Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Parenting Adult Children is Like a Tightrope Act & a Minefield

All my kids are grown. Yes. I'll say it again for myself. ALL MY KIDS ARE GROWN. Just how long does it take for a parent to fully understand that fact once it's true? I never dreamed how hard it would be to simply assent to that fact. Unsolicited advice from a parent is usually not received by adult children the way the parent intended it to be. Therefore, once again, for the umpteenth time,  I resolve to not offer advice unless it is sought. Oh God that is a very, very difficult resolution to keep.

When disaster (in whatever form) strikes one of your own, it is a parent's instinct to step in and help. If the help is sought, fine. There have been times when each of my three kids have done just that. I was more than willing and did my best to accommodate each time. But, there have been other times when my counsel has not been sought, but advice was given anyway. The disaster was often made worse.

Parenting adult children is truly a minefield!

Someday, perhaps, all my children will come to realize that this job, this difficult, often impossible job of parenting never ends....at least that's the way it appears to most of us who have acquired that status. I hope all my kids understand, and in some cases, excuse their often bumbling parents for stepping over the line on occasion. Everything I do for them (albeit sometimes TO them) is done out of an all-consuming love for those offspring.

*I hereby highly resolve to withhold advice, unless it is sought. So help me God!
(regardless of the consequences suffered by that adult child who so carelessly failed to solicit my sage advice.)

Oh God! Here I go again......Kids you know I love you...right?! 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Get the Hell Out of My Bible

This is a Facebook post from a wonderful inclusionist, Carlton Pearson. Carlton expresses what many Christians have discovered in recent years. I gave up the belief in hell almost ten years ago and have never looked back. 

 Get the Hell Out of My Bible
 
The only "literal" hell there is, is the one we create for ourselves and for others. No one goes to hell, but we all go through it.

The belief in hell, as we've been taught and have taught it, is a concrete block tied to the ankles of trapped souls and minds. Until they are released from that single doctrine, it is difficult to progress into the wider experience of your God self, the part of himself that Jesus seems to have accessed within and encouraged us to. He loved to call himself "son of man", not "son of God", but recognized both aspects of himself and encouraged us to.

Gehenna is commonly used by misconceiving Christians to mean Hell, when in reality it was a garbage dump. I now believe that the entire concept of Hell in traditional evangelical Christianity is erroneously based on both superstition and the influence of ancient pre-Christian pagan mythologies. Yet the idea of Hell remains the most pernicious myth of Christianity and one unique to Christianity. Judaism does not have a place called Hell; Islam has one but it is not a central feature of the doctrine. What about our theology — and what about us as people — compels us to perpetuate the idea of a cosmic torture chamber where our brothers and sisters will be tormented in brutal agony forever? What does this say about the kind of people we have become? Just as important, what does this fervent Evangelical belief say about where conservative Christians stand in relation to most Americans, who, according to that previously quoted study, think people can save their souls not by adhering to some outdated doctrine but simply by being good people? As I see it, the evidence is incontestable: Christians risk becoming utterly irrelevant in their own culture if they continue to separate people into “We, the Saved” and “They, the Damned.” Again, I ask, do we need Jesus to protect us from God? Is that what Christianity as we’ve known it is about? Are we saved from God by God?



 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Content with Not-knowing

I have realized that in the past couple of years I have become more and more content with having fewer and fewer certainties. I have come to the point where I don't believe that any belief, any group, any religion has all the answers (or for that matter anywhere close to a majority of the answers). And, I'm OK with that. It doesn't mean that I'll stop searching for new explanations and information. I find the search for new ideas and explanations to be stimulating and many times enlightening.

I still have my favorite authors and speakers whom I respect greatly, but find myself often disagreeing with something that one may have to say. That is also OK. It doesn't cause me to lose any respect for that person. I enjoy all that each of them have to offer.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Does This Describe You?

About five or six years ago, I read a book called,  If Grace Is True, by Jim Mulholland, a Quaker minister, and his friend, Phillip Gulley. I was impressed by Mulholland and Gulley's universalist leanings which were very evident in the book. I was fully exploring universalism at the time and the book spoke to me deeply.

My atheist friend, Andrew recently posted that Mulholland has left the faith completely, and gave a link to Mulholland's website called "Leaving Your Religion".  On the website, Mulholland offers a Questionnaire for folks who think they may be in the process of leaving their religion or suspect they might already have. Leaving your religion doesn't necessarily mean leaving God. Maybe it's just leaving your old version of God or a particular kind of theism.  I know that is very true in my case. I continue to explore the spiritual side of life even when it looks nothing like what I believed it to be for so many years. The following is the result of the questionnaire of one who probably is in the process of leaving:

         


You’ve been in a crisis of belief for months or even years.  You are probably not attending religious services often, or you are participating in the most progressive element of your religious tradition.  Yet neither of these choices has made you completely happy.

You no longer believe many of the key doctrines of your religious tradition.  You are increasingly uncomfortable with many of its rituals and practices.  You have tried to hold on to a core, but that core gets smaller and smaller.  Reading your tradition’s holy writings no longer helps since you have serious doubts about the reliability of those writings.  When you pray, you often wonder if anyone is listening.

You struggle with how to identify yourself.  You try to make a distinction between religion and spirituality and may call yourself a mystic or a spiritual seeker.  You may have read about or dipped your toes into other religious traditions.  You probably still believe in God, but your definition of God is quite different than that of your religious tradition and difficult for you to explain.  If truth be told, making sense of religion has become exhausting.

You have mixed feelings about your religious tradition.  It has been a powerful force in the past.  It is part of who you are.  But it isn’t working for you any longer and you can’t pretend any more.  You may feel sad and depressed about this crisis.  You probably feel a void and real loss.  You may even be angry at or hostile toward your religious tradition.  You may feel like you were duped.  Sadness and anger are normal responses.

For the first time in your life, you’re seriously considering leaving your religion.   You may find yourself envious of the non-religious people and curious what life would be like without religion.  You may be both frightened and excited about the prospect of living outside a religious community.  Regardless, you can feel yourself disconnecting from your religion.

Does this describe you? What's your opinion? I am interested in what my friends think of the result and the website leavingyourreligion.com