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Source: (consider it) Thread: Blessings from a Christian perspective
Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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A while back lilBuddha posted a topic that irritated me at the time. While I don't remember exactly what was posted my memory of it is to the effect that Christians claim a benevolent God who wants good things for them. How does that fit in with the notion that some events are blessings, while others are not?

At the time I decided the best response was to get all huffy and come up with an intricate explanation of why God does not always bless us Christians. Knowing me, I was going to mix in some process theology.

Since that time my journey has radically changed my thoughts on the matter and it is my hope that we can have an interesting conversation.

My belief at this point is that all events in my life can be taken as a blessing, or as suffering. The difference between the two is not the event itself, but me.

I believe any event can be taken as a cause of suffering when I am attached to creation the way I think it should be for me to be OK. When I do that I create my own suffering. God does not create the suffering.

When I have gratitude and take an event as an opportunity to learn and grow it is a blessing. Again, I make the choice, not God.

This has radically altered my prayer life as well. Now, I pray to be in God's creation just as it is, right now, without shielding myself from it by fear, judgment, regret or doubt. When I want to pray about someone else, I "lift them up in my heart to God" as opposed to asking for God's blessings.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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I can see some value in the idea, but I can also see potential for it to make suffering worse - you're not only dealing with the pain of the suffering itself but also beating yourself up for not being able to take it as a blessing. Times that by 10 if it were to take root institutionally and people start to judge others for not taking their sufferings are blessings. It's a recipe for keeping up appearances and hiding the pain that you are in.
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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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Part of this is facing myself just as I am - imperfect - and forgiving myself for being imperfect.

So, yes, sure, sometimes I begin to beat myself up for not meeting my own ideas. When I am present I can see those feelings for what they are - my self centered fear based ego talking to me. Then I can see how silly the idea is and move on. When I am not present I create my own suffering and hopefully learn to not do that the next time.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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I'm not sure how this stands up in the face of real suffering, sorry. Just read that a three year old died in a road accident yesterday - blessing for whom, how?

Not buying it. Shit is shit; it doesn't become chocolate fudge cake by my trying to like the taste.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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LutheranChik
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# 9826

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The old Lutheran solution to the question is " Deus absconditus" -- the hidden God, who does things that may look quite horrible from our human perspective but that have a purpose in the grand scheme of things.

I'm sorry, but I have a hard time with the idea of a God for whom a toddler being run over by a car, or people dying in agony from incurable diseases, or victims of pogroms and Holocausts, or random victims of natural disasters, are just unfortunate collateral damage on the way to some greater end. Is that arrogant of me? Maybe.

But I tend to be a theodicy agnostic. I bieve that people of faith should be blessings to the earth and the people around them, but the idea of why God seems to bless some but not others is way above my pay grade.

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Simul iustus et peccator
http://www.lutheranchiklworddiary.blogspot.com

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Martin60
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# 368

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Brilliant Tortuf.

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Love wins

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Enoch
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# 14322

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I can see the force of Job 1:21
quote:
Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
But too facile a quoting of passages like that easily lurches into Carothersism. Is there any Shipmate old enough and who moved in the right/wrong circles to know what that was? It had a bit of a vogue in the mid seventies. Though perhaps well intentioned, it can all too easily encourage people to be dishonest in an apparent good cause both with themselves and with God.

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

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Brenda Clough
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I agree. There are things that happen, that we as humans do to each other, that are awful and evil. To deny it is to deny the existence of evil itself. Here is a random example, which just happened to roll across my facebook feed today. There are things for which there simply cannot be an upside. There is no blessing in them.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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Take a random bad act that happens to someone you do not know. Does your unhappiness alleviate their suffering?

My serenity does not either. I have compassion for the people involved at the same time I accept that their fate is not in my grasp.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
Take a random bad act that happens to someone you do not know. Does your unhappiness alleviate their suffering?

Forgive me but I'm having a hard time seeing what this has to do with your OP, or with the various objections raised. Whoever claimed my unhappiness can alleviate someone else's suffering? That straw man comes totally out of left field, and does not, I feel, add any clarity to the problem.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Galloping Granny
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# 13814

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Enoch,
quote:
But too facile a quoting of passages like that easily lurches into Carothersism.
This has Google stumped.
I don't *need* to know but now I'm curious.
Can you elucidate briefly?

