I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Living the Questions:The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity-A Book Review

Who are we to declare some things holy or not holy? 226 Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity
This was a Speakeasy book that I thoroughly enjoyed-in fact, I think their book selection has gotten a lot better than when it first started and I heartily recommend joining!
This book is a series of excerpts and elaborations of the popular living the questions series that many churches use to introduce lay people to progressive theology. I have never taken the series, but have always been curious about it. I did not really learn anything new, as I have already been introduced to progressive and process theology but I agreed with just about everything I read. The only main problem I have with progressive theology is that I feel it sometimes others poor people-unlike liberation theology (another theology I love), it seems to assume that if you are reading about it, then you are at least moderately well-off and it asks how do you help the poor people-when if this book was studied in a small group at my church, it is very possible that there would be homeless people attending and it would be much more empowering and compassionate to ask how can you, as a poor person, still help yourself and your fellow neighbor-how can you be part of the community and not othered? Then it is not us helping them, but we helping each other-all of us being liberated together. So, that's my one gripe-I feel like progressive theology can unintentionally become classist and we should always strive to be intentional with our religion and our spirituality.

That being said, I really did like the book-it would be a great gift for one interested in learning about progressive Christianity. My favorite aspect of the book is that it encourages people to embrace mysticism, which is something I already strive to do. Mysticism, as I see it, is living in the moment and seeing the Spirit of Godde in every living thing (this is called panentheism) and in experiencing Godde's Spirit as the embodiment of Love, always working for our well being. This Love is always within us and around us and we can rejoice in it and be glad if we attune our energy to this pulse. We do this by being mindful and grateful for our daily victories and by letting go of grudges and disappointments; by making sure to take delight in the beauty of this world, even despite the horrors that continue on and by being of service to one another in big and small ways. A mystics knows that one need not be in a temple, church, mosque or monastery in order to feel holy for one can experience the breathe of Godde wherever they are. Even in a prison one can choose to accept their painful situation and so not suffer, but be able to turn their mind toward more heavenly thoughts. This is called Radical Acceptance and is the example used by Marsha Linehan.
(A Creative Commons License)    For me, almost anything can be experienced as a spiritual connection with the Holy One, from a tender hair washing at my hair salon to passionate kissing to hiking in the mountains to a soulful music concert to cuddling with my cat, Arlo to a heart-to heart conversation to delighting in a bacon maple cupcake!

(I made some for my birthday-the recipe will be posted soon!)  It is recognizing the goodness in the moment, in all of humanity and in myself and most importantly, in the Love that I recognize is the ground of my being, my way, my truth, my life-this mystic's mission to experience and share.

 Blessed be!

  Link Love:

 Some Things to Consider When Writing Fat Characters; 
Our fights against fatphobia are not generally welcomed in social justice contexts. We’re an oppressed group whose liberation movement is not generally considered a liberation movement at all.

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