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April 30, 2006


Mike R

This seems to tie in with the safe/unsafe/certain/uncertain paradigm put forward by Ana Draper at yesterday's Blah day.

However, my previous comments about football have probably eroded any credibility I may have had.

And the snooker final has just started.


Yeah - I found that really helpful too. For those who weren't at the leadership day yesterday, Ana Draper spoke from her therapist's point of view and presented a set of axes: safe/unsafe certain/uncertain.

She proposed that too much alt.w stuff is in the unsafe/uncertain quadrant, too much evangelical stuff in the safe/certain and where we need to aim to be is in the safe/uncertain place.

Existential Punk

Thanks for your insights and i have felt similarly. Adele


Excellent 'thought for the day' on the futile pursuit of a 'universal language', and why The Stars and Stripes should be allowed to be sung in Spanish. Giles Fraser rocks.


i've been wondering whether fowler's stages need to be critiqued in the light of postmodernity... do many people who are 'new' to faith skip stages because their worldview is already at stage 5... so the stages can't be considered to be consecutive.

need to think about it more...


I still prefer to call them "directions". Call me "anal" but "stages" sounds too much like ranking one above the other... Hey, I put the word Anal and one that rhymes with Wanking in the same sentence... Kester, you gotta excersize some obscenity-filtering here, dog.

(and a spell-check)

And Fowlers doo-hicks are pretty much identical to Scott McClendans stuffs::: here's where it's talked about in FaithCommons...


Submitted by BLG2319 on Mon, 08/22/2005 - 11:15.

I checked out a book the other day called "Finding a Religion: When the faith you grew up with has lost its meaning" by Scott McClendan (apox. title and spelling of his name). It is a fascinating book that I would reccommend to anyone who is struggling spiritually.
The most interesting part of the book has to with his explanation of the six stages of spirtuality. They look like this:

1. Magic

2. Reality

3. Dependence

4. Independence

5. Interdependence

6. Unity

Magic is when fairy tales are real to us as children. Reality is when we realize there is no Santa. Dependence is where many people stop in their journey. It is the stage where God is seen as a parental figure and we rely on gurus, mentors, church dogmas, etc. to lead us. For me the gurus were of the Max Lucado variety.

The spiritual crisis that erupted inside me last fall I now see as a transition to the next spiritual stage, independence. This stage is marked by skepticism and doubt. The god that seemed close earlier in life starts to become distant and remote. My religion has literally lost its meaning.

The next stage for which I would very much like to reach is interdependence. The point where old things become new again. The symbols of my past faith take on powerful new meanings. I long for this stage, not because it is the next in the progression, but because it is where I hope to find peace. Independence is necessary I believe because without it one can never have an open mind. But it is also a very painful and confusing stage. I am sure many folks who call themselves athiest and agnostics are in this stage. There is tremendous freedom, but with that freedom comes great sorrow. At least for me. So I don't think I can stay here (in the independence stage) any longer than I need to.

The final stage he describes is the Unity stage. Jesus appears to have been in this stage along with Buddhah and Mahammed. This is the realm of the mystics. Only a few ever make it. I don't plan to reach this summit, of course I didn't plan to leave the dependence stage either. But here I am.

I realize that this all sounds way to clinical and "modern" if you will. I don't know if the stages are universally true or not, but they seem to fit my experience. And afterall, that is all any of us really know about anyway.



Just incase anyone was at a loose end and wanted another DamnDiversion to plough thru.



This is really helpful - and is likely to be the topic of my mull down the allotment this morning. Blinkin' weeds. Keep growing around the nice clean stuff you plant and confusing the dirt ;-)


Ironically enough, the last time my wife, TANKGIRL, asked me to pull out the weeds and water the plants... I pulled out all the plants (greenish things) and watered the beautiful yellow things (weeds - apparently).

I do live in a city after all, how am I supposed to know.

**TANK shakes her head in disgust**

Tracy Yates

My Blog Address:

Is There An "Absolute Truth", God, Out There?

