"One of the difficult things in life is that as you grow and change, there are a lot of people who are invested in you being the same person you have always been."

— author Laura Lee interview Indie Author News

"And sometimes we might ask if the Christian church…hasn’t carried with it too much of its past, and left behind too little. Forgetting is probably more difficult for a religious tradition than any other human heritage. But God is not only the beginning from which we came; He is also the end to which we go. He is the creator of the new as well as the ancient of days. To all creatures He has given presence; and presence, although it rests on the past, drives into the future. Therefore, all life has received the gift of forgetting. A church that does not accept this gift denies it’s own creatureliness, and falls into the temptation of every church, which is to make itself God. Of course no church or nation or person should ever forget its own identity. We are not asked to forget our name, the symbol of our inner self. And certainly no church is required to forget it’s foundation. But if it is unable to leave behind much of what was built on this foundation, it will lose the future."

— Paul Tillich (via ferretdokhtar)

(via ferretical-deactivated20130629)

"…all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

— The Declaration of Independence

"In all the ages the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorized and encouraged her children to trade in them. Long after some Christian peoples had freed their slaves the Church still held on to hers. If any could know, to absolute certainty, that all this was right, and according to God’s will and desire, surely it was she, since she was God’s specially appointed representative in the earth and sole authorized and infallible expounder of his Bible. There were the texts; there was no mistaking their meaning; she was right, she was doing in this thing what the Bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery. Yet now at last, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and we see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The texts remain: it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession — and take the credit of the correction. As she will presently do in this instance."

— Mark Twain

Today most people have in their lives, and deeply care for, at least one person who is no closer to being a Protestant Christian than I am to being French Canadian. Today everyone is related to, shares a neighborhood with, works with, or goes to school with someone who is gay, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Mormon, Unitarian Universalism, Wiccan, Native American, Shinto, Baha’i, Rastafarian, Cao Dai, Tenrikyo, agnostic, atheist, or any combination thereof. (Humans. We are a creative group, are we not?)
 
It’s a great deal more troubling to condemn to hell someone for whom you have affection than it is an abstract member of an abstract group. Growing up in my white suburban neighborhood, I didn’t know a single person who was Hindu. Today there are five young men who are Hindu living right next door to me. Those young men have become friends. If part of my theology insists that my Hindu friends are going to hell, you better believe I’m going to reassess that part of my theology. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t.

todaysdocument:

Suffrage did not come easy. 

The 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920.  These photos and documents within the records of the National Archives show that the right to vote was not easily won.  

(via creativevictuals)

Losing My Religion

“It is an age of nervousness… the growing malady of the day, the physiological feature of the age,” said a New York Tribune editorial.  “Nowhere are the rush and hurry and overstrain of life more marked than in this much-achieving Nation…  Inventions, discoveries, achievements of science all add to the sum of that which is to be learned, and widen the field in which there is work to be done.  If knowledge has increased, we should take more time for acquiring it…  For it would be a sorry ending of this splendid age of learning and of labor to be known as an age of unsettled brains and shattered nerves.”  The article was written in 1895.

There is one thing that you can count on throughout history.  People are nostalgic for an earlier age, one that was less busy, one in which young people took the time to read books, and when people still believed in that “old time religion.”

As for reading, that golden age in America, when every person had his nose in a book is as much a myth as the memory of an age when no one felt pressured and rushed. 

“If you grew up in a rural area, you have seen how farmhouses come and go, but the dent left by cellars is permanent,” Paul Collins wrote in Sixpence House.  “There is something unbreakable in that hand-dug foundational gouge into the earth. Books are the cellars of civilization: when cultures crumble away, their books remain out of sheer stupid solidity. We see their accumulated pages, and marvel - what readers they were! But were they? Back in the 1920s, booksellers assessed the core literary population of the United States, the people who could be relied on to buy books with a serious content, at about 200,000 people. This, in a country of 100 million: a ratio of about 500 to 1. It was this minuscule subset spread out over a three-thousand-mile swath, this group of people who could fit into a few football stadiums, that thousands of books released each year had to compete for. Perhaps the ratio has gone higher since then. You see, literary culture is perpetually dead and dying; and when some respected writer discovers and loudly pro­claims the finality of this fact, it is a forensic marker of their own decomposition. It means that they have artistically expired within the last ten years, and that they will corporeally expire within the next twenty.”


