this God out in whatever way is that truly heresy? Or does heresy extend to not following the religion's own tools along the path? Of course, as I said above, this is going to depend on the religion.
 

Yes, of course the teachings are limited.  The truth has limits, so any religion which makes any claims at all about what is true has to have limits to distinguish what is true (according to them) and what is false.  You can also make limits by saying that no religion can hold the fullness of truth available to us, or that there are no limits on God at all and there is no inherently true or false beliefs - that is also a limit.  It seems to be more open and accepting to say that, but in reality it is just saying that people who believe in the limits of a certain religion are wrong, just as the people within that religion believe that others who hold contradictory beliefs are wrong.  You can't escape limits - they are everywhere. 

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#184 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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I guess to me your definition of heretic sounds like apostate. Both conjure up images of someone being burned at stake. Both I just can no longer imagine any human or institution having the right to call someone else. Most people don't wake up and decide to be an apostate out of sheer rebellion. It is out of my love for God, my growing experiences with the Holy Spirit, my seeking the Kingdom of God...that my ideas of what those things are have expanded.

 

Historically it seems like heretic has been applied to anyone who didn't agree with the established doctrine, not just apostates. Quakers were persecuted and killed right here in the USofA by other Christians. Of course, they again were the mystics that had the audacity to believe that Christ the Inner Light indwells everyone so there is no need for an intermediary (clergy).

 

Also the organized church (here I lump together Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) makes it seem like our doctrines and scriptures have always been. Since studying gnosticism I have recently learned that it is estimated that 85% of early Christian writings are lost, and these are the ones we know about. The Gospel of Mary was an utter surprise. Add to that that most Christian tradition was passed around orally, so there is no record whatsoever of those interactions. It gives us a vivid view into the fact that early Christians were not united by doctrine, creed, scripture or even a unanimous view as to who Christ was. Christianity existed before "the essentials" the Nicene Creed, the New Testament and the apostle Paul. The sects duked it out until history was written by the winners. So what we now know as gnosticism and heresy was simply the many early Christians interpreted Christ.

 

And again, it is man and the church who adopted those terms and draw lines in the sand to exclude or excommunicate others. The only litmus test Jesus gave was "love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself" and "they will know you are My disciples by your love for one another" not "by your diligence in protecting the faith from heresies".

 


Apostates are people in the religion who then reject it and leave it.  I know all these terms are related - heretics, apostates, schismatics, heterodox - but they all have specific definitions, at least within the OC.  And yes, the Gnostics were definitely heretics according to Orthodoxy.  Of course, Orthodoxy believes that the Truth prevails and is Divinely preserved by the Church.  That's not a bad thing.  That doesn't make it less mystical, but more so IMO. 

 

Again, I can't really comment on what the Catholic church or Protestants have done (or are blamed for having done) to heretics, but burning people at the stake and simply labeling someone a heretic are two totally different things.  Orthodoxy firmly believes that all people are created good and in the image of God, and therefore you don't kill people who disagree with you.

 

I'm not debating you, and I hope you don't take it that way.  I'm perfectly okay with anyone thinking what I believe is wrong.  smile.gif

 

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#185 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 10:08 AM
 
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BTW, PurpleSage, I keep meaning to tell you that the Orthodox church has intrigued me for some time. Thanks for sharing so much of your experience with it. My husband and I looked into it a bit and thought about attending the church in Palm Springs (I believe it is...) but we're just so Mormon in our belief about the nature of God and His children. If only we could push that aside. Honestly, we've expressed that to each other time and time again! If only we didn't believe life would be so much flipping easier! lol.gif


Thanks, I appreciate that.  You know, one of the thoughts I had when I was decidedly not a Christian was that it would be so much easier if I was one, and that's one of the main reasons why I even considered looking into it to try to see what so many other people saw in Christianity.  Careful, it's a slippery slope.  winky.gif  lol.gif  (Not that it turned out to be easier, but it's definitely better than I could have ever imagined.)

 

ETA: Sorry for serial posting!