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

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roybart
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tortuf wrote:

quote:
My belief at this point is that all events in my life can be taken as a blessing, or as suffering. The difference between the two is not the event itself, but me.

I believe any event can be taken as a cause of suffering when I am attached to creation the way I think it should be for me to be OK. When I do that I create my own suffering. God does not create the suffering.

There is a great deal here I identify with.

When I have gratitude and take an event as an opportunity to learn and grow it is a blessing. Again, I make the choice, not God.

This has radically altered my prayer life as well. Now, I pray to be in God's creation just as it is, right now, without shielding myself from it by fear, judgment, regret or doubt. When I want to pray about someone else, I "lift them up in my heart to God" as opposed to asking for God's blessings.

This seems quite similar to the approach to prayer advocated by the 12 Steps of AA, which have -- frankly -- had a greater impact on my prayer life than a great deal of what I hear and learn in church.

My prayers for people, for the world, even for myself have become quite simple as a result. The three prayers I use most seem to cover what you are talking about.

(1) "Help [fill in the blank]," without specifying a result.

2) "Thank you."

And, (3) "What can I learn from this situation, and what is it that you want me to do?"

[ 27. August 2017, 21:29: Message edited by: roybart ]

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"The consolations of the imaginary are not imaginary consolations."
-- Roger Scruton

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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AA is deeply intertwined with spirituality.

MT, I am not trying to sidetrack the discussion I started. I seem to not understand the other comments the way you do. I see them as saying blessings are nonsense as there are bad things in the world. I hope you will help me out here.

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Martin60
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# 368

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I can only manage thanks for provision. And howling. And dread. And elation. And tears. And loss. And invoking peace in all this and other intrusion. When I find the headspace.

As Job said, blessed be the name of the Lord.

I try not to ask for anything, for 'HELP!'. But it comes any way. It's built in to creation.

I was asked to pray for a terribly sick baby yesterday. I said I was thinking of all concerned and said 'Bless you all.'. The blessing was from me. Whatever that means. But I'm not going to ... lie.

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Love wins

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
A while back lilBuddha posted a topic that irritated me at the time.

It's a gift.

I don't remember that thread, so I can only respond to this thread and I'm not feeling very deep at the moment.
All this is written from as Christian perspective as I can manage.
I do not think God bestows blessings. Too much shit happens to good people and too much good happens to shitty people.
Where God can be is in how people deal with this. In easing the suffering, spreading love.
It isn't perfect, but the Loving God/Shitty World conundrum is in y'alls theology, so...

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
I can see some value in the idea, but I can also see potential for it to make suffering worse - you're not only dealing with the pain of the suffering itself but also beating yourself up for not being able to take it as a blessing. Times that by 10 if it were to take root institutionally and people start to judge others for not taking their sufferings are blessings. It's a recipe for keeping up appearances and hiding the pain that you are in.

I'm with Arethosemyfeet. It sounds too much like a denial of suffering or a blame-the-victim prosperity gospel, the notion that you have to "suffer well"-- be a Good Christian who finds the silver lining in childhood cancer or racial injustice. I don't think so.

Being an Open Theist, I'm closer to the process theology mentioned in the OP. The notion that NOT everything that happens in this life is God's will, that in fact there are many things that are decidedly NOT his will. From Walter Wink I would take the notion that there is a spiritual battle of sorts to overturn the idolatry of our species-- the "myth of redemptive violence" that is destroying us and our planet. The suffering is quite real, but so is the pain of our God who will not rest or hold back until all is set right.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Anglican_Brat
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# 12349

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In CPE, I learned to respect the right of people to interpret their own experience, and not to interpret it for them.

For example, if I suffer something, I may in hindsight, a few years down the road, interpret it as a learning experience for me, see it in perspective, etc.

What I should not do, is take away another's person ability to reflect or not reflect on her own experience by saying something like "God is teaching you something" or "this is good for you."

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
AA is deeply intertwined with spirituality.

MT, I am not trying to sidetrack the discussion I started. I seem to not understand the other comments the way you do. I see them as saying blessings are nonsense as there are bad things in the world. I hope you will help me out here.

"Blessings are nonsense as there are bad things in the world" is not the same thing as "my unhappiness will alleviate their suffering."

