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View Diary: My So-Called Christian Life (25 comments)

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  •  Indeed we MUST reference Christians less (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dirkster42, susanala, xulon, Prof Haley, SchuyH

    broadly. The predominance of Evangelical Christians in the social consciousness is completely out of proportion to their history and overall place in the larger world of Christianity.

    For instance, as an Evangelical, you speak in your diary about having a conversion experience, being "born again". Lots of serious Christians never have that kind of conversion moment. In fact, I was just talking to the dean of our Cathedral about that: neither one of us has ever had that kind of conversion moment and yet both of us are sincere and serious Christians. But you see, if you ask me when I "became a Christian" and was "born again" and I would say "at my Baptism". Which in my tradition, was when I was an infant. Does that make me less Christian than you? Hardly. It makes me a different Christian than you. And that's OK.

    What I think we all would do well to remember the words of the Lutheran theologian who, when asked if he thought his religion was the "true" religion: "I believe it is the true religion, but not the only true religion".

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 10:06:37 AM PST

    •  Buddhist training monasteries in Japan (3+ / 0-)
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      la motocycliste, commonmass, SchuyH

      routinely send novices around to each other, based on experienced judgments that this person would do better under that practice. We describe Buddhism as a jewel with 84,000 facets. (This is not possible in crystallography, but unlike Fundamentalist idiocies, it is not meant to be literal. It refers to 84,000 possible states of the human mind, in a certain cataloging scheme. All of them, in short.) No matter which facet you look through, you see into the same heart.

      America—We built that!

      by Mokurai on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 11:29:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's why I put those terms in quotes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, SchuyH

      They evoke an experience which resonate with some and they are the "in lingo" for some. But they are not end-all-be-all. They are not the Gospel. They don't describe the spiritual life of all believers. In my case, there was no life-long I've believed since I was a little child. There was a conscious decision and commitment as an adult. I had hoped the quotes would make it a little more plain that while I had a conversion experience, I was not judging or negating the experiences of others.

    •  "a different Christian than you" (2+ / 0-)
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      xulon, SchuyH

      That's a hard point to get across in modern America.
      How you self-identify Vs, what those words mean to someone else.
      For far too many Americans, "Muslim" triggers a monolithic image, no idea that there are dozens of flavors of Islam and that they range from just barely observant to MOR/lip service adherents to entrenched Theocrats, to firebreathing Olde Tyme fundamentalists and a variety in between.
      As someone outside of any "faith". I see more similarities between branches of the Abrahamic faiths than I see differences and at core, all major faiths hold approximately the same values, benefit from the same accumulated wisdom, though they use different language to express it.
      The problem that Christians are having in America is that since about quarter of Reagan, Religion has been a gold-paved path for con artists to harness the political power of their flocks. And it's not just one sect or faction, its a competitive world out there. Billy Graham Vs Jerry Falwell Vs the Pope.....
      The rise of "Conservative" political power and the installed machinery that made that happen: Think Tanks, Media conglomeration and Mega Churches, kinda drowned out the Catholic Workers and the American Friends Service (Full disclosure: I attended Friends schools in Jr High and High school and hold that group of Christians in the highest regard).
      Somehow this Rightwing segment of the Faith community became what people think of when they hear "Christian".
      For the most part, they seem to have misread or misunderstood most of the New Testament. I don't believe that prejudice and hate were part of the original teachings.
      They either don't know or they are cynically using their professed faith for their gain.
      I refer to this section of the Republican Party as the Jeebus crowd. I've heard others refer to them as the Baby Jesus people. That differentiates the Republican/Christian political device from Christians in toto.
      How do "good" Christians differentiate themselves?
      Good question.
      And one that religions since the dawn of time have grappled with. One of the reasons that there are such variations is because people disagree on interpretations of the scriptures, so vehemently that they cannot worship in the same house as each other. The three books of Abraham have started thousands of wars over the past 3000 years. In Northern Ireland, they use the same book, speak the same languages are members of the same families, they agree on 99% of their faith and for 75 years, in a total contravention of their respective faiths, killed each other over that remaining 1% that they disagree on!
      Obviously, good people, working within the framework of the Church are out there every day, trying to fix the world. My late friend, Father Emmett was one of those, I always felt he'd be doing this with or without a church's support. But it's unseemly to trumpet your good works so they get lost under the Media barrage.
      One thing that might help is Talk2Action. I believe one of the writers, Fredrick Clarkson (sp?) is also a writer here at DKos. They are a group of people interested in and trained in various faiths and they write about some of the more dangerous trends in modern American faith culture, particularly the Dominionists.
      There are some sects, some belief systems that are focused on installing theocracy here and these guys are OK with doing it by force. They have deep penetration into the US military et cetera. Ruth Tabachnik is another of their writers and has done a lot of study on these people. Knowledge is powerful and understanding the nuance of religio-political writing is a skill most of us don't have and won't acquire.
      I believe that it behooves the Religious Communities of all faiths to do what they can to rein in the more extreme elements of their faith or be tarred with the same brush.
      Much the way I feel that Gun Owners should be in the forefront of calling for reasonable gun control laws.
      It's your game but it's effecting everyone, even those that choose not to play.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 05:03:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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