The Real Truth, The Absolute Truth Is This:

All too often, man attempts to draw power over others based on his belief that he knows what God thinks, wants, expects, demands, commands etc.. He, man, attempts to obtain justification for power through God by claiming a knowledge of what God thinks, wants... etc.. The problem with man doing this is this: It is impossible for man to prove that there is an "Absolute Truth", God. If man chooses to assume there is an "Absolute Truth", God, it is still impossible for man to know and/or define what that "Absolute Truth", God, is, to know and/or define what God thinks, wants, expects, demands, commands etc..

The best man can hope for is to have faith. Faith in what? What he, man, decides to be the "Absolute Truth", God. BUT...

Man must understand and except the limitations of faith. Faith is believing in something that you can not prove. Believing in something does not make it true no matter how strong the faith may be. Man can not and must not base justification of authority on faith. Only those who can prove what the "Absolute Truth", God, is, can rightfully justify a claim of authority. As it stands, no man has the ability to prove or define what the "Absolute Truth", God, is. No matter how strong a faith any man may have, it will never give him the ability to prove the "Absolute Truth", God. Any man that claims authority based on faith, does so without justification. It is only the "Absolute Truth", God, that can rightfully justify a claim of authority. Any man who attempts to make a claim of authority is attempting to do what only the "Absolute Truth", God, can. Any man who attempts to claim authority is attempting to be the "Absolute Truth", God, to be God.

No person can justifiably claim to have the authority to dictate to any other person what god: wants thinks says commands expects

No person can justifiably claim to know what god wants and then draw authority over others based on these professed claims.

Why? Because no person can prove what god: wants thinks says commands expects or even that he exists

All faiths must except this truth, this fact, when dealing with all those who do not share their particular views and/or faith.

All must always remember that no matter how strong the strength of your faith may be... faith is not proof of the truth of the things you believe.

No matter how strongly you want your beliefs to be true... how strongly you believe your beliefs to be true... it is and will always be impossible for you or any other person to prove these beliefs. If you can not prove these things... you can not use them as a source of authority to:

* pass judgment over other people
* dictate to others how to live, to think, to behave etc.
* to impart punishment
* to stigmatize those having different beliefs from yours


Humility In Your Faith

All people must have humility in their faith. A humility in faith that manifests in the form of respect for all persons of different faiths and beliefs from yours. Respecting persons of different faiths and beliefs must not only be found in your actions and interactions, it, more importantly, must be found in your internal perspectives, attitudes and feelings toward them.

Humility is found in knowing that you can not prove your views of what God wants, says expects or commands, and then understanding that because of this, you can not rightfully claim authority to dictate to others what they should or should not be doing in their lives or to pass judgment upon them and then allow this judgment to dictate the way you look upon them and treat them. How arrogant to think you know the mind of God with such certainty that you can justify your judgment upon another or worse, the dictation and enforcement upon another any action or behavior and worst of all, the punishment of another for the failure of compliance to your beliefs.

Acknowledgment of the differences in views and beliefs must always be done without the assumption of your correctness at the expense of assuming their incorrectness. Accept the differences respectfully by acknowledging that though you see things differently, you know that you can not prove your beliefs nor disprove their beliefs and because of this, you have no authority to pass judgment on them and their beliefs or lack there of.

Respect for all others who differ in their views of what God wants from that of yours is the most important thing, above all else, that the world must learn if this world is ever to find true peace and harmony. The founding fathers of The United States Of America fully understood and believed this. So much so that they put it into the constitution. The separation of church and state was the most insightful and enlightened item the founding fathers included in the constitution. This single item places the bases of authority to govern in the hands of the people being governed. More basically it put it in the hand of man. A man can be questioned and challenged on the decisions he makes where as a man who speaks for god can not be questioned, for to question the man who speaks for god is to question God him self. There are many other connected reasons for the for the inclusion of the separation of church and state that I will save for another blog discussion.

Being respectful means being:
- non judgmental
- non condemning
- non derogative
- non belittling
- non superior in self view


My intent is not to knock religion, far from it, but rather to try and make all us, me included, wake up from our smug little views and smell the coffee. Things Must Change!!!!!!!!!!!!