My unhappiness is my own; their suffering is THEIR own. I don't understand what you see as the connection between them. I don't see that people are saying, "I can't be happy or their suffering will be more." Rather "I can't count this happiness as a blessing from God because he doesn't work that way, as witness all the suffering in the world."

Hopefully someone on the thread can say if I am paraphrasing them right.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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Ian Climacus

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Tortuf wrote:
quote:
Does your unhappiness alleviate their suffering?

My serenity does not either.

Am I the only one, and did I read you correctly Tortuf, in reading the answer to the first question as No in light of the next line?

I read it not saying happiness or unhappiness or joy or despair or any reaction could alleviate another's suffering. Or have I misunderstood?

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Barnabas62
Host
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I have strangled, in my mind, folks who have said either "all things work together for good" or "God will restore the years the locusts have eaten". As comments to the suffering, they really don't help. They are not a blessing.

Being there, avoiding glib explanations, listening, providing practical help and support, those things can be blessing.

It's dangerous to second-guess the experience and feelings of the sufferer. So far as second-guessing the mind of God goes, I'm entirely with LutheranChik.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Martin60
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# 368

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I'm sorry Tortuf, you still resonate with me and David Stendl-Rast.

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Love wins

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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Opaque. The very idea of blessings is to take the random, and wilful acts, then decide somehow that the bad or the good as we experience them, come from God or providence, is to find cause where there isn't any. Which is why the instruction is to love one another, not to wait for someone to be nice to you, to extend yourself to others, and to try to avoid bitterness when it feels you're shat upon.

There are no blessings, only best wishes and extending a hand. Hope is all there is.

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Gill H

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I remember the Merlin Carothers books (was that his real name?) 'From Prison To Praise' was the first, I think.

The idea seemed to be that God would transform your life if you learned to thank Him for the crappy stuff.

So 'thank You that despite my child dying, You are with me in my sorrow' wasn't good enough. You had to learn to say 'thank You for my child dying' to press the magic button.

It horrified me as a young Christian and it horrifies me even more now.

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Searching for a new sig...

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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lilBuddha,

I hope I did not give the impression that I am ungrateful. I am.

Beyond that, my point about taking things as being a blessing may best be translated in a non Christian perspective as being fully present not attached and having gratitude.

With those tools you can grow spiritually, Christian, Buddhist, whatever.

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
Tortuf wrote:
quote:
Does your unhappiness alleviate their suffering?

My serenity does not either.

Am I the only one, and did I read you correctly Tortuf, in reading the answer to the first question as No in light of the next line?

I read it not saying happiness or unhappiness or joy or despair or any reaction could alleviate another's suffering. Or have I misunderstood?

My mental reaction to the suffering of another does not help them, or hurt them, or affect them in any way if I am not present. My mental reaction of compassion is, I believe, always a good thing whether it affects the person suffering or not.

For me to affect a person suffering in a positive way my compassion has to translate into action. I cannot save the entire world, even over time, so I choose not to let events outside of my control affect me except to have compassion for the suffering of others.

I do not choose to believe God is not acting up to my standards for God because bad things happen.

The suffering of a third party is not the subject of my OP. At least that was my intention.

My reaction to things that happen to me is what I am in charge of. When something happens to me I have the choice of learning and growing, or being more fear based. So, my position that I can make an event a curse, or a blessing, by my reaction.

I hope that makes my position clearer.

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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I don't know if you're more advanced than me or something, but I can't make my reaction to (say) the death of a child in my family (since we're doing personal events only) anything but negative. And I'm not at all sure I should try. It seems to me that would be to forcibly distort my natural reactions and possibly to, well, spit in God's face? I mean, I don't think he WANTS me to take that as a blessing. "You desire truth in the inward parts"--that truth for me would be overwhelming pain and anger. And I think that's congruent with how God feels about such things, based on Jesus' own reactions to death.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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I'm no more advanced than a toddler.

If one of my children died I would be devastated. At the same time, I understand that my grief will not change the outcome for my child. My grief will only further add to the grief of my family if I choose to let the event make me bitter and retract into myself.

If I grieve and let my compassion guide me to be of comfort to my family I have done a good thing.

An example: Grits had a son with a debilitating disease. Her life was centered around his needs. He died quite young. While he was alive I asked her if she was mad at God for causing this suffering. Her reply was that she was grateful for the time she had with her son.

