Discussion in 'Christianity' started by wil, Aug 10, 2006.
Indeed. Pride makes it very easy to become a whitewashed sepulchre, doesn't it?
AdD, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. Leastone is new and probably does not yet know the rules of this place.
Leastone, this room was created less than a week ago. It's express purpose is to provide a safe place for those of us who do not subscribe to fundamentalist orthdox Christian beliefs to talk about our questions, ideas, and issues. Your post 39, no matter how well intentioned, is the very thing from which we need protection and safety.
A little bit. I think it also fits into what is sometimes referred to as mysticism. I've also looked at paganism perhaps more deeply than Native religion. It can be very complicated for a white person getting accepted into a Native community. Too much bad history. If my only options in life were a choice between fundamentalist Christianity and Native religion, I would check it out more seriously. However, those are not my only options. Thanks for the suggestion, though.
For everyone's reference, here is the opening of the Code of Conduct, which can be found here.
I see no breach of the CoC at this time, but I would encourage everyone to proceed gently.
moderator, Belief and Spirituality
Apologies. Didn't mean to speak for you. Just figured it was safe to say that none of us, as yet, is perfect. But I also figured that as Christians, we agreed that it was worth striving for the perfection that is found in and through Christ (see Ephesians 4:13). I guess that's what I get for figurin ...
It seems I can't focus to organize my response to this thread as a whole. Got really badly upset by the suggestion that I have no right to my own feelings. I'm still trying to make sense of how I could get kicked out of the church when I have been so sincerely dedicated to God my whole life. Nobody--absolutely nobody--can give it more than I have.
My efforts cannot be measured by the set of questions someone (I think it may have been Wil) posted because the tradition into which I was born does not include mission work of any kind whatsoever. Mission work was viewed as too new-fangled an idea that belonged to the evangelical crowd.
Obedience and submission to God via the church is the paradigm. Terms like aesthetic and monastic can perhaps be used to describe the focus of that community's lifestyle. Not all Mennonites by a long shot focus on this but the horse and buggy people do, and perhaps also some "car" people.
Dedication in this type of community is measured by the degree of obedience to the letter of the law of the church's legislated dress and other codes one demonstrates. The codes cover practically everything that can happen to a person between birth and death. Of course, it is impossible to legislate absolutely everything. Smoking, drinking, card playing, and dancing were allowed with discretion. Banning those items seemed too much like following the evangelical crowd.
OUR MOTTO: Uphold the old tradition.
Nor was there a rule against higher education. I knew, however, that if I pushed the matter, I could be the cause that such a rule gets put in place. I resolved not to let that happen because that was my ticket out of hell. I did not want to lock the door on someone else. So I did my best not to cause any disturbance and to just leave quietly (no fight for my rights because those people always lose in the end and rules get tightened up).
I find it difficult to figure out what is religious abuse and what is the abuse that happens in any dysfunctional family. I would make the argument that when religion is used abusively to justify regular dysfunctional family abuse, it becomes abuse of the highest order.
Correct thoughts and feelings were prescribed, perhaps more by my mother than the church, though I can't be sure. My mother was the church, God, and parent all rolled into one. She was my conscience. I think I have extricated myself from that messed-up enmeshed relationship but scars remain. Thus, safety from the judgmental eye of religion has very high significance to me. There must be others like this.
Now I remember something in this thread (I think) that I wanted to respond to. Someone expressed deep sadness for my story. Thank you. AdD described an experience at the hands (prayers) of his brother-in-law that he found very unpleasant. Audible prayer was not part of our tradition so there could be no "prayer duals." I do not think it is wrong for us to feel and express anger at such out-rages, so long as we do not hurt ourselves or others. It also occurs to me that if that experience is a legitimate reason for upset, then I definitely have legitimate reason. That is a consolation to me. Thanks to everyone who provided support and understanding.
Lunamoth, I don't think anyone is making accusations of anyone being ungentle or of breaching the code of ethics. Here is what I object to:
NOTE: "Perceived" abuse.
That is direct reference to my Post 14 in which I describe what feels to me like a typical case of spiritual abuse. Probably to you guys in the US it seems so everydayish that it does not even catch your attention. But that does not make it right.
Leastone discredits my right to my own feelings that what I experienced felt abusive. That is NOT progressive Christian thought and in my opinion has no right to stand on this or any other forum except the traditional Christian forum.
I can understand that leastone is not aware of the rules (some of which are not even written yet because the forum is so new) but I think there is an unspoken understanding that no one has a right to attack unconventional Christian thoughts on this board.