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#186 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 10:13 AM
 
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Yes, of course the teachings are limited.  The truth has limits, so any religion which makes any claims at all about what is true has to have limits to distinguish what is true (according to them) and what is false.  You can also make limits by saying that no religion can hold the fullness of truth available to us, or that there are no limits on God at all and there is no inherently true or false beliefs - that is also a limit.  It seems to be more open and accepting to say that, but in reality it is just saying that people who believe in the limits of a certain religion are wrong, just as the people within that religion believe that others who hold contradictory beliefs are wrong.  You can't escape limits - they are everywhere. 


Of course there are limits, especially to human understanding, but there is a big difference between one's own spiritual limits and the limits set on someone by another person or institution. 

 

As for judgment of those who choose not to push further, I'm not judging them. As I said up there somewhere in my previous post(s) everyone is on a different path going at a different pace. I do not expect anyone to believe what I do or go about it in the same way. That is where I and most (all?) here differ from the religious people and organizations that say it's their way and no other. This is all relative. One person's limit is another person's wide open space. I can only speak for my own. If you (general 'you') find comfort and understanding and enough of God in that proverbial box more power to you! But why limit those who don't? It'd be the same as forcing those who don't out of their comfort zone. Neither is right. Neither helps one's spiritual growth. 

 

Of course there is no way to be 100% open. I am well aware that my saying "there is truth in all things" is at the same time saying "those who believe they have the only truth are wrong". But that does all seem besides the point especially to this conversation in particular. One belief is going to require another to be wrong. I'm not suggesting otherwise. What I am saying is that I do not believe limiting one's own spiritual experience because another said so is productive if you wish to move beyond that. More so I believe it's wrong of one person (or one institution) to do that for whatever reason. There is always a line, I agree. But I do think you misunderstood what I meant by limits. I meant limits in the sense of divine understanding. If a religion says to you "we believe in God as Father and Creator" that's a limited understanding of Him. It's also just fine and just enough meaning we don't need more than that, really, unless of course you want more than that. And if we want more than that and go out and seek that deeper understanding is it really heresy? Is it really wrong? Of course at some point we will hit a wall. But that point is going to be different for wach person. Why deny them that?


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#187 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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I have a question for you all- How does one attend a church and still practice mysticism and not feel shunned for it. Like PB, don't you attend the Lutheran church? Do you have to hide your mary cards or pendlum from your peers at church? Can you full attend without feeling like you are hiding part of who you are?


Hmmm, I've been lucky I guess?  LOL.  I have attended two Lutheran churches-one for 28 years and another for 6+ years.  I have always been me.  I think it not only has to do with the church, but the clergy too.  My pastors have been wonderfully open.   The one I grew up with was a beautiful, mystical soul himself.  He was adored by everyone and his retirement was a hard thing to handle!

 

I'm also called a lot to help people in the community-especially in the last 5 years or so and clearly it's mainly energy medicine.  But they get help when they haven't had success with "traditional" methods and it feels more aligned for them, so I guess that's what keeps me in good standing?   Especially given that long time members are seeking help and having good things to say.  Remember too that my father is the pastor so that may help as well.

 

But honestly, I've never felt that I had to hide who I was.  I'm not saying that there may be those that don't like it, but I don't flaunt anything.  I go, I worship, I contribute etc in my own way.  I'm not way out there with it, but I don't hide anything.  Even if they didn't like it, they don't necessarily see any of that unless they come to me...you know?

 

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#188 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Very few groups of people religious or otherwise have not been guilty of persecuting others who disagreed with or were not like them. It does appear that the Orthodox church has been less guilty of persecuting others and have rather experienced more persecution, but they are not guiltless. It is historical fact the Old Believers in Russia were persecuted and killed when Patriarch Nikon imposed Greek Orthodox reforms on the Russian Orthodox, and Moscow backed him with brute force. Of course, atheists assert religion has been responsible for mass murder but Stalin was an atheist, so every group of human beings is guilty.

 

But I digress, I don't want to get myself in an arguing spirit. I do love that the Orthodox church does believe that man is made in the image of God and not in total depravity =).

 

 


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#189 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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Of course there are limits, especially to human understanding, but there is a big difference between one's own spiritual limits and the limits set on someone by another person or institution. 