Acknowledging the possibility that your faith might be wrong does not show a lack of faith. Many people think and feel that by making an acknowledgment that they could be incorrect in their beliefs somehow diminishes their faith. Is not the first step in obtaining faith to first realize and acknowledge that what you want to believe can not be proved. This first step must be taken to create the condition of requiring you to believe through faith. Think about it.

Having a strong faith does not require you to believe that you can not be wrong. Many people of faith mistakenly feel that to consider the possibility that what they believe could be wrong shows a lack of faith. The people who believe their particular documents are in fact the words of God seem to have great difficulty with this. They think that because they believe their documents are the words of God, this belief gives them authority to pass judgment on all those who do not follow what they believe to be the true words of God even though they have absolutely no proof their documents are the true words of God. These people seem to think that their faith somehow provides the authority and justification for using their documents as their guide or ruler for which to judge others, to dictate to others, to punish others. It does not for it can not be proved that any words in any document are the true words of God. Just believing that a document's words are the true words of God in no way makes it so no matter how strong the belief. "Belief" in no way provides authority. The only authority that can justifiably be obtained through a belief is that which the believer creates by following their belief in their life and only in their life and can in no way go beyond this scope, beyond them self.

I need to clarify what I mean by an "Absolute Truth", God,.

What I mean by "Absolute Truth", God, is God, or that which establishes for us a reference point for us to use when making any judgment call on what is to be considered good or evil.

I did not mean for this to refer to such things as the laws of physics or more general anything that can be quantified.


Is this above a Spam or a post? I'm confused (which is not hard).


Confused me too. Tricksterish spam/post muddler!


Who says the pulpit preacher is dead?

Hehe; "Pulp it, preacher!!!"
Now would that be the Bible we would pulp, or the Redemption Hymnal (both in capitals). Ooh, tough call.

john caldwell

Interesting. However, how do we reconcile what is being discussed with the fact that Jesus recognised the 'authority' and 'truth' of the Jewish Scriptures? Also, 'authority' was delegated in the commision to his disciples to make disciples and 'teach them' to 'obey' his teaching, hence the apostolic scriptures otherwise known as the New Testament. Surely, the ground of certainty must still lie in the scriptures?



But we still come up against the fog of language and meaning, John. Think of all the heart-felt, prayerfully thought out sermons there have been preached on the same text... All with different nuances. Is there one 'true' meaning we ought to be taking? As I've said, if there isn't, it doesn't mean there is no meaning. It means there is a transfinity of meanings. And that's as close as we can get this side of the dark glass.

john caldwell

While texts can offer various interpretations, this is not always a problem. However where evident contradictory meanings are being given to a text they both obviously cannot be accurate. It is here that context and 'authors intention' are important. Sometimes this is near impossible but in most cases with the bible it is not. the problem is not what we dont understand about scripture it is rather with what we do understand. That is, those things that God has spoken through the scriptures are repeated time and time again through varios authors and contexts. The difficulty is that we struggle to accept what the scriptures do say because of our own cultural conditioning.

However I do agree, that there are things that are less clear and we should not be dogmatic about everything, but neither should we deny that God has revealed certain truths to us in ways that we can understand. There is room for both certainty and uncertainty, certainty about things that are uncertain causes untold damage to human relationships however uncertainty about that which is certain (particuarly regarding Gods eternal truths) is also dangerous.


Assotciation Black Churches

Faith is the substance of things hoped ,the evidence of things unseen. At least that is the Biblical Faith, on which my whole thoughts, doctrine and life hangs on.My epistemology for this remains unshaken...the BIBLE..the WORD... which had always been right before time and space. It is the assurance of these things within me by the power of the holy spirit, that my life takes it's meaning. That WORD reassures me that "Christ" is the Way the Truth and the Life.It is this TRUTH that i know assurededly that sets me free. From all the endless wisdom of man and the black hole it has fallen into. I cannot re-invent it , it has been given once and for all (Jude 3) The emerging Church will do well in embracing it .

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