Tuesday, August 24, 2004

How Do You Like Your Religion?

I've been blessed with a new friend, Larry. He commented on my post about Books I'd Like to Read. He kindly e-mailed me and I responded with a long e-mail. Since my time is so limited, and I'm neglecting my children by being on-line, I'm going to post parts of my response to him because it raises issues that I'm struggling with. Maybe I'll even make some attempts to clarify my babblings... Let's take a look at my e-mail response, in media res...
To read more, click the Xs...

I consider myself a liberal Protestant and I attend Bible Study Fellowship which follows a Reformed theology. It seems to me that these groups believe that God is in everyone, through the Holy Spirit, and it differs within the individual how much they allow that to shine through. I am very interested in the concept of sin, I was frightened by it as a child, its not mentioned much at all in my church, but comes up quite frequently in my Bible Study! I find it useful to believe in sin, but I've had discussions with my friends who've indicated that perhaps I see sin everywhere. However, its my hope that I'm not judgmental about it. I recognize that we all have sin and we all have to try to overcome it in order to be the people God wants us to be. I don't know if any of this makes sense -- this is my current state of understanding and perhaps my theology is a bit utilitarian right now -- I follow what I can understand and what works for me.

This is why I'm interested in Christianity and healing -- we all have sufferings or sin or something that clogs us or separates us from God. I'm interested in how we seek to be our best, to overcome these obstacles or sin, to heal ourselves, or seek healing through God's grace. My interest in healing focuses on the spiritual health of the individual, right now, not physical healing. I can't help but feel that our nation is drugged out -- it seems so many people are on anti-depressants and I don't think its the cure. I wonder, perhaps even hope, that we can heal ourselves [or rather, be healed through grace] by examining our spirituality, by seeking God. I have a good friend who is interested in Buddhism, but I can't help but feel she's on the wrong path [hows that for a direct contradiction of my unschooling philosophy?]. However, I know that its her decision to make and that perhaps this path will lead her to God. I know that I myself have many problems with pride and control, thinking that I know the best path for her. I'd like to think its only a misguided desire on my part to help.

Sorry to ramble so long -- please feel free to share any insights or commentary you have with me -- I'm seeking, but I'm not so sure where to look sometimes. I really do struggle between liberalism and conservatism. I feel liberalism is more understanding and loving and perhaps even more Godly, but it feels a bit elusive to me. What I like about conservatism is that it seems to give me something more to hold onto. Also note, my conservatism is a fairly liberal brand of it.

I've tried to read some Marcus Borg, but I can't seem to find the time or real interest to accomplish this task. Frankly, it kind of spooks me out when he refers to the pre-resurrection Jesus and the post-resurrection Christ. I'm not an inerrantist, but I am a literalist, at least to the degree that I believe that Jesus died and was resurrected and is the Son of God. I didn't read enough of Borg to understand his message but it seemed to be going along the lines of Jesus being a great example of a human being but that he couldn't be divine because then we, as humans, wouldn't be able to relate to him. Feel free to post corrections -- please. I could really use a Cliff's Notes for theology...

ANYWAY, I realize that much of the Bible is figurative, but I believe that much of it is both figurative and literal. I believe that we have to understand the historical context of the Bible, but that it is living and has important application for today. This is a big change for me from my college belief that the Bible is a work of literature but not much more than that [this was not even an original thought on my part, I think I learned in a religion class that liberal Christians view the Bible in this manner].

Ah well, I'm clearly muddled and would be happy to dialogue with anyone on these issues.

To see my good friend's blog post which mentions parts of this post, click here


Anonymous said...

Well Sparky, you wrote:
"I am a literalist, at least to the degree that
I believe that Jesus died and was resurrected and
is the Son of God."

As you know, I am not a literalist, but "I
believe that Jesus died and was resurrected and
is the Son of God."

What I don't believe is that Jesus was God. And
since I came to that conclusion, I like Borg find Jesus
a lot more real and I feel a lot closer to him. Brother,
friend, counselor, comforter--as these and a lot of other
qualities I recognize and experience in him, and I rejoice.

Blessings! What you believe is really not as important
as what you "do". When I "do", I get an immediate payoff.

Marjorie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marjorie said...

Well, goodness, it wasn't like I wanted to REMOVE my comment, I just wanted to edit it and couldn't find that option... My response was directed to the wrong person and now I can't remember what it said...

Marjorie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marjorie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marjorie said...

I added the link to the end of my post. Its easier for me to link through my posts than through my comments.