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#1 of 25 Old 02-11-2004, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Christianity is a way people journey into the mystery of God. It is a process not unlike the ocean, it never changes its substance but it ever changes its form. People who want to defend or protect Christianity have always defined it in such a way as to make an idol out of their definition.

An idol always dies. A channel through which the living God is ever revealed never does. Christianity may be transformed but it will not die. Its forms, its creeds, its doctrines, its dogmas, all of which are the products of human creativity, are always mortal. There is no ultimate unchanging truth that anyone possesses. There is only subjective experience to which people apply explanatory words.

...don't expect the forms of Christianity, developed in human history, to be immortal.
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#2 of 25 Old 02-11-2004, 07:11 PM
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I think too many people have used Christianity for their own personal gain (be it financial or just being right)

Really, Christianity is about Jesus.

Jesus taught the two greatest commandments...love
G-d and love other people.

When stuff gets in the way of loving G-d and loving other people things deteriorate.

Too much of what we see today is the perversion of Christianity to justify people's agenda be it Ezzo, pro-rod spanking, patriarchy, whatever when it strays away from the two greatest things it strays away from Christianity. And these other agendized things aren't even really in the Bible.

This makes me sad.

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#3 of 25 Old 02-11-2004, 11:20 PM
 
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DaryLLL, I like your imagery. I want to take your words and ponder them awhile and then respond sometime soon. Thank you!!
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#4 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 12:57 AM
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Isaiah40:8 The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.

Biblical christianity will never die. Peoples perceptions and ideas may change , but God does not.
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#5 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 01:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaryLLL
Christianity is a way people journey into the mystery of God. It is a process not unlike the ocean, it never changes its substance but it ever changes its form. People who want to defend or protect Christianity have always defined it in such a way as to make an idol out of their definition.
An Amen for every crane!

I will say more when it is not bathtime... but Daryl D LLL, this might be your best post evah!
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#6 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 04:01 AM
 
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OK - there is this...(which may end up posted on my refrigerator!)

QUOTE "Christianity is a way people journey into the mystery of God. "

...and then this...

"An idol always dies. A channel through which the living God is ever revealed never does."

...and finally - wow!

"There is no ultimate unchanging truth that anyone possesses. There is only subjective experience to which people apply explanatory words."

Darylll - thanks for some beautiful words that I think quite simply and poetically speak volumes. Lots of thoughts in my head...but too jumbled to bother with here. Lets just say that part of my growth (yes - I think it is growth although it would definitely label me in some Xtian surroundings as someone who has 'lost their way' ) has led to me think that there are many paths to the Divine - the spiritual - God. I was taught there was only one way (my particular brand of Xtianity) and realizing that that just didn't make sense was scary for a time. And, after all my mental wanderings, I was pretty sure I would stay somewhat within the Christian framework...at least for now...but would be free to explore, think, wonder, ask questions, incorporate other paths.

OK - am beginning to blather. Just wanted you to know how much this post made sense to me. (and sounded good too!)

J
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#7 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 04:17 AM
 
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DaryLLL thank you.

I've been bothered by several threads recently, but not able to properly verbalise what I feel. I do not feel shame about the unchristian behaviour of many 'Christians'. I don't identify with them, and I dont' feel any sense of personal responsibility for what they do. I do not believe that I, or anyone else, has the 'right' answers. I don't feel any need to try to convert anyone else to feel what I feel. I don't feel that anyone is able to say that their interpretation of scripture is correct, or that they can 'know' scripture better than someone else. We are all travelling towards God, on different paths, but with the same destination. No God that I could imagine would accept some, but reject others because they took a different path to Him. I don't accept and believe every aspect of my Church's teachings. I take what makes sense to me, and do my best with it. The details seem irrelevant to me, as everything changes over time, including me. Only God remains constant.

Oh, so many things have bothered me recently. Your post makes so much sense to me. "Christianity is a way people journey into the mystery of God." That's what it is for me, thank you.
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#8 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 11:35 AM
 
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It is a process not unlike the ocean, it never changes its substance but it ever changes its form.
Quote:
An idol always dies. A channel through which the living God is ever revealed never does. Christianity may be transformed but it will not die.
You put this so eloquently; poeticly!

edit

I can not express myself well, as words do not seem sufficent to express the living and breathing relationship that I have with my God. The religious walls that have been erected over the centuries can not contain the vastness that is Christ.
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#9 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 12:03 PM
 
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Yes, yes, yes.