Which brings us to that old time religion.  I was reading on the blog Made in America today an article by Claude Fisher, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.  His article, Faith Endures, opens with a scene from 1907 when a group of ministers met with president Theodore Roosevelt to discuss the crisis of declining church attendance.  Yet church attendance did not decline, and was booming in the 1950s.  Fisher describes a complex history of Americans relationship to church-going from the nation’s founding- the good old days when most of the founding fathers were “unchurched” to the present day.  The history is not a straight line (oh but we love to see history as linear!) Rather church attendance has waxed and waned.

"Since time immemorial, it seems, people have described – some have decried – the loss of that ‘old time religion.’” Fisher writes.  "Modern scholars call it secularization. With the coming of science, industry, and urbanization, faith had to crumble, they argued. There must have been a time when everyone believed deeply and that time has presumably passed."

The article presents a graph that shows a surprisingly consistent level of church attendance throughout our history.

Importantly, we see this consistency in expressions of faith even though the early surveys include many respondents who had been born around the end of the 19th century and in the later surveys these elderly folks are replaced by respondents who had been born in the 1970s and ‘80s. Swapping the World War I generation for Gen X’ers hardly changed average levels of faith.

Faith among Americans endures, surprisingly so to many casual observers — even to professional observers…

Had the ministers who visited Teddy Roosevelt in 1907 known that a century later this would be the level of American faith, would they have been less alarmed? I suspect not.  Except when the evidence is too overwhelming — for instance, during the Great Awakenings around 1800 or during the 1950s — people just assume that faith is one of those things we are always in the process of losing.

So the loss of those old time values and a simpler way of life have always been and will always be decried even as things remain, to quote that great thinker David Byrne “same as it ever was.”


Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime by hushhush112

"Focus on the Family Head: “We’ve Probably Lost” on Gay Marriage"

Focus on the Family Head: “We’ve Probably Lost” on Gay Marriage | Mother Jones

Isolating beneficial faith traditions from insignificant ones can be difficult, as transmission of faith from person to person and generation to generation most often occurs via tradition. Because faith—like love, truth, and patriotism—is abstract, a veritable garden of traditional symbols, rites, vocabulary, and (yes) superstitions crop up around its towering principles.

Enduring Christian traditions, such as baptism, Communion, and Lent remain sacrosanct due to their timeless significance; they’re immune to culture shifts and social progress. Yet there are also traditions many adamantly maintain that lost their value long ago. They now alienate believers and, in some cases, actually subvert Biblical principles speaking to issues we currently confront. Perhaps the most prominent examples exist in traditions that base ministerial rights on gender, marital status, and orientation….

As the Holy Spirit steers the Church back to the lavish inclusion, equality, and compassion that set it apart from every human institution—in keeping with God’s stated will and purpose—many who cherish baseless, outmoded traditions face the same kinds of sorrows we see in Fiddler on the Roof. Life as they know it is slipping away. They’re aware of that. Yet they’re uncertain what it means. What we hail as progress feels like loss to them. We hear notes of grief in their hostility, shrieks of panic in their insistence. They must go through this process for themselves, trusting God’s grace to bring them through. Our responsibility is threefold. First, we must uphold them in prayer and love. Second, we must remain steadfast in our humility and faithfulness, serving as worthy examples of acceptance and tolerance. Third, we must never yield our commitment to be obedient to God’s Word, His Spirit’s guidance, and Christ’s commands. Faith isn’t a matter of being right or wrong. It’s our means of being reconciled to God.

alternative-christian:




A group of Christians showed up at a Chicago pride parade in July.





They were holding up signs saying “I’m sorry that Christians judge you”





“I’m sorry for how the churches treated you” and “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, I’m sorry”

alternative-christian:

A group of Christians showed up at a Chicago pride parade in July.

They were holding up signs saying “I’m sorry that Christians judge you”

“I’m sorry for how the churches treated you” and “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, I’m sorry”

(via )