Discussion in 'Christianity' started by JustifiedByFaith, Aug 15, 2006.
Add in the doctrines of the Prosperity Gospel, and you also have the makings of a pyramid scheme.
I've been fortunate enough not to be exposed to it. I saw it on a video by Randall Balmer. He interviewed a prosperity preacher for his video series on evangelicalism and fundamentalism. Title: Mine eyes have seen the glory.
oh, so THAT is liberal Christianity....lol
Seriously, let us not get into a discussion of Social Security or Universal Health Care yet...it doesn't appear we can solve those problems...
Lets take proselityzing, witnessing, recruiting, salvation on....we've agreed we are not able to change others behaviour yes? We've agreed no one is born to live upto our expectations...or is that just me?
So how do we handle it? To me unconditional love, love thy neighbor, all implies I surely have no need to jump off the handle and down their throat...especially after all of us have been there...and some of us may be going back!
I love the discourse, I love the contemplation, I love their dedication. My JW friends, my Mormon friends, I start with the discussion of how, when the bible was created, written, edited, translated...so we can start with a basis of understanding. Sometimes we can't get passed the 'finger of G-d' wrote the entire book and brought it down off the mountain....and then I ask, if you believe that, and I believe this...how are we to have a conversation. It appears we must have a theological, philosophical, moral discussion without using bible verses....can we do that? If we want to prayer are we aware that the studies that indicate prayer works indicates it works for athiests? That the power of positive thinking goes beyond the realm of religions?
I'm perfectly ok with them praying for me, be they Hindu, Christian, or Wiccan...
The question again is this thing exists....be it proseleltyzing or what we perceive as uncaring individuals or hate groups...how do we move forward without promoting negative behaviour or acting like the pharisees?
If it was the type of fundy approach that taij described in his post, then that would add weight to your logic. But not all fundy approaches are like that. I read this from the scriptures:
"...be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" - I Peter 3:15
Or as another version would render "with gentleness and respect".
I believe the fundy message can be delivered in a non-offensive manner if done properly. And I think it can be delivered without the person it is directed to feel depressed, nor do I think a fundy needs to shove the message. When I was door-knocking, I presented the opportunity to share, but if they didn't want to hear, I respected that. In that case, I just bid them farewell, maybe leave them a tract in case they might read it later. Then I'd go to the next door. I'm just the messenger. God is the one who draws people to Himself. I'm not out to change anyone's religion. I just want people find a relationship with God through Christ.
And I didn't share my faith in order for me to gain a seat in heaven. I already have salvation in Christ. But I did it because I have developed genuine concern for people. Is it so twisted to show people how much God loves them by sending His Son to save them from their sins? How does this lead to suicide? It has been my experience that people are happy to know that God loves them. I've seen people cry as they found a sense of forgiveness through Christ as they received Him for the first time in their lives. would they have ever been drawn to God had someone not told them? Maybe. But I've seen many of them grow in the Lord and developed a heart for God.
And even if they didn't come to God, at least I know that I planted a small seed of hope so that when they do find they need God, they will know that they can come to God where they are.
Because when people cannot consciensiously accept that proposition as truth they are not accepted into the community. They are treated as a bad person. Love the sinner but not the sin. If this happens to be the community you were born into, you are forced as a teenager to choose between lying (saying something your intellect and conscience tells you is not the truth) and being ostracized by your entire social universe.
Correction in post #6: It was JBF's question. I obviously had Ruby on my mind. Now I'll go and see what awaits me at the other thread.
It hurts, doesn't it. You have been indoctrinated so deeply into a dark brand of Christianity that you don't know what to believe anymore. The rules and regulations that you have been subjected to has left a sour taste for that brand of Christianity, yet it is the only brand you know, really.
Do you think you can ever to find the love of God through Christ? Or has your past stained you so bad that any thought of a relationship with God through Christ would have no effect? Perhaps you are not trusting of anything to do with the name Christian, for it carries such negative connotations now, don't it?
But before you toss everything out, remember this: Your beef isn't with God, but rather the people who treated you bad. Those who put your through that. Stripped of all that baggage your carrying, from those experiences and all the hurt and heartache you have suffered, and all the wounds, would it be possible for you to look for God? For now you even seem to be having doubts about His very existance.
It is my personal conviction that the bottom line is that God doesn't care for rules and regulations, He knows we make mistakes. He knows our sin. He knows we will continue. What did Jesus tell the woman who was caught in adultery? "Where are your accuser? Is there no one to condemn you?" "No one" "Neither do I condemn you" Do you know what is so wonderful about this? The woman didn't even ask or expect forgiveness, but was rather waiting for that condemnation to come. Yet Jesus just said, "Go, and sin no more." That is love unconditional. And it is only when we realize that God is saying this to us that we can know this in our heart. Do you think that woman left a changed woman?