Your post is on my fridge. My dh is coming home from a week of retreat today and I know he is going to love it.

Britishmum, I am wondering if some of my words are what you refer to when you speak of threads you have been bothered by? I don't feel personally responsible for terrible acts commited by other Christians but grief that Christianity was part of what they used as "fuel" for themselves. While the "group" isn't the leading part of my life, neither do I believe that our paths towards G-d are merely individual and pesonal. We were made to live in relationship and community, we need these things to survive. When I feel a "yes!" inside when another says or does something that resonates with me I cannot simply dissociate with those I don't like or agree with.

"The religious walls that have been erected over the centuries cannot contain the vastness that is Christ." I totally agree! For me that means I cannot reject those I disagree with any more than I believe it allows them to erject those who don't follow their own narrow interpretation of Christianity.
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#10 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 02:50 PM
 
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Shantimama, yes, your thread was one of several that bothered me recently - it left me with a feeling of sadness, for what you felt, and for a realisation that has come to me since I moved to the US.

You see, we really don't have many of the fundamental Christian issues in the UK - they certainly don't have a voice in politics, anyway, and my only experience with people trying to convert others is with JW, who would come to the door maybe once every couple of years.

The whole fundamental Christian movement is something I didnt know really existed until I moved here. Churches running classes about child abuse (aka Ezzo), people hitting their children with implements (something you'd be reported to social services immediately for in the UK), and so on. Abortion being a hot topic of religious fervour, with political clout. The church heavily tied up with politics (ironic, really, that this is supposedly not allowed, yet is a greater issue here than in the UK) The list goes on. All tied up with the concept of Christianity. I just hadn't come across this before.

So, the anti-Christian feeling of some people, both irl and on the boards, came to me as a shock. I've never come across anyone before who had an assumption/suspicion that I may share the evangelical attitudes of fellow Christians. I'd never come across the idea that people may need to protect their children from people trying to convert them to any other religion - bar the extreme cults which you want to keep from your impressionable teenagers. I have this feeling that so many people think I just don't 'get it', because of my religious background. I really hate the feeling of people being divided by the details of their religion, rather than being brought together in the family of God, or whatever you call Him. This goes against all that I have felt and believed and experienced my whole life so far.

That's what has saddened me recently. Realising that in this American culture, for some people, the fact that I am Christian, whatever the details of my beliefs, lumps me in with these extremists. I don't personally care, I get irritated, sure, but I'm not American, never will be, and don't identify with the problem, if you can understand what I mean. But the overall situation appals me and frustrates me. The depth of the problem appals me. The influence that these people have, via idiots like GW, appals me. And this is on world politics, it's not just America's business, it's the whole world. And until I came here to live, I had no idea.

I think that I have a depth of spirituality and understanding, yet somehow since I came to the US, and to mdc, I've felt that I am dismissed as being superficial and ignorant. Which is weird, as in the UK, religious education is part of the curriculum, so I think I have a better understanding than many Americans. But my very culture, not fitting with the fundies, nor anyone else, leaves me like a fish out of water.

But then, that's how I feel socially too. Divided by a common language, and now a common religion too.

I think I"m being as clear as mud.
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#11 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 03:09 PM
 
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That's what has saddened me recently. Realising that in this American culture, for some people, the fact that I am Christian, whatever the details of my beliefs, lumps me in with these extremists.
I feel this way too! I imagine that a lot of the muslim mamas living in the U.S. right now are feeling this way as well.
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#12 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 03:44 PM
 
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Thanks Britishmum, I am with you. I am Canadian, so my culture has some more British influences and some more American influences. We also don't make a big deal about separation of church and state and yet have far less religious influence in our politics. Well, maybe not quite true. Too many right wing politicians have emerged in the last few years wanting to turn us into a mirror of the U.S. and they try to bring religion in - fortunately, lots of us are too leery of them to keep them around for long. (Unless of course, you live in Alberta: )

