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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:00 pm 
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Reads while walking
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What Sir Dennis's lovely post made me think of:
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"....walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in every one."
George Fox, 1656

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“Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” E. B. White, who must have had vison in mind. There's a reason why we kept putting the extra i in her name in our minds!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:57 pm 
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Ni Dieu, ni maître
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Well, this may function in a society where church fills that role, but in the very, very secular society in which I live (absolutely nobody I know goes to church on a regular basis), communities tend to be around different goals anyway: if you had mainly communities of believers, most people would be without them.

So, I cannnot share yov's experience. For the little while when I attended confirmation preparation in church back in the 80ies (when I was a less atheist teenager with some mystic moments), church was a duty.

And I can feel what Sir Dennis describes towards my students: I really, really care for them, however little we share and however little of their road I accompany... when I see them think, struggle, grow, I see quite often that what keeps me in that job is how much I actually love my students.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 6:05 am 
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chocolate bearer
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Now, 5 weeks later, I'm finally getting the chance to read thru this thread, and it is an excellent one. Thank you, whoever you are, who did the excellent job of splitting the thread out. It appears to be seamless.

Your posts got me to thinking about my own cultural and religious background. I was raised Catholic, and was at one time very strongly religious, even joining a lay order (Franciscans), before eventually losing my faith completely. So it is hard for me to sort out the comfort of the familiar from the draw of faith. For a while, being in a church was extremely painful for me, because of this conflict of belonging/nonbelonging. Now I just go to Buddhist study/meditation group held at an Asian Methodist church, with people who are mostly still practicing Protestants, and feel perfectly comfortable. :D

I didn't get much Christian culture at home. My mom's mom was Alaskan Indian, and raised Protestant (Presbyterian missionaries got to her village first), but she was probably not steeped in it the way most of the posters in this thread were. I'm not sure how the Pagan culture competed with the Protestant culture, as all the Tlingits I know have profess to be wholeheartedly Christian and not Pagan. Their parents were all severely punished at their Presbyterian boarding schools for speaking Tlingit or practicing any of the old ways, so they may not even know about them. But some of the old ways do persist, non-verbally. For example, I have great trouble looking people in the eye, because it seems extremely rude. It is only recently that I realized this is not the "norm" for most people.

My maternal grandfather came from 11 generations of Americans, mostly in Appalachia, probably Anglo-Saxon but hard to tell after that much time in America. Grandpa was baptized Catholic, by a traveling priest, but never attended Catholic church, because there wasn't one in his town. My grandparents moved a lot, and their attitude was that you should attend the church that is closest to you, be it Methodist, Episcopalian, or whatever, because belonging to the local community was the important thing. When my mom married my dad, she converted from the Episcopalian she was baptised into, to Catholicism, but I think it was that same attitude of the proximity to your peeps. So I don't think I got a coherent Protestant culture from her.

Dad was born and raised Catholic, but never said a word about it. He went to Church every Sunday because he was required to, but never spoke a religious word outside of Church. We observed fasts and meatless Fridays, we kids went to a mixture of public and Catholic schools depending on availability of funds, but I wouldn't be able to put a finger on what made our family "ethics" Catholic, Protestant, or Atheist. Mom and Dad stopped going when they turned 60 (having heard it wasn't "required" after a certain age) and Dad never set foot in a church again, or asked for last rites or a Catholic funeral for Mom. I feel more Catholic than Protestant in terms of the culture you all so eloquently explained in the thread above, probably because of my Catholic high schooling and association with Catholic friends in early adulthood, but I don't believe in God anymore, and I'm not sure how much of my ethical and cultural underpinning is still Catholic with a dose of Protestant and an undercurrent of Pagan, now overlain with Secular Humanism and Buddhism. How do you tell what is the "P" in WASP (White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant)?

My son is now an ordained Pagan priest who prays to Raven. I guess we've come full circle. :P

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In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

~ Albert Camus


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:58 pm 
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Just Keep Singin'
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Narya, thank you for "bumping" this discussion.

My son and I were recently discussing the movie "Life of Pi" and how Pi explores different religious beliefs and finds beauty and truth in all of them.

At best, we can only see through a glass dimly, and perhaps get a very small glimpse of anything bigger than ourselves. For me, the idea that there is only one, very narrow path to the Infinite Divine seems to be a contradiction.

We are all connected...to each other and to the stars. Best thing to do is nurture the connection.

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