If I look outside of my immediate emotion and look for how I can take whatever event and grow from it I have at least ameliorated the harshness of the event. If I choose to let it affect me by growing bitter, etc. I have helped neither myself, nor anyone else.

Perhaps the word blessing has too many connotations. Perhaps it is best to say my choice is to grow smaller and more fear based, or learn and grow spiritually.

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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If that last line is what you meant, I doubt anyone will disagree with you.

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Chorister

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My grandmother didn't have an easy life, for all sorts of reasons. But my main memory of her is her singing, or humming 'Count your blessings', nearly every day. If nothing else, it was positive psychology, finding as many things as possible to be thankful for, amid the sad times. It seemed to get her through.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
lilBuddha,

I hope I did not give the impression that I am ungrateful. I am.

No you didn't give that impression at all.
quote:

Beyond that, my point about taking things as being a blessing may best be translated in a non Christian perspective as being fully present not attached and having gratitude.

This is a difficult thing, no matter one's theology.
quote:

With those tools you can grow spiritually, Christian, Buddhist, whatever.

There is commonality. It would be a better world if we saw each other through that, rather than the differences.

--------------------
So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:



If I look outside of my immediate emotion and look for how I can take whatever event and grow from it I have at least ameliorated the harshness of the event. If I choose to let it affect me by growing bitter, etc. I have helped neither myself, nor anyone else.

Perhaps the word blessing has too many connotations. Perhaps it is best to say my choice is to grow smaller and more fear based, or learn and grow spiritually.

This sounds quite unexceptionable -- if, and only if, you apply it only to yourself and your internal growth. You can quite see that if you went and told it to a bereaved parent or a crime victim or some other person in the midst of a calamity, it would be wildly unhelpful.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Ian Climacus

Liturgical Slattern
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I still recall, with horror I must say, a funeral I went to of a young child killed in a car accident. The family were very much of the "everything is a blessing" mentality and that funeral was a bizarre experience. I wish them well, mayhap it works for them, but I think I'd be in therapy for years to come if I took that attitude. But there are people like that who seem to thrive.


Thanks for expanding, Tortuf. Where you wrote:
quote:
My reaction to things that happen to me is what I am in charge of. When something happens to me I have the choice of learning and growing, or being more fear based. So, my position that I can make an event a curse, or a blessing, by my reaction.
With my faith, which is rather MIA these days, like my mental health, I have a toolkit. This is how I react in circumstance A, this is for circumstance B, but in circumstance C, when all has turned to shit, I do nothing.

I'm interested in how you, or others, see the positives in an event that rocks your world, or makes functioning difficult. Is it simply mind over matter? Are there moments where a reaction falls flat and all you can do is mumble, "Lord, have mercy!", if that, umpteen times? Can that small offering, that small reaction, be a blessing?

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Tortuf
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Ian, my entire world as I saw it was destroyed. That destruction brought about a new peace and a new connection to life that I had never even thought was possible.

I thought at first that God was punishing me. Later I thought God did things to me to cause me to change. Now I understand that I created my problems and my suffering and that God gave me love and mercy which gave me the strength to change.

It is a different perspective which creates and requires humility.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
Ian, my entire world as I saw it was destroyed. That destruction brought about a new peace and a new connection to life that I had never even thought was possible.

You've been pruned, stripped of dross Tortuf. Which is cathartic, traumatic.

I thought at first that God was punishing me. Later I thought God did things to me to cause me to change. Now I understand that I created my problems and my suffering and that God gave me love and mercy which gave me the strength to change.

You created them in the sense that you helplessly thought and felt and reacted? Told a story? And, how did He do that? Which is rhetorical if you like.

It is a different perspective which creates and requires humility.


But not a chosen humility? Not one that can be claimed? An enforced one? One that cannot be avoided? Part of the naked vulnerability that goes with being purged of delusion?



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Love wins

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Anglican_Brat
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It should be noted that in my understanding, detachment from a Buddhist perspective is meant to lead to compassion and empathy for all living beings. A Christian take on this might be, summed up in the Great Commandment is that experiencing suffering, can serve as an impetus to love and minister to others in the midst of their need.

According to my university Dean, Jesus Christ didn't spend hours and hours trying to ponder why crap happens. He sought to relieve suffering, and listened to those in need.