I understand that is why this board was created in the first place. Defending a doctor who evangelizes a patient without permission and who insists on personal information when the patient indicates an unwillingness to share, THAT is not okay. Leastone is playing the typical fundy game of "blame the victim."
I've sent the doctor a note and scheduled my next appointment with another doctor. That situation is over and dealt with in real life. I thought it was over on this forum, too. Then I get this and moderators defend it.
This life is a hopeless situation.
Ruby, I didn't post this earlier, and now I regret it. I'll just say, short & sweet, that I think this doctor was quite out of line, and frankly, I'm disgusted. This is precisely the kind of thing that doesn't belong in ANY situation where a professional consultation is occurring.
If I visit my real estate agent, I don't need a nice chunk of jesus to chew on while I think about my buying decisions. When I check out at the grocery store, I don't want to be invited to the friendly local our-brand Baptist church ... nor to the Catholic church, or any church. And if I'm consulting with someone about my PHYSICAL HEALTH, I sure as hell don't need an earful about how wonderful the doctor's life has been since he found buddha, allah, jesus, krishna, or the mighty Bob - to whom we should all bow down and make obeisance.
No No No No No. THAT's the kind of crap that gives religion in general a bad name.
If you feel all happy and cheery and gay and sprightly, then whoop de do. GO TELL YOUR FELLOW congregationalists!!! If you are on top of the world because you've been saved and suddenly your life has meaning, then I am confident that you'll find people of the same ilk with whom you can communicate your newfound joy. But about the time that doctor fella started his spiel, no matter how friendly he was in going about it, that's when I would have showed him my clenched teeth and said, Good Day sir!
You know, I had never encountered proselytism, as such, until I went to college. Yeah, sure, I live in North Carolina, fundamentalist capital of the world, shiny brass buckle of the bible belt, yadda yadda. But I guess I'd just been exceptionally lucky. So when I first encountered these people, I didn't know what to do, what to expect, or how to handle them. I remember it was interesting at first, but I quickly discovered how attempting to actually converse with them or have any kind of meaningful discussion was at best, an exercise in futility, or more often, like banging one's head against a brick wall repeatedly and rather forcefully. I had to change strategies.
I remember that when I shared with my parents the great enjoyment of meeting these kinda folk, my mother commented something along the lines of, "Yes, those are the rabid fundamentalists" ... and let me tell you, I've had them come sink their teeth in on several occasions since, but I've gotten pretty good about shaking them off.
It really ticked me off one day, however, when the worst of the organizations on campus (at UNC Asheville, in the mountains of North Carolina) set up their nice little table right outside of the student center, and began, with all enthusiasm and passion to attempt to spread their disease with ANY AND EVERYONE who made that most unfortunate mistake of coming within sight or earshot. I do not jest when I say that people were physically accosted so that the madness might have an opportunity to rub off. I mean, they would forcefully GRAB people and shove the stupid pamphlets in people's faces, and droll on and on and on about being WASHED IN THE BLOOD OF JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZUS ...
and it was all so damn disgusting to me that I'm afraid I fairly well permanently soured to this form of mental illness. I guess - for whatever reason - I've just YET to fully develop a compassion and a detachment when it comes to confronting and combatting this crap, in my life. Fortunately, I've managed to avoid anything so nasty in the 15 years or so since the rude awakening, but yes, I KNOW there are people like this, and that indeed, they carry on their hullaballoo in the name of christ-god-jesus or whatever, really without a clue that it has NOTHING to do with Christ or Christianity.
I SO OFTEN just feel like telling people exactly what they can do with their brand of jesus ... but instead, I try to choose something like a good dose of Kevin Smith and DOGMA as my escape route, so maybe I'll visit the website and listen to "plastic jesus" or even get out my Buddy Christ figure and give a wry smile.
Man, you got a right to worship ANY way you like and believe in ANY THING you like ... but when people jump in your face and try to cram jesus down your throat, I happen to feel it's our GOD-GIVEN responsibility to shout EXCESSIVELY LOUDLY right back at them something along the lines of SATAN LAUGHS at your pathetic attempts, and MAY ALL THE DEMON SPAWN OF HELL issue forth and wrestle your poor, wretched soul INTO THE MOUTH OF OBLIVION. muaahahahahahaha
Ahhh, you know, anything to give them a good jolt, and drive them running & screaming into the little huddle where they can pray themselves back into some sort of composure. Have I ever actually said anything like that to the rabid fundamentalistis? Well, no, I've never been anything but diplomatic. But have I actually SEEN them huddle and babble on about casting out demons and such horse****? Yep. On many occasions. i dunno, if they were just stupid college kids, then how come I was able to display a modicum of common sense and level-headedness? I mean, what predisposes people to fall for all that junk?