As we are defining this space, which some feel to open, to much without rules..If we need some guidelines will these suffice?
But what he said was nothing specific, perse. He was just rather general of his view of fundies, which I could have taken offense, except that it wasn't directed toward me directly.
Yup...used to be at a BIIIIIGGG university which shall go unnamed. Glad you appreciated the work. Keep Smiling...alot !!
Dondi, I don't understand your talk about forgiving. Apparently you hated what taijais said on another thread. You refuse to admit it there. But you come over here and blow your stack. When confronted you say it wasn't bad enough to mention. Do you think he does not read this thread? This looks like anything BUT forgiveness to me. It looks like denial in its purest form.
It's called toleration. I don't have to like what taij said, but that doesn't mean I have to produce a reactive response to his thread. In fact, by NOT responding to his post in a reactive manner, I think I am showing civil restraint, which is hard for some folks to do. And I don't see anything in my post that would consitutes "blowing my stack" here. Your reading into it what it doesn't say. I said I could have taken offense, but didn't. There is nothing to forgive, for he wasn't directing his post at me personally. And besides, my post that you quote was in reponse to Abogado's inquiry, not taij.
And do I know that taij will read this? Sure, I am actually hoping he will, because I believe he will take what I've said in the same civil manner I have for his post. Because as i've said before, it's all about perspective.
This is quick, apologies for my haste - but much more so for causing the uproar. I have no idea when I'll get to the other thread. I am glad I posted a response, though admittedly, the business about demonspawn might have been over the top. To have toned that part down, might have been helpful, but let me assure you, that was how I have felt on MANY occasions - even here at CR, at times, yet you've never seen me say such things directly TO someone.
Still, to post that response, on whatever thread it was, certainly took things a bit far (I cringe at the prospect of what I must shortly read, but then, it's my doing, and I will face the music). So again, please forgive a lack of good judgment, and know that what bothered me most was the prospect that I might be stalling that discussion. Did I feel somewhat put off by leastone's post? You're darn right I did. But there's no excusing that kind of response, and I've learned a great deal in the past couple of hours. Because this served to bring things to Light, in a positive way, I think my post managed to serve a useful purpose ... but that has everything to do with the character and the motive of the people posting on the Liberal Christianity forums. And it in no way justifies a bit of disprespect that I showed.
Maybe, but not to post as I did ...
I believe you experienced my true feelings for some of the fundie types - and certainly not all, I will add - but thank you very much, Dondi, for pausing, reflecting, and cooling down before you responded ... and thus for helping to move things forward, rather than detracting.
Ahhhh ... and you see, this is precisely the kind of thing I think we need to work through. Wil, I am with you, and everyone, in this - I hope. Yes, I understand that this can be a person's perception, and yes, I realize the proselytism is often done out of the best of intentions (see my response to Ruby, below), but I'm sorry, this is patently offensive to me. For the same reasons Ruby jumped on me in another thread - and rightly so - I must object.
YOU (not you, Dondi, I mean the fundie person who is missionizing to me) are going out of your way to bring Christ to ME ... because you perceive me - for whatever reason - as being "without." Oh, the word you used, Dondi, is "lost." You know what, in some cases (certainly these kids at the college), I think I know who was lost and who wasn't, okay?
I mean, yes, I realize there is a great passion, a zeal, an enthusiasm, but what folks like this sometimes don't understand or simply refuse to acknowledge ... is that not everyone WANTS to come to their church, stand up and babble on in front of everybody things that frankly, I think belong in private conversation with one's intimates, and scream on & on about getting washed in the blood of Jesus. You dig?
This comes down to best of intentions, but let's live and let live - and YOU go to your church, I'LL go to mine (or into my "closet" to pray, meaning, of course, the hidden chamber of the heart, the Sacred Space in every human being where the Living, Loving G-d DWELLS). Can you see how essentially opposite these two forms of worship are? And so, again, meaning well, you (you fundie, whoever, no one specifically) would come WITNESS to me, but brother, let me tell you, I'm witnessing too, and I don't like what I'm witnessing. Honestly, it makes me cringe, but in my better moments of composure, yes, I can even take on a whole crowd of such folks ... and I'll point out something:Even in a great, writhing sea of emotion, where the people are undisciplined, and perhaps even where chaos reigns - as on a boat with a dozen men - it only takes one with a calm and a level head, to calm the rest. We have that expression, don't rock the boat. But again, it only takes one.
