A. Since so many old texts did survive, ask why.
What human need is at work in the preserving, copying, puzzling, making up narratives, and ascribing inspiration to be taken on others' faith.
Religious meaning. What is this? When in doubt, sound certain rather than question, say some.
1. Seeking meaning.
Look for a cogent, respectful discussion of how absolute interpretations do a disservice to faith by faking security. Do systems fill in to make a narrative that suits the institution, and fibs that the individual's fears and anxieties can be relieved by dogma absorption and supremacism, and denying others rights of decision-making on their own moral ground. This is the way.
No, it may well not be. The other view: Does more security arise from questioning tradition, interpretations and mores in culture? There may well not be more security, but the state of not knowing at least is normalized, freeing the person from the drive to force others to follow one cultural-religious ideology.
This non-traditional religious-oriented group describes itself as progressive, but that is difficult to define, see http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/01/what-is-progressivism/And there are aspects of anyone's religious life that are firmly within the traditional circle, retaining designations of the institution, for example, regardless of other movings outside it.
- John Shelby Spong, retired Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Newark NJ (retired 2001), lays out an inclusive and accessible approach to theology, for anyone. An interest is in the parts of texts misused to foster prejudice and violence. the facts that can shed light on all this human ongoing insecurity. Live with it, positively, and as a bridge and helping hand to others regardless, perhaps.
All humans seek security, but concretized faith positions cannot provide it, and should not distort old texts in order to try. There is a basic flaw in ideological systems, in that they aim to convince people that they can find identity and security in this life, a very human drive, by adopting a system. And that deprives everyone of the full panoply of human relationship and inquiry needed to help each other, and live broadly moral lives. Is that so?
5. Current spur in the news for this issue. See http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/us/kim-davis-same-sex-marriage.html?_r=0
- A county clerk's spiritual life was shaped by a conversion experience with the result that she, in her own conscience, will not allow others to live their lives according to the secular law. Her ideological system says that allowing same gender marriage is morally wrong, that the Deity requires her and others like her not only to live their own lives accordingly but also to aggressively enforce the institution's interpretation (from the Deity) against anyone outside the group. Her own conscience, newly awakened, says to deny others their own path. Her security is in her membership ad her adamance based on her sincerely held religious belief.
- Source: a monthly email Q&A accessible through Questions and Answers email about 9/2/2015, johnshelbyspong.com/. Mailing address: ProgressiveChristianity.org, 4810 Pt. Fosdick Dr. NW, #80Gig Harbor, WA 98335
5.3. The human condition itself remains chronically insecure and , and no ideological system can bring security without distorting, suppressing, reducing the thought process to controlled level of ongoing dependence.
"To live with integrity in a radically insecure world is, I believe, the meaning of the Christian life." John Shelby Spong, see siteSo, he continues, truth is not possessed, but is a goal for walking toward. Forcing conversions repels more than attracts, a sign of decline. Spong, above. "Whether a new stage of religious maturity is being born to take its place is not quite as clear. That, however, is where the future of Christianity lies."
6. KNGDV finds a kindred spirit in Bishop Spong. There is pleasure in looking things up, finding Aha moments, but those will never change others' minds -- ever. That is not the goal. Rather, KNGDV here is dedicated to the walk forward, the larger understanding of why we distort as we do.
B. Broader secular epiphany.
James Joyce and Epiphany. How awareness unfolds. See http://www.mrbauld.com/epiphany.html. Considerations, and with warmth extended to the Kentucky clerk, a fellow
- Consider the risks of vetting. Rather than add to the security offered by fixed systems, this vetting instead suggests that anxiety about meaning is to be lived with, as a normal, there are no absolute answers. Texts that religious systems include-omit-interpret may well not match, even nearly, the old roots.
7. Start: Take any verse, portion of any scriptural text, and vet. Prepare for surprises, and resistance by firm system believers to the possibility of taint, cultural self-serving, in the interpretations.
- Kentucky clerk, I think you would find the process of vetting your belief about same-gender deity approval or not to be safe, if you have like-minded friends interested in arguments counter-arguments. Certainty: No one verse will establish that.
- Skip labels like progressive. Think Progress. A constructive way of looking at tradition, and moving forward with and from it, using thinking, texts and ideology as a vetting opportunity.
Copyright © 2015 ProgressiveChristianity.org, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up for our weekly, free Questions & Answers email on johnshelbyspong.com
Our mailing address is: ProgressiveChristianity.org
4810 Pt. Fosdick Dr. NW
#80Gig Harbor, WA 98335