Hmmm, Karl Marx had a thing or two to say. And in this particular case, I think he was dead on.
Dear All in Christ,
Thank you for the various words of welcome to comparative-religion.com, and in particular to this forum. There was even a generous introduction of me made by Ruby in her last post.
I humbly submit that you were not the theme of my writing. If you were, I am afraid it would have been a love letter, for you cannot but enamor one with your beautiful mind and passionate heart---a romantic dreamer/idealist with great intellect---a lovely spirit that reminds one of a wild horse that captivity could not contain, in pursuit of life and liberty.
Liberty, and the freedom that "liberal" holds, cannot be true if not informed by, and established in, Truth, for it is revealed to us that the Spirit of Truth guides us into All Truth, and that Truth sets us free---but never from Itself.
I did draw from accounts given in earlier posts to create a context that all could therefore identify with, but I made sure that it was expressed as generally as possible, and therefore carried no intention to embarrass anyone. My point was that the Lord is present in all our life encounters and that those very same experiences offer us growth opportunities, exactly by taking note of what our emotions are indicating to us about our spiritual condition, not about where others are at. That very same experience is also their opportunity for growth.
Thus it is with these posts. I appreciate you calling forums your Play, and yet you found (academic) Work spilling into it. Consider yourself greatly blessed, for not all are given a life course where Study/Work/Play may become integrated as the complete expression of one's life.
Anyway, forum discussions, and our experience of others through them, afford wonderful opportunities that may be lost if we do not pay attention to ourselves, and simply react to others according to our (often mistaken) perception of them.
I would carefully suggest that you examine the possibility that what happened in your doctor's office, your feelings about it, and your subsequent description of him and his abuse, has now repeated itself here in your reaction to my writing. And that's the whole point I was making. It's going to present itself over and over, until you get it right. At the same time, I am also experiencing your very outspoken opinion of me and the charges that you are laying at my door. I could be upset, and change forums. But I'm not, and I won't.
Truth compels me to face it, and find resolution in loving-kindness---the Lord is present, everywhere.
It is true that I am a newcomer, as as such did not even realize the synchronicity (meaningful coincidence) involved in my joining this forum and almost immediately finding myself in this part of the walled garden, which I have just learned, has just been created.
I submit it is because this is where I am at.
Abiding in Him,
What/Who is G-d?
It is up to us to CREATE this environment. If G-d is omnipresent, that indicates there is a presence in every person, heavens, every post.
We don't, can't walk in one anothers shoes. We can't assume we know exactly what one is thinking. We can look to the G-d within and find our way to state our feelings our thoughts despite what goes on around us.
G-d is in everything, and sometimes folks come into our lives to learn the very principles of being Christlike...
That old judge not less ye be judged is awfully interesting to me. We live in a land that has judges...so that is thier job. We have a forum who has judges (moderators) so that is thier job. As participants we can decide to make some citizen arrests, we can decide to judge, but then we will also be judged by our actions.
Or we can take another tact, we can take the perverbial high road, and move on. As we've discussed before...we've been on that path, what would it be like to not respond negatively to folks, but to offer open arms?
Actually, you took that opportunity to self-righteously suggest that people who found the conduct that hurt to be outrageous were: childish, arrogant and weak. You also implied that the outrageous conduct in question was somehow an act of love and sharing, which it isn't.
Not content with that, you went on to suggest that because we one might not agree with your ideas of what "God" is, that he or she is an idolator.
Despite your attempts to appear genteel in the manner of its presentation, your half-concealed scorn shines through like the morning star. Might I suggest to you that you are not in the position to either judge or psychoanalyze others' feelings?
The fact is, sir, that your meaning came through quite clear despite your endeavor to conceal by appearing obsequious. Consider whether you would desire to tell a difficult personal story only to have your feelings invalidated and baseless and sanctimonious accusations lobbed at you in response. Only if you can understand how that would feel, could you then actually experience love for those you have hurt by your selfishness.