To come back to the OP, the only answer I can think of is that God doesn't cause suffering, nor is there any great meaning or "lesson" associated with suffering. Suffering, chaos, shit, natural evil is associated IMHO with the reality of death. The proper response to the potential terror of the chances and changes of life, is to abide in God in trust, not in the sense that God will fix everything perfectly in this lifetime, but that God's love for us is the only thing that will not change, and to love and minister to our neighbour.

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

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Chorister

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Anglican Brat's ethos is encapsulated rather well in this beautiful song.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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Martin60
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Anglican_Brat. I like it. The only word I would change is death, to life. Suffering is contingent on life. But there again, they end in death. We must trust like Job, with somewhat more justification: Christ.

Recently life only makes sense to me as mere conception. God fixes nothing in this life beyond His provision. Why should He? How could He?

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Love wins

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Ian Climacus

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Thank you Tortuf for sharing your, deeply personal, experience. Appreciated.
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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
Ian, my entire world as I saw it was destroyed. That destruction brought about a new peace and a new connection to life that I had never even thought was possible.

I thought at first that God was punishing me. Later I thought God did things to me to cause me to change. Now I understand that I created my problems and my suffering and that God gave me love and mercy which gave me the strength to change.

It is a different perspective which creates and requires humility.

Well done. These ideas are terrific, although I am surprised to find them in a Christian context. I have come across them in various Eastern religions, and they are often described as non-dualist. I tend to think of Christianity as expressing a number of dualisms - good/evil, heaven/hell - and so on.

I am trying to think of a relevant quote, oh well, you may have heard of the Zen story, a woman queueing at the butcher's, and she asks for best steak, and he replies, it's all the best.

Anyway, when binaries collapse, what can we do but pay reverence. Well, a Zen teacher would probably say, nonsense, stop being sentimental, and focus.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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Tortuf
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Thank you. And yes, my ideas may sound eastern. Let me assure you that at the same time I believe strongly that Christians have much to learn from eastern thought, my feet are firmly planted on what I hope to be the footsteps of Jesus.

A quote from my favorite theologian, a Franciscan Priest:

"I am convinced that Jesus was the first nondual religious teacher of the West, and one reason we have failed to understand so much of his teaching . . . is because we tried to understand it with dualistic minds. . . . Jesus modeled and exemplified nonduality . . . "

From the Center for Action and Contemplation

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mr cheesy
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I've long thought that the problem of blessing, from a Christian perspective, is very hard to untangle.

Part of the problem is the mixed messages from scripture.

In some readings of the bible, we're encouraged to see material things as blessings from God - and I think there is a common understanding (which is a form of widely held albeit relatively weak prosperity gospel) that good food, employment, health etc are blessings from God.

The problem is that if these things are blessings, then what does that say about all the other people who do not have such things for no reason other than an accident of birth? That they're the unblessed?

I find it hard to accept that random things I have which others lack are blessings. That seems akin to me to laughing in their face.

On the other hand, at times the New Testament seems to call us to consider things that nobody would call good as blessings. At the same time it seems to suggest that material things, health etc are not blessings - or at least if they are they're not rewards from a deity for good behaviour.

I don't know how to hold these things together at the same time. I want to appreciate the value of things I have, and part of that has to be to recognise when people don't have those things that I have. Which is something about appreciation and not taking things for granted.

On the other hand, I recoil from the Christian vocabulary of blessing because I don't want to believe in a deity who blesses some and punishes others in a myriad of tiny and petty ways.

I conclude that the reason I have a relatively charmed life and others have a life characterised by various shades of shittiness is nothing to do with the will of the deity at all.

But then Tortuf's thoughts are getting into even murkier waters that I can't navigate with the Christian vocabulary and worldview that I have.

For me, loss and death are to be experienced as tragedy and trauma. I don't see that there is anything positive to be gained psychologically or spiritually from considering them blessings.

The whole idea of detachment is an anathema to me. The whole idea that a person's life is to be celebrated by family at a funeral with a party seems to me to be a mistake.

One might be able to look back with some distance on a horrible painful experience and get some peace about it because one is able to see how all things worked to the good. But being in the moment of real pain and saying to oneself "oh wait, this is a blessing" seems ridiculous to me.