Interestingly, the reverse can be true. Where there is order, and balance, with harmony and reason prevailing ... it only takes one to make waves, to rock the boat, and more often than not, to capsize the damn thing and sink it.
Thank you, everyone, for making sure that the latter did not happen. I might not have been the only one out of line, but I sure as hell wasn't the guy in the first example.
Anything less, doesn't belong at CR.
Nope, but if you want to show me, show me, don't TELL me. And by the way, as a Liberal Christian, remember, my take on this "saving me from my sins" business, is a good bit different than what Luther said, or Calvin, or Hobbes, or ... wait, you know what I mean. Bottom line, yes, I need to practice patience, and I need to learn to smile (see below) and nod, and just say, thank you kindly. Perhaps both here, as in the physical world, I will do best - if pushed - to just get up and walk away. I have had to do that. And, done calmly, it is a powerful way of teaching ... (done, remember, because I get sick of hearing the stuff, over, and over, and over) ...
But for me not to get up and walk away, sometimes, can mean the loss of my cool, or in the very least, the loss of a productive afternoon. I am always more than willing to pocket the little pamphlets, and I have a feeling that some here might be surprised if they could see how friendly I usually am with anyone who walks up and starts that kind of stuff. Why? Because I DO realize their motivation, and I do have some understanding of their beliefs. More so, I have experienced probably a great deal of what most folks mean, when they talk about, "The love of God, the love of Christ, the love of Jesus, the feeling of being saved, the STATE of being saved, the Grace of God," and a dozen or more other such things - many having to do with the power of the Holy Spirit, and Pentecost, and all that jazz.
Now it's interesting, Ruby, because you were saying elsewhere, that I do not know you, and that thus, there is only a certain degree to which I can say a thing like, "We all lack a perfect relationship with God," or "We are all striving toward perfection." Let me not generalize, but let me at least suggest that the Love of God which people discuss in about a thousand different ways (sic!) ... is not really a thousand different things. It is One. And I like to believe that we have all experienced it, and probably do, every so often, if not quite often. There, I will acknowledge, yes - I don't know much about your own, personal relationship with God. But I don't need to, and frankly, unless you feel like sharing, I don't want to!
Maybe that last part's not quite true, in your case Ruby, and as it happens, I actually do want to hear more, and know more, from most everyone here at CR - including, from time to time, someone who might have a new spin on the fundamentalist stance and proselytism that I am otherwise pretty darn well familiar with.
But from past experience, talking with folks ranging from the most fanatic of the fundies, to the most level-headed and down-to-earth of the Mormons (I like them, I relate), to the very well-intentioned, if narrow-minded Jehovah's Witnesses, I know enough ... to try to AVOID AT ALL COSTS letting them into my house, but folks, 99% of the time something else just manages to hold sway, and we end up chatting, and fruitless as I feel things have been ... I do at least know, that I've done them a service, because I've allowed them to share something with me. And that's not something I need. Companionship maybe? Hmmm, and how far is that from the Love that God wishes to share with us. ahhhh - ha
Now I'm losing myself (good), but I'm getting confused. let's see ...
Here is how my close friend during college handled it. Steve was a devout and pious Catholic, and I always looked up to him, and felt that he embodied very much the Love of Christ which we are all here to come to know and to share with others. Steve was quite open and friendly, when he was with people who can be likewise. He could sometimes be slightly withdrawn, but only where he knew instinctively that it was better to let other people do the ego dance. Steve had no interest in that.
And Steve and I had many an interesting conversation, as one, somewhat zealous esotericist to a rather more mature, well-balanced Catholic. So naturally, we sometimes disagreed, but seldom with any hard feelings or air of self-righteousness and superiority. That was just dumb.
Let me tell you what Steve did, on such days as when the Fundies set up their tables and did their accosting. Steve, who was very non-confrontational, and who really couldn't stand what these folks were all about (since he felt it was quite out of line with what Christ intended) ... would simple put his head down, and being quite perceptive in those days, I could feel him essentially pull in, or tuck in (withdraw) his aura, and dodge them. He was good at it, because I think his goal was to behave exactly as Christ would, and it almost reminds me of the scene before Pilate.
After all, what were these folks doing, if not JUDGING? And however well intentioned, that kind of proselytism and active engagement of passersby is just RUDE. It is to make assumptions, and to manifest something most unhealthy ... both spiritually and religiously speaking. For, in Steve's case, they had LIFETIMES of catching up to do, before they might hope to understand the "Christ in him." And as for myself, at that time, I tended to think likewise!