In a strange way I think I may be becoming grateful for all of this.........this struggle I have with being lumped together with fundamentalists and evangelicals has caused me to go deeper. I don't have to let myself be distracted by being part of the dominant culture and doing what everyone around me is doing. I have to search my heart and the wise ones of my faith and live with integrity. Maybe I wouldn't be doing that if I didn't feel so at odds with popular Christianity. What do you think?
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#13 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 05:03 PM
 
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#14 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 06:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Britishmum
You see, we really don't have many of the fundamental Christian issues in the UK...
as much as we like to pretend history doesn't matter much on this side of the pond, it does. your Cromwell is hundreds of years in the past: the american Cromwell is still somewhere in the future. maybe he's even here right now, i don't know, but at any rate that chapter has yet to play itself out over here.

Quote:
in the UK, religious education is part of the curriculum, so I think I have a better understanding than many Americans.
without a doubt, and that's part of the problem: as a society we seemed to be so convinced of our inherent greatness that we don't even bother learning our own culture, never mind anyone elses. which means we have no chance of learning from anybody else's experience. Cromwell is a seminal figure in western civilization yet i would wager not 1 american in a 1000 could name him.

in microcosm form this is seen in the now-raging "which english translation" wars being fought all over american christiandom. what england went through after Tynedale's death is only just now being dealt with here. and it's so silly, as if your choice of translations is going to make you a better or worse person.

argh.

Quote:
I think I"m being as clear as mud.
i think i understand what you're saying, but i don't know that i can say anything back that will help. this society is about 300 years behind european society (in terms of its historical arc) and all the broadband connections and cheap gas in the world can't make up the difference.

especially when the historical myths have become so ingrained as to become "truth". ie, the puritans did not come here in search of religious freedom, they came here to *escape* religious freedom. what they wanted was freedom not of religion, but freedom from what they viewed as "corruption". in a word, they were fanatics.

but just try and say that on the street!

we have a real problem, one that europe at least attempted to face after ww2 and the holocaust, in that we are completely unable to look honestly at our own past. nobody knows about the Trail of Tears, and if they do, it's all ok because now "indians" have been given a few casino licenses. there are wide swaths of this society where racism "wasn't that bad" and MLK was just another "uppity ******". my goodness, the confederate flag still flies in this country!

it goes on and on and on, instead of acknowledging self delusion is a dangerous dangerous trait, "we" attack people who bring up the hard issues as somehow being unamerican - or at least, lesser americans - when the reality is those are the only people who can save us.

mahdokht said it beautifully over on the activism board...

Their are few providing the friction necessary to uphold the values that keep this country evolving and we will not get better by inertia alone. Friction does not slow us down, it is the only thing that keeps us going, growing and evolving into something better.

and to deflect the inevitable "america love it or leave it" response i'll add that now Israel, too, is struggling with many of the same issues. there, too, is the struggle to define what belongs in the secular domain and what should be religious.

it's a damn hard issue wherever it comes up, and it isn't made any easier when so-called leaders plug their ears, cover their eyes, and pretend it's all resolvable with a platitude.
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#15 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 06:33 PM
 
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Originally posted by Elzabet
I have very strong opinions on what I consider "salvation" issues...
as do we all. i don't see what the "altar of PC'ism" can possibly have to do with your beliefs. actions, sure, but beliefs...?
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#16 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 06:54 PM
 
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#17 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 07:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elzabet
Then put it this way: there are certain things that I won't change doing....
even if those actions are offensive to people?
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#18 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 07:14 PM
 
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#19 of 25 Old 02-12-2004, 07:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Elzabet
If people don't plan to stop offending me why should I bother?
who is offending you, and how?
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#20 of 25 Old 02-13-2004, 04:03 AM
 
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Originally posted by dado
ie, the puritans did not come here in search of religious freedom, they came here to *escape* religious freedom. what they wanted was freedom not of religion, but freedom from what they viewed as "corruption". in a word, they were fanatics.
Yes, they were religious fanatics - but they were persucuted in England under Eliz I, so freedom of religion WAS a *part* of why they left. They also left b/c of what you said, "corruption" (i.e., Anglicans were too "roman" for them), and to be the first (i.e., before those Roman Catholics could get to them) to convert the "savages," as well as to create a utopia. They also handily changed indentured servants into slaves...