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arse

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mr cheesy
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But then I also don't like or accept this idea that what makes an event a blessing is my reaction to it.

That seems to me to be an effort to pretend that pain doesn't exist and that it is healthy to simply wish it away in the moment.

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arse

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Martin60
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Nobody's proposing that.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Nobody's proposing that.

Which part? I think Tortuf is getting close to suggesting that whether something is a blessing is about individual perspective

here:

quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:

I thought at first that God was punishing me. Later I thought God did things to me to cause me to change. Now I understand that I created my problems and my suffering and that God gave me love and mercy which gave me the strength to change.

It is a different perspective which creates and requires humility.



--------------------
arse

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Martin60
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OK. I try not to do binary. Or absurd. I'm not grateful for, happy with, blessed by increasing diabetes fuelled arthritis and gram negative colonization of my root filled teeth let alone other lurkers. I'm not grateful for, not blessed by the constant litany of meaningless horror in the news. I wake up to pain and go to sleep with it and try and remember to be grateful regardless. Regardless of my unbelief. Like all of us I have experienced unbearable physical and mental pain and fear and anguish and will worse yet. I've never felt blessed by it. I never will. But it has passed. I've eventually been able to be comforted by Job in moments of headspace, 'Blessed be the name of the Lord'. I am blessed despite and hope against hope that I will be transcendently. It is certain that suffering will end, it is possible that it may be ultimately sublimed. Reasons to be grateful. Ultimate blessing along with the blessings of living in the moment. I feel I'm alongside Tortuf in this, in invoking blessing in all of life despite it.

[ 05. September 2017, 11:03: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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Tortuf
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I'm not getting close. I am saying whether or not something that happens to me is a blessing or a curse is up to me.

I am not talking about some six year old and I am unimpressed by the trotting out of that old warhorse.

Yes, I can choose to take things that at first seem harmful and learn and grow from them. It is not just a theory for me. It is my reality.

Reality comes at us whether we are prepared for it or not. Reality comes at us whether we approve of it or not.

If you see everything as binary - good or bad - lucky or unlucky - you miss out on reality just the way it is. You misperceive reality when you attach to it having to be some way, any way, other than the way it is.

So, you deal with things the way they are without attaching to how they should be. Then, you seek guidance from God about how to deal with that reality.

I spent decades feeling a gut level unhappiness because I knew deep in my heart, that I was supposed to be a certain way. I also knew deep in my heart I was not that way and never would be that way. It made my interface with reality crash and scratch and act like sandpaper. I lubricated that unhappy intersection with reality with delusional thinking, perfectionism, judgment of reality and God, and alcohol. Guess how well that worked.

Falling hard, failing hard, could have been taken by me as a signal to give up. That is certainly the way I took it at first. It was a curse. And I was entitled to my noble suffering.

It is only when deep in my soul that I understood I had to change - that I could change, that things got better. In other words when I started treating what I thought of as a curse as an opportunity to change that I gained some degree of serenity and peace.

Do I still suffer? Of course I do. Reality is not always fun.

Is this purely some eastern religion crapola you are entitled to ignore because you are a good Christian? Tell me about how Paul was not being Christian when he was a prisoner of Rome writing all about the peace that passes all understanding.

And yes, this is a difficult concept as long as you still attach to things having to be the way you want them to be and a fictional ability to understand all things.

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Karl: Liberal Backslider
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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
I'm not getting close. I am saying whether or not something that happens to me is a blessing or a curse is up to me.


And I'm saying that if a bus runs you over tomorrow and leaves you in a locked-in state, conscious but unable to communicate, then you'll struggle to put that philosophy into practice.

Even harder if it kills you stone dead.

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
I'm not getting close. I am saying whether or not something that happens to me is a blessing or a curse is up to me.


OK so if that's the case how can you then fail to judge someone who is unable to look at calamity and see blessing as a less spiritual or advanced or wise person?

Or are you claiming that this insight only applies to you and your ability to perceive blessing/curse from periods of pain and so it isn't relevant to anyone else?

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arse

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Tortuf
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Why do I need to judge anyone? Judgment is just another way to shield myself from God's creation as it is.

Not my job in any event.

But yes, being imperfect, I do judge people and things. When I allow myself to detach from judgment and just let things be, I do much better for myself.

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mr cheesy
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It must be comforting for you.

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arse

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