 

As for judgment of those who choose not to push further, I'm not judging them. As I said up there somewhere in my previous post(s) everyone is on a different path going at a different pace. I do not expect anyone to believe what I do or go about it in the same way. That is where I and most (all?) here differ from the religious people and organizations that say it's their way and no other. This is all relative. One person's limit is another person's wide open space. I can only speak for my own. If you (general 'you') find comfort and understanding and enough of God in that proverbial box more power to you! But why limit those who don't? It'd be the same as forcing those who don't out of their comfort zone. Neither is right. Neither helps one's spiritual growth. 

 

Of course there is no way to be 100% open. I am well aware that my saying "there is truth in all things" is at the same time saying "those who believe they have the only truth are wrong". But that does all seem besides the point especially to this conversation in particular. One belief is going to require another to be wrong. I'm not suggesting otherwise. What I am saying is that I do not believe limiting one's own spiritual experience because another said so is productive if you wish to move beyond that. More so I believe it's wrong of one person (or one institution) to do that for whatever reason. There is always a line, I agree. But I do think you misunderstood what I meant by limits. I meant limits in the sense of divine understanding. If a religion says to you "we believe in God as Father and Creator" that's a limited understanding of Him. It's also just fine and just enough meaning we don't need more than that, really, unless of course you want more than that. And if we want more than that and go out and seek that deeper understanding is it really heresy? Is it really wrong? Of course at some point we will hit a wall. But that point is going to be different for wach person. Why deny them that?

 

I think that a lot of our misunderstanding each other is due to our completely different backgrounds.  My parents were totally nonreligious, and my only experience in church when I was a kid was at a very liberal Methodist church where they had female clergy and absolutely did not "require" anyone to believe anything.  That's where I learned about the concept of universal salvation, and really they were welcoming to anyone no matter what they believed.  It sounds like a church you and many others on this thread would love.  smile.gif 

 

But honestly, I just do not have a problem with any church defining their own limits, as long as people are free to leave if they want.  Now, if I grew up in the LDS church and experienced some of the things I've read about happening to people who disagree with the church or leave it, then I'd probably have some negative feelings about these limits.  I'd probably feel like limits lead to oppression, in that case.  But I just don't have any experience of oppression like that, not even at a church with well-defined limits as to Who God is.

 

 

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Very few groups of people religious or otherwise have not been guilty of persecuting others who disagreed with or were not like them. It does appear that the Orthodox church has been less guilty of persecuting others and have rather experienced more persecution, but they are not guiltless. It is historical fact the Old Believers in Russia were persecuted and killed when Patriarch Nikon imposed Greek Orthodox reforms on the Russian Orthodox, and Moscow backed him with brute force. Of course, atheists assert religion has been responsible for mass murder but Stalin was an atheist, so every group of human beings is guilty.

 

But I digress, I don't want to get myself in an arguing spirit. I do love that the Orthodox church does believe that man is made in the image of God and not in total depravity =).

I know, no group of people is without guilt.  I wasn't trying to imply that...sorry if it sounded that way.  I'm aware of the Old Believers, and I'm sure there have been other incidents in the last 2000 that are not Orthodoxy's most shining moments. 

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#190 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 01:07 PM
 
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But honestly, I just do not have a problem with any church defining their own limits

And this is where I get the sense that organized religion is a hinderance to spiritual growth beyond the acceptable boarders of the institution for those who seek it. I agree with you that churches should define their own limits but is it then possible to be an active participant in that church and reach beyond those limits? Will you be shunned? Reprimanded? Doomed to hell? Those are my questions. 

 

To be fair I wasn't raised actively Mormon. As a kid we were inactive and even what you'd call "Jack Mormon". In my teens is when I got religious and I went from diving into Mormonism to rejecting it and turning to neo-Paganism. What I'm trying to say is I think my upbringing as a Jack Mormon has less to do with my issues with organized religion. I think what it comes down to for me is my core belief in liberty. I'm an anarchist through and through- and funny enough it was Mormon doctrine and history that made me this way. This is not to say I don't believe these institution shouldn't exist just that I am examining if being a part of them is possible for someone who is reaching beyond what they offer. I think on some level it is and on another level it's not. I suppose I am just trying to weigh my options here. Now if you're comfortable in your religious structure who am I to say you are wrong or that I am more right? It is what it is. You are right for you and I am right for me. It's just personally living in that box is suffocating. That's not the same as me looking down my nose at those who like living there and it's not me saying that the box shouldn't exist or have the dimensions of it's choice. 