But your point is taken...the rallying cry of "freedom of religion" often means "I want MY religion exactly how I want it and that means damning yours."

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Originally posted by dado we have a real problem, one that europe at least attempted to face after ww2 and the holocaust, in that we are completely unable to look honestly at our own past. nobody knows about the Trail of Tears, and if they do, it's all ok because now "indians" have been given a few casino licenses.[/B]
Absolutely. This is something that strikes me, perhaps some of it is also being raised in a different country as I too have noticed a big difference between Canada and the US in terms of religion and politics. But referring to the above quote, I remember reading about the smallpox epidemics in First Nations people when I was about 9 years old in the museum in Victoria, tears streaming down my face. It was so clearly wrong. My mom had photos published that she took of the Japanese internment camps and it was carefully explained to (along with trips to the internment camp museum) how this was a terrible period in the province's history. I also learned another side of prejudice as my mom's cousins were stood in front of their class during WWII and called "German pigs" - while their dad was off fighting for Canada! And she fought her father's EXTREMELY anti-Catholic paranoia. Mom would show me how these were crazy things that had happened, but we needed to be aware of them so that we weren't destined to repeat them and could be inspired to improve what we could of our lives and society.

So, yes, the US (and all countries) - and Christianity - need to take responsibility for the mistakes, acknowledge they were wrong, try to make restitution, and above all, stop repeating them! I shudder when I hear that some Christian missionaries promote the Ezzo crap to indigenous cultures!! Ok, lets contribute more to mother's milk drying up and the millions of babies who die each year b/c they aren't breastfed. It's absolutely sickening to me. But then, what I am doing about it? I guess that's the real question - I can complain about it until I'm blue, or I can "be the change I want to see."

Anyhoo, that's pretty OT from DLLL's thought-provoking OP, so sorry. But what you said just really resonated with me, dado.

Also, sort of related - for those interested in Christian social activism, check out
http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm My last issue came with a voter's registration card.

Meghan, mom to 11yo, 8yo, and 3yo 

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#21 of 25 Old 02-15-2004, 05:56 AM
 
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Brilliant post, Daryl, but what are you arguing? That ideas or philosophies which can fail, should fail?

Based on that reasoning, democracy should fail, since there never has been a viable system whereby leaders took direction from the led. Ultimately, all governance to date has been coercive. Violence has been the true test of authority and has never failed to be thus.

Is it to be always thus?

Perhaps, but I think that democracy -- the impulse to be relieved of arbitrary control, and to control oneself within a community -- should continue, regardless, to struggle from its current, imperfect state into something better. Likewise with Christianity or any other religious or moral system. It should be constantly renewing and improving itself, but maintaining the basic idea, which has something to do with faith and mercy.

If you are just pointing out that Christianity has evolved greatly and that its dogmatists are people who do not understand their (or any) history -- of course you're right.
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#22 of 25 Old 02-15-2004, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Very saddened by the Christian wars. On this board and out there. Just a comment on how history, dogma and imperfect human nature has shaped a belief.

I edited the OP as I hope by now, those who need to see it, have seen it in its entirety.
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#23 of 25 Old 02-15-2004, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Back again to point out, "whither" in my title, means where to. It is not "wither" as in shrivel up.
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#24 of 25 Old 04-26-2004, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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bumping
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#25 of 25 Old 04-26-2004, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadiyank
Yes, they were religious fanatics - but they were persucuted in England under Eliz I,
Just wanted to clarify that while Eliz I may have persecuted some Catholics she was definately not the ruler who persecuted. Elizabeth was extremely careful, especially early in her reign, to keep fears calm. Her sister, Mary (Bloody Mary) and her father, Henry VIII, were two who come to mind that persecuted.

Any 'persecution' Elizabeth authorized was really to keep her throne. Not to upset the status quo.

(FYI - not trying to make her 'persecution' seem small or insignificant, just wanted to clarify her actions compared to others in history)

Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
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