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New com

started a new com feminist_christ for those who want to discuss how Christianity and feminism can and do work together in the world and in their faith journey

Need some perspective on overcoming fear

Hi guys. I know the community hasn't been super-active for awhile, but I'm hoping that maybe this post happens across some of your friends pages and I coud get some perspective.

I'm Courtney, I'm 30, and I've been around the comm for awhile, but I think this is my first time posting.

What I struggle with is fear, particularly fear of hell. I'm sure all Christians at some point or another have dealt with this, but mine is overly large, ongoing, and debilitating.

I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church, and while God's mercy and love were talked about, they weren't really emphasized. It was fire and brimstone, judgement, sin, etc. As a teen and even into college, I was pretty much the sterotypical super straight-laced good little Christian girl, and as result didn't experience much in terms of actual life.

As I got older, I realized that the things I was doing, my behavior, wasn't motivated by love for God or committment to Him, but rather out of fear and shame. I knew this had to change. But how does one begin to love a God who seems terrifying and harsh cruel? The very idea of the Gospel as I understand it seems cruel: Choose Jesus or burn.

Has anyone else dealt with these kinds of feelings? How does one begin to get a balanced view of God? If you've felt this kind of fear, how did you work through it?

I know this is a sensitive and harsh subject, so I appreciate any thoughts or advice you could offer.

Thanks.

volunteering

I hope you guys are ok! Just thought I'd say hi and wish you all a Holy Ash Wednesday.

Also: I have recently started volunteering for some secular nonprofits.

What is your opinion on volunteering for charity (either secular or faith based)? Do you think that volunteering for any charity, faith focused or otherwise, can be motivated by God?

Thanks for being a part of this community. You guys rock.
Because it might be relevant to the concerns of some people in this group, and is quite topical given the London riots: a Centre for Economic Policy Research study of 100 years of fiscal policy in Europe shows a distinct correlation between reductions in governmental spending and subsequent social unrest, such that a 5% decrease in spending was followed by a 100% increase in turmoil, whether the economies were growing or shrinking.

Need help.

Hello all. Remember me, one of your errant mods? I'm sorry to say Adele and I haven't been doing a very good job getting conversations started on the comm--we've both been super busy, and I now have a new excuse for my busy-ness: I am going to write a book.

The premise of the book is how to reconcile bad experiences in the church with the Gospel, and how to reconcile the damage in both directions (people to church, church to people). In order to write this book, I am hoping to hear some experiences from people who have had less than great experiences in the church. If you have had a bad experience in a church that caused you to leave the church, denomination, or even if it just left a really sour taste in your mouth, I would love to get your experiences. You can either comment here or send me an e-mail (evilnel [at] gmail [dot] com). All responses will be kept anonymous, but are sent to me with the the understanding that they could at some point end up published in a book.

Given how many of us have had those unfortunate experiences, I feel really strongly that this is an important book to write so I'd love your help!

Interesting article from TIME.

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/03/22/fertility-goddess-asherah-was-gods-wife-edited-out-of-the-bible/

Heard of this theory before. I know there is at least one book on the subject. Anyone have thoughts on it?
New Community

I've just joined this community (so know very little about it) but wondered if there might be some crossover interest here? This is from their user-info page:

rejectedstones

This is a community for the serious discussion of Christian theology, the bible, and other matters of faith from a progressive, inclusive starting point. People of all denominations and all faiths (or no faith) are welcome to join in the discussion.

We assume that anyone interested in posting here takes for granted that women and men are equal in the eyes of God; that gays and lesbians have a place at the table and deserve equal treatment and inclusion in the Body of Christ including in leadership roles; that science and religious faith are not necessarily at odds with one another; that the Bible is to be read with sensitivity to context and nuance and is not meant to be taken literally.


Hope everyone is enjoying Lent (and being more active with theirs than I am with mine...)

the lenten time!

Hey all!
Well it's almost Ash Wednesday and I would be interested to hear what you and/or your church is doing for lent. Do you fast? Do you give alms? Anything special you want to do this lent? Do you even mark/celebrate lent?
My church is hosting the congregaton from the local Anglican church in a combined service (we went to theirs last year) and distribution of ashes. I'm also receving the baptism/confirmation/first Eucharist at the Easter vigil so I'm using lent to spiritually prepare for that.

Religious Tolerance

 I apologize if this question has been discussed before in this community, but I'd love to hear some dialogue about it.

How do you reconcile being Christian with being accepting of other religions? What do you think about passages such as John 14:6 being used by some to defend Christianity as the one valid religion? 

I feel like it is so important for there to be an open and affirming dialogue between religious groups. To me, it is not a matter of mere tolerance, but affirmation of other religions as true and valid spiritual paths. I was baptized Christian and both my best friend and first love growing up were Muslim while most of my other friends were Hindu. While my mother identified herself and our family as Christian, my father was often quiet on the issue of religion. I can remember asking him about his silence on the subject one day, and he answered "I just can't believe that your best friend, good person that she is, will not be saved because she is a Muslim."

Any thoughts/experiences/opinions on this subject are appreciated!