Abogado del Diablo
Exactly! It WAS interesting at first. I love discussing theology. But eventually I felt exhausted and oppressed, like I just had to get out. Didn't know why at the time. And now this self-righteous fundy we've got invading our sacred space. I will not welcome him with open arms. I see right through his sugary buttered up double-talk. The theme of that post was not me??? how ridiculous! Just some more of his double-talk. What he really means is that he felt divine leadership to rebuke me and my responses. But he knows it is more diplomatic to pretend it was all about his own learning experience. Yeah right!
I know the fundy flatter when I see it. Can smell it ten miles away. AdD, you so aptly describe the spirit of such people. He'll likely take this stuff as persecution. He can now self-righteously point to the persecution he encountered and how he has always been right that humanists are so self-engrossed that they can't take a "rebuke of love." Yeah, right! The "love" these people offer is so rotten you can smell it a hundred miles away. I was born into it, grew up with it; it was the air I breathed. When I see the indignation and anger expressed by people who had one or two ugly tastes of it I think my rage and intolerance are fully justified.
These people of his ilk are so dangerous that welcoming them with open arms is lethal. They've got a stinger like poisonous insects. When you've got them in your arms, hugging them to your heart, they will sink their stinger with its lethal poison directly into your heart. Nobody lasts long when that happens.
Nope! I'm a recovering fundy and I see right through his ilk, just like the rest of you do. Any decent person would have apologized out-rightly and simply when he saw the distress it causes people. Not so this guy. That is, in and of itself, proof that he's a hardened fundy incapable of repentance. Okay, that's pretty strong but it's going to take more than just one holy spirit to convict him of the error of his ways.
Why? Because he is going to label any such attempt on the part of the holy spirit as a temptation from the devil. Okay, maybe I've said my share for now. I just can't stand the type. They stink up the place something awful.
Hi and Peace to All Here,
Wil, I admire your courage. Your attitude has been a calming voice in this experiment. I wish you all the best in your endeavor. I just don't know how you will be heard over all the shouting. Perhaps a whisper will do the trick.
There have been a few others who have made some valiant attempts to focus on peace and understanding joined together with honest and thoughtful discussion.
But for me, I think that, for now, at least, I am going to venture out beyond this ailing garden's walls and into a more "liberal" setting. Frankly, I am confused about what can and can't be spoken here. The rules that apply to all of the rest of the gardens here in CR seem to have little bearing here--not that I am much of a stickler for rules, but I do think that the one that forbids personal attacks on others is necessary.
This seems to have become a rolling courtroom, but I cannot tell the difference anymore between the defense and the prosecution.
Now, some will call me the "F" word, probably, (I don't even know what that really means anymore, except that anyone who vaguely resembles it is dirty and not welcome here). Some will say that I have tucked my tail and run. Not the case, I assure you. It is just that I choose not to continue letting the hateful words that keep running across my screen here to infiltrate my mind and Spirit any longer.
Ruby, I do hope that you find peace and some kind of closure to the terrible experiences you describe. Your search seems to be one of desperation. I understand why. I would have liked very much to be able to help you in this endeavor. But from what I have read, I don't think that much of what I would offer would be valuable to you, at least not yet. But I will be around, somewhere in CR, if you ever want to have a talk. I promise to do my best not to preach, but Scripture may be involved. I don't really think that you would mind that, but I might make the mistake of trying to counsel you in some area for which I am unqualified.
Well, buenos suerte, everyone. I think I will go hang out in the lounge or something, and decide where I next want to explore.
I mean it when I say:
One of my main reasons for participating in this forum is to observe the way people communicate with one another about topics of religion and how we listen to and respond to one another. I have tested various ideas about how to bring people together to really listen to one another. None of them work.
This last post of yours is particularly enlightening. I am pretty close to concluding that there is no way to get people to actually listen to one another. Which is what I expected to discover anyway. I've twice before diconnected from this forum because, despite it's name, it seems so full of poison to me. Twice I've been lured back by the presence of some people who really seem to want to engage in a dialogue and listen. But they can't fight the poison and I no longer want to be a part of it.
I may "lurk" on a few topics and observe still, but I think my active participation is at an end.
I bid you all a fond farewell, and sincere thanks for the many, many interesting discussions and debates (you know the ones). I sincerely apologize for any who found my questions offensive or who felt I wasn't listening to what they had to say. I am only human after all. And there's a message in that as well.
You know Counselor, if you leave I'm gonna post something so outrageously stupid that you'll have to reply in spite of yourself. And believe me I'm completely capable of it!
If we need some guidelines will these suffice?
Separate names with a comma.