But anyway, Steve was a role model to me, because if I happened to be walking with him, I could usually get past those folks without incident, but if I was alone, the wolves would descend ... and the chink in the armor was soon exploited.
Okay, that's the extreme, but there's something I gathered from Steve besides just how to deal with extreme cases. He was polite and respectful, he was never presumptuous or self-righteous (certainly not often), and he always tried to make bridges, and find the commonalities in what was being said. And this is a Catholic, and one who was VERY much a conservative, though also a reasonable, reasoning, and level-headed one. I suppose only an esotericist will understand that he was a Baptized Catholic (in the truest sense), but that had everything to do with his approach.
There are folks here who often remind me of Steve, and others like him, for their openness, their tolerance, their inclusivity and inclusiveness of approach, and also their strong reasoning powers and ability to discern truth, when it is present. Steve knew what he believed, and his faith was strong, but he certainly didn't go out of his way to knock others around with it. That just didn't occur to him. And so he was as gentle as St. Francis, if also as strong - both inwardly and outwardly - as a Titan. He remains, as a spiritual presence to me, as the ideal Christian, despite being a Catholic. lol
(sorry, I couldn't resist this last part, but please understand I'm being entirely tongue in cheek)
Does it make sense then, if I say, that if we could all just be more like Steve ... then things would be fine? And that's helpful not just in dealing with over-zealousness, it helps when a post like mine, on that other thread, comes up. After all, whom does my account of Steve here, best serve? But perhaps it will reach others, as well ...
Namaste, Namaskar ... In Love & Light,
Wow! I didn't expect the horses to run out of the chutes so fast on this one... Just kidding of course. Say, I appreciate the responses to my simple thread question. It somewhat bothers me that there is really not a defined definition though? I am always uncomfortable with the word "liberal". This makes me concerned and cautious when I hear it tied in with Christianity. I get "red-flags" thinking that "sound doctrine" can be twisted to become more "touchy-feel"?
Does this make sense? I often see examples in the body of Christ where I am afraid that the "don't do's" have become the "Okay to do's". Is this caused by Liberal Christianity? Am I making any sense here?
I really think there is a lot of what you see in Steve in you, otherwise how could you recognize it?
I'm not sure what the do's and don'ts in your doctrine are so it's hard to tell what the label "liberal" would entail. As far as I know and understand there is a strong desire among many Christians to have an outer doctrine to guide, and console them. The Christian mystics of history and up to the present day seek an inner connection that is beyond mere "feeling" though I know of none who would do away with scripture. To me it is possible to fulfill and yet trancend all the do's and don'ts to reach a higher ground of sorts. Such as expecting that you don't have to tell an honest man that stealing is wrong, it simply wouldn't enter his mind to violate that law. Christ gives us a model to get past ourselves and go beyond mere humanity to something deeper and richer. This is what is referred to as transpersonal experience. Though not a common term it speaks of getting beyond self actualization and going toward self trancendance. I think Kendo put it best when he said " I don't want to be just a Christian I want to become Christ"
Amen to that!
"...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."
Ummm...excuse me if I point out the fact that you seem to be substantively repeating the observations that you stated in Post #1. So I guess you could say that, no, you aren't making much sense, at least to me.
I tried to compose and write as comprehensive and detailed an explanation of the nature of Liberal Christianity in post #2 that I could dredge up. But here you are trying to start the discussion "all over again" by implying "all over again" that Liberal Christianity it is some sort of "touchy-feely" concept, which implies a viewpoint similar to what was mentioned in your first post.
Now the ensuing discussion ended up causing a valuable member of this forum to walk away in disgust and anger. That is not what most of us are here for. We are here for civil and respectful discussions of belief that lead to new vistas of understanding and knowledge. Your implications tend to lead the discussions into recursive patterns. Recursive, or circular, discussions lead to non-productive verbal activities, and cause frustrated participants to do just what Abogado did, which, while you may not have directly intended it to happen, did, and he did walk away because of his frustration with the situation. I, for one, will miss his experience, presence, and intellect, even though he is a lawyer; and, aside from the fact that I have often been accused of being a lawyer in the past.
Now if I detect this sort of manipulative effort and behavior on your part, or on the part of any other who may have and express direct or indirect distaste for what we discuss in this garden, then I will not hesitate to call you or them on it. Those of us who consider ourselves to be "Liberal" or "Progressive" got to the places we are in because we sense that there is "something more" out there regarding the life of the man Jesus, and we are still looking for it, wherever it may be. We are "seekers" more than anything, perhaps similar in nature to those I used to work with who sought cures and vaccines for terrible afflictions. We are here to understand and support each other, not to undermine, however how subtly and sweetly, the beliefs and intellectual pursuits of our brothers and sisters.
