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Source: (consider it) Thread: Spirituality outside church
Belle Ringer
# 13379

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I bumped into a comment on some lost rock in cyberspace that said the churches have missed/ been bypassed by the most recent spiritual revival.

I think for example of Wayne Dyer and his emphasis on forgiving others because it's key to your own emotional and physical health, not just because some God will dislike you if you don't. (A religion of mindless duty doesn't help us grow in spiritual understanding.)

Or the "law of attraction" – yes it's overstated by people selling their "secrets" for $49.95. But it emphasizes that "asking" and then sitting back expecting good things to just drop in your lap (and get mad at God if they don't) is immature and unhealthy.

Church prayers tend to be not "show me how to help bring about peace", but "God, you should bring peace (while we return to our own lives)." "God, you should heal the neighbor's kid" - but will we babysit the kid to give mama an afternoon's respite? No, God should do it without bothering us. That's the expectation of an infant, not of a mature adult "bride."

"Law of attraction" says what you want or ask for won't just drop in your lap, what will show up is a way to work towards it, a way to participate in making real the answer to your prayer/desire.

I believe in God, but I find church teachings infantilizing, which inhibits spiritual growth.

In leaving church I am not rejecting it but moving beyond it. Not perhaps beyond what church could be, but beyond what it (almost always) actually is; moving into more full, more complete expression of God; learning from non-Christian observers of amazing spiritual reality.

I'm wondering if others here are exploring the strong spiritual winds blowing outside the churches, and if so what are you finding of value?

Posts: 5830 | From: Texas | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
# 1468

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I've done and do a lot of wandering, with various stops.

I kind of take my theology, philosophy, and help from wherever I can find it. Terry Pratchett, agnostic that he is, is currently my favorite theologian--with the blessed inclusion of wit, humor, and puns.

I've found a lot of help in Buddhism (mostly Insight/Vipassana meditation), Paganism, and feminine-friendly spirituality.

I have a reading list crammed into my profile--all the books are things that have helped me at various points. YMMV.

Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18601 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
cynic girl
# 13844

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I do the Pagan thing these days. It works for me. It can be very beautiful (despite some issues).

I stay in close touch with churches and Christian friends, though - there was some very good stuff there that I don't want to lose completely. The peace of a Sunday morning service in a ritual-heavy church with really good music, for example -that's something I haven't found anywhere else. And I have a - I suppose a kind of contract or agreement with myself, or maybe even with God, to continue my research and give back to the Church that gave me so much.

But mostly, I've found my spirituality doing quite a lot better outside the church. The sense of freedom is immense. No matter where I went in the Christian world, the ideas and practices didn't fit my spirituality. Now I can find what makes my soul sing.

Still, avoiding 'supermarket spirituality' is a lot of work. I try to stay vigilant for that kind of approach creeping in. I believe that I'm on this planet to learn, and to help others - not to poach like a magpie and just make myself happy in the process.

Currently recruiting for ethnographic research into the experiences of disabled Christians or those with health problems.

Posts: 150 | From: London | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged

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