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#191 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 01:17 PM
 
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Alrighty moving a bit away from this topic- 

 

Personal inspiration. Who inspires you? A few weeks ago I was participating in a spiritual group and the leader asked us to think of a god or goddess or other figure that represented warrior-like strength. She named Athena. In that moment I sort of panicked because who could I think of in the scriptures that matched this? And then it hit me- Judith, Esther, even Ruth in her own right (for whatever reason I was thinking an inspiration WOMAN. I tend to do that). So lately I have been thinking about this and have been wanting to read my scriptures in this light. In neo-Paganism different deities represent different things. Think Aphrodite representing love and beauty, Demeter representing the Earth and mother, etc. I have always thought of these mythologies as showing us through example and symbolism different aspects of life both temporal and spiritual. I found that connecting with the gods of different pantheons this way was really helpful not only to get to know them and their literal mythology but to have a deeper understanding of things. But this is all not unique to neo-Paganism. I have thought of this before, getting to know scriptural figures in this way, but now I am taking it more seriously.

 

So who are your scriptural inspirations and why? I'll be back with mine after I rest a bit. It's been a looooong day!


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#192 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 05:58 PM
 
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And this is where I get the sense that organized religion is a hinderance to spiritual growth beyond the acceptable boarders of the institution for those who seek it. I agree with you that churches should define their own limits but is it then possible to be an active participant in that church and reach beyond those limits? Will you be shunned? Reprimanded? Doomed to hell? Those are my questions. 

 

To be fair I wasn't raised actively Mormon. As a kid we were inactive and even what you'd call "Jack Mormon". In my teens is when I got religious and I went from diving into Mormonism to rejecting it and turning to neo-Paganism. What I'm trying to say is I think my upbringing as a Jack Mormon has less to do with my issues with organized religion. I think what it comes down to for me is my core belief in liberty. I'm an anarchist through and through- and funny enough it was Mormon doctrine and history that made me this way. This is not to say I don't believe these institution shouldn't exist just that I am examining if being a part of them is possible for someone who is reaching beyond what they offer. I think on some level it is and on another level it's not. I suppose I am just trying to weigh my options here. Now if you're comfortable in your religious structure who am I to say you are wrong or that I am more right? It is what it is. You are right for you and I am right for me. It's just personally living in that box is suffocating. That's not the same as me looking down my nose at those who like living there and it's not me saying that the box shouldn't exist or have the dimensions of it's choice. 


Thanks for that explanation.  (I had to look up Jack Mormon, though. innocent.gif )  All of this makes sense to me. 

 

What you're saying is interesting to me, too, because I also have a strong core belief in human freedom.  I could never be a Calvinist for that very reason.  Christianity doesn't make any sense at all to me without free will, without our freedom to choose and believe from our hearts, and not because someone told us to believe it.  In that light, I could never be part of a church which used threats or any sort of coercion on its members.  Reprimanding, shunning, and judging people as hell-bound - these are deal breakers for me.  True love is always free. 

 

And on this note, I need a break from the computer for a while to focus on other things. Thank you and Nicole for such a thought-provoking conversation.  Have a wonderful week!  love.gif

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#193 of 199 Old 05-10-2011, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maggie, as far a women in the canon I've always said Deborah. She is stumbling block to the idea that God's design is for women to submit to men. Um, she was the judge and leader of ALL Israel, and this was pre-Christ. You really mean to tell me people that God back tracked on this and then gave women second class Kingdom citizenship AFTER Christ? Doesn't make any sense. I've heard it reasoned away that there was no man to fill the role, so she did. That reason is no where in scripture. Also, it seems she was married and unless her husband was a total loser God chose her. Sure, she was an anomaly. Jewish society was very patriarchal. Just makes that glimpse into the purpose of the Divine that much more powerful!