If you have any direct questions about the materials that I composed and presented in post #2, please ask them and I will do my best to directly answer them. Your statement "huh" in post #3 didn't seem like much of a question to me. And in lieu of a more detailed set of questions from you regarding what I have written, I, for one, plan to thoroughly disregard your last post.
Hi All, thank you for bearing with us.
I think the question has been asked and answered JBF. As Flow has said, "we are here for civil and respectful discussions of belief that lead to new vistas of understanding and knowledge." Simply challenging the answers one receives without appearing to listen to the responses or bringing in fresh perspective is not conducive to that respectful dialogue.
With that let's carry on, keeping in mind the kind of civility in discussions we all would like to see cultivated here at CR.
Thank you for that lenthy and enlightening response. See, I've gained a broader perspective already and you have given me some valuable insight that I believe will have some direct effect on how I approach people with the gospel in the future.
First, however, I want to clarify something from you response to my sharing you some of the methods for witnessing. I wasn't going to employ them here for the purpose of witnessing to you or anybody else here. That is against the rules anyway. Rather, I would only demonstrate why fundies use them to share the gospel. It would only be to show motivation. I merely wanted to return a perspective from my point of view in response to some of the assumptions that has been made about reasons fundies are adamant in sharing the Gospel. I can understand fully why you would object to another trail of fundy bunk which you've obviously been exposed to. And I my intention is not to invoke negative vibes brought on by a "oh, no, here we go again" defensive stance against fundamentalist. But I'll respect your wishes by not bringing it up. It was only meant to provide a better understanding.
Suffice to say that please at least understand that there are less confrontational and objectionable means of witnessing than the ones you've encountered.
But like I've said before, I'm not pushy when it comes to sharing my faith. If one doesn't wish to listen, fine. I'm not really out to change anyone's religion. You are obviously not in need of conversion. As Jesus said, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." It is the sick that I wish to reach. I'm looking for those who have never known the love of God in any form or fashion. And if I can point the way even a little in hope that they will have just a glimpse of the "Brazen Serpent", then at least I have the satisfaction of imparting hope in what may be an otherwise dismal life. There are people who need God, but don't know the way. Now you might regard some the fundy's methods as sick and misguided, but if done properly, it has given hope to many, including myself. Maybe there are other ways one can share one's faith, i.e. showing. But how in the world are we to know who needs the Lord if we don't try and reach out to others. We aren't out to judge, for their is only one Judge, but we try to gage if someone has at least a desire to seek the Lord. And that is not judging, that is caring.
Dondi, thanks for sharing your perspective. It sounds like perhaps you have found an acceptable way of witnessing. An idea came to me to share for what it's worth. I speak as an "apostate" from the perspective of the fundy. Some people feel a need to admonish and remonstrate me for leaving. You addressed this question and perhaps I'll share more on it in another post. For now I just wish to share that perhaps it is the Spirit's responsibility to convict people. I ask that Christians commit their concerns about me and other apostates to God. We have given much deep thought to religion. Otherwise we would not have left. That is the impression I get from others in my age bracket who left.
I have also talked with strong and committed and genuinely sincere Christians who feel as I do about it being the Spirit's responsibility to bring people to God, to convert people. I get the feeling from Andrew's post that his friend Steve was one of these. My experience has been that there people are willing to speak of their faith if they are asked but they don't put it out there, they don't make the offers or in any way "push religion."
My question would be: Why do fundies feel they have to push religion? They are, after all, living by the same Bible as these other Christians. Why can't they trust the Spirit?
Andrew (taij) mentioned what he wants versus what the fundies want. Andrew, from what I have seen and how I understand fundy religion, "what I want" is outside the realm of legitimate protest. It does not count for them because they believe we will go to hell and that in the end we will thank them. They think we just don't know what we want. And therein lies my chief complaint. It disregards, and thereby violates, the individual. That is why I wonder if perhaps a decent compromise would be to trust the Spirit but to be available when and if a person wants to learn more.
I don't know if this makes sense. It's an issue I have given much serious thought because it clashes with the humanist values of most of society. Not being allowed to witness and testify impinges on the fundy's right to freedom of religion. Witnessing and testifying to people who don't want it impinges on their right to freedom of religion and thought. So I simply don't know the answer.
Separate names with a comma.