Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quotes From Articles I Have Read Recently #8

I have this gadget on the side of my blog that lists blog articles that I have shared within my Google Reader. However, it is things like Google Reader that keep people from actually going to blogs anymore. A lot of folks are probably like me and only go to the actual blog if they are going to comment. So I have a feeling that my list of articles I have read recently doesn't get seen much. So I am going to try to be more diligent in creating lists like this, with quotes, so I can add some traffic to these articles I enjoyed.

And yet, when I joined the blogging world I discovered there were a lot of people out there like me, trying to find a spiritual worldview that makes sense to them. It is in that spirit that I have tried to help articulate Christian Universalism, as expressed by the CUA, as a comprehensive spiritual paradigm that goes beyond-far beyond-simply rejecting belief in Hell. I see Christian Universalism as a new alternative to both traditional, conservative, orthodox religion and the many forms of liberal religions that surround us today. Those of us disillusioned with traditional religion often find that our alternatives aren’t particularly appealing: “Rational” religions that have been stripped of any real spirituality; liberal political activism that invokes religion when convenient; and the New Age movement, which offers plenty of spirituality but has forgotten that real spirituality is not indulging ourselves. For those of us who feel spiritually homeless, with no labels to describe our beliefs, no one we can relate to, and nowhere to go, I am happy to announce that it need not be this way. This is where Christian Universalism enters the picture. The Christian Universalist

I don’t know what I believe. That’s kind of a relief, actually, as it’s taken me about seven years to say. Since my fundamentalist upbringing never left a lot of room for doubt, I spent a lot of time bottling up the truth, which was that I no longer knew what capital-T Truth was. Admitting this to myself was difficult enough, but I also found myself faced with a somehow more daunting dilemma: how do I continue to function honestly in the Christian community without people I love rejecting me or—worse—worrying about me? Each time I would come close to exposing the true nature of my (un)belief, I could think only of a time when I had been kept up at night in anguish over a lost soul. What did I do now that that lost soul was me? Emerging Toward Something Redeeming

Increasingly I see the church as an organization for the spiritually immature. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying this in an elitist way, thinking I am better than others. I am not. However, the traditional church seems to be like a body of children vying for the approval of a heavenly parent. Also, it is engaged in a medieval attempt at the manipulation of the divine, for their benefit. I see the church increasingly retreating into unreality. Reflections

I love how Whitman absorbs and identifies with all of humanity. Male and female, slave and free, saint and sinner, rich and poor. Whitman, to use his words, embraces multitudes. And I want to embrace multitudes. Whitman embodies what the theologian Miroslav Volf calls a "catholic personality," making space within the self to accommodate others. And I think that is often missing in religious people. We fail to make space in our hearts and minds for other people. Experimental Theology

The funny thing about religious dogmatism is the lack of unanimity among those dogmatists who proclaim the certainty of their own pet belief system. Dogmatism is good, we are told--but of course, my dogmatism is right and yours is wrong. How this serves as an argument for the absolute knowability of God is anyone's guess. Mystical Seeker

It's always struck me as rather odd that there is a field within Christianity called "apologetics." Perhaps the clearest definition of apologetics is, "The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines." I think of it more as trying to prop up the dubious.

After all, if something is true should that truth be not hard to see? Certainly there are some things where that is not the case. One that springs to mind is scientific truths. There is nothing about truths in physics that is at all self-evident to me. Shouldn't theology be different? Why do we need a whole "department" that spends all its time defending declared truth? May I suggest it's because such "truths" are really little more than WAGs (wild-assed guesses)?

If a truth is a truth it doesn't need anyone to defend it. Gravity is a truth. If you don't believe it, jump off a bridge and I promise you will be convinced. There are certain things in the spiritual arena that are relatively easy to verify and/or experience as well. The truth is that apologetics isn't concerned with truth at all, but rather with propping up arguments and theories. Why do these things need propping up? The need propping up because in what they declare they go too far. They go to far because those who propose them are essentially insecure. In the name of honesty, apologetics should be called "argumentation." A Real Bishop's Reality

4 comments:

Bruce said...

Andrew,

I have similar sympathies as you. While I claim the agnostic moniker I do so because I don't know what else to call myself. I believe in God but I reject most of modern, Western Christianity. I still yearn for that which is bigger than I but all I see around me is the same old empty, lifeless, corporate, self-centered, religion.

Churches in this are a monoculture. Been to one been to them all, and in my case I have visited the majority of Churches in this area. The closest universalist Church (and I know there is a difference between universalist and CU) is 45 miles away.

This weekend our family celebrates an anniversary of sorts. 1 year since we attended Church. Not sure what to think about this.

Bruce

Andrew said...

Bruce,
Welcome! Yeah, I am becoming more ambivalent about church all the time. It just seems like I am encouraging a process that I am less and less convinced is benefiting our world...

are you in the SLC area?

Bruce said...

I am THE Bruce :)

SO I still live NW Ohio the land of right wingers, Republicans, and Evangelicals. :)

Bruce

Andrew said...

BRUCE!!!!!!

Man, when I first saw that name I was hopin it was you!!! So glad to hear from you friend! You disappeared, I was doin Google searches trying to find an email address or something for ya. What is happenin in your world?

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