 

And as for non-canon, I just read the Gospel of Mary Magdelene. Holy wow. Even IF Jesus didn't factually entrust all this revelation to her and not a man, the fact that it was so widely circulated in the early church, the fact that it depicts Levi as rebuking Peter for being incredulous that the Savior would reveal His mysteries to a woman and not to them....wow. Whether this picture of Mary Magdelene is fact or fiction it is still awe inspiring.


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#194 of 199 Old 06-06-2011, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How's it going, sisters? Miss you all.


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#195 of 199 Old 06-10-2011, 12:14 PM
 
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Just found this thread....awesome! I'm subbing so I can read more later. 

 

I have been wrestling with this recently. My midwife asked me at my first appt if I had a preferred religion and I stumbled....I was like "well, I'm Christian but not a typical Christian. Kind of a mystical Christian. I dunno. Don't put down anything until I figure out what I am!". So, you see, I belong here upsidedown.gif


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#196 of 199 Old 06-11-2011, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Haha, welcome sister! I feel much the same way most of the time =)


Happily married to DH for 6 years, in process to foster-adopt 3 children DD4, DS3 and DS2. We may be bringing half brother age 9 one day as well! We are not infertile, we just have decided that since there are precious children who need homes there is no need for us to have biological children.

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#197 of 199 Old 09-28-2011, 06:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nicolelynn View Post

How's it going, sisters? Miss you all.



Well I know this thread is old...but I'm back :) Things are going pretty well...


Wife, mom to 6 great kids!...avid crafter, music lover,  reader, gardener!

 

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#198 of 199 Old 09-29-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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Yes, Sapientia, you sound like a Christian mystic. Christian mysticism is simply realizing God is not in the theological boxes we put Him in. We cannot fully explain Him, we can only experience and love Him. I can't ever identify as say a Buddhist or UU, because I have experienced JESUS, I haven't experience Buddha. But I also can't ascribe to any one man made Christian creed. The spiritual realm and God in nature is very real and all around us, and doesn't fit neatly into doctrines as I know them. As say, most Christians say there is no such thing as ghosts....when the early church did NOT teach that you go straight to heaven or hell when you die. Or my Mother (who is a Christian mystic as well thankfully...at least her and DH understand me) who believes animals have spirits, since the Bible doesn't say they don't even though Christians for some reason think that idea is unbiblical. Etc. It is interesting because in practice I am very charistamatic, I prophesy, experience the Holy Spirit, etc. I fit right in. But I don't use Christianese about it, for all I know the mechanism God employs are "new age" sounding things like mind reading, trances, etc. My Mom once explained to a new age group that she only channels the Holy Spirit. Crazy language to Christians, but the people she was talking to understood.


I'm coming very late to this thread, and I hope you all don't mind my quoting and sharing my thoughts on posts very early in this thread.  I also hope that I don't end up offending any of you because of any differences in belief I may have from any of you.  I am very not into paganism or pan-theism, but I hope we can disagree on those little points respectfully.  I can understand the inclination or desire for those beliefs, just I do not accept them myself.  

 

A quick background on me, I converted to Catholicism 7 years back, but grew up in the fundi-evangelical background, with grandparents and other family as missionaries and the whole nine yards.  I, too, had an experience (or several) where my mind was blown and I found myself drawn to much more ancient expressions of the Christian faith.  I personally would love to seek out an Eastern Catholic Church of some kind, which appreciates both the Orthodox spirituality as well as the Western Roman spirituality.  I believe a grave harm was done to the faith when both split, but as I am a Western girl I am a Roman Catholic.  I have read a very little bit of the Christian mystics, like St. John of the Cross, St. Therese Lisiuex, St. Faustina.  It is hard for me, because while I have had very real experiences, God has not come to me in that way in a long, long time.  I have found myself struggling of late in a way that I'd never previously experienced.  A lot of that is simply due to isolation.  I believe firmly that God created us for communion with Himself and with others, and the particular location I am in has made that communion with others very difficult.  The culture here is just very exclusionary.  So, it is a relief to find some others to chat with.

 

I quoted the above because I was surprised when I discovered that the Catholic Church actually teaches that all living things have souls.  But it makes soooo much sense.  The soul is what animates, so a living being must have a soul.  Humans are set apart because we are beings with rational, eternal souls.  Also angels and their counterparts, demons, have rational souls.  I firmly believe in the supernatural, and I have a healthy respect for it.  I believe in ghosts, but I don't know if they are human souls, angel/demons, both or neither.  Dh and I enjoy watching Paranormal State, because the leader is firmly Catholic and unabashedly uses the strengths of the Church in sacramentals and rituals, as well as incorporating those of other faiths, to truly help people with paranormal problems.  I don't like speaking about these supernatural things with other Christians because they usually aren't very understanding.  

 

I struggle with the concept of any religion leading to Heaven, but I do believe the truth that we (Catholics) are bound to the Sacraments, but God is not.  He may work freely as He pleases, and obviously must have some means of Salvation that is open to any who do not have recourse to the Sacraments.  I try not to judge how that works out in the end, but I do believe the Sacraments are a great gift of His Grace and very powerful when allowed to work as they are meant.  I don't believe enough people truly understand what they mean and how they work.  My priest is one that believes that any faith will lead to Salvation, but he troubles me because he approaches the concepts so flippantly, instead of appreciating the seriousness and complexities of these issues.  Because I feel that Christians have a special, extraordinary gift in the Sacraments, I believe it is worthwhile that we keep spreading the Gospel to all peoples of all faiths, and I think he would disagree saying that they have enough in their own way.  I mentioned I come from missionary stock, so there you go...  

 

I also struggle with our priest's leadership because he minimizes the sacrament of Reconciliation.  Having been brought up evangelical, I lived a long time without it, and I have personally discovered the immense Grace of the sacrament.  I firmly believe that sin injures our relationship with God and it is good for us to recognize and try to remove those impulses from ourselves.  

 

I really appreciate the Orthodox concept of deification, that is that the point of salvation is to join us completely with God so that we become like gods ourselves.  I'm sure that is a very hasty and improper way to explain it, but that is why I also believe in sin.

 

Also, I really liked the comment above about Jesus coming to show us the Father, and not just salvation to heaven.  I think the Jews already had that (salvation).  That makes a lot of sense to me.  I believe that God is very relational and He is continually trying to bring us back into that close intimacy with Him, if we only let Him.  Oh and He is SOOOO BIG and incomprehensible.  We really cannot fathom that.  I keep trying though.

 

Wow, this became much longer than I expected.  I'm already enjoying this thread, and will continue to read the rest of it!  Thanks to the OP for starting it.  I hope I don't sidetrack the lot of you with my referencing the early points here.

 

 

 


Mom to eight!!  Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.

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#199 of 199 Old 09-29-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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You are most welcome here, in my book anyway, Purple Sage.  I am fairly traditional when it comes to this, and I find plenty of space for the mysticism in my worship.  How can it NOT be mystical?  The dogma, for me, provides structure, something to focus on and adhere to whilst being able to move freely about in my spirituality.  I feel lost without it, and less safe somehow.  And by safe I don't mean that I fear for my salvation.  I mean the world feels too big.  Having the structure allows for me to explore safely.

 


Amen, amen, amen and amen!  There are so many absolutely faithful, canonized mystics recognized by the Church.  As I read through this thread and certain points arise, I think "Yes!  John Paul II knew about the sacredness of sex and made it his mission to bring us Theology of the Body!" or "St. John of the Cross wrote about the Dark Night of the Soul, and we recently discovered that dear, beloved, popularized Mother Teresa spent most of her life within that dark night."  There is just too much mysticism already within the Church for me ever to have to seek outside it.  And to our Orthodox sister, I would include examples from your heritage as well, but I'm not very familiar with them.  I expect they are even more numerous than our Romans are.  

 

(Not that I would reprimand any one else for seeking wisdom anywhere else, I just don't personally find any need to do so.)

 


Mom to eight!!  Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.

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